373: This Jerk, Right Here


00:00:00   What did you use before Google and modern like DuckDuckGo?

00:00:05   Like what were your first web search engines?

00:00:08   - AltaVista.

00:00:09   And wasn't there a web crawl, something that was actually called WebCrawler, I thought, wasn't it?

00:00:13   - That was one, I mean there were a bunch back like in the late 90s.

00:00:15   There were a ton that were really getting off the ground.

00:00:18   You know, Google really didn't take over and become the thing until like 2000 and later.

00:00:24   You know, most of the 90s it was a very dynamic landscape.

00:00:28   - AltaVista, we just talked about this on Rectifs.

00:00:30   - Oh yeah, aw man.

00:00:32   - I mean not much, I don't know how we got on the topic, but yeah we were talking about that.

00:00:36   The search engines before Google.

00:00:38   - Yeah, I think AltaVista was the best one for a while.

00:00:41   I remember using that a lot.

00:00:43   I used, I briefly used Ask Jeeves.

00:00:46   - There it is, I was waiting for it, I was waiting for it.

00:00:48   - There was like, you know, Lycos and I used Yahoo for a while.

00:00:52   - Oh that's true, Yahoo, there was a window a time early on that Yahoo was actually very good and now it's not.

00:00:57   - Yeah, Hotbot was a big one back then.

00:00:59   There were a whole bunch.

00:01:01   - That does not sound like a search engine anymore.

00:01:03   - Yeah right.

00:01:05   But yeah, it was a while before Google really took it over.

00:01:09   I never used MSN, which later became Bing.

00:01:12   Never really got into the Microsoft services side of things.

00:01:15   - You know what I did use by way of my grandparents?

00:01:19   My grandparents had and loved, and it actually was really good for them, and I say that with no sarcasm.

00:01:25   They used and loved the Web TV, which eventually became the MSN Web TV.

00:01:30   Did you ever see these, ever use these?

00:01:32   - I remember doing web development and the worst browser to support was Web TV.

00:01:37   - Yeah, it was extremely cool, extremely bad technology.

00:01:43   And it really was a great introduction to my grandparents who at the time were in their probably 60s and had never really had a computer.

00:01:51   It was a great introduction for them to the internet and to email and things of that nature.

00:01:57   So I don't begrudge Web TV partly because I never had to develop for it.

00:02:02   I mean it was a piece of garbage and it was terrible and it was slower than dirt, but it was very, very cool.

00:02:08   And worked reasonably well for being a complete piece of garbage.

00:02:12   - Well it was a reasonable idea because not only, you mentioned it was for your older grandparents.

00:02:18   That was the target market really, it was for generally older people who were intimidated by the idea of getting a computer

00:02:26   or couldn't afford a computer, but they already have a TV because everyone had a TV.

00:02:31   So it would be like a gateway and maybe like a dipping your toe in the water.

00:02:36   It's funny to think back, at different times of technology, different parts of the computing devices were very expensive

00:02:44   and that would drive everything and during that time, screens were still very expensive.

00:02:49   It was actually prudent to have a system where, you know what, we're gonna be able to let you use the screen you already have,

00:02:56   which is your TV, and we'll just sell you some kind of small box.

00:02:59   And I mean other parts were expensive, like memory, that was still expensive back then.

00:03:03   But still, the screen was a big deal.

00:03:06   Now, they put screens in everything now because it's cheaper than putting physical controls.

00:03:11   Now you can get a color touchscreen for cheaper than it is to make a control panel with some buttons on it.

00:03:19   Yeah, it's so true. I remember vividly, I feel like I just told this story on the show,

00:03:23   but I remember vividly getting a 20-inch, I think it was like a 20-inch CRT that weighed about a billion pounds.

00:03:29   And it was like, I think it might have been Trinitron, maybe I'm wrong, I don't know, it doesn't matter, but it was beautiful.

00:03:35   Yeah, most of them were, most of the 20 inches were Trinitrons.

00:03:37   Yeah, it was amazing. And then I remember a friend of mine a couple doors down from me in the dorms at college,

00:03:43   this was very early 2000s, like literally the fall of 2000, I remember he had an LCD screen for his computer.

00:03:51   I thought, that jerk, he must be friggin' loaded, he has a flat panel display for his computer.

00:03:56   Those things are a fortune, how does a college kid have one of those? I was so jealous for the longest time.

00:04:03   The first ones, I saw them like the same year, so around 2001 is when you started getting desktop LCD monitors.

00:04:10   And they were, I remember they were only 15 inches, and those were about $1,000.

00:04:15   Oh yeah.

00:04:16   Just for the monitors, just for a crappy 15-inch 1024x768 LCD.

00:04:21   I wish I had, eventually, a couple years later I got one from Dad, and remember that Dad worked for IBM for almost my entire life.

00:04:29   And oftentimes, there was equipment, and I don't mean that he stole it, I'm not trying to say that at all,

00:04:34   but equipment that they didn't need anymore, he would end up finding, and again, this is sounding like he's stealing it,

00:04:39   I'm not saying he's stealing it, but some way or another it ended up at home.

00:04:41   And then it ended up at college for me, this sounds way worse the more I talk, so I'm just going to plow right along.

00:04:46   But I had this ancient IBM LCD screen, and it had, again, there's surely a technical term for these connectors,

00:04:54   but it had these connectors, it was like composite, but it was on the back of the screen, and you would like,

00:05:00   it was like quasi-coaxial thing, but it was one of those things where you would, maybe that's what it was,

00:05:04   and you would stick it in and then twist.

00:05:06   Those are BNC connectors, that's probably RGB inputs, which I actually have a lot to say about later, for a totally different reason.

00:05:11   But yeah, those were probably, because I think like professional video monitors back then would use RGB HV, and yeah.

00:05:19   Our Color X terms at school had those connectors.

00:05:22   Those were distinct from the regular X terms, which of course were not color.

00:05:26   Yeah, I have a lot more to say about analog color inputs for monitors coming up later.

00:05:31   You know, not to totally jinx us, but I'm actually very excited for this entire episode, I think this is going to be a good one.

00:05:38   I have more to say about Casey's Computer Corner, but we have some related follow-up first.

00:05:44   If you recall last episode, as we were recording, the Synology had rebuilt its entire 6-Drive RAID array, or so I had thought.

00:05:54   It had marched all the way to 100%, I had taken a screenshot when it was at like 99%, thinking, "Oh, of course, this is when it's going to die."

00:06:00   And no, it didn't die at 99, it started over.

00:06:04   And it started over from zero.

00:06:07   And several different people wrote in to talk about this and why this is,

00:06:11   and they also said that Synology's on-screen, like, GUI display of what's happening is not the best.

00:06:18   And what you really need to do is you need to enable SSH on the Synology, which I did not have enabled for security purposes.

00:06:26   And what you really need to do is to look at the file in PROC, and the file is called "mdstat," so it's, you know, you would "cat/proc/mdstat,"

00:06:35   and that will tell you with more detail exactly what is happening.

00:06:38   So I did that, and I realized, okay, it is legitimately doing something.

00:06:43   I have no idea what it is, but it's doing something.

00:06:45   It told me that it was going to take literally a week to finish, which was very disheartening.

00:06:51   And then I found from somebody else's tip, there's a place in around the same spot in the Synology where you can tell it,

00:06:58   "I don't care if this uses a lot of, like, CPU power, just crank this thing out as quickly as you possibly can."

00:07:03   And so it ended up finishing, I don't know, at some other point, we'll talk about that later, it doesn't matter.

00:07:08   But the point is, there's a blog post about how to check the progress, and why is this happening?

00:07:15   Well, and now I'm getting way out of my depth, and maybe, John, you can be my parachute and save me here,

00:07:19   but apparently, SHR, which is Synology Hybrid RAID, is basically taking several different, like, RAID 5 or RAID 6 or something like that,

00:07:29   volumes, and lumping them together using LVM, not LLVM, mind you, but just LVM, which is Logical Volume Manager,

00:07:36   and making one big, like, logical volume out of all of these smaller RAID arrays.

00:07:44   That is about as best as I can understand, so John, maybe you can help me out here?

00:07:48   Yeah, I saw the same feedback you did, I didn't check up on it, but what it sounded like,

00:07:52   I mean, the last show, Marco briefly described it as kind of like what Drobo does,

00:07:55   but it actually seems like it's much less sophisticated than that, which makes sense if you look at, from the outside,

00:08:00   what can Synology Hybrid RAID do versus what does its Drobo-type approach do.

00:08:04   Synology Hybrid RAID is basically the same as a RAID 5-type approach, the only difference is,

00:08:09   you can swap in disks that are not the same size, and if you eventually swap in enough of them, you gain some storage,

00:08:15   whereas RAID 5 really wants you to use disks that are the same size, or build a new array in the traditional way.

00:08:21   And according to this feedback, what it's doing behind the scenes is simply, when you put it in a new drive,

00:08:27   making a new RAID array with, like, the newer changed drives, and then making these multiple RAIDs that it's managing behind the scenes

00:08:35   look like one volume using logical volume management, that's what LVM is, that's what it does,

00:08:40   makes perfect sense to me, it's fine, but, you know, understandably, if they are sort of accurately reflecting

00:08:48   the rebuilding of each one of these RAIDs that they're maintaining behind the scenes,

00:08:52   it can look like what Casey just saw, where the progress bar starts and finishes and then starts over again,

00:08:57   because it's actually doing multiple RAID rebuilds behind the scenes.

00:09:01   Exactly. But, yeah, it seems like everything's okay, and we'll talk about that a little later.

00:09:06   Would one of you like to tell me about Dark Sky and location-specific data, please?

00:09:11   Brian Brush had this notion that what Apple might bring to the table in the case of a weather app like Dark Sky

00:09:18   is that everybody who has an iPhone is essentially a distributed barometric measuring device,

00:09:25   because our phones do have barometers in them, apparently, and assuming those are accurate enough to be useful,

00:09:31   it's not just that Apple now has a good weather app and can incorporate the prediction services and all that into its applications,

00:09:39   but potentially, depending on how Apple wants to do this, they can use iPhones as measuring devices.

00:09:43   I have no idea if that is founded in any kind of reality. I just thought the idea was interesting,

00:09:48   that actually Dark Sky would gain some benefit from being part of Apple instead of just vice versa.

00:09:56   I don't know much about weather or the barometer in iPhones, but I would guess the main value in that

00:10:03   is not necessarily measuring absolute air pressure, but in measuring change,

00:10:09   because that's probably a strong predictor of rain about to happen, isn't it?

00:10:14   Like, oh, there's a big pressure drop. And so if you have a bunch of iPhones out in the field that you can tell,

00:10:18   like, hey, the pressure just dropped noticeably in this area for almost everyone, then that would be significant data.

00:10:25   So I bet they could do something with that if they wanted to. I don't know if they will, but that's a really cool idea,

00:10:30   and it's a way that you can basically make the entire fleet of iPhones into a giant short-term weather prediction thing.

00:10:39   Now, it's not going to give them, like, radar and forecasts and anything like that, but that probably is helpful.

00:10:45   And I would guess that the barometers inside of iPhones probably are sensitive enough,

00:10:51   because the whole point of them is to do things like measure when you've gone upstairs for activity tracking,

00:10:56   like to measure flights of stairs. So I would imagine the air pressure difference between, like, one floor of a house

00:11:01   and two or three floors up is not that great of an air pressure difference.

00:11:05   So, again, I don't know anything about any of this stuff, but just going on a hunch here,

00:11:09   I bet they are sensitive enough to at least know, hey, the air pressure is changing,

00:11:13   and it's dropping for everyone in this area right now.

00:11:17   It is definitely a very interesting idea, which I had not thought of.

00:11:20   And speaking of weather data, Luke Schulman, amongst others, have pointed out that the weather data industry has consolidated,

00:11:28   leaving only two major players in the United States. In 2012, IBM purchased the assets of the Weather Channel,

00:11:35   which included software and data products, and the cable channel was later spun off.

00:11:39   They, in turn, later acquired Weather Underground, which was run, which is basically a community of personal weather stations.

00:11:45   The other major player is AccuWeather, which has its own data and media products.

00:11:49   None of these organizations operate weather stations. They simply process and repackage data from the National Weather Service,

00:11:54   which is available for free and in the public domain.

00:11:57   So, I guess if you really wanted to go to the National Weather Service, maybe you could make heads or tails of it.

00:12:01   One way or another, AccuWeather and IBM have for years been lobbying to Congress to change the law

00:12:06   so that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the NOAA, model data is no longer released to the public.

00:12:12   Of course they are.

00:12:14   But basically, you can get this data if you really want to try hard enough, or you can use something, well, could have used something like Dark Skies API,

00:12:22   which I guess kind of puts a nice facade in front of all of that.

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00:13:53   Let's go through Casey's Computer Corner. I made some brief kind of updates earlier.

00:14:01   Like I said earlier, the rebuild did complete.

00:14:04   I think it finished on -- it was overnight from Saturday to Sunday.

00:14:11   And so that is to say the restore began when that was begun Wednesday evening.

00:14:16   It was finished three or four days later.

00:14:19   So the way it stands right now, drives one and two, still time machine, still old drives if I recall correctly.

00:14:25   And then I have three, four, five, six, seven, eight are all the big master volume, if you will.

00:14:31   Drive five is that new 10 terabyte drive.

00:14:34   Drive eight, still hanging on, still there, still working for now.

00:14:40   Well, after everything was updated, the first thing I did was immediately re-Rsync everything to that 12 terabyte external.

00:14:47   Make sure it's all as good as can be.

00:14:49   The second thing I did was hook that 12 terabyte external back up to the Mac Mini and immediately sign it up for Backblaze with my own money.

00:14:58   And it is currently uploading that 12 terabyte drive to Backblaze.

00:15:02   And it is, I think, two or three terabytes in.

00:15:05   And so what I wanted your guys' advice on is what to do next.

00:15:09   And I tried to do this in Slack and Marco probably rightly said save it for the show, I'm not telling you.

00:15:14   But here's my thought process.

00:15:16   So currently I have about 10 terabytes of data on that big volume.

00:15:23   Now it's a 20 or 30 terabyte volume, I think 20 terabyte, but I have 10 terabytes of actual data on it.

00:15:29   Drives one and two together, they're currently RAID 0, so there's no redundancy, nothing.

00:15:35   And all it is is time machine, so whatever, who cares.

00:15:38   But drives one and two currently have, I think, only six terabytes, I can verify, but I'm pretty sure it's only six terabytes in there.

00:15:43   But I do have a couple of brand new 10 terabyte drives sitting here waiting for me to do something with them, like if drive eight dies.

00:15:51   So here's my thought.

00:15:53   What if I destroy that first volume, drives one and two, I destroy that volume, I lose my time machine backups, whatever, I don't care.

00:16:01   I replace one of those three terabyte drives with one of these new 10 terabyte drives and make another RAID 0 no redundancy array, a 13 terabyte or thereabouts, RAID 0 zero redundancy array.

00:16:13   I duplicate everything from the big array into the little array.

00:16:18   I think I probably should do that, irrespective of the next step.

00:16:23   And then this way I would have two complete copies of my data, admittedly, on the same box.

00:16:27   Like there's plenty of problems here, this is not foolproof by any means, but it's more than one copy, which is a good thing, right?

00:16:33   Two is one, one is none.

00:16:35   And so my thought is, what if I do that and maybe I just issue time machine forever, because I can't remember the last time I've done a time machine restore, and given all the friggin' computer problems I've been having recently, my computers are effectively ephemeral anyway.

00:16:49   You know, I've gotten so darn efficient at reloading them that I can do that reasonably quickly and easily.

00:16:55   So that's step one is, are you guys on board with that idea, and then there's a second step that I'd like to talk about first.

00:17:03   Or am I being silly by throwing away the time machine volume and having a duplication of all of that data.

00:17:10   Let's start with Marco, please.

00:17:12   Is your backblaze backup finished yet? I already know the answer.

00:17:15   No, no, no, no, it's not finished.

00:17:17   So, the answer is, don't do a damn thing.

00:17:20   Fair, fair, fair.

00:17:22   Don't touch it. Back away slowly. Just don't touch it.

00:17:26   Let the backblaze backup finish. And don't do anything else until it does.

00:17:32   Well, and to be clear, the backblaze backup is being sourced by that 12 terabyte external. I do not disagree with you. I do not disagree with you. I think you're right.

00:17:40   But let's assume for the sake of discussion, it is not done. But let's assume for the sake of discussion it is done.

00:17:44   And I super pinky promise I will not touch anything until that backblaze stuff is squared away. What would you do then?

00:17:50   Right now, you are recovering from a near disaster. You are lucky that you got out of this.

00:17:59   So, step one is like, get your insurance policy in place. Get these backups done.

00:18:07   Step two might be, start fixing things that aren't broken again, like John said last week.

00:18:13   But, here's the thing. We're still in COVID-19 quarantine everything. It's slow and difficult to get new parts delivered to your house quickly right now.

00:18:24   So, if things go wrong, or if you change your mind, or if your needs change, you lucked out with your Best Buy parking lot hard drive.

00:18:32   But it might not be easy to get more stuff. So, if you do something and then three drives die in the process, I don't know. It could happen, right?

00:18:41   How hard is it going to be right now to get new hard drives? It might be hard. It might be tricky. It might take longer than you think.

00:18:48   This is not a good time to be making changes. So, I suggest that because it's hard to get supplies right now, this is not a great time to mess with it.

00:19:02   Let the backup finish. Let this just continue the way it is going. And then, consider other options once you can get hard drives delivered same day or tomorrow from Amazon.

00:19:14   Alright, so let's assume then that now we're in 2025 when all this is blown over. Then what would you do? Would you nuke the time machine? Would you issue time machine entirely to have a second copy of all this data?

00:19:27   I actually like time machine. Now, it is incredibly slow and incredibly old and comically terrible in the UI.

00:19:39   Like, things like missing progress bars. By the way, talk about missing progress bars. The new Catalina Finder integration for plugged in iOS devices to access their files. So, you know how iTunes forever had that section where you could actually drag files in and out of certain apps using iTunes?

00:19:59   You can do that now in the Finder in Catalina, but it's so incredibly half-assed. So, we were trying to transfer our Minecraft game from Adam's iPad to Tiff's gaming PC.

00:20:11   And this is the method that this was able to be done. You could plug in the iPad and Minecraft exposes it to Data Directory through that old iTunes file transfer interface.

00:20:23   And you can drag the files out and put them on a different device. That's what I did. The directory I was dragging out was something like, I don't know, a couple of gigs.

00:20:32   It's showing folders, but you can't actually, like, open those folders. You have to just, like, drag the entire folder out. So, you can't take, like, just a subfolder. You can't actually browse beyond the top level. That's limitation number one.

00:20:46   Limitation number two is when you drag that folder that you have to copy the whole folder of out from the fake iTunes interface in Catalina Finder onto, you know, your own computer, onto, you know, some other folder.

00:20:57   You drag it, you drop it, and there is no feedback whatsoever. Nothing. You have no clue what's going on.

00:21:06   Now, if you're transferring a two gig folder, that actually takes a minute or two. Like, it's not an immediate thing. There is no feedback. There is no progress bar. There is no spinner. There is nothing indicating that anything is happening, except if you try to do it again, something weird happens. I forgot what it was.

00:21:24   So, eventually, it pops in. Like, it shows up. It's just, like, I just love how, like, they didn't even code a progress bar. Nothing. Like, it's so gloriously half-assed. But, anyway, it's just one more way in which the breakup of iTunes actually made everything worse.

00:21:40   Anyway, so going back to your thing. Yeah, what I would suggest, I actually like Time Machine because I hardly ever need to fetch anything off of it. I think I use it maybe once a year. And usually it's like, you know what? I had something working in a code file that I was working on.

00:21:59   I've been there. I had it working last night. I didn't commit it. And I messed it up today. And I can't get it back to the way it was. Let me just revert to how it was at 10 p.m. last night. And I pulled that one file out. And that saves my butt about once a year. And I'm glad I have it.

