Blockbuster Mini VHS Game Case Review

I am an easy mark when it comes to weird retro stuff.. A few weeks ago I learned of the Retro Fighters Blockbuster VHS Mini Game Case, a case for Nintendo Switch games that looks like a Blockbuster rental complete with a replica VHS tape inside. This is the subject of my latest review.

The case, an officially licensed Blockbuster replica, is designed to hold Nintendo Switch games, capturing the essence of a bygone era of home video rental. Purchased from Stone Age Gamer (compensated affiliate link), this $20 item is likely going to be in short supply given its very niche appeal. It is manufactured by Retro Fighters, known for their retro gaming accessories and controllers.

Unboxing the product, the first component that caught my eye was the miniature Blockbuster case. Although smaller than the VHS cases many of us picked up from Blockbuster on a Friday night, the detailing is impressively accurate, complete with a generic label and a barcode, mimicking the original Blockbuster aesthetic. The case even includes an address for a fictional Blockbuster location.

The next component, central to the product’s function, is a faux VHS tape, which houses the Nintendo Switch games. This miniaturized tape, while not functional in the traditional sense, features movable wheels and a decent weight, contributing to its realistic feel. The tape opens up to reveal storage for 12 Switch games and four microSD cards. The design ensures games are securely held, with a slightly rubbery surface inside for added grip.

Assembling the case with the tape inside completes the nostalgic experience. It’s a creative and playful way to store and transport Nintendo Switch games, merging modern gaming with a touch of retro flair.

With all of the chatter about the end of physical media, this product makes a bit of statement. It pays homage to a dead physical media distribution while housing modern physical games!

Hallmark Keepsake NES Zelda Cartridge Mini Review

As someone who has never been particularly drawn to Christmas ornaments, I found myself intrigued by Hallmark’s Keepsake ornaments, especially those that resonate with my passion for retro video games. The latest addition to my collection is the NES Zelda cartridge ornament, which not only appeals to my gaming nostalgia but also stands out for its solid metal construction. Check out my short review here.

The ornament is a diecast metal version of the original Nintendo Zelda cartridge, known for its distinctive gold color—a vivid memory from when I first purchased it years ago. It’s much heavier than expected, requiring a sturdy branch for display.

What sets this Zelda ornament apart from others in my collection, like the Sega Genesis, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Dreamcast, is the absence of electronics. Unlike its counterparts that play sounds from their respective games, this ornament is purely a visual representation. It’s a smaller yet faithful reproduction of the original cartridge’s appearance.

Upon a closer look, the ornament does require a bit of polishing, possibly due to some condensation build-up, a natural occurrence given its metallic nature and my current cold environment. Its design is very close to the original cartridge that was released in 1987 in North America. You can see the two side-by-side in the video.

Nintendo 64 to HDMI on a Budget!

In my latest video I take a look at some budget friendly options to get your old Nintendo 64 working on your modern HDMI television.

The most straightforward method would be using the composite output if your television has composite inputs. But not all televisions do a very good job displaying composite signals properly.

A better way is to get a decent line doubler or scaler to process that signal into something that’s more compatible with modern HD and 4k televisions. I stumbled upon two budget-friendly solutions for this purpose through the Amazon Vine review program: the Pound Link Cable and another device from a company called RuntoGOL. Both devices plug directly into the Nintendo 64 and promise high def output via HDMI. But do they deliver on this promise?

Before diving into these budget options, I explored the higher-end solutions to set a benchmark. The RetroTink products, particularly the RetroTink 2x and the 5x, are renowned in the retro gaming community. These devices are really perfect – they offer a near-zero lag experience with stunning visual quality. But they are quite expensive, starting at $149 for their lowest cost version available at the moment.

However, the Pound Link Cable and the RuntoGOL Adapter are significantly less expensive coming in at under $30 each.

Unfortunately you get what you pay for with the least expensive RuntoGOL Adapter. It stretched the game’s aspect ratio, making everything appear squished. The image clarity was also subpar, likely because it sourced the video from the composite output. Additionally, it introduced noticeable input lag.

On the other hand, the Pound Link Cable was a pleasant surprise. Despite its low cost, it delivered decent image quality by sourcing its visuals from the Nintendo 64’s S-Video output. The aspect ratio was preserved, and the games looked as they should. For casual retro gamers looking for a quick and affordable solution it checks the box. However, like the RuntoGOL Adapter, it also suffered from input lag that was about double vs. what I experienced with the Retrotink products.

For those looking for resources on retro gaming, the best place to start is my friend Bob at retroRGB.com. This website offers invaluable insights into getting the most out of retro game consoles. From modification guides to non-mod solutions, it’s a treasure trove for enthusiasts.

So what’s the best way to experience retro games? On an old tube CRT television of course! And the best part is that you could probably find someone to pay you to take their old TV away! A win-win!

Disclosure: The RuntoGol and Pound cables came in free of charge through the Amazon Vine program. I had no contact with the manufacturers, no one reviewed or approved this video before uploading, and no other compensation was received.