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Penny Arcade - Comic - American Ninja Warrior

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American Ninja Warrior!

Penny Arcade - Comic - American Ninja Warrior

Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

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    HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited May 20
    Those old controller sockets had GRIP, too. No quick release safety sockets in my youth. When you tripped on them the console got dragged off the table and the controller got yanked out of the player's hands and things got very scary while you reseated all the wires and put the disk/cartridge back in and restarted everything to make sure it still worked. Thankfully TVs had quite a bit of weight to them so they were usually fine, I can't imagine the number of kids my age who would be grounded *to this day* (context: I am 41) if we'd had plasma TVs in the 8/16 bit days.

    Hevach on
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    Johnny17Johnny17 Registered User regular
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

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    HevachHevach Registered User regular
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

    They were expensive. The one for the 2600 was $70 in the early 80's and caused problems with garage door openers making it illegal in some cities.

    There was a third party one for the NES but it wasn't much better than cords. If a person walked between you and the receiver, or you tilted it so it wasn't pointed straight ahead, it would disconnect and there was no way for the console to handle it except to freeze. Same problem persisted through the 16 bit era since most of the wireless controllers were IR.

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    LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    Repelling the youths sounds desirable. Carry on.

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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    Hevach wrote: »
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

    They were expensive. The one for the 2600 was $70 in the early 80's and caused problems with garage door openers making it illegal in some cities.

    There was a third party one for the NES but it wasn't much better than cords. If a person walked between you and the receiver, or you tilted it so it wasn't pointed straight ahead, it would disconnect and there was no way for the console to handle it except to freeze. Same problem persisted through the 16 bit era since most of the wireless controllers were IR.
    The wavebird was the first wireless controller I recall being good and easily available.

    steam_sig.png
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    dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    Hevach wrote: »
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

    They were expensive. The one for the 2600 was $70 in the early 80's and caused problems with garage door openers making it illegal in some cities.

    There was a third party one for the NES but it wasn't much better than cords. If a person walked between you and the receiver, or you tilted it so it wasn't pointed straight ahead, it would disconnect and there was no way for the console to handle it except to freeze. Same problem persisted through the 16 bit era since most of the wireless controllers were IR.
    The wavebird was the first wireless controller I recall being good and easily available.

    And that was 2002, 25 years after the debut of the Atari 2600, 19 years after the debut of the NES. And it cost $35, which would be $61 today.

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    RingoRingo He/Him a distinct lack of substanceRegistered User regular
    The Wavebird was the best controller ever made (with the exception of the C-Stick not having a thumbpad)

    Sterica wrote: »
    I know my last visit to my grandpa on his deathbed was to find out how the whole Nazi werewolf thing turned out.
    Edcrab's Exigency RPG
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    HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited May 20
    Intel had a series of dongle-based PC wireless controllers a few years before the Wavebird came out. They weren't as cheap but they weren't exorbitant either. And they would have been good, except Intel tried really hard to invent the wheel and uh... Well...

    fe6n4kocnh2f.png

    Hevach on
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    MarcinMNMarcinMN Registered User regular
    Heck, I still use a wired Switch controller when the system is docked.

    "It's just as I've always said. We are being digested by an amoral universe."

    -Tycho Brahe
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    Johnny17Johnny17 Registered User regular
    Hevach wrote: »
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

    They were expensive. The one for the 2600 was $70 in the early 80's and caused problems with garage door openers making it illegal in some cities.

    There was a third party one for the NES but it wasn't much better than cords. If a person walked between you and the receiver, or you tilted it so it wasn't pointed straight ahead, it would disconnect and there was no way for the console to handle it except to freeze. Same problem persisted through the 16 bit era since most of the wireless controllers were IR.

    Do you mean these? https://www.ebay.com/itm/175443697920 I have two of those but I can't remember the system crashing.

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    LttlefootLttlefoot Registered User regular
    Main advantage of pc master race

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    v2miccav2micca Registered User regular
    Man I feel old. After reading this comic I was thinking that wireless controllers haven't been the default standard for that long, have they? But then I realized that they became the default controller starting with the X-box 360/PS3/Nintendo Wii generation. And that is coming up on 20 years now.
    (Also, Double Dare being considered a dated reference that kids don't get also makes me feel decrepit)

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    palidine40palidine40 Registered User regular
    "Saw"?! Nah, brah. Pulp Fiction XD

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    BursarBursar Hee Noooo! PDX areaRegistered User regular
    TVs were smaller then, too, so you could sit closer. The cords from the back of the TV to the console required you to be pretty close to the screen, too.

    Nowadays it's all 30-foot HDMI cables leading everywhere.

    GNU Terry Pratchett
    PSN: Wstfgl | GamerTag: An Evil Plan | Battle.net: FallenIdle#1970
    Hit me up on BoardGameArena! User: Loaded D1
    Spoilered until images are unborked. egc6gp2emz1v.png
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    OverkillengineOverkillengine Registered User regular
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

    They were expensive. The one for the 2600 was $70 in the early 80's and caused problems with garage door openers making it illegal in some cities.

    There was a third party one for the NES but it wasn't much better than cords. If a person walked between you and the receiver, or you tilted it so it wasn't pointed straight ahead, it would disconnect and there was no way for the console to handle it except to freeze. Same problem persisted through the 16 bit era since most of the wireless controllers were IR.

    Do you mean these? https://www.ebay.com/itm/175443697920 I have two of those but I can't remember the system crashing.

    Every time I see old controllers with concave buttons, my thumbs twinge from the memory of getting the skin worn off them when I was a kid.

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    agoajagoaj Top Tier One FearRegistered User regular
    Hevach wrote: »
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

    They were expensive. The one for the 2600 was $70 in the early 80's and caused problems with garage door openers making it illegal in some cities.

