Sunday, August 20, 2017

To Error 16 is... Frustrating

Yeah, it's that damned Xbox again. I'm not even sure why this is bothering me so much. My usual pattern of behavior for a recent gaming purchase is that I obsess over it until it arrives, mess with it for a couple of days, then lose interest and forget it ever existed. Unfortunately, if the plaything in question isn't working, that pattern quickly becomes a DO...LOOP with me permanently stuck in the obsession stage, because I was never able to advance to the other two lines in the program. 

All I can think about right now is the Xbox I can't play, even though I've got plenty of other game systems, and even though repairing this particular console will cost more than it's worth. I've got a mod chip coming in the mail, but all the stuff I'll need to install it (flux, desoldering braid, a better soldering iron, etc. etc.), will actually cost me MORE than just buying another damn Xbox. I might be able to hack into the hard drive and reinstall the dash using a hot swap, but I'd need an old desktop computer to make this happen. Normally these junkers pop up like weeds, but now that I could actually use one, they're nowhere to be found.

Knowing this Xbox could be repaired without having the resources to do it is a special kind of agonizing. It's like water torture for nerds.

Hopefully I'll be able to tear myself from this unhealthy fixation long enough to write something people might want to read. First things first... Sonic Mania is out, and it's getting rave reviews from critics, fans, and pretty much anyone else who's ever enjoyed a Sonic game. I'm watching footage of it right now, and it's a lot like the original trilogy on the Genesis, except everything's just a bit brighter and more ambitious than it was in the 1990s. Rings shine with a golden luster, the animation has doubled, and there's scaling, rotation, and even occasional polygonal effects that would have been well beyond the reach of Sega's most popular game system.

image from
I've had friends claim this is the Sonic game the Sega Saturn should have gotten, and maybe the system could have handled it. Realistically though, the late 1990s wasn't the right climate for Sonic Mania... it would have been skinned alive by magazines like Next Generation, which panned 2D games like this by reflex. No, 2017 is the perfect time for this one, now that side-scrollers are back in style and players are hungrier than ever for the old-school Sonic experience. (I'm not sure why anyone would want to go back to Blue Spheres, but it's here too, just in case your misplaced nostalgia demands it.)

There was something else... oh yeah! Now that I've got a TurboGrafx-16 emulator on my 3DS, I've been spending a lot of time with Ninja Spirit. This Irem release is a bit like The Legend of Kage, and a bit more like Ninja Gaiden, except it distances itself from those two games with a more versatile weapon system. Your hero is armed with a katana, throwing stars, explosives, and a sickle, and can switch between them to better suit the player's fighting style and the situation at hand. After you've powered up these four weapons and have two shadow ninjas trailing behind you, the screen quickly becomes choked with shurikens, explosions, and the corpses of fallen ninjas. 

Irem sure knew how to make a strong first
impression with bosses like this one, didn't they?
(image from
The constant carnage is almost too much for the TurboGrafx to handle, with noticeable slowdown and flicker. On the other hand, the beefier arcade version might be too much for you to handle, since one hit is all it takes to bring down your warrior. Whether you choose the console or arcade version of Ninja Spirit, you're sure to enjoy yourself. Just try to resist the temptation to smash your controller with a hammer while playing it.


  1. Hey Jess. I have an extra Xbox here if you need it. It has the problem of not opening unless there is a disc in the drive, but works just fine otherwise. I'd be willing to donate it to the cause for the cost of shipping from Ohio. Let me know man.

    1. Tempting. How much would shipping be? Let me know.

    2. Thanks, by the way! Oh yeah, the disc thing... please explain that. Will it read discs? What do I need to do to get the drive door open? I'll have to get at least one disc in there to do the soft mod.

  2. Apparently the magnet that holds the disc in place can start keeping the disc door from opening when the Xbox ages. The easiest fix is just leaving a disc in the drive, or giving it a good whack on top when it tries to open. :) It reads discs just fine though. You should be able to swap it out with the drive from your other Xbox I would think.

    It's dusty and dirty from when I rescued it from a thrift store, but seems to work just fine. It's just been hanging out in my basement so it could probably use a good cleaning inside and out. I've already soft modded the system as well.

    Without shipping materials it weighs 8.5 pounds. Where are you at again? If nothing else I should be able to cram it into one of those flat rate boxes. :) Want me to get in touch with you privately? I think I've seen you post over at AtariAge so I can PM you there if you want.

    1. You're at AtariAge? I was unaware! Yeah, let me know what your handle is and we'll get things done there.