Saturday, 7 May 2011

Sega MikeyDrive: Twin Galaxies Record Breaker

The last week has been a relatively busy one for me. I've been working for a Newsagents in town as a store manager on trial (i.e. for free), which is surprisingly tiring work, and all of my spare time has been spent figuring out how to submit my retro gaming world record attempts to Twin Galaxies; the official score keepers for games old and new.


Inspired by the film The King of Kong, which I only got round to watching last summer, I was ultimately disappointed at the lack of scores of any kind on home console games and, more specifically, the Sega Mega Drive. Where there are scores, they're from NTSC, 60Hz-displaying versions of the games which are counted as separate entities to PAL versions, for which there really are hardly any scores. This is fair considering the difference in 50Hz/60Hz gameplay speed, but still leaves me feeling a little "left out". Another strange issue I've noticed being that with this generation's games, they're still categorised under NTSC and PAL, while all three consoles allow all PAL games to be played at 60Hz.

My complaints with regards to Twin Galaxies are numerous, but they're not the reason it has taken me so long to submit a record. It was actually the issue of getting gameplay footage onto my computer in the form of decently sized video files. Most Twin Galaxy referees take digital submissions which is ideal for non US residents who would otherwise have to send hard copies of gameplay footage through the post, which is both expensive and unreliable.

In order to do this I've had my Mega Drive running through my parents' DVD recorder which, while designed to record live television onto it's internal hard drive or onto a DVD, happily accepts RF, composite and RGB SCART from any appliance. After recording my footage and burning it to a DVD, I ripped it to my computer using DVD Decrypter and encoding the DVD files into a tidy little mp4 file using Handbrake. Following this I zipped the video file up, along with a screen shot of my high score and a copy of the Twin Galaxies submission form, uploaded it to Mediafire and sent a link to the correct Twin Galaxies referee for verification.

As of now I have submitted two videos for verification, one of my attempt at the world record of the under appreciated Mega Drive game, Mercs; with this being the PAL version of the game played on Arcade mode. The other is of my favourite puzzle game, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine; again being the PAL version played on Exercise mode. While I could have recorded more videos of other games, I thought it wise to see how it went with just two, but I assure you that I'm eager to do many, many more.

I appreciate that this isn't the most interesting of posts, but watch this space, I'll post more news on this as soon as I get it.

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