00:22:17   And it's slow as hell, but I'm really glad I have it during that time.

00:22:22   That's a feature that Xcode should add that I sorely miss and it made me actually consider switching my editing from editing in Xcode to editing in BB Edit. BB Edit has this amazing feature that I wish Xcode had, which is that you can configure it so that every time you save a file, it saves a backup copy of the previous version of that file in a folder of your choice.

00:22:44   Text files are small. It is a no-brainer. I have had this feature enabled for many, many years, maybe decades at this point. I have a giant folder on my computer with the old version of tons and tons of text files all organized by date.

00:22:58   It has saved my butt so many times. Because, yeah, sometimes you forget to commit. Sometimes you don't commit. Bringing up the commit interface, even using a keyboard accelerator in Xcode takes time.

00:23:08   And you have to think of a commit message because it makes you write one. I don't want to have to think about it. And I also don't want to have to restore code files from Time Machine. Never had to do that when I was using BB Edit.

00:23:18   I was already using Xcode for a short amount of time. Occasionally I said I'd done it in the same situation. I forgot to commit. I'll just get it from the backup folder. Oh, no, it doesn't exist.

00:23:27   So if you're listening to Apple and you work on Xcode, add this feature. It's so easy to add. You just make a bunch of folders by date and you put the file in there and you stick a timestamp on the file name.

00:23:38   And maybe there's a little bit tricky logic about truncating for someone who has a 255 character file name, but honestly they should be punished anyway. So please add this feature. People will use it. It's great.

00:23:49   Well, just make Time Machine better.

00:23:51   That too. That's a different team.

00:23:53   Yeah, right. Is there really much of a team there? Has Time Machine been touched?

00:23:59   Yeah, but it's updated to use the APFS snapshots. Every time we've talked about this, even though progress is extremely slow and should be faster, it is still changing, which gives me hope that it hasn't been entirely abandoned.

00:24:13   That someday, somehow we might get a version of Time Machine that takes full advantage of the modern technology stack in macOS. We're not there yet, but every version gets a little tiny bit better.

00:24:22   Speaking of which, by the way, we didn't prepare to do this news at all, but there's a new version of Arc, the backup app, ARQ. It looks really cool. It uses APFS snapshotting to make the backups really fast.

00:24:33   I'm going to upgrade to that. I'm going to check that out because it looks really cool. And Casey, it actually might be an option for you at some point in the future, maybe, because it supports fully now, or better supports Amazon's super cheap Glacier version and Google archive, because it's basically Google's Glacier.

00:24:53   And I believe they each charge about a dollar per terabyte per month. So if you can make that work for you, that could back up your stuff actually legally for like 12 bucks a month.

00:25:04   Yeah, I had heard a little bit about that and I haven't had a chance to look into it, but that does sound very, very appealing.

00:25:10   You should look at what the restore prices are, though, because unlike Backblaze, they will not ship you a drive for free.

00:25:15   Yeah, and I will say, the process of using Glacier with ARQ a couple years ago when I tried it was miserable, but apparently it is better now. But I don't know how much better.

00:25:26   I just peeked in my BBA backup folder, by the way. Apparently, I must have started fresh in this machine because the oldest folder is from November 16, 2008.

00:25:34   Wow, that's awesome.

00:25:36   There's no reason why Apple can't do this with that, because we have that weird local time machine thing. I've never had a good concept of how and when and why this works, but there is that concept of local time machine snapshots when you don't have a remote disk or when you're not near it.

00:25:51   Even if you do, it still does it. Even if you have a remote disk, it's always doing local snapshot backups now.

00:25:56   Right, so in theory, it should be really fast and easy to, you know, some files that you modified last night to be able to go back, assuming you have any free disk space at all, to be able to go back and say, and just the OS should be able to do all that locally, just say, "Alright, give me this file from last night." I don't know if it's that easy in practice.

00:26:12   Yeah, it is fast to do it if you do it from the command line and know how to do all the magic, but the UI, like you said, it seems silly, but when they got rid of the space vortex UI, it's like things went downhill after that. That was like the most frivolous, you know, fanciful, what was the word we're always using when we're talking about it?

00:26:30   Whimsical.

00:26:31   Whimsical, yeah.

00:26:32   Yeah, interface, right, and it's like, well, maybe it's kind of too whimsical. Maybe they should just improve it only. What they did was they got rid of the whimsy and did not improve it in any other way, and now every time I go into the interface, I'm frustrated at how slow it is, especially with the, you know, Synology time machine backup over the network.

00:26:49   So bad.

00:26:50   Navigating that interface and getting to the point where you can initiate a restore can take forever, and it's bad, but anyway, you can do it from the command line. You can access those things. It's inexcusable that they don't have a very fast lookup of local snapshot stuff like Margo said. You should be able to right-click a file in the Finder and say, "Show me all the local snapshot versions of this file," and then just pick one and restart.

00:27:09   Isn't there that revision system? I've never used that either.

00:27:12   That's a different thing.

00:27:14   Why is that a different thing?

00:27:15   Because that was for saving file versions. It wasn't the same as like time machine local snapshots of your whole disk. They might both use ABFS snapshot at this point, but I actually honestly don't think they do.

00:27:29   The file version thing started out using this weird SQLite database with diffs in it, and it was this terrifying thing that I'm glad more applications didn't adopt because honestly, it's just, meh.

00:27:39   I agree with you that in a perfect world, I would prefer to have time machine, no doubt, but I cannot remember the last time I've restored anything from time machine, in part because it's so slow, in part because it's on the Synology.

00:27:50   A lot of this is my own choices, but I am willing to sacrifice time machine in order to get a redundant copy of my data, again, understanding that it's on the same physical device, etc.

00:28:02   Marco, you sound like you're not too keen on this idea, even in the future state where I can get a hard drive easily and all the backups have been done, etc.

00:28:13   First of all, I don't think it's worth losing the functionality of time machine for a RAID 0 copy of this data.

00:28:21   Sure, that's fair.

00:28:23   Even though I do use a RAID 0 array for time machine, but again, that's because when I set this up, that was actually a large amount of disk space.

00:28:32   Now, it's not.

00:28:34   If I was setting it up again today, I wouldn't be doing this, but you are setting it up again today, and that's why I'm suggesting that you go with simpler solutions because drives are so big and so cheap, and your data usage has not grown with the size of drives.

00:28:49   They've grown a lot faster, so I suggest still leaning towards simpler solutions.

00:28:56   If you still want time machine, either put in one or two disks not in RAID and use that for time machine.

00:29:04   They don't have to be very big because your built-in SSD isn't that big, so they can be pretty modestly sized drives, and you can put them in RAID 1 or just have a single disk and have that do time machine with no redundancy at all because it doesn't matter that much.

00:29:18   But yeah, for your actual other copy of this data that you have, I still suggest getting another Best Buy parking lot drive if you can and just having it be on a drive that is basically put in cold storage that you unplug, that is not being run until this backup is done, and then you repurpose it for whatever you need.

00:29:38   All right, Jon, at this point, what is your thought?

00:29:43   Margo already hit the main point I wanted to, which is I didn't hear you say that you had gotten a second 12 terabyte drive.

00:29:51   So that should be step zero in your thing. You didn't mention it. Margo, just do that for crying out loud.

00:29:56   As for the time machine thing, two points on that. One, even after all the dust settles and the backplace thing is done, yada, yada, yada, it still never feels good to me to even momentarily, quote unquote, "momentarily" reduce the number of copies of files that you have.

00:30:15   So saying, "Oh, well, it's a time machine anyway, and I'm going to rebuild it in a second so I can just get rid of these backups and then I'll remake a new backup somewhere, whether you use Arc or Time Machine or whatever."

00:30:26   During the time between when you tear that down, you're like, "Ah, it's not a big deal, I'm just going to make it again," you've lost one copy of all the data that's on that.

00:30:33   And so it's better to make an additional copy before you lose that one so then the number of copies of your data doesn't go down. You bring it up briefly, then bring it back down to what it was. That's that point.

00:30:41   Second point is, I like the idea of you continuing to use Time Machine because for diversity of backup software, rather than having five super-duper backups, I'd rather have one super-duper, one Arc, one backplace, and one Time Machine.

00:30:58   Because all these pieces of software have their own bugs and their own upgrade cycles and their own potential for mistakes and so on and so forth.

00:31:07   Having more of them gives you more biodiversity in terms of if some plague comes and it only affects AWS or it only affects Backblaze or it only affects Time Machine, you always have something else.

00:31:19   And in particular, the upgrades cycle. The Time Machine one changes when a major new OS comes out and it totally changes the way Time Machine works and I could totally bork your Time Machine backup, which is why it's good that you back up with something other than Time Machine.

00:31:29   Same is true of Backblaze, same is true of Arc. If you have a bug in one of those things or super-duper gets hosed by some version, upgrade version of the operating system, but Time Machine still works because Apple makes that one.

00:31:41   I'm very heavily in favor of keeping a Time Machine backup just because it's one more backup program. And also, by the way, it's the backup program that the SPAR is ostensibly supported by the platform vendor, so pretty much guaranteed to work.

00:31:55   Yeah, I agree with all that, but again, I think the difference between the two of you guys and me is that I genuinely, and maybe I'm lying to myself, but I genuinely consider the data that is on my computers less valuable to me than the data that is on that Synology.

00:32:10   I would much rather lose all the data on my iMac Pro than lose all the data on my Synology.

00:32:16   So on that point, by the way, the recent versions of Time Machine have a checkbox hidden in the little options thing that says "Don't back up system files or applications."

00:32:25   So if you check that box, it won't waste its time backing up your operating system, which is on a read-only volume anyway and you can't customize it all, and it won't bother backing up your applications, which it assumes you can redownload or get from the App Store or whatever.

00:32:36   It will only back up whatever data you happen to have on the thing, and I know you think it's ephemeral, but you actually do produce data that hangs out there, and if you accidentally delete something that you had in your desktop yesterday, you're going to be happy to be able to get it back from Time Machine or wherever.

00:32:49   Yeah, I agree with everything you said. I think it's just, from my perspective, if I have to choose one, even for just a little while while I'm doing some dancing around with data in the Synology, I would choose a duplicate of the Synology data.

00:33:00   So, okay, so it sounds like you guys aren't going to like what step two was hypothetically going to be. So my hypothetical step one was nuke the Time Machine volume, like I'd said, put in a bigger drive so that I can get a over 10 terabyte array out of two disks, copy everything from the big six-disk array into this two-disk array,

00:33:23   and then I was starting to think, "Oh, this bit rot thing is starting to mess with my head. What if I do indeed nuke at this point when I have two copies of the data on the Synology, I nuke the big array and redo it all with BTRFS or ButterFS or whatever it's supposed to be called,

00:33:40   possibly even with two-drive redundancy if I can, and then I bring everything back from that RAID0 array to the new Butter file system, BTRFS file system, six-disk array, and then at that point if I want to go back to using Time Machine on that two-disk array, then so be it.

00:33:58   And I was hoping that I would win you over here, Jon, but perhaps not.

00:34:01   You can totally do that, but just follow the thing that I said before. Don't reduce the number of copies. If you want to do that, and I think you should, it's a good idea, you can't do that until you get that data to one more location.

00:34:11   So increase the number of locations that data is stored. This is above and beyond the other 12 terabyte Best Buy drive that you're going to get.

00:34:17   You're going to get one more of them now, and you're going to copy it to a third location, then you are free to nuke your thing, make a new BTRFS thing, blah, blah, blah, and put it back.

00:34:26   This is the discipline, this is the system. Do not reduce the number of redundant copies, and as long as you follow that rule, you can feel free to experiment.

00:34:35   Well, in my hypothetical, I am increasing the number, well, briefly increasing the number of redundant copies.

00:34:40   But at the cost of killing your Time Machine backups, which you think you don't need.

00:34:43   Yeah, but who cares? I don't care about my Time Machine.

00:34:45   Don't you backup more than just your computer on Time Machine? Isn't the laptop backed up on there?

00:34:49   Yeah.

00:34:50   Don't you backup everything in the house to that one big volume?

00:34:52   There's three machines going to that one big volume. It's Aaron's MacBook Air that's been underwater seven times, which probably needs a backup more than any.

00:35:01   It's not just your computer, it's three. I'm in the same situation. The whole house's computers are backed up to my Time Machine thing.

00:35:08   I'm a Synology, and I wouldn't wipe that thing unless I had redundant copies of all of those computers.

00:35:13   Because if you wipe that thing, you're like, "Ah, I don't need it, it's fine," and then someone needs some file on that computer, or it finally succumbs to another glass of water, or whatever.

00:35:21   It's like a slide puzzle, right? You're trying to find a free space. You've got to get more spaces. You've got to get more drives and put the stuff on it.

00:35:31   And it won't be wasted money, because those drives, what was the email we got referred to as shucking the drives, like an ear of corn?

00:35:39   I loved hearing that. That was so great.

00:35:42   You peel off the outer layer, and you get— interestingly, someone also had feedback that occasionally you'll shuck a drive and the mechanism inside there will have some weirdness about its SATA connector,

00:35:53   where it won't actually work out of the box if you take the mechanism and put it inside your thing, unless you customize the cable to— I forget what the details were, but there's some difference on the cables and voltages expected that won't make it work until you hack with it a little bit, which is super annoying, but still technically possible to overcome.

00:36:09   All right. Fine, then. I thought you were going to be all on board with this BTRFS idea.

00:36:14   We're on board with it, we're just not on board with you reducing your redundancy. Wait for your things to finish, get your second 12 terabyte backup, get in it, anything other move you want to make, you need to get a new square on the tile puzzle.

00:36:25   Put the stuff there, and now you have a free spot that you can mess with.

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00:38:11   Thank you so much to Eero for fixing our Wi-Fi and sponsoring our show.

00:38:15   I actually am interested in talking about video game stuff, but we're going to do most of that later.

00:38:25   However, you, Jon, need to complete or further along perhaps an arc that started many, many years ago.

00:38:34   There is a new controller out, and I know you have not handled it in your hands,

00:38:40   but continuing the classic episode number 49 of Hypercritical from January 6, 2012, eight years ago now,

00:38:48   would you please, Jon, critique the new PlayStation controller to the best of your ability?

00:38:52   There's a weird slow rollout of the PlayStation hardware reveal.

00:38:56   Microsoft has revealed basically everything about their hardware, their controller, the box.

00:39:00   We talked about it in past shows or whatever. Sony has been trying to challenge them with press release or press release,

00:39:06   but not revealing as much. So they had a separate press release and blog post just about the PS5 controller.

00:39:12   So they told us the PS5 specs, they told us the performance, they told us stuff about the 3D audio.

00:39:17   They told us all sorts of things, but we still haven't seen it. Here now is the controller.

00:39:21   I feel like these, the sort of, you know, I was going to say the big boy consoles or whatever, the non, let's say the non-portable consoles,

00:39:31   because the Switch, Nintendo is all in on the portable hybrid thing or whatever, and thus far, Sony and Microsoft are not.

00:39:38   Desktop consoles.

00:39:40   Yeah, there you go. And among those, their controllers have not been particularly daring.

00:39:46   Microsoft got burned by the Kinect, probably rightfully so. That turned out not to be the future of how we control our video games,

00:39:54   even though it was really cool technology. But both systems have not really been interested in changing their standard controller much.

00:40:03   And so the new PS5 controller, it looks striking and new. It's got this two-tone appearance. It's kind of futuristic looking.

00:40:12   I was trying to discuss in one of the slacks, like, what does this look like? There's a sort of future look that has been used in movies and art on science fiction magazines and everything for decades.

00:40:24   I was trying to think of where it originates. The sort of white outer shell with glimpses of sort of a black interior where the machinery is.

00:40:34   So the white outer shell is very smooth and matte finish or maybe glossy, but very sort of smooth and, you know, characterized by joints and lines,

00:40:46   and then with certain regions where you can peek into the interior. In some respects, like Eve from Wall-E is a little bit like this, but she doesn't have the thing where you see the interior.

00:40:53   Anyway, that's what this controller looks like. We'll put a link in the chat.

00:40:55   Like a Stormtrooper.

00:40:56   Yeah, Stormtrooper is like that a little bit too, but again, it's not like you're seeing into it. They just have regions that are black.

00:41:01   This is more of an outer shell type thing. You can find lots of examples.

00:41:04   And I was wondering, is there one artist that pioneered this in the 60s or something? But it's I couldn't trace it to its origins.

00:41:10   Every time I think I found an older one, someone goes back farther, depending on how you characterize it. Someone's like, look at this. Here's 2001 in the 60s.

00:41:17   But the 2001 has the white outer stuff, but not the black inner stuff. Anyway, it's cool looking controller.

00:41:23   All this is to say, fine, it looks cool. It has a very different striking look, but it's not actually that different from the PS4 controller.

00:41:32   The PS4 controller, I don't remember if we talked about it in the show or I must have at some point.

00:41:37   But anyway, PS4 controller blessedly fixed many things that were wrong with the PS3, PS2 and original PlayStation controller.

00:41:44   But it still stuck to the basics. Two analog sticks in the lower middle part, a D-pad in the upper left, and four symmetrical equally sized buttons on the right.

00:41:57   And then some triggers, and they've messed with that a little bit.

00:42:00   This new controller is like an optical illusion. When I first saw it, I was like, oh well, at least they've gotten rid of one of my big pet peeves.

00:42:08   When you make a controller as if it's a piece of art, or like it's interior space in a house or something, where you make everything at 90 degrees and 45 degrees, right?

00:42:21   Because that's not what hands look like. Hands are not at right angles. They do not have sharp edges, and they are not all 45s and 90s.

00:42:30   It looks good when you make a thing where the buttons are exactly at the four corners of a diamond, and the buttons are all exactly the same shape.

00:42:38   But that has no bearing on how your hands or your thumb lands on a controller that you're holding in your hands. None whatsoever.

00:42:47   And I've always been angry about all the buttons being the same size, because there are very few games where you use all four buttons equally.

00:42:54   Most games have a dominant button, a second most dominant button, and a tertiary button. Anyway, all that aside, this looks like, oh, they finally made it so that the buttons and the D-pad aren't on these little perfectly circular, perfectly flat and level plateaus like they are on the PS4 controller, which is one of the few remaining parts of the PS4 controller that say, no, we can't get away with it.

00:43:19   We love perfect geometry. We love perfect circles, right angles, perfect cones, straight lines, just because they look good. The PS4 controller did away with almost all of that.

00:43:29   They said, let's make it a sort of bulbous shape that fits people's hands better, but still put two perfect circles exactly flat to host the buttons and the D-pad, and make those buttons and D-pads exactly vertical with the controller.

00:43:46   Vertical and horizontal, north, south, east, west, like they're not tilted in any way, despite that they know your hands and fingers are going to be coming in on them in an angle.

00:43:53   Which is not necessarily bad, especially since people are kind of used to that, but still, it's a jarring sort of departure from the design language.

00:44:00   This one looks like, oh, everything is organic and curvy, no longer do you have these circular plateaus, and it looks like they twisted the buttons to sort of align better with your hands.

00:44:09   Which, by the way, the Xbox controller does and has done for its entire life. Its buttons are laid out to try to be comfortable for your fingers, not to be perfectly vertical and horizontal when looked at in a plan view in a CAD file.

00:44:23   But, I took out my trusty Xscope on my Mac and pulled out some guides, and lo and behold, all of the buttons are still exactly aligned as they used to be.

00:44:33   They just look like they might be twisted, but they are not. So the circular plateaus are gone, but the buttons and the joysticks seem to be in exactly the same positions as they were before.

00:44:42   The only thing that they've done to make a concession for increased ergonomics is they have tilted the triggers slightly.

00:44:49   The triggers used to be more or less, again, completely like if you drew a straight line through the triggers at a 90 degree angle to their hinges, they would just go straight up.

00:45:00   These look like they are tilted, again, like the Xbox triggers tilted slightly outwards because they know your fingers are coming from the sides on them and they want to tilt them a little bit so they are more comfortable.

00:45:11   But other than that, and of course they moved the options button, they changed the touchpad shape, and they did some other stuff like that.

