Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Garage Sale report: the Sega CD.

And, not to further the derailing of this blog to a thrift store find journal, this past weekend's garage sale treasure:

"Rowan, you should come look at this, says my partner Jen. It's a Genesis." "Oh, no bother, I already have one! No point in buying the same console twice!" "But this one had a CD player attached to it!" "You have my attention." Typically $5 is my mystery game threshold price -- given the cost of eg. a movie ticket weighed against how much of your time it fills, pretty much the only way a game can't sustain $5 of value is if it just doesn't work, avoiding such hassles being the whole reason I got into the investigation of console games in the first place. So that makes it a great price for a whole console, especially one I've never seen before. Even one with no cords -- I have a working Genesis, so surely I can just Frankenstein those parts in to this unit... wait... hang on...

Really, Sega? You need two AC adaptor wall warts to use this hybrid machine, which otherwise duplexes all input and output through shared integrated circuitry? Envision this scenario -- it's 1993, and your wall outlet has two spots for plugs. Genesis, CD, television set: pick two. (If I'd had the dubious fortune to find a 32X -- the third element of the uberGenesis gestalt, Human Centipede-ing down the Genesis' neck, I would have found that it, also, had independent power requirements.) Well, perhaps it's no coincidence that Sega is out of the hardware biz. This means sadly I need to find some additional cables before this steal is useable (or rather, before I can even begin to appraise whether it works or not. Of course, that would also require at least one Sega CD game, a glaring omission in my collection thus far. I avoid collecting games for machines I don't own since, uh, what am I going to do with them? Realistically, console-less games only get played slightly less than the ones I do have the consoles for near at hand.)

These machines came with an infra-red sensor attached to the joystick ports, remnants of some wireless control scheme, sans controllers. Will I miss the wireless controllers? Not really, I confess. Today, he said, over a week since beginning writing this post, I learned about Hyperkin's Retron 5, a piece of new 4-in-one (NES, SNES, Genesis, Game Boy) retro cartridge player. It or something like it could happily render much of my hardware mausoleum obsolete, though admittedly earlier cartridge games (read: Atari 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision) remain unsupported. What I'm holding out for is something like it that just has a CD/DVD tray and is able to render intelligible all games written to that disc media across numerous disparate (and several still-problematic-to-emulate) console platforms including the PC-Engine, 3DO, CD-i, Sega CD, Saturn, Dreamcast, Gamecube, Playstations 1 and 2, Xbox The First... you get the idea. The guts would need to be far beefier, but on the software input side, things would be considerably streamlined. But I digress.