Inside Pulse 12

The Gamer’s Conscience 01.27.03

This I’ll proclaim right now: it takes a lot to piss me off.

Take for instance this message board thread at the Neo-Geo.com boards. Because I fail to check a random price guide stating the supposed value of a Metal Slug AES Cart (that’s “Advanced Entertainment System,” for the non-elitists like you and me), I get flak from other members of the board as an exercise of their apparent know-it-all-ness. When I even try to rationalize it further down the thread, I still get mocked by someone whose “zenith of cool” includes playing off the name of an overly-hyped Kojima character, and quite possibly the highest degree on the poser-chain: the Nine Inch Nails fan. Fred wants to sell a CD-Burner, but no. Still, I have the satisfaction of knowing that my life won’t suffer the glaring deficiency that the first loser will in his search for the holy grail. And as for the other guy? Well, liking Nine Inch Nails heavily enough to have the handle “broken” is enough of a curse onto itself.

But that doesn’t ruffle my feathers. But I’ll tell you what does. And here comes the echo!

WHEN HOMEBREW HACKS GO AWRY!!!

Incidentally, much like the one I’m about to describe.

According to the jockies at Xbox Emulation, and as referenced in the link, you can effectively pull off this equation with relative ease: X-Box cable + USB Cable = non-inferior gaming pad on your computer. No asinine Gravis mumbo-jumbo to contend with, no putty D-pads from the sidewinders, and definitely no more keyboard trying to make Galford pull off his POW move in Samurai Shodown 2. I thought to myself, “Finally! something to work magic on NeoRAGE-X and NESticle! gravy indeed.” I figure since I’ve successfully modded my Saturn to play imports without the use of a 4-in-1 (the 5 is fictional, friends), I did indeed posess the skills needed to solder some spliced wires. Especially when the colors match, as indicated on the page.

And it’s not like this reads like un-vowelled Arabic or Greek. The whole page is written in plain English. The instructions are damned clear, and the procedure reads like this: since the X-Box controller is essentially a 40 dollar USB gamepad, you can snip the tip of it and give it a normal, standard USB head. This, alongside the proper driver, will allow you the gaming bliss of not having to spend heavy money on other controllers. Plus, it satisfies the DYI nut in all of us. Especially yours truly.

So, this past Tuesday, I decided to make a trip around town to hunt out my sacrificial USB cord (6 bones) and an X-Box controller extention cable. (Author’s note- I would have linked to a product page at Pelican themselves, but it seems that even THEY know that THEY manufacture an inferior product! More on that later.) So with the soldering iron, wire cutters, and the necessary cables, and the workspace at my friend’s considerably less dusty pad, we were off.

While cutting the USB cable, we ran into the exact layout as specified on the X-Box Emulation site: 4 wires: one black (GND), two data wires (green and white), and the +5 volt red wire. Still with me? Good. Standard issue is a good thing. Perhaps something that Pelican, or the real devils behind the name- Electro-Source!!!- could have taken into accout.

Upon cutting the cable, the breakdown was as follows: 1 yellow wire (ignored in installation), 1 red wire, 1 white wire, 1 BROWN wire, and 1 BLUE wire.

Brown and blue? FUCKING BROWN AND BLUE!?!?!? WHAT KIND OF COLOR-BLIND MONKEYS DOES ELECTRO-SOURCE EMPLOY ON THEIR ASSEMBLY LINES TO MAKE SOMETHING SO SIMPLE SO NEEDLESSLY COMPLICATED BY COLOR MIXING? Better yet, WHAT KIND OF HALF-HUMAN HALF-ROB (that’s the NES Robot Operated Buddy) CAFFINE-INFESTED AUTOMATON ACCOUNTANTS AND “R&D” PEOPLE LIKE TO CUT COSTS BY CHANGING THE COLOR OF A WIRE!?!?!

So, in the most humble manner possible: HOW THE HELL DO YOU MATCH THE COLORS OF THE WIRES WHEN TWO OF EM’ APPARENTLY DON’T MATCH!?!!?