00:45:18   They made the PlayStation button into a weird raised logo thing. There's a microphone built in, which I think is very smart. Although it probably sounds like garbage, but it's better than nothing.

00:45:26   It's good to be built into the controller. Anyway, I haven't held this thing, but it basically looks like a dressed up PS4 controller.

00:45:35   I hope it is as comfortable as the PS4 controller because I like the PS4 controller. It looks a little bit fatter and Sony emphasized that they had worked hard to make it feel slim even though it's bigger.

00:45:44   The reason it's bigger, I think, is because they are hiding more haptic engines like Apple's little inductor widgety shaky fans.

00:45:57   It's like a linear coil thing. It's a more sophisticated way to make things vibrate. They've put more of those and more sophisticated versions of those inside this controller, which take up room.

00:46:07   They also have them on the triggers themselves to have tension on the triggers or something. There's more crap inside there, which is why they had to make it bigger.

00:46:16   But honestly, I'm looking at it at all the different angles. It doesn't look that much bigger than the PS4 controller.

00:46:22   Right down to the edges of the thing and the cut lines, it looks like it will not be a shock to anyone who has a PS4, which is fine. I like the PS4 controller fine.

00:46:33   It could be improved. If the only improvement to this is that the triggers are a little bit more comfortable, I'll take it, I suppose.

00:46:40   But anyway, that's that PS5 controller. It is not a disaster. It looks mostly fine. Still don't know what the console looks like.

00:46:47   Now, Jon, you have or have not ever owned a PlayStation in the past. I don't recall.

00:46:51   I have a PlayStation 3 and a PlayStation 2.

00:46:53   But no, I'm getting myself confused. It's the Xbox that you're refused to buy?

00:46:57   No, I have not.

00:46:58   Okay, sorry.

00:46:59   I have not owned an Xbox.

00:47:00   Gotcha. No Halo for you because you played the original whatever it was called.

00:47:04   I played Halo on the Mac.

00:47:05   Yeah, there it is. What was that called? Marathon or something like that?

00:47:08   You're the only person.

00:47:09   No, I played actual Halo on the actual Mac.

00:47:12   Because I was promised it at Macworld.

00:47:14   And I did. And I played it. And the frame rate was terrible. But damn it, I played that game and I finished it. It was pretty good.

00:47:21   We are sponsored this week by Linode, my favorite web host.

00:47:25   Go to linode.com/ATP and use promo code ATP2020 for a $20 credit.

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00:48:12   Is that they are the best value I've seen in the business and they've been consistently the best value for that entire time I've been with them.

00:48:19   Not only do they start out with good value, they stay a good value.

00:48:22   Because over time whenever they can make things cheaper, they'll do things like issue free upgrades to everybody.

00:48:27   Or they'll introduce even lower cost plans.

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00:49:15   So once again, linode.com/ATP get a $20 credit with promo code ATP2020.

00:49:21   Thank you so much to Linode for hosting my stuff and sponsoring our show.

00:49:24   I'd like to talk to you about my new favorite toy.

00:49:31   And for me, I have fallen in love with the thing I've been waiting to fall in love with. I just couldn't find a reason.

00:49:38   I love the Raspberry Pi.

00:49:41   If you are not familiar, we talked about this probably a year or two back because you used a Raspberry Pi for your short lived question mark stereo thing, right Marco?

00:49:51   Yeah, I did a few experiments with them back.

00:49:53   I talked on the show about making a card record player kind of thing where I had this NFC reader that I could stick a card for an album in front of and it would start playing that album into my speakers.

00:50:07   So it was kind of like simulating an old CD or record player but in a modern way.

00:50:12   It's still sitting over there. I wonder if it's still working. I haven't gotten near it in a long time.

00:50:17   Fair enough.

00:50:19   So if you're not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, I might get the particular slightly wrong, but the general gist of it is it's a full, honest to goodness, Linux based computer that's at its most expensive something like 50 bucks.

00:50:31   And granted, when I say 50 bucks, you're literally getting a motherboard and that's it.

00:50:36   You don't have a power supply, you don't have a keyboard, you don't have a monitor, nothing.

00:50:39   But you can get an entire computer for 50 bones. Like that's really not bad.

00:50:45   And not a bad computer at that.

00:50:47   Yeah, and it's not a bad computer. This is a computer that can drive two 4K displays for 50 bucks.

00:50:53   Now it's Linux based, which obviously has its own long list of problems, but we'll get to that in a minute.

00:50:59   But nevertheless, it is 50 bucks. You can get the Pi, so that's for the Raspberry Pi 4 and that's for the 4 gigabytes of RAM model.

00:51:06   They have another one that's 2 gigabytes of RAM that's like 10 bucks cheaper or something like that.

00:51:10   They also have a Pi Zero, which is a physically smaller and far less powerful Raspberry Pi.

00:51:17   I believe it's $10 for the one with a wireless chip on it so you can get on 802.11d WiFi.

00:51:24   And it's, I think, literally $5 for an entire computer if you don't want WiFi.

00:51:30   It is bananas how cheap these computers are.

00:51:34   And I've wanted one for the longest time. I couldn't figure out what I was just going to do with it though.

00:51:39   Now put that aside for a second. I told you guys, I think like maybe six months or a year ago,

00:51:43   I had installed Pi-hole onto a Docker container on my Synology.

00:51:48   Now Pi-hole is a, it was originally, as far as I'm aware, originally was written to run on a Raspberry Pi.

00:51:56   And what it does is, it's a DNS server where it will not reply to DNS requests for things that it knows or adds.

00:52:04   So your computer, if it's using your Pi-hole as a DNS server, it'll go to say CNN.com.

00:52:10   And CNN is adorned with nothing but ads everywhere you look.

00:52:14   And so it says to the Pi-hole software running presumably on a Raspberry Pi,

00:52:18   in my case it was on a Docker container on my Synology,

00:52:20   "Hey, I'd like to go to ads.CNN.com" or what have you.

00:52:25   And the Pi-hole would say, "I don't know where that is, Tough Nuggies."

00:52:29   And so the net effect of that is, you don't see an ad. There is no ad.

00:52:33   And so, among other things, it actually saves a little bit of bandwidth if you care,

00:52:37   because you're not downloading whatever that image or JavaScript or gosh knows what is.

00:52:41   So it worked out really well, but then, I don't know, maybe three or four months ago,

00:52:46   Verizon Fios, at least where I am, started turning on IPv6, and all of a sudden I'm seeing ads all the time.

00:52:52   And it turns out, maybe Fios was on IPv6 for a while, maybe it's that AdWords, Google's AdWords went on IPv6.

00:52:59   I don't know what it was, but it seemed to me that something decided to turn on IPv6,

00:53:04   and I was suddenly seeing ads everywhere all the time.

00:53:07   And I started investigating, "Okay, how do I get IPv6 into the Docker container on the Synology?"

00:53:13   And I'm sure that there's fairly easy ways to do that when you're not on a Synology,

00:53:17   but when you're on the Synology, it was not easy.

00:53:20   And so finally, finally, gentlemen, I have a reason to buy my $50 computer,

00:53:25   because I want to run Pi-hole, and I want to run it on Raspberry Pi,

00:53:29   where I know I have more control over the networking and so on and so forth.

00:53:32   So for my birthday, I had asked for and received the KanaKit Raspberry Pi 4GB Starter Max Kit.

00:53:40   And the reason I got this is because I knew nothing about what I was doing,

00:53:43   and I knew this would have everything I needed within that box, which was completely true.

00:53:47   If I were to do this again, now that I know sort of what I'm doing, I would go a different route.

00:53:52   But if you're like me and don't really know what the hell is going on, this works out really well.

00:53:56   You can get them on Amazon, you can get them directly from KanaKit.

00:53:58   And so what it includes is the Raspberry Pi 4, it includes a microSD card,

00:54:02   which is effectively the "hard drive" for the Raspberry Pi,

00:54:05   it includes a microSD card reader for your computer computer,

00:54:08   it includes a case with a fan mount and a fan,

00:54:11   it includes a power supply, some heat sinks for the CPU, I think the GPU,

00:54:14   and maybe the USB controller or something like that, I forget what else.

00:54:17   It includes two micro HDMI to HDMI cables because the Raspberry Pi is so physically small,

00:54:23   it's roughly the same surface area of a credit card.

00:54:27   So in order to get HDMI out, they're actually little teeny tiny micro HDMI ports,

00:54:32   and so they're two cables to go to regular HDMI ports.

00:54:35   And it also, interestingly, it included a USB-C switch that just interrupts power if you want,

00:54:43   because there's no power switch on the Raspberry Pi.

00:54:45   And that was $115, so it was a little over twice the cost of the entire Raspberry Pi,

00:54:50   which is silly, and again, I probably wouldn't do it again knowing what I know now,

00:54:55   but ultimately, like $115 is not nothing, but it's not that much money.

00:54:59   And I got the entire setup, and I'm happy as a pig in poop,

00:55:02   and I put in my Pi-hole, I followed this really nice setup guide,

00:55:06   and I did not use the "make your Raspberry Pi be only a Pi-hole" thing,

00:55:12   I actually installed it myself on top of Raspbian,

00:55:15   which is a Linux distro specifically oriented around the Raspberry Pi.

00:55:19   And so now I can use my Raspberry Pi for other things,

00:55:21   which is going to become relevant in like 10 seconds,

00:55:24   but I gotta tell you, this thing is so freaking cool.

00:55:29   Like, the Raspberry Pi is amazing, and I think what makes it so appealing to me

00:55:34   is that I really am impressed with how good the ecosystem is.

00:55:42   Like, when you install Raspbian, which is again the kind of default Linux distro,

00:55:48   it includes XWindows, and in XWindows it has some stuff to get you going,

00:55:52   like a Python IDE if you so desire.

00:55:55   It has like, configuration that's specifically for the Raspberry Pi,

00:55:59   but then if you drop down to the command line, if you don't like XWindows,

00:56:01   hey, guess what? There's a command line, like a whole menuing system,

00:56:05   for doing all the same stuff.

00:56:07   So if you want to turn on or off Wi-Fi, or if you want to set up some--

00:56:11   I can't think of any good examples off the top of my head,

00:56:13   but there's all sorts of stuff that has this like, reasonably easy,

00:56:16   reasonably straightforward user interface, even on the command line.

00:56:19   Like even VSSH, you can do this stuff. It's amazing.

00:56:22   And that's what I think is so cool about the Raspberry Pi.

00:56:24   Like, you could probably create an equivalent computer for way cheaper,

00:56:28   but the ecosystem around it is just amazing.

00:56:31   And there's so many examples of, oh, I want to add a push button to run a shell script,

00:56:35   and oh, okay, you need these three parts, and you need this shell script running in Python,

00:56:39   and you'll be right as rain and ten minutes flat.

00:56:42   It is amazing, and this is the coolest little toy I've ever seen.

00:56:45   So I've been talking a lot. I will give Marco a chance--

00:56:48   I would actually really like to hear, Marco, what your thoughts are,

00:56:50   but very quickly, Jon, you do not have one of these in the house, is that correct?

00:56:54   I think I'm in the same situation as you used to be in,

00:56:56   and I think as Marco used to be in, is like this definitely seems cool to me,

00:56:59   but I don't have a use case for it.

00:57:02   And I've never been able to say, well, even though you don't know what you use it for,

00:57:05   you should just get it, because then it would be like I would just set it up and just stare at it.

00:57:09   So it definitely does seem cool.

00:57:12   I think this is part of the--

00:57:14   The Raspberry Pi happened because when you're not paying attention,

00:57:20   as the price of compute goes to zero, computers can get very small and do lots of interesting things.

00:57:25   If you look at the specs on this, these specs would be fantasy for a childhood version of me

00:57:31   looking at the specs of computers.

00:57:33   But this stuff is so cheap and so small.

00:57:36   You look at what it includes.

00:57:38   As you noted, the main problem with this in terms of the current technological landscape

00:57:41   is that modern connectors, for as small as they are,

00:57:45   are so big that they are the major hardware problem with this

00:57:48   that you can't physically fit connectors of all the kinds that it can support.

00:57:53   You have to have this little funnel of adapters going from micro HDMI to regular HDMI or USB-C to USB-A.

00:58:00   So it's kind of funny.

00:58:02   I'm hoping that all of our connectors will continue to shrink that much,

00:58:10   because eventually they'll be about the size of the wires that they connect to.

00:58:14   But that seems to be the major barrier here,

00:58:16   because the price of compute and the price of memory and SSDs and all that stuff will continue to go down.

00:58:22   If you're just doing something like running Linux on it with no major GUI,

00:58:26   or even if you are running a GUI, doing basic stuff is very easy,

00:58:31   which is why we have those conversations about, "Oh, can I do development on a Mac Mini?

00:58:34   Can I do development on a MacBook Air?"

00:58:36   Sure, yeah. Modern computers are very powerful if what you're doing is text editing and compiling and stuff like that.

00:58:42   So I find these things fascinating, and I'm on the lookout for anything in my life

00:58:46   where I might need something like this, but thus far, nothing.

00:58:50   Marco, you and I have a lot to talk about that's kind of off to the side,

00:58:53   and I'd like to keep that off to the side just for a minute.

00:58:55   But with regard to the Raspberry Pi itself,

00:58:58   had you really touched them in between the jukebox time and now?

00:59:04   What is your Raspberry Pi situation at home?

00:59:06   It's basically been like John's.

00:59:08   I had that project I did back, whatever it was, two years ago, a year ago.

00:59:11   Whenever that was, I did that project, and it was fun.

00:59:13   I played with it a lot for a couple of weeks when I was doing that,

00:59:17   and then I ran out of things to do with it.

00:59:19   So I just kind of set that hobby aside for a while,

00:59:22   until recently when I came up with something better to do with it,

00:59:24   which will be our next segment.

00:59:26   But we'll get there in a minute.

00:59:27   But really, for me, it's very much like I didn't want to keep tinkering with it

00:59:32   into like, "Well, what else can I do with this thing?"

00:59:34   I had a specific purpose. I did it, and it was great for that.

00:59:38   And then once I got tired of that purpose or I moved on or it was done,

00:59:41   then I just kind of left it until I had something else to do with it.

00:59:45   Yeah, and it's funny because as much as I do love the ecosystem

00:59:50   and some of the incredible software tooling that Raspberry Pi and Raspbian have put together,

00:59:56   you still can't avoid the fact that it's Linux.

00:59:58   And so for me to set up a--

01:00:01   and I know that there's a little bit of wonkiness with regard to IPv6,

01:00:04   and I know that I don't know basically anything about it,

01:00:06   but suffice it to say, I wanted to set up a consistent IP address

01:00:10   on both IPv4 and IPv6 for the Raspberry Pi.

01:00:14   So this way, I can have my Eros use the Raspberry Pi as the DNS server.

01:00:19   So this way, when any of my devices come on my network,

01:00:22   they will look to the Raspberry Pi for the DNS server,

01:00:24   which means you need a static IP.

01:00:25   Well, for IPv4, that's very easy.

01:00:27   You can just go into the Ero app, and it's 30 seconds and you're done.

01:00:30   But, ooh, did I have to dig and screw with config files all over the place

01:00:35   in order to figure out how to get an IPv6--

01:00:37   not reservation, but reservation squared away.

01:00:40   I did get it, though, and it seems like everything's fine

01:00:42   across many reboots and so on and so forth.

01:00:43   But that's the thing, is I got the Pi-hole set up,

01:00:47   and this is way too much Raspberry Pi just for Pi-hole.

01:00:49   Like, I could have gotten a much cheaper and much simpler one.

01:00:52   I probably could have gotten away with the Pi Zero.

01:00:55   You know, I wanted an Ethernet port, but that being said,

01:00:58   I probably could have gotten away with that $10 one

01:01:00   just if all I wanted to do with it was Pi-hole.

01:01:02   But I specifically got the best one I possibly could

01:01:06   because I figured I might want to do something else with it.

01:01:09   And after I'd finished my configuration of Pi-hole

01:01:12   and didn't really have much else to do,

01:01:14   I immediately needed a new project, like Marco was saying.

01:01:17   And so it occurred to me, "Wait a second.

01:01:19   I know people are using these for emulation."

01:01:24   And I got literally the best Raspberry Pi one can get,

01:01:27   all $50 of it, as of, you know, three weeks ago.

01:01:31   Maybe I should dip my toe into this whole emulation thing.

01:01:35   And, oh, my word, this has been a ride, and it's been amazing.

01:01:39   -So Casey, what game console are you using right now?

01:01:42   -Well, it's a miracle that I've participated in this show at all

01:01:45   because I have all kinds of game consoles

01:01:49   on my Raspberry Pi right now.

01:01:51   I have been reliving my childhood on my Raspberry Pi.

01:01:55   So very, very, very briefly,

01:01:57   I think, like John, was brought up on the Nintendo.

01:02:00   I was very envious of those with the Genesis, Marco.

01:02:04   But I was a Nintendo guy through and through.

01:02:06   And let me tell you, I have been going hog wild

01:02:10   playing all these old Nintendo games that I loved.

01:02:13   I haven't spent a lot of time on any particular one of them,

01:02:17   but it's been extremely, extremely fun

01:02:19   going through old NES games that I loved,

01:02:21   going through all Super Nintendo games that I loved.

01:02:24   I've even been able to play with reasonable amounts of speed

01:02:28   Nintendo 64 games that I loved.

01:02:30   Like, give me "Wave Race."

01:02:32   I love that piece of garbage game.

01:02:34   It was my jam, and I've been able to play it

01:02:37   on this little tiny box that's about the size of a credit card,

01:02:41   or maybe 50 credit cards stacked on top of each other.

01:02:43   It is incredible.

01:02:45   And I can even now play Genesis,

01:02:47   or for everyone else in the entire friggin' world,

01:02:49   what is it, Master Drive?

01:02:50   -Mega Drive. -Mega Drive, there you go.

01:02:52   I can play Genesis games.

01:02:53   Like, earlier today, I sent you a message in Slack,

01:02:56   "Sonic the Hedgehog, so delightful.

01:02:58   I've only ever played, like, a couple hours of it

01:03:00   because I never had a Genesis."

01:03:02   It's so delightful.

01:03:04   And so what I had done was, at your recommendation,

01:03:08   I had gotten an 8BitDo or 8BitDO Bluetooth controller.

01:03:13   And the particular one I chose,

01:03:15   which I think was at your recommendation, Marco,

01:03:17   was one that physically resembles a Super Nintendo controller

01:03:20   but with two analog sticks.

01:03:22   And I got to say, this is where Linux is still Linux.

01:03:27   So I get this controller, I get this controller,

01:03:30   and I go and I look at the --

01:03:32   and the software that's doing all this emulation

01:03:34   is called RetroPie.

01:03:36   And I install RetroPie on top of Raspbian

01:03:39   because I want to continue to use this thing as my piehole.

01:03:42   That sounds really funny, but be that as it may,

01:03:44   I want to continue to use the piehole software

01:03:48   on my Raspberry Pi,

01:03:49   but I'd also like it to be, you know, an emulator.

01:03:51   And I installed --

01:03:52   rather than dedicating the Raspberry Pi strictly to emulation,

01:03:56   I installed all of it on top of, you know,

01:03:58   the existing OS installation,

01:04:00   which in years past on Linux was a disaster.

01:04:03   This worked out no problem.

01:04:05   But I go to set up my Bluetooth controller.

01:04:07   I'd been using it via USB just fine, no worries,

01:04:09   but I decide, no, I want to use it, like, via Bluetooth.

01:04:12   That's what it's there for.

01:04:14   And so I go and I look at the RetroPie documentation,

01:04:18   and step one is, okay,

01:04:19   go to register and connect Bluetooth devices.

01:04:21   And you can select your Bluetooth device's Mac address from here.

01:04:24   - [Makes noise]

01:04:25   - What?

01:04:26   - [Laughing]

01:04:27   - Yeah, sure.

01:04:28   And they include a screenshot.

01:04:29   They include a screen--

01:04:30   this is the official documentation, gentlemen.