    There was a third party one for the NES but it wasn't much better than cords. If a person walked between you and the receiver, or you tilted it so it wasn't pointed straight ahead, it would disconnect and there was no way for the console to handle it except to freeze. Same problem persisted through the 16 bit era since most of the wireless controllers were IR.

    Now I want a youtube video covering the history of wireless controllers and why it was so hard to make a good one before the wavebird. Are radio waves that hard??

    ujav5b9gwj1s.png
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    v2miccav2micca Registered User regular
    Also, on a completely unrelated side note, can someone please explain to me how Hideo Kojima can still look like he just is barely old enough to legally drink despite the fact that he has been making video games since the late 80's?

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    dennisdennis aka bingley Registered User regular
    v2micca wrote: »
    Also, on a completely unrelated side note, can someone please explain to me how Hideo Kojima can still look like he just is barely old enough to legally drink despite the fact that he has been making video games since the late 80's?

    A lot of it has to do with sun. In Japan, people who can do pretty consistently avoid sun exposure through hats, umbrellas, and sunscreen. That helps a whole lot. Japanese also don't grey as quickly as Caucasians. And finally there's weight. There's less obesity in Japan, which definitely causes quicker aging both physiologically but also cosmetically.

    Some white people still get lucky, though. Matthew Broderick is kind of the poster child for hardly aging:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Broderick#/media/File:Matthew_Broderick_2022.jpg

    This is him at 60. Imagine if his hair was still black and he was more slim. Even without that, I'd say he'd pass for 20 years younger.

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    GrendusGrendus Registered User regular
    Oof, yeah. My first PS2 died when my sister tripped over it. Scratched the hell out of Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, and damaged the laser to the point where it would only read CDs not DVDs.

    But I did learn to organize my rooms in ways that theres no traffic over where the wires are. The hard way, but learned.

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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    agoaj wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

    They were expensive. The one for the 2600 was $70 in the early 80's and caused problems with garage door openers making it illegal in some cities.

    There was a third party one for the NES but it wasn't much better than cords. If a person walked between you and the receiver, or you tilted it so it wasn't pointed straight ahead, it would disconnect and there was no way for the console to handle it except to freeze. Same problem persisted through the 16 bit era since most of the wireless controllers were IR.

    Now I want a youtube video covering the history of wireless controllers and why it was so hard to make a good one before the wavebird. Are radio waves that hard??

    Though not limited to wireless:

    https://pca.st/episode/beb1c596-7767-44a9-8124-679fa9d4c49a

    https://pca.st/episode/7ee15776-d495-45d9-87a6-c28dd7c838ec

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    HevachHevach Registered User regular
    agoaj wrote: »
    Hevach wrote: »
    Johnny17 wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure there were wireless pads going back to the Atari era.

    They were expensive. The one for the 2600 was $70 in the early 80's and caused problems with garage door openers making it illegal in some cities.

    There was a third party one for the NES but it wasn't much better than cords. If a person walked between you and the receiver, or you tilted it so it wasn't pointed straight ahead, it would disconnect and there was no way for the console to handle it except to freeze. Same problem persisted through the 16 bit era since most of the wireless controllers were IR.

    Now I want a youtube video covering the history of wireless controllers and why it was so hard to make a good one before the wavebird. Are radio waves that hard??

    There's several issues that make radio waves hard:

    1. Wavelength space is regulated and you can only use bands that have been made available by the government and generally only for given uses. This is why the old Atari one used the same band as garage door openers, which comes to problem 2
    2. Interference. Because wavelengths are limited you'll always be sharing space with other devices of similar enough function that unintended interactions can happen like the Atari controller opening garage doors (a specific type of interference covered by local law in some parts of the US).
    3. Video games need continuous, real time, and low latency control. Watching old airwave TV all these things meant the occasional pop of static or misaligned colors, or your neighbor watching TV a few tens of milliseconds ahead of you. In a video game it's the difference between a playable experience and an unplayable one.
    4. It's hard to take something that was engineered to have wires and replace those wires with a signal. It adds complexity and failure points but most importantly it doesn't add error catching.

    1 and 2 are largely solved by modern digital signals. They are lower power and shorter range so a band is more like a room full of hushed conversations than everyone shouting over each other. They also have fancy error correction so that small disruptions are accounted for with a couple extra bits and some math.

    3 and 4 are fixed by the ubiquity of computer power - a modern controller is itself a computer more powerful than some of the whole gaming systems once were, and the console or computer itself is full of secondary computer chips that offload various processes away from the CPU and GPU. Some problems are just easily enough solved by throwing megahertz at them.

    That said, 3 and 4 are sometime still problems sometimes. Latency and connection interruption are the biggest deal breakers with cheap or crappy controllers.

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    Dark JaguarDark Jaguar Registered User regular
    So very many wireless controllers before the Wii/PS3/360 generation had completely terrible reliability. The previous Gamecube was the first wireless controller that actually worked. The Wavebird changed everything. Heck, in some ways I like the Wavebird BETTER than modern wireless, because there's no moment of "negotiating" a connection, it's just instantly working so long as receiver and controller are set to the right microwave "channel". The rumble was missing primarily because the signal was entirely one way- controller to receiver, but it's still an amazing controller for playing Smash on.

    All that said, I have had exactly one moment where a sibling ran over my controller cable and knocked my console to the ground, and that was only because of the awkward arrangement I had in a hotel room at the time. At home, my setup is such that there's not really any way someone won't see what I'm up to long before they try to cross a mishmash of cables, and I keep my seat close enough the "slack" of the cable is across the floor instead of some precarious tightrope. Well, I mean it's either that or I'm lucky enough to have friends that watch where the hell they're walking.

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