After some desperation and the complete abandonment of rational thinking, we decided to MIX AND MATCH THE COLORS. No rocket science here, folks: this could seriously ruin the hardware- X-Box controller or the PC it’s connected to. One wrong volt up the wrong wire could end the whole venture. But because we were feeling really hard headed, and also because over there the Corona flows like water, we pressed on ahead in trying some alternate configurations. And what did we end up with?

Low and behold, the computer recognized a device. But I’m still pissed because it’s probably recognizing it as a mass-storage device (read: the memory card portion) and not the controller. Sad Christmas indeed.

So this is my gripe, folks: Rather than doing something as simple as keeping the color standard across the cable, Pelican/Electro-Source had to go ahead and ruin my day by intentionally making an intentional switch between the colors. My honest and humble effort of trying to enjoy non-hindered-by-Gravis gaming has been effectively put to a halt by the cost cutting measures of the PL-punks (look on top of any Pelican UPC! then you might get this joke). As you can tell, it’s not really the sheer buffoonery that Pelican/Electro-Source exhibited on this one product. OK, maybe it is.

Those of you who’ve read to this point might be asking yourselves if I really have a point to all of this. In the whole scheme of things, it might be minor. But I think my plea has some merit.

Because of the decision of one idiot up on high in the corporate offices of Electro-Source, a constituent of the very market they’re trying to capture has put out an inferior product. Granted the use of this product is not quite how the intended, but still- something as little as adhering to A SIMPLE COLOR CODE could have made the job so much damned easier. I want to throw a Plasma Blade with Galford in Samurai Showdown. I really do, damnit!

Instead of turning The Gamer’s Conscious into a rant this week, it could have been an entry of something substantive that you’ve all come to know and love. It could have been some mini-reviews that have become quite popular across the 411 Column spectrums. But not this week. Or maybe a post-Armenian Christmas entry entitled “Top 17 NES Games You’ve Forgotten Simply Because You’re Older” post. Can’t do that one either.

Just remember who did this; who wronged you, the reader. It wasn’t Fred- at least, not this time. It was some jackass that didn’t have the balls to negotiate a better price on the right colored wire for their extention cable. A jackass who works for a company whose namesake rests on a bumbling bird that gets no respect in any facet of reality.

Evil, through my hands, shall type out the name of your culprit: PELICAN.

Remember kids, having no balls on making the product right = bad gaming all around.
That’s The Gamer’s Conscience.


And now for some unceremonious plugs!


  • Bebito Jackson heads up 411 Games Rumor Down-Lo, a column that reads like butter and is twice as healthy. Damned great stuff compiled for your weekly dose of sweet gaming prophecy. !End plug!
  • A rare synthesis of quality and quantity can be found at Alex Lucard’s Retrograding Advance, a column that dares to chart waters where laziness would bar most writers.
  • While most of us are hung over, or wish they had reason to be, Joseph Stanley picks up the slack in The Weekend Wipe-Up, where you can find great writing coming from brain cells that weren’t sacrificed to Shiner Bock or New Castle. And in case you miss this column or others during the week, he offers the courtesy of convenient links within his precious HTML space, thus saving you one precious click.
  • (To the tune of the end of Gilligan’s Island)!and the rest, are HERE ON 411 GAAAAMES!!!

And, if you can’t stand reading what I have to say, then you might want to check out what music I like to spin by listening to my internet radio show at UCLARadio.com on Wednesday from 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Standard time, and post your praise/complaints here. If you like acts like Bad Religion, Pennywise, Alice in Chains, Metallica, etc, then you might like it.

Sweet candy.


Help Fred buy a Neo Geo or an Optical Switcher! Read this and follow the directions!

If you’ve read that entire thing, I commend your efforts. And if you have need of a CD-RW Drive, read further.
A couple of weeks ago, I procured a Brand New, never opened, Memorex 48x24x48 Internal CD-RW Drive. However, I figure that I have more use for this piece of equipment or this one instead. The drive retails for about 80 bones, but I’d be willing to get rid of it for $65 plus shipping. Look hard enough, and you’ll find some literature that’ll help get it running at 52x24x52. If you’re interested, you can use this link to e-mail me.


Thanks for reading! Until next week!