01:04:32   They include a screenshot that says,

01:04:34   "Please choose the Bluetooth device you would like to connect to.

01:04:36   66 colon 70 colon 85 colon E2 colon 14 colon 08 colon."

01:04:40   That is their official screenshot.

01:04:42   That's what they're showing you.

01:04:43   And then it turns out one of them actually says

01:04:46   "Nintendo blah blah blah" on it.

01:04:47   But it blew my mind,

01:04:49   as someone who has lived in the sweet, sweet land of --

01:04:51   well, generally sweet, sweet land of living on Apple devices,

01:04:55   I am literally looking at friggin' Mac addresses

01:04:58   trying to connect my controller over Bluetooth.

01:05:02   It is so barbaric, but yet, but yet,

01:05:06   it did connect reasonably easily.

01:05:08   And sure enough, it did show, you know, 8BitDo or 8BitDo,

01:05:11   whatever it's called, blah blah blah blah blah on there.

01:05:13   And so it actually wasn't as bad as I'm painting it.

01:05:15   But it was just so striking and hilarious to me

01:05:18   that that was the official documentation,

01:05:19   was to look at a wad of Mac addresses

01:05:22   and figure out which one was right.

01:05:24   And then I was complaining to you, Marco,

01:05:26   that the Bluetooth wouldn't work, it wouldn't reconnect,

01:05:28   and I was asking you to show me what settings you were using.

01:05:30   And it turns out I just needed to update the firmware

01:05:32   on my controller, and then suddenly everything worked out great.

01:05:35   Which is wonderful and also very Linux-y, right?

01:05:40   Like, again, such a Linux problem to have.

01:05:43   But I finally got that squared away,

01:05:45   and then the only other major problem I had was

01:05:48   I had no idea how to leave a game once I entered it.

01:05:51   So what I did was I pulled the power on the Raspberry Pi

01:05:54   for the first few times,

01:05:55   because I couldn't figure out how to leave the game.

01:05:57   And you said, "No, you go to the in-game menu."

01:05:59   What? There's an in-game menu? Yes, you moron.

01:06:01   Well, you didn't say that,

01:06:02   but that's basically what was being said.

01:06:03   Yes, you moron.

01:06:04   - No, I don't blame you.

01:06:05   This is documented almost nowhere.

01:06:07   They don't tell you this anywhere.

01:06:09   - It's so bad.

01:06:10   But eventually I realized, okay, well, on this 8BitDo,

01:06:13   you know, they have the standard four, you know,

01:06:15   A, B, X, Y buttons, they have select, start,

01:06:17   they have D-pad, they have the analog sticks,

01:06:19   they have, you know, four shoulder buttons.

01:06:20   They also have two other buttons

01:06:21   that I never set up during the setup process,

01:06:23   which in and of itself was wonderful,

01:06:26   because it auto-detected the 8BitDo.

01:06:28   It said, "Okay, do you want to use this one?

01:06:30   Just hold a button, we'll start configuring it."

01:06:32   Yes, great.

01:06:33   I probably did this literally 15 times

01:06:37   because I kept hitting the wrong button.

01:06:40   It was entirely my fault, entirely my fault.

01:06:42   It's very clear what button they want you to hit,

01:06:44   but I kept hitting the wrong button,

01:06:45   and there was no clear way to say, "Oops."

01:06:47   And I felt like, for those of you

01:06:49   who are as old as I am, I felt like dialing a rotary phone,

01:06:52   you know, where it's like you're trying to dial

01:06:54   one, two, three, four, five, six, seven,

01:06:55   one, two, three, four, now 10 minutes of a lapse

01:06:58   doing that, five, seven, oh crap!

01:07:01   - Hang up, try again. - One, two, three,

01:07:03   yeah, hang up, try again, one, two, three, four,

01:07:05   five, eight, ah!

01:07:07   One, two, and eventually I got it, right?

01:07:11   But it was exactly like dialing a rotary phone,

01:07:13   it was preposterous.

01:07:14   But eventually I got in there, and holy crap,

01:07:18   like once you get everything squared away,

01:07:21   and this is, I feel like Linux is usually good

01:07:25   in this regard, once you get everything squared away,

01:07:29   it has been working, knock on whatever wood I have nearby,

01:07:33   it has been working very well,

01:07:35   and the Nintendo 64 emulation is not perfect,

01:07:39   but it's pretty good, and everything else is just amazing,

01:07:42   and I have basically every video game

01:07:46   I could ever want from the 90s on this device,

01:07:51   and it is so cool, and it is so amazing,

01:07:55   and what's even cooler is sitting Declan in front of it

01:07:58   and saying, "Hey kid, you know that Mario Kart game

01:08:00   "that you love on the Switch?

01:08:01   "Well, let me show you where all that started."

01:08:03   And the best thing is, he's actually enjoying it,

01:08:06   which I don't think is unique to Declan,

01:08:07   like I'm sure most kids would feel the same way

01:08:09   that we're actually allowing him to sit in front of a TV

01:08:11   and play video games, but still,

01:08:13   the fact that he's not like, "Ugh, what is this garbage?"

01:08:17   It's very, very cool to watch.

01:08:19   Also, games were hard back then.

01:08:20   - Yeah, oh yeah.

01:08:22   - Games were really hard.

01:08:23   I'm sorry, Marco, I've been talking way too much,

01:08:25   I'm just so enthusiastic and excited about this,

01:08:27   but what is your, 'cause you have, I think,

01:08:29   both the same and different retro gaming setups,

01:08:31   so take me through your world, if you don't mind.

01:08:34   - All right, so, first of all,

01:08:36   I've brought on a relevant guest.

01:08:38   I can't talk about gaming alone, I'm not qualified enough.

01:08:40   (laughing)

01:08:42   - Oh, hi, Adam.

01:08:43   (laughing)

01:08:44   - Too late, he's in bed.

01:08:45   - I kid, I kid, hey, Tiff.

01:08:46   - Hey, I wouldn't let him talk about games without me.

01:08:49   (laughing)

01:08:50   I was like, there is no way you're getting away with this,

01:08:52   I am busting myself into that office.

01:08:54   (laughing)

01:08:55   - Yeah, also, I'm talking about a lot of Tiff's games

01:08:57   here as well, because as you mentioned, Casey,

01:08:59   you were a Nintendo person, you envied the Genesis people,

01:09:02   I was a Genesis person, I envied the Nintendo people,

01:09:05   but who we both really envied

01:09:07   were those jerks that had both.

01:09:09   - This jerk, right here.

01:09:10   (laughing)

01:09:11   - That's true.

01:09:12   - Big jerk.

01:09:13   Had it all.

01:09:14   - We went on this big retro gaming odyssey,

01:09:17   it was kind of kicked off by Tiff's family,

01:09:21   they had kept all their old systems.

01:09:23   - Oh, that's awesome.

01:09:24   - And I had my Genesis in the attic somewhere.

01:09:26   Tiff's parents and brother had preserved these systems

01:09:30   for all these years.

01:09:31   - Well, they had them all set up.

01:09:32   We had them all, at one point, we daisy-chained them all up,

01:09:35   Marco helped us set it up.

01:09:36   - We?

01:09:37   - I just said, Marco just gave you credit, I watched.

01:09:40   - One of my holy grails, which I'll revisit here

01:09:44   in a little while, but one of my holy grails

01:09:46   is I love not having to switch inputs

01:09:49   between multiple systems.

01:09:50   And with the old way, they would connect to TVs

01:09:52   through those RF modulation boxes,

01:09:54   where you would pick channel three or four on the box,

01:09:57   and it would just shove the video signal

01:10:00   into the antenna signal to the back of the TV,

01:10:03   'cause that's the only input a lot of TVs had back then.

01:10:06   And you could actually, those little RF modulator things,

01:10:11   you could daisy-chain those.

01:10:12   So you just put the output of one

01:10:13   into the input of another one.

01:10:14   - I don't think I knew that.

01:10:15   - I mean, none of this is great for video quality,

01:10:18   but it worked, and so you could connect

01:10:20   a whole bunch of systems all daisy-chained to each other

01:10:22   with those RF boxes, and just whichever one of them

01:10:25   was front most in the line that was powered on

01:10:27   would be shown on channel three.

01:10:29   - Yeah, so they were all set up in my family's house,

01:10:31   and through some family shuffling and moving around,

01:10:34   they got put away and into storage,

01:10:36   and just recently, we were home for the holidays,

01:10:39   and they were like, "Hey, we have all these.

01:10:41   "Do you want them?"

01:10:43   "Of course, yes we do." (laughs)

01:10:45   And so they gave us all these big bins,

01:10:48   the original box to our NES, we have it, it's amazing.

01:10:52   I felt so John Syracuse-a, like it's coming down

01:10:54   from the attic, this original box, it's fantastic.

01:10:57   We had everything.

01:10:58   We even have a Super Scope in there,

01:11:00   there was an Atari, everything, piles and piles

01:11:04   of cartridges, so they came into our being,

01:11:07   and they ended up in our house, and Marco took it on

01:11:11   as a pet project to hook them all up for us.

01:11:14   - Now, before we get to using the real systems,

01:11:17   I do have, comparing it to emulation,

01:11:21   there are a bunch of reasons why emulators are better.

01:11:24   There's also a few ways in which emulators are worse.

01:11:27   First of all, I must acknowledge that we are now

01:11:32   entering crime-committing corner. (laughs)

01:11:36   Because emulation, usually, the way most people do it,

01:11:39   most of the time, it's illegal, because usually

01:11:42   you're using a bunch of pirated ROMs,

01:11:44   the BIOS from the system is probably pirated

01:11:47   if it was a system that was modern enough

01:11:49   to have a BIOS, et cetera, so generally speaking,

01:11:52   the way most people do emulation is not legal,

01:11:55   because it involves some degree of software piracy.

01:11:58   I think the world of emulation is fantastic,

01:12:00   for lots of reasons, and it has major advantages

01:12:04   over playing a real system, so obviously,

01:12:06   it's way cheaper, way cheaper, because if you want

01:12:11   to actually build up, not only a collection of old systems,

01:12:13   but a collection of games for those systems,

01:12:15   that's gonna cost you a small fortune.

01:12:17   Certain systems more than others, you'd be surprised,

01:12:20   but anyway, it's also just simpler,

01:12:22   like it's physically simpler, you don't have

01:12:24   all these systems and controllers and wires

01:12:26   and everything to deal with, much, much simpler,

01:12:28   much smaller physically, so if you don't want

01:12:31   to take up a lot of space or anything, great for that.

01:12:33   It's also a good solution if you have a lot of systems

01:12:36   you want to emulate, so if you just want to have

01:12:39   your old NES, you can get an NES, or you can get

01:12:42   your old one out of the attic, it probably still works,

01:12:44   and you can plug cartridges in and it's fine,

01:12:46   but if you want to have six different systems,

01:12:48   that's a big setup, whereas an emulator, that's fine.

01:12:51   You mentioned the Raspberry Pi, does it?

01:12:54   And Retro Pi, the software that manages this

01:12:58   on Raspberry Pis, Retro Pi is amazing.

01:13:01   I can't believe how polished it is,

01:13:04   even though things like Bluetooth require you

01:13:06   to drop into the comical Linux underbelly,

01:13:08   for the most part, the center path, the main path

01:13:12   of using it, especially if you have a wired controller,

01:13:15   is fantastic, it is so polished, it's so easy.

01:13:19   The whole OS is designed for you to just stick it

01:13:22   on an SD card, put that SD card in a Raspberry Pi

01:13:26   and boot it up with a game controller.

01:13:28   You never need a keyboard or mouse for any part of it.

01:13:32   You can plug it in if you want to, but you don't have to.

01:13:34   You can do the entire setup of the system with a game pad,

01:13:38   and it can work with tons of different game pads.

01:13:41   The first one I used before I got my 8BitDo,

01:13:44   and by the way, the 8BitDo controllers are fantastic,

01:13:46   I will get back to those, but you can plug in

01:13:49   a lot of console controllers.

01:13:51   We had a PS3 controller that we weren't using,

01:13:54   and so I just plugged the PS3 controller over USB into it,

01:13:57   and it worked unmodified, out of the box, just great.

01:14:00   And I used that for the first couple of weeks with it,

01:14:03   and it was fantastic.

01:14:05   So emulation, it's practical, it's cheap, it's small,

01:14:09   it is physically much simpler.

01:14:12   It's also really good for systems where using

01:14:15   the physical system can be prohibitively expensive

01:14:19   to find or to get or to keep in working order.

01:14:22   I always joke how, when we were growing up,

01:14:25   you've never seen a Neo Geo.

01:14:28   No matter what, everyone knew it was this legend.

01:14:30   Everyone knew when they would complain on the playground,

01:14:33   "Well, I have the Genesis, I have the Super Nintendo,

01:14:35   "mine's better than yours."

01:14:36   Always some kid was like, "Well, the Neo Geo's better."

01:14:39   And none of us had ever seen one, including that kid.

01:14:42   (laughing)

01:14:43   Somebody would be like, "Well, my cousin had one,

01:14:46   "and he was always lying."

01:14:47   - Wait, Tiff didn't have a Neo Geo?

01:14:49   - I did not have one, I did not have one.

01:14:51   (laughing)

01:14:52   Yeah, 'cause it was super expensive,

01:14:54   the games were like $100 each back then.

01:14:56   - And they were all just fighting games anyway,

01:14:58   and if you're not interested in that genre, who cares?

01:15:00   - Yeah, they were mostly arcade games,

01:15:01   'cause that's the kind of company they were.

01:15:03   But that was back when cartridges,

01:15:06   memory on cartridges was very expensive.

01:15:09   And the reason Neo Geo games were so expensive

01:15:11   is that they just used massive amounts of memory.

01:15:13   They were like 10 times the memory size

01:15:15   of a typical Genesis, Super Nintendo game,

01:15:17   but the economics didn't support that,

01:15:20   so they were just super expensive.

01:15:22   But anyway, none of us had ever seen the Neo Geo,

01:15:25   and it turns out they didn't sell that many of them.

01:15:27   So if you actually wanna buy Neo Geo's now, you can.

01:15:30   They're like $800, and the games can be hundreds,

01:15:34   or even in some cases thousands of dollars each,

01:15:37   'cause there just aren't that many of them.

01:15:39   So there's a lot of systems like the Neo Geo,

01:15:42   or there are systems that didn't have enough games

01:15:46   to really be worth owning, like the 32X.

01:15:49   Not enough games that if you're gonna have

01:15:51   a collection of systems that you're probably

01:15:53   gonna buy one of these systems.

01:15:54   The more obscure ones, the 3DO,

01:15:56   you're probably gonna wanna use emulation

01:15:58   for the more obscure ones, right?

01:15:59   - One thing about emulation, though,

01:16:01   you're talking about the advantages in emulation,

01:16:03   disadvantages, we're in an interesting point in history

01:16:05   where all the advantages you're talking about in emulation

01:16:08   are real things, but pretty quickly,

01:16:10   if we're not there already, we're gonna get into

01:16:13   a situation where emulation alone can't give people

01:16:18   the ability to play their childhood games,

01:16:20   and I'm thinking about all the kids who grew up playing,

01:16:22   for example, the Wii.

01:16:24   There's no emulator that's gonna let you play the Wii.

01:16:27   You need a hardware component,

01:16:29   and it's not just a controller.

01:16:31   You need the sensor bar, and now you're hooking up things

01:16:33   to your TV, and now you've got wires running

01:16:35   into everything, and I'm sure they'll make,

01:16:37   8BitDo will make your fake Wii sensor bar,

01:16:40   but then you get to things like the Kinect,

01:16:42   like, all right, now this is getting much more difficult.

01:16:44   What if your favorite game is a kid with some game

01:16:46   you played on the Kinect?

01:16:47   Now I need the 8BitDo Xbox controller,

01:16:51   plus I also need the Kinect thing and the camera

01:16:53   and the PlayStation Plus motion thing,

01:16:56   and maybe we're going back to a realm

01:17:00   where that's not a big issue,

01:17:02   because those things seem to have come and gone,

01:17:04   but there is always this hardware component,

01:17:07   and the hardware component, like, as it gets more diverse,

01:17:10   like, this 8BitDo controller is, quote, unquote, great.

01:17:13   I think it's an abomination, but great,

01:17:15   because it has, it's an SNES controller.

01:17:20   It's also an NES controller.

01:17:21   It's also a PlayStation controller.

01:17:22   They just shove everything on one thing, right?

01:17:25   But it's not a Wii controller, and it's not a,

01:17:27   I can't even remember, what was, Tiff,

01:17:28   what was the name of the PlayStation 1?

01:17:29   Was it Motion Plus?

01:17:31   - Oh, I didn't have a PlayStation 1.

01:17:33   - No, no, no, no, the motion accessory

01:17:35   that Sony came out with for the PS3,

01:17:37   anyway, we can't remember the name,

01:17:38   but they had a really good ping pong game.

01:17:40   Anyway, if you want to play that,

01:17:42   you probably need some kind of wave around wand,

01:17:44   and someone's gonna have to make a wave around wand

01:17:46   that emulates the Wii remote and the Wii Motion Plus

01:17:50   and also the PlayStation 1.

01:17:52   It's gonna get more difficult before it gets easier again,

01:17:55   so, you know, this is not relevant to our discussion,

01:17:58   'cause I'm assuming you're not emulating Wii bowling

01:18:00   on these things.

01:18:01   Well, maybe you'll surprise me and tell me you are.

01:18:02   - We couldn't get the Super Scope to work, which, spoiler alert.

01:18:05   - Yeah, hardware accessories, and it's not just accessories,

01:18:08   'cause arguably the Wii, that's not an accessory,

01:18:10   that's core to the gameplay, but, yeah, anyway, go on.

01:18:14   - Yeah, well, and also,

01:18:15   the systems are also getting more complicated.

01:18:17   I mean, it's fairly easy, you know,

01:18:20   one of the disadvantages of emulation

01:18:21   is that it isn't always perfect.

01:18:23   Sometimes, emulators just, you know, they can't emulate,

01:18:25   or they haven't yet developed enough to emulate

01:18:27   all the edge case behavior of the system,

01:18:30   and this is, you know, certain systems are simpler

01:18:32   than others.

01:18:33   We're talking about mostly, you know,

01:18:35   what I'm focusing on on our setup here

01:18:36   is mostly the mainstream cartridge-based systems

01:18:40   of the, you know, early '90s to mid '90s,

01:18:42   so it's like NES, Genesis, SNES, N64,

01:18:45   like, that's really what I'm talking about here.

01:18:47   I'm not going into the CD area, the 3D area,

01:18:50   really much at all.

01:18:51   In part, I'll get to some of the reasons why,

01:18:54   but in part also because a lot of those systems

01:18:56   you can't emulate very, very well.

01:18:58   Some of them are just too complicated,

01:19:00   and the demand is too low.

01:19:02   Like, the Sega Saturn is very complicated,

01:19:04   and I don't know if there's any good emulators for it.

01:19:06   I don't think there are,

01:19:07   'cause it's just such a complex system,

01:19:09   and there's also not a lot of demand,

01:19:11   'cause the Sega Saturn wasn't very good.

01:19:13   Anyway, emulation, in most cases

01:19:16   when you're doing these super old systems,

01:19:17   you can usually get good, perfect emulation,

01:19:20   or nearly perfect emulation.

01:19:21   They're well understood.

01:19:22   You can run them on cheap hardware,

01:19:23   like a Raspberry Pi, which is amazing.

01:19:26   It's also nice, again, going back to

01:19:28   Crime-Committing Corner here,

01:19:30   it's also nice that the complete ROM sets

01:19:33   for these systems, ROMs,

01:19:34   they're the dumps of the cartridges,

01:19:36   so all the game files.

01:19:38   Because cartridges were so small back then,

01:19:40   a game might only be a few hundred kilobytes,

01:19:43   or a couple of megabytes.

01:19:45   - It's so preposterous.

01:19:46   You're exactly right. - They're so small.

01:19:48   And so you can get the entire complete ROM set

01:19:51   of every game that was ever released for a system,

01:19:53   and it might be a couple of gigs.

01:19:55   We're not talking about large amounts of space here.

01:19:58   And so it's very practical with very low hardware needs

01:20:02   with today's hardware to emulate

01:20:04   these old systems very, very much.

01:20:05   Now--

01:20:06   - Yeah, so real-time follow-up,

01:20:07   The Legend of Zelda ROM, 131 kilobytes.

01:20:10   (laughing)

01:20:11   - Yeah, exactly.

01:20:12   - The entirety of the original Zelda game, 131k.

01:20:16   - Yeah, we're talking not large amounts of data here

01:20:19   by modern standards.

01:20:21   - I mean, for perspective,

01:20:22   I think the peek-a-view icon in its largest size,

01:20:24   is like 10 times that, or something like that.

01:20:27   It's ridiculous.

01:20:28   Carry on.

01:20:29   - There are disadvantages of emulation.

01:20:31   Again, number one, most of the stuff,

01:20:33   the way we're using it is illegal,

01:20:35   because you're using pirated copies of games and everything.

01:20:37   That's not great.

01:20:38   There also, you have this kind of overabundance problem

01:20:43   that leads to a type of paralysis of choice for me,

01:20:46   of like, when you have every single game available to you,

01:20:49   it's often hard to know what you wanna play.

01:20:52   Whereas when we first unpacked these systems,

01:20:55   we had bins that included the systems and the games

01:20:58   that kind of a combined Tiff and I had for these systems.

01:21:02   - You only had the Genesis, stop pretending.

01:21:04   - Well, that was part of the game.

01:21:06   - Me too, me too.

01:21:07   - Yeah.

01:21:08   But you had for each system,

01:21:11   maybe like 15 games to pick from,

01:21:13   and so it was a narrow set,

01:21:15   and it's like, oh, I wanna play that, I wanna play that.

01:21:17   In a way, kind of similar to the appeal of vinyl

01:21:19   that I discovered last year,

01:21:21   whenever that was two years ago,

01:21:22   even though we have these modern libraries

01:21:25   of everything in the world that we can call up by voice

01:21:28   to play any music that was ever made ever,

01:21:30   I never know what to ask for.

01:21:32   And maybe I only ask for the same three albums

01:21:34   'cause I can't think of anything else.

01:21:36   Whereas if you have a library of albums,

01:21:38   that is providing you with,

01:21:40   here's like 15 to 30 things

01:21:42   that you have decided you like already,

01:21:44   and so it's easier to pick one to play.

01:21:47   And the same thing applies for games for me.

01:21:49   When I'm looking at the giant list of all games

01:21:52   that were ever available for a system,

01:21:54   I have a hard time picking and going for any kind of variety,

01:21:58   whereas when you have a bin full of your old cartridges

01:22:02   that you have 15 to choose from, oh, I'll do that one.

01:22:05   It's actually much easier to choose,

01:22:07   and I end up playing a greater variety of games that way.

01:22:09   - I think for me too,

01:22:11   when we first open up all of those boxes of cartridges,

01:22:14   it becomes a, I can hone in very quickly

01:22:17   on the games that I loved

01:22:19   because those are the ones that you owned, right?

01:22:21   And it has this, we've had emulators for years,

01:22:24   and just like you said,

01:22:25   it's the excitement of rummaging through those cartridges

01:22:28   and finding the game you wanted because of the artwork

01:22:31   or you knew what system it was for,

01:22:33   and so you're finding it, and it's so tactile,

01:22:36   and it's real, it's present, and you're seeing the artwork.

01:22:39   You're not just scrolling through a list of titles

01:22:42   and then taking that cartridge out to the system,

01:22:45   sliding it in, pushing it down, hearing the squeak

01:22:47   of the spring and that satisfying little plastic clang

01:22:50   of the closing lid and then pushing the start button

01:22:53   and having the music instantly play.

01:22:55   (humming)

01:22:57   It's just, it's all so much more exciting

01:23:02   than emulators for me, which I think that it kind of,

01:23:06   when we were setting this up, sorry,

01:23:08   Marco was setting this up.

01:23:10   (laughing)

01:23:11   - We have a headache.

01:23:12   - We do have a headache.

01:23:14   Credit, credit, credit.

01:23:15   And it was like this balance of he got into the emulator

01:23:20   side of it, but for me, I was like, oh, we've done that.

01:23:24   We've done the emulator stuff.

01:23:26   We had that fun.

01:23:28   - It felt like college.

01:23:29   - We did that in college, and I loved scrolling through

01:23:32   the list of crazy named games that we never heard of

01:23:35   and we would find them and then play them,

01:23:37   but it wasn't the same as pulling out kind of an old favorite

01:23:40   and putting it in.

01:23:41   There's this one game for the NES, 1941,

01:23:44   and it's like a plane game and you're shooting down

01:23:47   other planes and some battleships.

01:23:49   I've never gotten past the second level.

01:23:51   And it's like this, I remember this game vividly.

01:23:55   It's really very hard, but super simple.

01:23:58   And Marco found it on the emulator

01:24:00   and he found a predecessor to that game.

01:24:03   What was 1931?

01:24:04   - 1943 was the sequel and I was really good

01:24:07   at that game when I was a kid.

01:24:08   (laughing)

01:24:09   - Oh, there it is.

01:24:10   - There it is.

01:24:11   But it wasn't the same pulling out that game.

01:24:14   It was like, oh, that's cool that you found it,

01:24:16   but it wasn't the, oh, sweet,

01:24:19   this is the plane game I played all the time

01:24:22   because I knew exactly what the cartridge was like

01:24:24   and putting it in.

01:24:25   It was a different level of joy and satisfaction

01:24:29   and I actually liked the restrictions

01:24:32   that it brought with it.

01:24:33   - Yeah, and there are a lot of trade-offs with emulation.

01:24:38   I think what you mentioned a second ago is super on point.

01:24:41   When you plug it in, you put the cartridge in,

01:24:44   if it's the Nintendo, you might need to put it in

01:24:47   a couple times 'cause they have that wonderful flaw.

01:24:49   - And then take it back out and then blow it in

01:24:50   and put it back in and then take it back out.

01:24:52   - By the way, blowing on it was always actually a placebo.

01:24:54   - You still had to do it, it didn't matter.

01:24:56   - No, you just had to put it in and out a few times

01:24:57   'cause the cartridge pins would wear out.

01:24:59   Anyway, or the slot pins.

01:25:00   - No, I'm saying.

01:25:01   - It was a very flawed design.

01:25:02   - It's like shaking a Polaroid.

01:25:03   It's just like you just have to do it.

01:25:05   - Not supposed to do that either.

01:25:06   (laughing)

01:25:07   - Muscle memory.

01:25:08   - But there is something like when you plug in a cartridge

01:25:11   and you turn the system on with these old systems,

01:25:14   the games boot instantly.

01:25:16   There's no loading screens, there's no interface,

01:25:19   there's no menus, you turn it on and boom,

01:25:22   the game starts instantly.

01:25:24   There's no OS.

01:25:25   - They were all SSDs just like the PS5.

01:25:27   - Yeah, I hope.

01:25:28   (laughing)

01:25:29   - That's their goal though, less than one second.

01:25:32   No boot times.

01:25:33   - I almost forgot that they did that when it happened.

01:25:35   It was like I was prepared to wait and then I'm like,

01:25:37   oh wait, the game's here.

01:25:38   (laughing)

01:25:39   - Yeah, because in reality, modern systems,

01:25:42   they have OSs, they have software updates,

01:25:45   they have online services, they have user profiles,

01:25:48   then the OS gets updated, then the game has to get updated,

01:25:51   then you have to download additional content.

01:25:53   There's so much overhead in modern gaming

01:25:56   of just going through menus, maintaining the system,

01:25:59   maintaining the computer that is the modern console

01:26:02   with web services and updates and everything

01:26:04   it's a pain in the butt.

01:26:06   Whereas you plug in 1943 into a Nintendo

01:26:09   and you push power on and you're in the game

01:26:11   in about a second and a half.

01:26:13   It's so fast and simple, it's fantastic.

01:26:16   - And there's no instructions.

01:26:17   - Yeah, that's another thing.

01:26:18   - No.

01:26:19   - Because back then, games came with manuals

01:26:22   and you generally read the manual in the car

01:26:25   on the way home from the game store or whatever

01:26:27   and so they don't explain anything

01:26:30   about how to play the game in the game.

01:26:32   - If I may interrupt briefly, I asked you to suggest

01:26:35   some Genesis games to play and you suggested

01:26:38   I think Super Bomberman or something like that.

01:26:40   - Mega Bomberman.

01:26:41   - I know this is peculiar, whatever the case may be.

01:26:43   It was a Bomberman title and I had only ever played

01:26:45   Bomberman like once at Mike's bachelor party.

01:26:48   I just skipped Bomberman, not deliberately,

01:26:50   it just happened, it just happened.

01:26:52   And so anyway, I tried playing it and I had no frickin' clue

01:26:56   what I was supposed to do because there was no explanation

01:27:00   of any kind, it was just, okay, you're there, go.

01:27:04   And I really wish I had the manual because I could have

01:27:07   read for a little bit and figured it out.

01:27:09   And I'd also like to just very, since I have the floor

01:27:11   just very quickly, something you were saying about

01:27:13   the paralysis of choice, I have loaded only like

01:27:17   10 to 20 games for each system onto my Raspberry Pi.

01:27:20   However, what I've noticed is I am bouncing between them

01:27:24   like within seconds it feels like.

01:27:28   I'll play like a stage or a level or a round of one game

01:27:32   and be like, okay, yeah, that was fun,

01:27:34   let's try something else.

01:27:35   And I haven't committed for more than like 10 or 20 minutes

01:27:37   to any particular game because I have so much stuff

01:27:40   I can play, it's like all these memories are just flooding

01:27:42   back into me, oh, I'm gonna play a little bit of NBA Jam.

01:27:45   Oh, no, no, no, no, no, I'm gonna play F-Zero.

01:27:47   Oh, I really wanna play a lot of F-Zero.

01:27:48   Eh, okay, I got through that one stage.

01:27:50   All right, hurry up part time.

01:27:51   And it's just like, it's nonstop, I must look like

01:27:53   a crazy person, if somebody was watching me just bounce

01:27:56   between all these games, it would look like I was bananas.

01:27:59   - That's how we were too, for sure.

01:28:00   - We're doing the same thing here, but with cartridges

01:28:02   and it's just very noisy.

01:28:03   (laughing)

01:28:04   - Also like about two thirds of the cartridges

01:28:06   don't work anymore, so there's also just like having

01:28:08   to plug in and out, all right, does this one work?

01:28:10   No, try the next one, does this one work?

01:28:11   (laughing)

01:28:12   But yeah, so before we leave, I have a few more things

01:28:15   to say about emulators before we go into the main hardware

01:28:18   here, but emulators to a large degree have a lot of these

01:28:22   same problems that I'm complaining about

01:28:24   with modern consoles.

01:28:25   They have, they're modern software platforms,

01:28:27   they're running on computer systems, so you have to install

01:28:30   software, you have to manage configurations,

01:28:31   you have to go through menus, lots of menus,

01:28:34   and these are inevitably fragile things, especially,

01:28:38   you know, the way the Linux world works,

01:28:40   the way I complain about package managers, but like,

01:28:42   software is always changing, especially hobbyist stuff

01:28:46   like this, and so what works today may not work

01:28:50   if you try to change something in six months, right?

01:28:52   Like, I've already, so we did all this stuff in January,

01:28:55   we set this all up.

01:28:56   Casey was playing this this past week, so I was trying

01:28:58   to tell him how to do certain things.

01:28:59   I've already forgotten how to do almost everything

01:29:02   that I set up with the Raspberry Pi that I made

01:29:04   three months ago, like, it's very, it's a computer,

01:29:08   you have to configure it, and while it is amazing,

01:29:11   especially for something that, you know, people are doing

01:29:14   this volunteer for free, like, it's amazing how well

01:29:16   it works, but it is still a computer with a evolving,

01:29:19   living software ecosystem that you have to manage.

01:29:21   Whereas, you take your Nintendo out of the attic

01:29:24   and you plug it in, and it works the exact same way

01:29:26   it did 20 years ago, and there's no changes,

01:29:29   it just instantly just works, and you don't have

01:29:32   to do anything, you don't have to go through menus,

01:29:34   you don't have to install software, you don't have

01:29:35   to remember, oh, how do, what's the weird combination

01:29:38   of buttons that I press to make it go into the menu

01:29:40   to change the setting, like, there's none of that,

01:29:42   it just works, and that's really nice.

01:29:44   - You just have to remember the Contra code, that's it.

01:29:46   - Yeah, right. (laughing)

01:29:48   All right, so, before we leave emulation totally,

01:29:52   I do wanna mention the world of legal emulation.

01:29:55   This is kind of this new, newish, like, kind of halfway

01:29:58   point between emulation and real hard work,

01:30:01   it's basically legalized emulation in different ways.

01:30:03   One of the most common ones is retro game sales

01:30:07   for new systems, things like the Nintendo Virtual Console,

01:30:10   where they'll actually make old games available

01:30:13   for new systems, and what those are doing is emulation,

01:30:15   like, they're just packaging up an emulator

01:30:17   with their old game, usually making no or minimal changes

01:30:21   to it, the downside of this is that only a limited number

01:30:24   of games are available, 'cause it's like, whatever they

01:30:26   wanna sell you, whatever they have the rights to sell you,

01:30:29   a lot of these game companies that made games back

01:30:31   in the '90s don't even exist anymore, so there's nobody

01:30:33   around that you could even get the rights from,

01:30:37   let alone, like, be able to negotiate a deal with,

01:30:40   you know, to make them almost no money, you know,

01:30:43   from whatever conglomerate has absorbed whatever assets

01:30:45   were left over from these companies back in the '90s,

01:30:47   but the way copyright law works, they can't just give them

01:30:50   away without getting permission from something

01:30:52   that was only around 20 years ago, so there's very few games

01:30:55   for these systems that are actually available through,

01:30:58   like, these modern resale kind of things, usually it's

01:31:01   the first party games, like, the games Nintendo made

01:31:03   themselves, they can sell you again, 'cause they own

01:31:05   the rights, but, you know, not a lot of other games

01:31:08   are available, so it's not a wide catalog.

01:31:10   - Yeah, I was really surprised by that, because just

01:31:12   in the last month or so, I finally ponied up the 20 bucks

01:31:15   a year, which is really very affordable for the

01:31:18   Nintendo Switch Online, and part of that is you get,

01:31:21   you know, just like you were describing, Marco, you get,

01:31:23   you know, some Super Nintendo games, some Nintendo games

01:31:25   that you can play on the Switch, and to your point,

01:31:27   it's emulation, it's legal emulation, but it's emulation

01:31:30   nonetheless, and they definitely have some good games

01:31:32   on there, like, they have F-Zero, they have Super Mario Kart,

01:31:35   and I wouldn't say that the selection is bad, but it is

01:31:39   not terribly robust, though, like, there's, I don't know,

01:31:42   maybe 50, 175 games on here, and given that there is

01:31:47   an unbelievable breadth of games for either one of those

01:31:50   systems, probably hundreds for either one of those systems,

01:31:53   and between the two of them, there's only 75, I was

01:31:55   actually very disappointed, and I was glad to have some

01:31:58   of the ones that I was really looking for, again,

01:32:00   F-Zero, Mario Kart, you know, Super Mario Brothers,

01:32:02   et cetera, but I was expecting to get way more out of it

01:32:06   than I did, and I was kind of disappointed by that.

01:32:09   - Yeah, and also, like, a lot of times, the emulator

01:32:12   that they use is not actually very good, and so you might

01:32:15   have issues with the emulation itself, it might not be

01:32:17   perfect emulation of the original games, like, it's just,

01:32:19   it's a fine solution for some games, but it's a very

01:32:23   narrow solution.

01:32:25   Similarly, there have been recently these mini console

01:32:29   hardware releases, where it starts like the NES Mini,

01:32:32   the SNES Mini, the PS1 Mini, like, all the major consoles

01:32:35   now have been doing this, 'cause they can make money.

01:32:37   There are also emulators, just, you know, packaged up

01:32:39   in hardware, they're pretty good values, they're pretty

01:32:41   inexpensive, but they have the same problem of, like,

01:32:44   only some games are on them, 'cause the games just come

01:32:46   pre-loaded, they don't read cartridges, they just have

01:32:48   built-in games, and they're built in memory, and that's it.

01:32:51   They have other limitations as well, so it's just,

01:32:54   it's not great, and they aren't widely available.

01:32:57   They go and get these limited releases and everything, so.

01:33:00   And then finally, before everybody emails me about this,

01:33:03   there's this company called Analogue that makes these

01:33:06   FPGA consoles, they're basically FPGA-based emulation,

01:33:11   so it's a whole different type of emulation, a whole

01:33:13   different degree, it's very, like, very accurate emulation,

01:33:16   it's focused primarily on accuracy.

01:33:18   They're pretty expensive, they're like $300-ish each,

01:33:22   but they provide very, very good emulation, and they play,

01:33:25   they have cartridge slots, they play the original cartridges

01:33:28   if you have them, so you can get all that stuff with those,

01:33:31   and also they have lots of great video settings and filters

01:33:36   and everything.

01:33:37   Downside is, it's a lot of money, and you still need the

01:33:40   cartridges, you still need the original cartridges to play

01:33:42   on them.

01:33:43   They're a fun option, but that's probably a better option

01:33:45   if you want, like, the absolute best emulation of one system,

01:33:48   and maybe you have a flash cart, which I'll also get to

01:33:51   in a moment.

01:33:52   - Are they actually emulating, or are they just

01:33:54   re-implementing the actual hardware in their FPGAs?

01:33:57   Obviously there's a bunch of crap around it for the

01:33:59   HDMI output and so on and so forth, but do any of them

01:34:02   essentially try to reproduce the NES hardware, like make

01:34:05   a single-chip version of the entire NES down at the

01:34:07   gate level?

01:34:08   - I think that's what the FPGA thing is about.

01:34:11   I don't know enough to say for sure.

01:34:13   I think it's something like that, though.

01:34:15   Certainly that's the purpose of using FPGAs, is to have

01:34:18   more accurate implementation like that.

01:34:20   - 'Cause an emulator is like you're running software that

01:34:22   is reading the instructions for a CPU that you don't have,

01:34:25   and you take those instructions and you, you know,

01:34:28   either translate them to a different instruction set,

01:34:30   but more likely you say, "When you see this instruction,

01:34:32   "call this C function in my emulator," you know,

01:34:34   and so on and so forth, but the actual sort of like

01:34:36   hardware cloning is make a single, you know, 'cause if you

01:34:41   take all the circuitry in the NES, you could put that on

01:34:43   a single-chip easy 'cause, you know, the feature size

01:34:46   was so huge back then and everything was all separate,

01:34:48   right?

01:34:49   But in various cases, there's like, you know, things

01:34:52   stopping you from doing that.

01:34:54   You don't know the actual circuit layouts of those things,

01:34:56   or there's still something that's proprietary or you can't

01:34:58   do, but my impression was, at least for the NES ones,

01:35:01   that they're trying to make an actual hardware copy.

01:35:04   So if you don't have your existing NES in your parent's

01:35:07   attic or whatever, but you want the hardware experience

01:35:10   and you don't wanna buy one on eBay, this is, I feel like

01:35:13   this is what these systems are, the role they're trying

01:35:15   to fill, so my understanding is they're not actually

01:35:17   emulation, but I could be wrong about that, but either way,

01:35:19   that, I think that will be an increasingly important market,

01:35:24   like I said, for the Wii and for stuff like that.

01:35:26   When these systems go out of fashion and if no one is making

01:35:29   new ones again, someone will have to make work-alike

01:35:32   hardware in some fashion, and especially if the hardware

01:35:35   starts running software, like the Kinect is not just,

01:35:38   like it'll be harder for 8BitDo to make a Kinect clone

01:35:41   'cause that's a hardware/software thing, right?

01:35:44   It's not as easy to make that as it is to make a controller

01:35:48   that just sends a bunch of inputs and button presses

01:35:50   and stuff like that, so, you know, trying to preserve

01:35:53   the legacy of this kind of art, will this art just disappear?

01:35:58   How much of this art has already disappeared, speaking of

01:36:00   games that require a server component or whatever?

01:36:02   We'll only be able to tell tales about insert massively

01:36:06   multiplayer online game here that no one has its servers up.

01:36:09   We'll just be able to tell people about that, unlike most

01:36:12   other arts the human has ever made, if the painting is

01:36:15   preserved, it can last hundreds of years, and of course,

01:36:18   books can be infinitely copied and get more or less

01:36:20   the same experience, and even movies, we have ways

01:36:22   of preserving that more or less, but video games is this

01:36:24   whole realm of art that is going to live for a time,

01:36:28   but eventually be unable to be experienced by future

01:36:31   generations unless we continue to do exactly everything

01:36:35   you just described, make emulators, make these hardware

01:36:38   clones, make, you know, ways to continue to experience

01:36:43   this stuff into the future long after maybe even the

01:36:45   companies that made them are gone.

01:36:47   - Oh yeah, because like, one of the reasons why I love

01:36:52   this era of systems so much, this like eight and 16 bit

01:36:55   cartridge systems, plus N64 is kind of the outlier,

01:36:58   but like, because it was still a cartridge system,

01:37:00   but like, I love this type of system, this generation,

01:37:04   because it was a lot simpler than a lot of the modern stuff.

01:37:07   You know, as you mentioned, like, it's going to be hard

01:37:09   to emulate a lot of the more modern systems for lots of

01:37:12   reasons, but generally they're just much more complicated.

01:37:14   These old systems, you know, they have all these advantages,

01:37:18   I love this era of games for lots of reasons, as I mentioned

01:37:21   like speed, like, one of the very first things, like when

01:37:24   we got these hooked up and we pressed power on and the game

01:37:27   booted instantly, even our son, he commented how fast it was

01:37:32   that you're just in the game.

01:37:33   He noticed immediately, and he has, you know, a nice, you

01:37:36   know, current generation iPad mini and he's played Switch

01:37:39   games a lot, like, he's very experienced with modern games,

01:37:43   and yet he had never seen a game boot up that quickly, even

01:37:47   on the iPad, like just boom, you're in the game, and he

01:37:50   commented on that.

01:37:51   And a lot of that is also just down to cartridges.

01:37:54   Cartridges are great.

01:37:57   Yeah, they were small, yeah, they couldn't have like, you

01:37:59   know, full blown CD quality sound with the size they had

01:38:02   back then, but for the time, and for a good deal of time

01:38:05   afterwards, cartridges were the superior format to the

01:38:09   early discs.

01:38:10   I don't have on this list any first generation disc based

01:38:14   systems, because they sucked.

01:38:16   Like the Sega CD, the Saturn, the PlayStation 1, those

01:38:21   systems sucked, because CDs were very slow.

01:38:25   You had all these like load times, seek times, it was not

01:38:30   a good time for gaming.

01:38:32   Also, I would argue that all the first generation 3D systems,

01:38:37   with the exception of the N64, the 3D sucked on those, whereas

01:38:41   like what it was graduating from was really well done 2D.

01:38:46   Like the 16 bit era of 2D was amazing.

01:38:50   It was like the pinnacle of this art form of these 2D games,

01:38:54   and then when we got into 3D, it took a couple generations

01:38:57   before it didn't suck.

01:38:59   Yeah, I gotta say, the PS1, it was the first game system, I

01:39:02   was like, pass, hard pass, like I don't even want it.

01:39:05   It doesn't look appealing at all, I'll stick with what I have,

01:39:08   thanks.

01:39:09   Yeah, the whole industry went 3D, but the 3D sucked.

01:39:11   We're gonna get a lot of angry email about the PS1.

01:39:14   People love the original PlayStation, because of the

01:39:16   games.

01:39:17   I agree with you about the 3D technology, but there's a lot

01:39:21   of good games for the original PlayStation.

01:39:23   And this is an area where emulation is actually

01:39:26   potentially useful.

01:39:27   3D emulators are able to use better 3D filtering technology

01:39:33   now to actually improve the way the games looked.

01:39:37   And you know, so all emulators have offered visual filters.

01:39:40   You can play an SNES game and turn on a visual filter that

01:39:44   will scale up the graphics and soften the edges and upscale

01:39:49   and blur and everything so it looks kind of like a painter

01:39:51   drawing.

01:39:52   That's great, I did that all through college, it was

01:39:54   wonderful, but what emulators could do to N64 or PS1 games

01:39:59   was way better, because they could actually render the

01:40:01   polygons at higher resolution to begin with and do texture

01:40:04   filtering tricks and things like that.

01:40:06   And so these systems that look like hell on the real

01:40:08   hardware actually look significantly improved in the modern

01:40:12   world of emulation of these 3D systems, which is again

01:40:15   another reason why in my hardware odyssey I didn't include

01:40:19   those CD-based systems.

01:40:21   I do have an N64 here, that's Tifton 64, but we'll get to

01:40:23   that in a little bit.

01:40:24   - Well, and just really quickly in the defense of the

01:40:26   PlayStation, I am definitely looking with rose-colored

01:40:29   glasses, because I haven't played an original PlayStation

01:40:31   in what, 20, 25 years, whatever it's been now, but I

01:40:34   remember the load times were awful and in that sense it

01:40:37   was atrocious, but some of those games, I think John you

01:40:40   had said this a second ago, some of those games were

01:40:42   amazing, that was the first exposure I had to Gran Turismo,

01:40:44   which was amazing, even though it wasn't as fun as everyone

01:40:47   thought it was, it was still an amazing and technical

01:40:49   achievement.

01:40:50   That was the first time I'd played any Metal Gear games,

01:40:52   like Metal Gear Solid still to this day kind of blows my

01:40:55   mind and maybe there were other ones that were better or

01:40:57   different before that, but that was my first exposure to it.

01:40:59   And there were other games I can't remember off the top of

01:41:01   my head, but I remember that being a very solid system in

01:41:05   terms of the games that were on it.

01:41:07   I don't debate that it was nothing but waiting for

01:41:09   everything, I don't debate that it could have been way, way

01:41:12   better, but I don't think it was quite as terrible as the

01:41:15   arm and perhaps painting it at the moment.

01:41:18   But yeah, I certainly did miss, having come off of Nintendo

01:41:23   64, I absolutely missed the instant load times of the

01:41:26   cartridge consoles.

01:41:29   - Oh yeah, and there were lots of reasons why those are

01:41:31   better left to emulators, like the other CD systems.

01:41:34   For one thing, the old cartridge systems have no moving

01:41:39   parts, with the exception of the NES's stupid cartridge

01:41:42   pop up and down thing which breaks all the time, but

01:41:44   otherwise, there's no optical drives, there's no CD lenses,

01:41:47   there's no motors, there's no fans even.

01:41:49   They operate in silence, they're all low temperature

01:41:52   devices, most of them don't even have heat sinks on the

01:41:56   processors, they're just very basic devices, they're low

01:42:01   complexity, and they don't have moving parts.

01:42:04   And so they're optimized really for longevity and

01:42:08   simplicity, the only system that we powered on that worked

01:42:13   last time we used it, but didn't work now, was the Xbox

01:42:17   360, got the red ring of death like everyone else.

01:42:21   - It took this long to red ring, I'm pretty proud of it.

01:42:25   - Yeah, but it's been off for like four, five years at

01:42:27   least, so anyway, that's the one thing that didn't come

01:42:30   back from the dead.

01:42:31   The Atari we couldn't get to work, the Atari 2600, but

01:42:34   we don't know if it was working before, so otherwise--

01:42:37   - It was working, in my heart.

01:42:40   (laughing)

01:42:42   - Yeah, but everything else worked, and I think in part

01:42:44   that was because these are all super simple cartridge

01:42:47   based systems with no moving parts.

01:42:50   One of their advantages before I move on from this is that

01:42:52   these old ones back, the simpler ones, the controllers were

01:42:57   much simpler.

01:42:58   - Yes, I wanted to talk about this.

01:42:59   - The one system we have a bit of a problem with the

01:43:01   controllers for is the N64, because this has been sitting

01:43:04   in an attic and everything, and they were worn to begin

01:43:06   with, and so the analog sticks are all kind of rough on

01:43:08   all the N64 controllers, they're not in great working order.

01:43:12   If you get a system that was before analog sticks, there's

01:43:16   a lot less about the controller that can wear out.

01:43:19   And so again, you're optimizing for longevity by going with

01:43:21   these older systems if you want hardware, if you want to be

01:43:25   actual playing on the original hardware, 16 bit and 8 bit

01:43:28   and maybe N64, you're generally better off.

01:43:31   - Oh, and they just feel so good in your hands.

01:43:34   They are so tiny, it's almost like the old original iPhone,

01:43:38   when you get hold of an old iPhone, you're just like,

01:43:41   "Oh, you just feel really good, where were you?"

01:43:45   And that's what those, the little NES rectangles feel that

01:43:49   way, the SNES ones, because they're just a slight

01:43:52   modification, but just the simplicity of having a few

01:43:56   buttons to control everything that you need to do is

01:44:00   wonderful, it makes you be able to play these insanely

01:44:04   oddly hard games very easily.

01:44:06   (laughing)

01:44:07   And let me say, I don't miss a rumble pack.

01:44:10   I didn't think for two seconds, "Oh, my controller's not

01:44:13   rumbling, why is this, this is so odd."

01:44:15   Like, not at all, I wasn't bothered by the cord into the

01:44:20   system, because actually, their cords were pretty long.

01:44:23   I gotta say, they thought that out, they had very long

01:44:26   cables from the controllers to the systems, which I

01:44:29   appreciated that, but we got them all tangled up,

01:44:31   right Marco?

01:44:32   - The N64 ones are real bad.

01:44:33   - They're all over the place.

01:44:35   But yeah, the controllers themselves felt way better in your

01:44:38   hand, and I'm comparing this again to the emulators,

01:44:42   where they always felt like there was some sort of a

01:44:45   slightly something off about the interface, like

01:44:48   interacting with these games without their actual

01:44:52   intended controllers.

01:44:53   Like, there's just, when you're used to playing them,

01:44:56   like when you're used to playing these games as they were

01:44:58   with these controllers to interact with them, and then

01:45:01   going to an emulator and just having a generic controller

01:45:04   for that, it was, it's a different feeling.

01:45:07   It's like, "Oh yes, I'm playing this game, and I'm getting

01:45:09   the joy of playing this game."

01:45:10   That's all there, right?

01:45:12   But man, there is a whole 'nother level.

01:45:15   It's like your smile just brightens that extra little bit,

01:45:18   because you're actually holding the right thing in your hand,

01:45:21   and those red buttons are staring back at you, and you're

01:45:23   like, "Yes, I get you.

01:45:25   There's only one D-pad.

01:45:26   Thanks, thanks for that."

01:45:28   That's so, so nice.

01:45:29   - It's because those emulator controllers, like I said,

01:45:31   are an abomination, yeah.

01:45:32   I feel like that's part of, I mean, make fun of, you know,

01:45:35   Marco's weird vinyl whatever emulation thing with the

01:45:38   cards for the music, but honestly, we've said this before,

01:45:41   when you're playing a game, your experience is, yes, sight

01:45:44   and sound, but also touch.

01:45:46   Like, that is your interface to the game, is a thing you're

01:45:48   holding in your hand, and you're like, "Oh, I want that

01:45:50   experience of playing this old game."

01:45:51   That controller is a huge part of the experience, and yeah,

01:45:54   you can get, you know, some mongrel monster controller that

01:45:59   tries to have all the things that you need for seven of

01:46:02   these systems, but it will never feel like playing the actual

01:46:05   system did on those controllers, even though some of them

01:46:07   may be ergonomic nightmares.

01:46:09   Presumably, you're not playing these for too long.

01:46:11   And speaking of chord length, by the way.

01:46:13   - You can't survive that long.

01:46:14   You die.

01:46:15   Like, they're too difficult to play.

01:46:17   - You gotta get those skills back.

01:46:18   The NES in Japan, the Famicom system, had extremely short

01:46:23   chords on it, and they were, if I had memory serves, not,

01:46:26   you couldn't, like, disconnect them to put in a bigger chord.

01:46:28   Like, they were attached permanently at one end, and they

01:46:31   were very short.

01:46:33   I forget how long they are, but, like, my memory is like

01:46:35   that they were, like, three feet long.

01:46:36   Like, they would never work in an American home.

01:46:38   Like, they basically forced the children to sit where your

01:46:40   parents would yell at you for sitting, like, right in front

01:46:42   of the TV.

01:46:44   - So, suppose you want to game on your original hardware.

01:46:48   You get out your old system in the attic.

01:46:50   It probably still works.

01:46:51   The games might work.

01:46:53   They might not.

01:46:54   You might need to clean the cartridge contacts or clean the

01:46:56   cartridge slots in the system.

01:46:57   They might have corrosion, you know, but otherwise, like,

01:47:00   your old system probably still works.

01:47:03   Controllers are, like, one of the very first things you go

01:47:04   to, right, and everything you have just said, you and Tiff,

01:47:07   John, everything you've said is correct.

01:47:10   Like, there's so much about the feel and the nostalgia of

01:47:13   the system.

01:47:15   Part of the reason why you're playing on original hardware,

01:47:18   if you've gotten to this segment, is that you want that

01:47:22   nostalgia, and while I do love some of the aftermarket

01:47:25   controllers for other reasons, for nostalgia, you can't beat

01:47:29   the original ones, especially for the NES.

01:47:31   Like, the Super Nintendo and Genesis have pretty good

01:47:34   third-party controllers now.

01:47:36   The NES doesn't.

01:47:37   Like, nobody makes a perfect NES controller clone, and so

01:47:41   the NES, I feel like you really need that original one.

01:47:43   But one big difference is that cord length, and, you know,

01:47:46   these systems were all made in the era where we had CRT TVs.

01:47:51   You were lucky if you had, like, a 27-inch TV.

01:47:54   Like, they weren't very big, and you weren't sitting very

01:47:57   far away from them.

01:47:59   And this was before wireless things were really prevalent.

01:48:02   You had to have a wire to the system, but they didn't make

01:48:04   them that long, because you weren't sitting that far from

01:48:08   a 27-inch TV.

01:48:10   Now, one of the challenges of running these on a modern TV

01:48:13   is you're generally having much larger TVs now, and you're

01:48:16   sitting further away from them than we did back then, and

01:48:18   the cords are all too short.

01:48:20   - The Famicom controller, by the way, was two feet long.

01:48:23   - Oh my word.

01:48:25   - Would that even reach, like, from some people's

01:48:27   entertainment centers to the floor?

01:48:29   - My phone charging cable is longer than that.

01:48:31   - For Casey's TV that's on top of his mantle, it would

01:48:33   just dangle.

01:48:35   Casey would have to stand in front of his mantle.

01:48:37   - On his stool.

01:48:38   - Yeah, right.

01:48:39   Yeah, so, like, one of the technological advances that I

01:48:43   have moved to for some of these systems is that company

01:48:46   8BitDo, which people in the chat are saying it's pronounced

01:48:49   8BitDo, because it rhymes with Nintendo, which I guess

01:48:51   makes some sense.

01:48:52   Anyway, 8BitDo or Do, they make a bunch of controllers

01:48:56   for all systems, including, they have versions of a lot of

01:48:59   these controllers that have little receivers that are

01:49:03   wireless that plug into a Genesis or Super Nintendo, and

01:49:06   we have these, so I actually bought a pair of each of those.

01:49:08   I have their version of the Genesis six button controller,

01:49:12   I have two of those.

01:49:13   Each of them has a little receiver that plugs into the

01:49:15   Genesis and is powered by the Genesis, and so you have two

01:49:19   wireless controllers that are always there, and the

01:49:21   controllers occasionally need to be charged by micro USB,

01:49:24   but very occasionally, and you have a wireless Genesis, and

01:49:27   same thing, I have the same setup with Super Nintendo.

01:49:30   It's wonderful.

01:49:32   It's not as nostalgic as the NES controller, where it's,

01:49:35   you know, long wire, but for like a clean, modern setup

01:49:39   that you don't have to worry about being, you know, too

01:49:41   close to the TV or pulling the console accidentally by

01:49:44   the cable, like, it's actually really, really nice.

01:49:47   So, that is one area where if you want to play an original

01:49:50   hardware, but you want a nice modern day amenity of wireless

01:49:54   controllers, you can do that with these, you know, 8BitDo

01:49:57   and other companies, but I think 8BitDo is the best one.

01:49:59   They make fantastic wireless controllers that will plug into

01:50:03   the old consoles.

01:50:04   Anyway, they're not quite as nostalgic, but they're very good.

01:50:07   - One thing you're missing out on, though, I'm sure you're

01:50:09   gonna get to this when you start talking about video, but

01:50:11   part of the retro gaming experience is the wired controllers

01:50:16   and RF interface to a CRT, mostly because the input lag

01:50:21   in that system was so insanely short compared to any modern

01:50:24   system, any modern system that, forget about wireless,

01:50:27   which is gonna add huge delay, relatively speaking, but any

01:50:30   modern system that goes through an HDMI converter that goes

01:50:32   into your TV that has like 10 to 100 milliseconds of input

01:50:36   lag just on the display device before you even consider any

01:50:39   of that stuff, and then you add a wireless controller, and

01:50:41   after you're dying in two seconds anyway because your old

01:50:43   new reflexes suck now, don't memorize the levels anymore.

01:50:46   Fine, but I feel like if you were gonna go to these lengths,

01:50:50   and this is what the really hardcore people do, you need

01:50:53   a CRT that's hooked up with RF to your thing with a wired

01:50:58   controller.

01:50:59   - I will get there.

01:51:00   I will get there, especially if you want light guns to work

01:51:03   and everything, yeah, trust me, I'll get there, but anyway,

01:51:05   before we get too much into the video output section, which

01:51:09   is significant, if you're gonna be retro gaming on old

01:51:12   hardware, we have to briefly revisit Crime Committing Corner.

01:51:17   - I feel like you are a person who's presenting like a 1950

01:51:20   school video, hi.

01:51:22   (laughing)

01:51:24   If you would like this new modern technology in your life,

01:51:28   follow these simple steps.

01:51:30   - No, we are revisiting Crime Committing Corner to talk about

01:51:33   flash cartridges, also known as EverDrives, because that's

01:51:37   the brand of the most popular one.

01:51:40   A flash cartridge is a cartridge that goes into an old game

01:51:44   system that has an SD card slot on it, and you can load it

01:51:48   up with ROMs for emulators and put it on the SD card slot,

01:51:52   and then it shows a menu when you boot it up, and you can

01:51:55   just pick from the ROMs and you can play any ROM file on

01:51:59   original hardware.

01:52:01   It's kind of a hybrid between the world of emulators and the

01:52:05   world of original hardware.

01:52:06   It has some of the advantages of each world, most of the

01:52:09   advantages of the original hardware, but it opens you up to

01:52:13   like, you know, one of the things about emulators is that

01:52:15   you can play games that weren't actually released for the

01:52:18   system.

01:52:19   You can play things like ROM hacks, where fans have like

01:52:22   altered old games to add levels or fix things or improve

01:52:27   things, whatever.

01:52:28   You can play home-drew games.

01:52:30   Some hobbyists, granted not a lot, but some hobbyists are

01:52:33   actually like writing original Genesis or Super Nintendo

01:52:36   games today.

01:52:37   It's a fun little world, and if you have--

01:52:40   - Be careful, a few of those, they're naughty.

01:52:42   - Yeah, oh yeah.

01:52:43   (laughs)

01:52:44   But if you have--

01:52:45   - Don't test them in front of your kids.

01:52:47   - Oh yeah.

01:52:48   So if you have either an emulator set up or if you have a

01:52:50   flash cart, you can play that type of game.

01:52:53   It's also nice, like, a lot of these games, as I mentioned,

01:52:56   are pretty rare and hard to find or very, very expensive

01:53:00   if you do like find one on eBay or something, because

01:53:02   they're rare or they were unreleased or whatever.

01:53:05   And so this opens you up to be able to play games like that,

01:53:07   that you either can't get at all or that are kind of

01:53:10   prohibitively expensive to get.

01:53:11   It also, it saves wear and tear on the cartridge slots.

01:53:15   On some systems, this might not be an issue.

01:53:17   I would strongly advise this is very recommendable on an

01:53:21   NES, because again, it has that flawed cartridge slot

01:53:24   design where the pins wear out, and there are various ways

01:53:27   you can like, you know, you can get certain aftermarket

01:53:29   things to try to fix that, but one of the easiest ways to

01:53:32   fix that is to use a flash cartridge instead of using

01:53:34   real cartridges, and then not only do you have all the games,

01:53:38   but you also then don't have to constantly be like putting

01:53:42   the cartridge slot up and down, up and down, up and down,

01:53:44   and wearing out those pins even more.

01:53:46   I also recommend if you're gonna be in this world,

01:53:49   again, we're in Crime-Committing Corner, I'm sorry

01:53:51   if this offends you, just skip forward 30 seconds.

01:53:54   Trust me, look for things called EverDrive packs.

01:53:57   These are complete ROM sets, but they are well organized.

01:54:02   They are also editorially categorized, so like you'll have

01:54:06   the A to Z folder, and then you'll have subfolders of like

01:54:10   genre categorizations, like oh, here's all the action games,

01:54:13   here's all the shooters, then you can have subfolders that

01:54:16   are like editorially picked subsets, like the best shooters,

01:54:20   the games that define the system, the best platformers.

01:54:23   It's awesome, it's a great way to improve on that kind of

01:54:27   paralysis of choice that you get with just having massive

01:54:29   amounts of emulator ROMs, and just makes these things

01:54:32   a lot more useful and easy, and it lets you discover

01:54:34   good games instead of having to just go through the list

01:54:37   of 500 and just pick randomly, so trust me,

01:54:40   you want EverDrive packs.

01:54:42   Search for those, you'll find them.

01:54:43   Anyway, disadvantages of flash carts are,

01:54:46   number one, they are illegal, like the same way

01:54:48   emulators are, you're talking about pirating software here,

01:54:50   pirating these old games, it's up to you whether that

01:54:52   bothers you or not, I think systems as old,

01:54:55   you're not really harming anybody, 'cause again,

01:54:57   it's hard to even find anybody who would even have

01:55:00   the rights to this, and to arrange any kind of payment,

01:55:02   it's pretty much impossible.

01:55:04   Other disadvantages are these flash carts are actually

01:55:07   pretty expensive, especially like the N64 one

01:55:10   is fairly expensive, you're looking at like up to

01:55:12   $200 for some of them.

01:55:14   They also, they introduce that similar paralysis of choice

01:55:17   that emulators have, and it definitely loses some of

01:55:20   the nostalgia value when you're not inserting

01:55:22   them in real cartridges, so there are some disadvantages.

01:55:24   I find that having a flash cart on the real system

01:55:29   is a really good balance of modern convenience

01:55:33   and having all those games available to you,

01:55:35   while also having the nostalgia of playing

01:55:38   the original hardware, but it's up to you

01:55:40   where you might try that line.

01:55:42   - This is very impressive, this whole EverDrive thing,

01:55:44   so there's an SD card you said on each of these,

01:55:47   and you would just pop that out, put a ROM on,

01:55:49   and then pop that back in and you're good to go?

01:55:51   - You pop it out, you put on the EverDrive pack

01:55:53   of all the ROMs in the world and you ever touch it again.

01:55:55   - Ah, fair enough, okay, I was gonna say,

01:55:57   because you're still popping this in and out,

01:56:00   but of course, I didn't even consider that,

01:56:01   you would just put everything on there

01:56:03   and just have to scroll through a list of a billion games.

01:56:06   - Yeah, and like, I mean, the technical accomplishment

01:56:09   here is incredible, like to make these kind of things,

01:56:12   and they show menus and everything,

01:56:14   it's just a wonderful hobbyist world,

01:56:17   and you kind of can't believe somebody took the time

01:56:19   to do all this, but you're so glad they did.

01:56:21   It's so amazing, and yeah, it is legally iffy,

01:56:25   and it does introduce some of the downfalls of emulators,

01:56:29   but some of the Genesis ones can actually do save state

01:56:34   and load state on the real hardware,

01:56:37   which is something that you would think normally

01:56:39   only emulators could do that, but no,

01:56:40   they can actually do it on some systems,

01:56:42   you can do it with the cartridge.

01:56:44   It's incredible what these things can accomplish,

01:56:46   it really is quite something, but anyway,

01:56:49   now comes the big question and the big downside,

01:56:52   video output, now most of these old systems,

01:56:55   they natively were rendering 240p,

01:56:59   old analog CRT TVs, if you ignore the tiny subset

01:57:03   of HD CRTs, which I actually had one,

01:57:06   it was, don't go there. (laughs)

01:57:09   Anyway, if you just consider CRTs to be

01:57:12   the old standard def ones, the US ones

01:57:14   would take in roughly 480i, and by the way,

01:57:18   listeners out there, if you don't know

01:57:20   how analog TV signals work, it's actually fascinating,

01:57:24   look it up on YouTube, there's some great videos on it,

01:57:27   I like the Technology Connections guy,

01:57:30   he does a lot of videos on this kind of stuff,

01:57:32   the way analog and CRT TV signals worked is fascinating.

01:57:35   So these systems render 240p internally,

01:57:38   eventually as you got more advanced,

01:57:41   like the Xbox would render 480p eventually,

01:57:44   you get more advanced systems that render

01:57:46   at higher resolution, but for the most part,

01:57:48   you're dealing with 240p being rendered on a 480i screen.

01:57:52   The way you would usually connect these systems,

01:57:55   the way most of us did, as I mentioned earlier,

01:57:57   those RF modulators, those channel three, channel four,

01:57:59   black boxes that would plug into the coax cable slot

01:58:01   in the back of the TV, and you'd plug the VCR

01:58:03   or whatever back into the back of that,

01:58:05   this is the way most people use their consoles,

01:58:07   generally these are the worst video quality,

01:58:09   but they have advantages, they're simple,

01:58:11   they're easy to data chain, most TVs back then

01:58:14   didn't have any other inputs, it wasn't until the 90s,

01:58:18   late 90s at least, that you'd have a TV

01:58:20   that might have a composite input or something like that,

01:58:23   or maybe later on component, but that came much, much later.

01:58:26   I'm trying to run these on a LCD 40 something inch TV

01:58:31   that we bought probably seven or eight years ago,

01:58:33   just some weird Panasonic LCD thing,

01:58:35   it's not like a high end TV, and it's not super new,

01:58:38   but also not super old, I could not get RF modulation

01:58:41   to work on this TV, I suspect maybe it lacks

01:58:45   the old analog tuner circuitry, anyway,

01:58:47   I couldn't get RF to work, which is good,

01:58:49   'cause it sucks anyway, but I did want something

01:58:51   that I could like data chain and all the systems

01:58:53   if possible, so that didn't end up working.

01:58:55   The next step up from RF modulation in old analog video

01:58:59   is the composite video plug, this is that ubiquitous,

01:59:02   circular, usually yellow color coded plug,

01:59:06   it's a circle with a stick in the middle,

01:59:09   so it's like two conductors, it's called an RCA plug,

01:59:11   that's that style of plug, the red and white ones

01:59:14   are always audio, stereo audio, like the yellow

01:59:16   was composite video, those are all RCA plugs anyway,

01:59:19   so composite, this is one signal, it's a ground

01:59:22   and one video signal, it squishes together

01:59:25   into that one signal all of the color and brightness info

01:59:29   and all the sync info to make that analog video signal work.

01:59:32   All of these game systems, all these old systems

01:59:35   can output composite easily, most of them have

01:59:38   a port on the side or a cable that either comes with it

01:59:41   or is easily available can output composite video,

01:59:43   so this is probably the best option.

01:59:45   Problem is, composite video looks like crap

01:59:48   on modern TVs, it looks like total garbage.

01:59:51   The main thing is when you have only that one wire

01:59:54   blending everything together, all the signals together,

01:59:56   you only have a certain amount of bandwidth

01:59:58   where the TV's able to distinguish, like okay,

02:00:01   can I just distinguish this color one pixel away

02:00:05   from this color and have them not bleed into each other

02:00:08   or anything like that, there's issues like that

02:00:10   with composite where it looks like crap on modern TVs.

02:00:14   - Is this looking like crap your version of looking

02:00:17   like crap or the public's version of looking like crap?

02:00:20   - Well it's like, the colors bleed into each other,

02:00:23   the edges are blurry, you might have incorrect coloration

02:00:27   on certain edges or certain patterns,

02:00:30   you might have interference patterns where you have

02:00:32   dots that actually don't belong where they're being rendered

02:00:35   'cause it's like analog interference,

02:00:37   there's all sorts of weird stuff,

02:00:38   and then also there's a whole bunch of issues

02:00:40   when outputting to modern TVs,

02:00:41   which I'll get to in a moment,

02:00:43   composite tends to exacerbate a lot of these issues.

02:00:46   It makes it especially hard to see stuff in dark scenes

02:00:49   and certain colors, like on our TV red is oftentimes butchered

02:00:54   and it's like when playing Tetris on the NES,

02:00:57   one of the levels, somewhere in the seven or eight range,

02:01:00   one of them, it turns red and black,

02:01:02   and it's so hard to see certain pieces on that level

02:01:06   no matter what your brightness has turned around on the TV,

02:01:08   like it just, the signal's just getting crushed.

02:01:10   Anyway, moving up from composite quickly,

02:01:13   there was a brief window of time

02:01:14   where the world tried to use S-video.

02:01:17   S-video is that little black multi-pin plug

02:01:19   that's kind of like a keyboard plug but it's black.

02:01:21   - I remember that.

02:01:22   - S-video separates the color signal

02:01:24   from the brightness signal,

02:01:26   so you're going from one signal line to two.

02:01:28   This is a huge improvement.

02:01:31   All the colors are still combined into like,

02:01:33   you know, there's brightness and there's color,

02:01:35   so all the colors are still combined into one

02:01:37   and they just like modulate differently to distinguish them

02:01:40   but it's significantly better than composite.

02:01:42   It's almost as good as you can get,

02:01:44   but the problem with S-video

02:01:45   is that almost none of these consoles supported it

02:01:47   and almost no TVs have S-video inputs anymore.

02:01:49   Later on, we had component video.

02:01:51   This is those green, blue, and red RCA plugs.

02:01:55   The Xbox, the first Xbox had an option for this.

02:01:59   This came along later.

02:02:01   It supported HD resolutions.

02:02:03   Component achieves great quality

02:02:05   because it separates the three colors from each other,

02:02:07   so you have separate signal paths,

02:02:09   there's no interference between them

02:02:10   and you can get like tack sharp, you know,

02:02:13   pixels next to each other.

02:02:14   They don't bleed into each other.

02:02:15   There's no blurriness.

02:02:16   It's awesome.

02:02:17   And so what these old consoles could do,

02:02:20   since component came along later and wasn't around,

02:02:22   the older consoles could use an older standard

02:02:25   in some cases of RGB video,

02:02:27   usually using the European SCART connector.

02:02:31   I, like most Americans, had never seen one of these,

02:02:34   but Europeans will possibly remember

02:02:36   this giant rectangular connector with these vertical pins

02:02:40   and it looked almost like a big printer cable

02:02:43   with a diagonal connector coming out the side for the wire.

02:02:46   It's a very strange looking connector.

02:02:49   And again, as an American, I'd never seen one.

02:02:51   But apparently they were fairly standard in Europe.

02:02:55   The SCART connector supports RGB video,

02:02:58   similar to component in that it separates

02:03:01   the three color signals onto their own signal lines.

02:03:04   So when you're dealing with these old systems,

02:03:06   RGB is usually the best you can get.

02:03:08   It's the best quality that you can get

02:03:10   out of like a Genesis, a Super Nintendo.

02:03:13   The NES has to be modded to output this,

02:03:18   but it can and you can like find people

02:03:20   who mod them for you on eBay and stuff

02:03:22   or you can buy pre-modded systems

02:03:24   if you want to go that route.

02:03:25   It's not the cheapest thing in the world

02:03:26   to go that route, but you can.

02:03:28   And of course that's what I did.

02:03:30   And let me tell you, using RGB output

02:03:33   on these consoles looks incredible.

02:03:36   It is tack sharp.

02:03:38   It looks as good as the best emulators,

02:03:41   but on real hardware on your TV.

02:03:44   Now, how you get the video signal onto your TV,

02:03:48   that's a whole different thing too.

02:03:50   As John mentioned, these games were all designed for CRTs.

02:03:53   If you can have a CRT for this setup

02:03:57   and you can get a good one that will work

02:04:00   and doesn't have problems and you have space for it,

02:04:03   just do that.

02:04:04   It's way cheaper than what I'm about to recommend,

02:04:07   way simpler and in many ways better.

02:04:09   It's more nostalgic, it's more authentic.

02:04:12   The games were designed, the graphics were designed for CRTs.

02:04:16   CRTs render things in a certain way.

02:04:18   They have certain artifacts.

02:04:19   These games were designed for that.

02:04:21   And so in some ways, games look worse

02:04:24   when they're not shown on CRTs,

02:04:26   'cause they're being shown in a way

02:04:27   they weren't designed for.

02:04:28   If you can get a good CRT,

02:04:29   you probably don't have to pay much for it.

02:04:30   You can probably find one for free or for very cheap

02:04:32   'cause people are always dumping them

02:04:33   'cause they don't want them.

02:04:34   The problem is that if you have a CRT,

02:04:37   you're probably not gonna want to use it

02:04:39   for anything else these days.

02:04:41   You're not gonna want to watch your HD movies on your CRT.

02:04:45   So you really need a dedicated retro gaming space

02:04:49   that you can have your CRT set up

02:04:51   if you're gonna go that route.

02:04:52   We didn't want to do that.

02:04:53   I don't want to do that.

02:04:54   - We didn't?

02:04:55   (laughing)

02:04:56   - Well, maybe we'll graduate to that at some point,

02:04:59   but setting up a giant, first of all, we don't have a CRT.

02:05:01   We'd have to find one.

02:05:02   - That shouldn't be too hard.

02:05:03   I think there's one across the street right now in the curb.

02:05:05   - Yeah, but also you gotta find one

02:05:07   that's still in good working order.

02:05:09   It's non-trivial, and they're really big and heavy.

02:05:13   - Is it gonna be more difficult

02:05:16   than ordering parts from Japan

02:05:18   and all kinds of crazy things

02:05:21   that you've been doing in that room?

02:05:22   - Well, yeah.

02:05:24   - Just putting it out there.

02:05:26   - It would be a lot cheaper.

02:05:27   - I'm here for the insight into the behind-the-scenes world

02:05:30   of this whole discussion.

02:05:32   - I endorse the CRT plan.

02:05:34   They're not that big.

02:05:35   You can get a small atom-sized one.

02:05:36   This setup deserves to have a CRT.

02:05:38   It's better off with a CRT.

02:05:39   - It does.

02:05:40   Listen to Jon.

02:05:41   Everyone loves Syracuse,

02:05:42   so they think he's right.

02:05:43   Listen to him.

02:05:44   (laughing)

02:05:45   - Yeah, I don't know.

02:05:46   We'll see, but anyway,

02:05:47   and certainly for things like input lag.

02:05:49   Again, I strongly advise,

02:05:51   if you're nerdy enough to listen to this show,

02:05:52   watch these videos on how analog video signals work.

02:05:55   It's fascinating,

02:05:56   and how these systems rendered their video,

02:05:59   'cause keep in mind,

02:06:00   these systems, they were rendering a 240p image.

02:06:02   None of them had enough memory

02:06:04   to keep a 240p image in memory themselves.

02:06:08   They weren't rendering it to a frame buffer

02:06:10   and then having some chip output that to the TV.

02:06:12   They were rendering it line by line manually.

02:06:15   Every single line that was rendered,

02:06:17   the system would take most of its time

02:06:19   rendering each pixel,

02:06:21   and then in the very, very short interval

02:06:24   when they were waiting for the scanning electron gun

02:06:26   to change lines,

02:06:28   that's when they would do the game computation.

02:06:30   It's fascinating how these things worked.

02:06:32   Anyway, look that up.

02:06:33   It's a wonderful thing.

02:06:34   I'll try to link to some videos if I can remember.

02:06:36   So anyway, CRTs, though, make games look right.

02:06:39   There are filters you can use on emulators

02:06:43   and other solutions that I'll get to in a moment

02:06:45   to try to emulate the look of CRTs

02:06:48   on modern LCD or whatever TVs.

02:06:52   There's a few different elements to this.

02:06:54   One of them that's been getting around recently

02:06:57   is there are these pixel shaders

02:06:59   that will actually warp the entire image

02:07:02   to mimic screen curvature,

02:07:04   'cause CRTs were not flat.

02:07:06   Even the flat fronted ones

02:07:07   behind them was a curved surface of the glass.

02:07:10   Just the front surface was flat,

02:07:12   the back surface was curved.

02:07:13   So there are these filters that will kind of fake

02:07:16   the curvature of the glass.

02:07:18   I don't like that.

02:07:20   I think it looks too fake,

02:07:22   and I don't love that at all.

02:07:24   CRTs also, they didn't render pixels

02:07:27   in a very sharp, precise way.

02:07:29   They didn't even technically really have

02:07:32   40 pixels across it.

02:07:33   It didn't work that way.

02:07:34   So when you look at images rendered on a CRT,

02:07:37   they don't have sharp edges around each pixel.

02:07:39   They're blurred.

02:07:40   And so there are emulators and things

02:07:42   that you can actually apply a blur filter,

02:07:45   kind of just a gentle blur over the whole screen.

02:07:48   To me, when I do that, it looks better.

02:07:51   It looks more correct for the way these games looked.

02:07:54   More advanced emulator shaders

02:07:56   might also take advantage of the fact

02:07:57   that when CRTs would render colors,

02:08:00   bright colors like white,

02:08:02   would actually bleed slightly into the surrounding pixels,

02:08:06   more so than the way that a darker red might render.

02:08:11   So certain colors would actually blur around themselves

02:08:14   more than others.

02:08:15   There is some effort out there now

02:08:17   to actually replicate that behavior in pixel shaders,

02:08:20   which is really cool for emulators.

02:08:22   Now, the last thing I'll talk about in this area

02:08:24   is scan lines.

02:08:26   Again, if you look at the CRT up close,

02:08:28   there are slight black gaps

02:08:31   between the lines, especially, of the TV.

02:08:33   Again, the way the horizontal and vertical rendering

02:08:36   worked is different.

02:08:37   Most of the time, this is visible

02:08:40   as slightly dark gaps horizontally between the lines.

02:08:45   So you'll have a very thin, hairline black line

02:08:48   horizontally between each line of pixels.

02:08:50   Emulators and stuff don't do this,

02:08:52   and modern TVs don't have this.

02:08:54   But there are filters that you can apply,

02:08:56   even on the Raspberry Pi,

02:08:58   and there's actually a couple of hardware solutions

02:09:00   to do this on your TV

02:09:02   to add blank black lines between the pixel lines

02:09:07   to emulate the look of CRT scan lines.

02:09:09   I thought, "That's crazy.

02:09:11   "Why would anybody want to do this?"

02:09:13   Then I did it, and I played a game,

02:09:15   and I instantly fell in love with this effect.

02:09:17   It sounds crazy that you would artificially add

02:09:21   thin black lines between all the bigger, chunkier pixel lines

02:09:26   that are being rendered,

02:09:27   but to me, it makes these old games look right.

02:09:31   That was the thing that popped in my head,

02:09:33   and I even yelled at Tiff,

02:09:34   "Oh my God, it looks right now!"

02:09:36   - He did, that's true.

02:09:37   - I still remember when I was doing,

02:09:39   I first saw it on Mega Bomberman for the Genesis,

02:09:42   and I played this game like crazy.

02:09:44   The games I'm playing, I played for many, many years

02:09:48   as a kid, and so when I first turned on that scan line filter

02:09:52   on the Raspberry Pi, I was so happy.

02:09:55   Oh my God, it looks right.

02:09:57   It finally looks the way these games looked.

02:10:00   And so some of these effects I thought were too much.

02:10:03   The curving of the screen effect,

02:10:05   that didn't look right to me,

02:10:07   but a very slight blur, plus scan lines, looks great to me.

02:10:12   Now there is a bit of a downside to scan lines in that

02:10:16   if you're drawing black lines

02:10:18   between all your blocky pixel lines,

02:10:20   it's gonna make the overall image darker.

02:10:23   So you're gonna wanna turn the brightness up,

02:10:25   and depending on what resolution you're outputting

02:10:29   is a question of like, well how many lines are there

02:10:33   of color before you get to a black line?

02:10:36   If you're outputting 480p and you're doing scan lines,

02:10:41   then every other line is gonna have to be black,

02:10:43   and that's gonna make a very,

02:10:45   I think that kinda looks like too much of the effect,

02:10:48   that doesn't look good,

02:10:49   and it also makes the image very dark.

02:10:51   It looks just kinda fake and dark.

02:10:53   But if you're outputting 720p,

02:10:55   then you can do every third line being blackened.

02:10:58   That, I think, looks great.

02:11:00   If you go higher, you go 1080p,

02:11:02   you can do every fourth line.

02:11:03   It looks even better.

02:11:04   And so again, like the CRT,

02:11:06   it had a thin hairline of blackness

02:11:09   between each thicker line of rendered pixels.

02:11:11   The higher resolution you're rendering at,

02:11:14   the better you can render these CRT simulating effects

02:11:18   'cause they depend on like sub-pixel level details

02:11:21   of how it looks.

02:11:23   There's actually devices out there

02:11:25   that will take the input of hardware consoles

02:11:29   and make them look this good on modern TVs,

02:11:33   including things like scan line effects.

02:11:35   So the main problem is that when you connect

02:11:37   one of these consoles to a modern LCD, OLED, whatever TV,

02:11:41   they have to read the signal,

02:11:43   which they expect to be a 480i interlaced OLED,

02:11:47   interlaced old composite video signal or something,

02:11:50   and try to scale it up and render it

02:11:53   on a natively progressive higher resolution screen.

02:11:56   So they have these converter circuits in them,

02:11:58   these upscaler circuits, that are assuming

02:12:00   that they're being sent interlaced video.

02:12:03   But these old consoles are rendering 240p

02:12:06   and outputting it in a way that it happened

02:12:08   to be interlaced in the output,

02:12:10   but they're really rendering progressive content as 480i.

02:12:13   And so the way these converters work on the TVs,

02:12:16   it makes game content look bad.

02:12:18   It has certain rendering artifacts or scaling artifacts

02:12:22   that kind of mess with game content in weird ways

02:12:25   and makes it look wrong.

02:12:26   So there's this whole category out there

02:12:28   of custom designed scalers that are made specifically

02:12:32   to scale old game content onto modern TVs

02:12:35   in a way that doesn't break the minute-use artifacts

02:12:38   the way that the built-in scalers do.

02:12:40   This goes from simple things,

02:12:43   like there's HDMI converters for individual systems,

02:12:46   there's one for the N64 that plugs into the back of it

02:12:48   and everything.

02:12:49   There's also a company called RetroTINK.

02:12:51   They make one that's just a line doubler.

02:12:53   So it's very simple.

02:12:54   It takes in the 240p signal.

02:12:56   It just line doubles it all to 480p,

02:12:59   and that way your TV doesn't have to de-interlace,

02:13:02   which is the part that introduces a lot of the artifacting.

02:13:06   They're inexpensive, and that solution,

02:13:09   like a line doubler, introduces almost no latency.

02:13:12   The modern ones even have scanline filters built in,

02:13:15   but because they are only doing 480p,

02:13:17   they're making very dark lines,

02:13:20   because they have to darken every other line

02:13:22   instead of doing every third or everything

02:13:24   at a higher resolution.

02:13:25   So I wouldn't recommend this solution

02:13:27   if you want a scanline filter,

02:13:28   but if you want an inexpensive, good scaler,

02:13:30   RetroTINK is good for that.

02:13:31   There's a few other options in that price range.

02:13:33   There's also the OSSC, the open source scan converter.

02:13:36   This is like $200-ish.

02:13:38   It is more complex.

02:13:40   It's mostly a line doubler, like the RetroTINK,

02:13:43   but it has a few more features.

02:13:44   They have an experimental 3x720p mode

02:13:47   that doesn't work with all TVs.

02:13:49   It's kind of weird, but that's also a pretty good option.

02:13:52   Kind of the Cadillac of options is the XRGB Framemeister.

02:13:57   Of course, it's the most expensive.

02:13:59   It's like $350-ish.

02:14:02   It does things in a different way.

02:14:03   It's actually doing a much more complicated scaling thing.

02:14:06   It actually introduces, I think, one frame of latency,

02:14:09   but it has really, really high-quality output,

02:14:11   and it has the best scanline mode

02:14:13   because it can render at 720p or 1080p,

02:14:16   so you can actually have it look really good.

02:14:19   So that's what I got, of course.

02:14:21   I even got this -- I'll link to it.

02:14:22   I even got this automatic RGB multi-input switcher.

02:14:26   So now I have basically my daisy-chain console set up.

02:14:30   It's called the GSCART SW.

02:14:32   Like, just some guy makes it.

02:14:34   Custom-made just for video game console enthusiasts

02:14:37   who like RGB output.

02:14:38   So this is like -- you got to figure this is not a big market here.

02:14:42   But so far, I have three systems connected to it that have RGB output.

02:14:47   I'm waiting on the modded N64 to get back.

02:14:49   It's great.

02:14:50   I have now my awesome setup.

02:14:52   I have the XRGB Framemeister that is the scaler that adds scanlines,

02:14:57   that scales everything awesomely to my TV.

02:14:59   I have all the old systems.

02:15:01   I have flash carts for many of them.

02:15:04   I have wireless controllers for some of them.

02:15:07   And I have an automatic switch that I can just turn on any of them

02:15:10   that are plugged into it, and it just comes up on the TV.

02:15:13   And it is the most ridiculous, over-the-top, like, needlessly complicated,

02:15:19   needlessly expensive, needlessly large setup that I could possibly have come up with.

02:15:24   But it's so cool to actually play.

02:15:27   And this is probably more effort than any of this is worth.

02:15:30   But it's so amazing.

02:15:32   I'm incredibly satisfied with it.

02:15:34   And I don't recommend that anybody actually do this because it is really ridiculous.

02:15:38   But, man, is it fun.

02:15:40   You're so excited about all this latency.

02:15:42   A whole frame of latency just for your scaler, and then you have all this.

02:15:46   You need to get a CRT.

02:15:48   I'm not very good at games, Jon.

02:15:50   The CRT automatically does all that stuff with the scanlines

02:15:54   and dealing with the brightness or whatever, and it has no latency.

02:15:57   Yeah, but then he wouldn't have had a month's worth of a project to do.

02:16:00   You can get a CRT for much less than the cost of that scaler.

02:16:03   Oh, I know, but where am I going to put a CRT?

02:16:07   And how am I going to find a good one?

02:16:09   On the floor in front of the place where all these consoles are.

02:16:12   We're going to put it on top of the non-working CRT.

02:16:14   Yes.

02:16:16   No, again, this is a crazy, ridiculous setup.

02:16:21   This is really for true, real enthusiasts of this craft.

02:16:26   No, the enthusiasts have CRTs.

02:16:28   I guarantee the enthusiasts have CRTs.

02:16:30   You made a prosumer setup is what you did.

02:16:34   There's this whole market of enthusiasts who seek out old, pro video monitors

02:16:38   because they would actually have those BNC connectors,

02:16:41   the case you mentioned three hours ago.

02:16:43   They would actually have those.

02:16:45   You could have your RGB output for super sharp color separation and everything

02:16:49   on a CRT, which is the best you could possibly get, really.

02:16:52   But the problem is, personal video monitors are way less common,

02:16:56   and they were usually not very large, and they're very expensive.

02:16:59   Really, if you want the Marco solution, it's to find a 30-inch PVM somehow

02:17:05   that has RGB input and use that, but I'm not doing that.

02:17:08   But it doesn't need to be 30.

02:17:10   In 30-inch, you would start to see weird artifacts that you never saw

02:17:12   on your normal-sized television as a kid, right?

02:17:14   You just need a plain old 24-inch CRT, and you'll be fine.

02:17:18   Would you do it?

02:17:20   Christmas gift. If I was going to have a retro console setup,

02:17:22   absolutely I would get a CRT.

02:17:24   Wow, surprising.

02:17:26   Where would you put it?

02:17:27   I don't know. Where would I put a retro console?

02:17:29   If I was going to do that, the whole point is,

02:17:31   it would have to be original hardware, original controllers hooked up to a CRT,

02:17:35   because that's what it was like.

02:17:37   Some parents turn their kids' room into gyms.

02:17:40   I think John's going to turn his first kid who goes off to college, his room,

02:17:44   into a retro gaming room. Do it.

02:17:47   Marco, in a rough order of magnitude, how much are you into this financially?

02:17:53   Are we talking a couple hundred dollars?

02:17:55   You already have all the systems.

02:17:57   Are we talking a couple hundred dollars, a couple thousand dollars?

02:17:59   As vague as you would like to be is fine,

02:18:02   but I ask only because I am like 200 bucks in,

02:18:06   and that's because I got the really expensive fancy Raspberry Pi dummy setup.

02:18:10   If I had done the "you know what you're doing" setup,

02:18:14   I would be like 100 bucks in.

02:18:16   It sounds like you are in a lot deeper than I am so far.

02:18:19   I haven't added up, but it's less than a MacBook Pro,

02:18:22   but probably not a ton less.

02:18:24   If you're just doing one or two systems, it's a lot simpler.

02:18:28   If you are okay not having the fancy RGB output with the professional scaler,

02:18:35   this is where a lot of the money goes.

02:18:37   If you don't do a flash cart, and if you instead just get 15 or 20 of your favorite games on eBay

02:18:42   that are fairly common, easy to find games,

02:18:45   again, these are all things that can make it significantly cheaper.

02:18:48   I just went the ridiculous route.

02:18:49   You?

02:18:50   Surprise, right?

02:18:51   Your TV is too far away for you to play emulated games on anyway.

02:18:54   Casey, if you want to get a cheap setup, buy a CRT.

02:18:57   Get a used console. Boom. Done.

02:18:59   Less money, and it will have better latency, and it will look right.

02:19:03   I'm very, very, very happy with my setup here.

02:19:05   I really want a second controller, which I'll probably order sooner rather than later,

02:19:09   so I can play with Declan rather than one of us watching the other.

02:19:12   But I cannot say enough good things about the Raspberry Pi and Retro Pi on top of it,

02:19:18   and Pi-hole for that matter.

02:19:20   I mean, this setup, for not that much effort,

02:19:24   it definitely needed some tweaking here and there,

02:19:26   and if I didn't already kind of know how to do this sort of thing,

02:19:30   it probably would have been very infuriating,

02:19:31   but for the kind of person that probably listens to the show,

02:19:35   it's definitely within reason to put this together.

02:19:37   And in terms of the physical assembly of the Raspberry Pi

02:19:40   and putting it in the case and all that, it's basically like Lego.

02:19:42   You just snap stuff in, and you're off to the races.

02:19:46   So I am not trying to say that Marco's setup is not way better than mine.

02:19:51   Marco and Tiff's setup is way better than mine.

02:19:53   I'm not arguing that.

02:19:54   I'm just saying for almost no effort and almost no money, kind of,

02:19:59   I have a really decent setup that if you're not a super purist,

02:20:02   and I'm obviously not, then it works really well,

02:20:06   and I am very, very impressed by it,

02:20:08   to the point that I'm wondering if I should get a new Raspberry Pi

02:20:11   to leave in the office to do the Pi-hole thing

02:20:13   and then move this downstairs to our big TV

02:20:16   where I can play video games on it on this 4K OLED screen,

02:20:21   which, as you guys have been discussing,

02:20:23   is not at all what they're designed to be played on,

02:20:25   but it's still, it's just fun. It's just a lot of fun.

02:20:27   You should probably scale the effort and cost it to how much time

02:20:30   you actually think you'll spend playing games,

02:20:32   because the Raspberry Pi in the emulator is a great thing of like,

02:20:35   "Wow, I'm just going to take a tour of all these cool games

02:20:37   and have fun with them," or whatever,

02:20:38   but eventually if you're not going to be like,

02:20:40   "So are you going to play through the original Zelda and beat it,

02:20:42   or do you just want to take a brief tour of games

02:20:44   and you're not going to touch it again?"

02:20:45   So if you invest hundreds or thousands of dollars into a big setup

02:20:50   and then realize, "Okay, that's all I wanted to get out of it

02:20:53   was making the setup, and now I'm not actually going to spend

02:20:56   300 hours playing classic games."

02:21:00   I mean, this equation changes, obviously,

02:21:01   if there's more than one person in your house who wants to play the games.

02:21:03   Maybe you have a kid who is actually going to dump 50 to 100 hours

02:21:08   into a single game, in which case it pays off,

02:21:10   but if you're just doing it as a cool, fun thing,

02:21:12   consider whether KC's Raspberry Pi approach will let you

02:21:17   sort of get it out of your system without making it a big, expensive project.

02:21:23   Yeah, I mean, that's probably what most people should do,

02:21:26   if I'm honest with myself.

02:21:27   That's probably what I should have stuck with,

02:21:29   but every time the emulator setup would act like a computer,

02:21:32   and like, "Oh, now it's, you know, I got to like make the Bluetooth pair again,"

02:21:37   or "Oh, now I got to like remember how I got from this menu to this other place.

02:21:41   Where was that setting again? How do I do this?

02:21:43   Oh, look, it just grabbed the input again because the HDMI CEC on Raspberry Pi sucks."

02:21:48   There were so many computery parts of it that just made it feel like work

02:21:53   that were just adding friction to the experience.

02:21:55   I mean, you have the actual old system.

02:21:57   There's almost no sources of friction at all.

02:21:59   I mean, granted, before I got like the nice scaler to plug into the TV,

02:22:03   I did have issues with like the TV showing the wrong aspect ratio

02:22:06   or cropping off the corners because it didn't have overscan correction options,

02:22:10   like stuff like that.

02:22:11   Like I had a lot of problems like getting it to look decent on my TV

02:22:15   before I went the pro route.

02:22:16   Once I went the pro route, those problems disappeared.

02:22:18   So again, probably the smartest thing to do is the Raspberry Pi.

02:22:22   The second smartest thing to do is to get a CRT,

02:22:24   but the dumb and ridiculous thing to do is to get all this crazy stuff,

02:22:28   and I'm not saying anybody should do this, but it's pretty cool.

02:22:31   So Tiff, how often are you and/or Adam playing any of these systems and games and whatnot?

02:22:37   Oh, almost never.

02:22:38   Well, the problem is that we set all this up

02:22:42   about a month before we developed a family Super Minecraft addiction,

02:22:47   so we haven't played them like this past month at all.

02:22:50   But they're there. They're ready for us whenever we're ready.

02:22:53   Minecraft should be easier to play in like 2055

02:22:56   because its input is very flexible, you don't need any special controller,

02:23:01   you're not going to need to keep around some sensor bar or buy another thing,

02:23:04   and it's the type of game where it's probably not too onerous

02:23:08   to just keep it running on every system.

02:23:10   Like Minecraft is already run on so many different platforms

02:23:13   and it will probably continue to run.

02:23:15   I mean, this is the ray tracing version of Minecraft that people are playing with.

02:23:19   It will probably be the next iteration,

02:23:21   but Minecraft may actually still be a game you can buy

02:23:24   when Adam is setting up his retro gaming system

02:23:27   when he hits his midlife crisis, right?

02:23:29   So that's a good thing about that particular game.

02:23:34   So if you're going to sink time as a family into Minecraft,

02:23:37   that will probably be time well spent

02:23:38   and you'll be able to relive that experience later.

02:23:41   Thanks to our sponsors this week, Hover, Linode, and Eero.

02:23:45   We will talk to you next week.

02:23:48   [MUSIC - "IT WAS ACCIDENTAL"]

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02:26:16   You should really see Marco at Minecraft right now.

02:26:18   He's amazing.

02:26:21   I want him on my team all the time.

02:26:22   Well, now I'm trying to take that

02:26:24   my first one of those ocean fortresses

02:26:26   with the big spike fish in them.

02:26:28   And that's not easy.

02:26:29   Whew, that is not easy at all.

02:26:31   I don't want to make Marco feel bad,

02:26:32   but I'm still measuring to see if Marco is matching up

02:26:34   to Alex when he was eight.

02:26:36   He's almost there.

02:26:39   Oh, Adam is incredible.

02:26:40   He just-- the stuff he knows.

02:26:42   That's what I'm saying.

02:26:42   You come to this thing late, but what

02:26:44   is the main quote, "Adam was born into it"?

02:26:47   He basically was.

02:26:48   That kid was born from Minecraft.

02:26:50   So I tried attacking the spike fish fortress

02:26:53   by coming up from under it.

02:26:55   I had an island a little while away

02:26:57   that I had a little establishment on,

02:26:59   so I just tunneled under the ocean

02:27:01   and came up under the fish fortress, which actually is not

02:27:05   a bad idea if you just want a whole bunch of those cool blue

02:27:07   blocks.

02:27:08   But it doesn't make it any easier to kill the spike fish.

02:27:10   And I keep getting the spoon disease, where

02:27:12   I can't mine anymore, from the big ghost spike fish.

02:27:15   And it's really tricky.

02:27:18   It doesn't make it that much easier to come from the bottom.

02:27:21   You guys should graduate to creative mode soon.

02:27:23   No, come on.

02:27:25   I like that it's hard to get some of this stuff.

02:27:27   It's going to happen.

02:27:28   It's going to happen eventually.

02:27:30   Eventually, when you start building your giant world-eating

02:27:32   computers, you're in creative mode for a long time.

02:27:34   You need to see the Dubai Friday server and the stuff

02:27:37   that people have built in survival mode.

02:27:40   It's absolutely incredible.

02:27:41   Have you been on there yet?

02:27:42   Me even though.

02:27:43   What's wrong with you?

02:27:44   I live this Minecraft phase already.

02:27:46   My children are older.

02:27:47   Right, just get on there and walk around and check it out.

02:27:50   I did enjoy hearing Merlin joining the server

02:27:52   and then walking into the water and drowning.

02:27:54   [LAUGHTER]

02:27:56   It's a very Merlin thing to do.

02:27:58   Yeah.

02:27:59   It's literally just walking into the ocean.

02:28:02   I feel like it's much more impressive

02:28:04   if you can do really cool stuff in survival mode.

02:28:08   Because it adds cost.

02:28:10   It adds difficulty.

02:28:11   It adds resistance.

02:28:12   Right.

02:28:13   But eventually, your ambitions outgrow survival mode,

02:28:16   and you need the freedom afforded

02:28:18   by an entire universe in creative mode.

02:28:20   I don't know.

02:28:21   I think we're doing OK.

02:28:22   It's amazing.

02:28:24   The people want us to have a gaming podcast, John.

02:28:27   People.

02:28:28   Yeah, well, hmm.

02:28:29   [LAUGHTER]

02:28:32   That's what it would be.

02:28:33   It'll just be me being like, John, isn't this great?

02:28:35   And be like, hmm.

02:28:36   That is accurate.

02:28:37   No, I would be super into it if I

02:28:39   could get an extra 10 hours in each day

02:28:42   and/or not have a job.

02:28:44   Eh.

02:28:45   New job.

02:28:46   Game.

02:28:47   Jobs are overrated.

02:28:48   Yep.

02:28:49   [BEEPING]