Guide to Retro Game Hunting in Japan – My Hard Off Strategy

This is an article I originally wrote in 2017 on a trip to Japan. In Summer 2022 as the end of the Japanese travel restrictions are in sight, I wanted to move this article to our new blog. The information is still relevant: open google maps and go. You will have a great time.

I recommend you follow my favorite Hard Off hunter on Twitter: The man tours Japan, going by plane, train and ferry to find Hard Off stores.

There are quite a few articles online talking about Akihabara and a few more about Hard Off stores and which ones to look at. My article is rather more of a strategy guide, this is how I go retro game hunting.… Read the rest

Is a CRT market “price correction” due? Cathode Ray Podcast #28

There are some audio issue with this episode, I apologize for this and hope its not too bad for you to listen to

0:00 Start
1:00 Steve does Yoga with the Diamond Cutter
7:02 Steve selling fully serviced PVMs
14:10 More background on the MiSTer controller lag tester
30:00 Louis wants to lag test projectors now
34:00 Lag test a cinema projector?
43:40 Working on a Sony XBR CRT
52:00 eBay CRT “Market Watch” (with visuals!)
53:00 What does Steve look for in a cheap PVM
58:00 Is the retro market due for a correction? CRTs?

Lag Test Your Controller – MiSTer FPGA Input Latency Tester

This is the MiSTer FPGA input latency tester, basically its a lag test for your controller. It’s a homebrew device you can build yourself from an Arduino Pro Micro and a few cables. The test results are extremely accurate, down to fractions of a millisecond. If you have ever used the MiSTer Input Latency controller lag time database, those results were produced by this device.

I made a video about this project and below you can find the same instructions in written form.

The downside to this project is you will need to solder onto each controller you want to test. The Arduino needs a way to fire the button presses and we do that by connecting two wires onto the controllers PCB.… Read the rest

Repairing CRTs w/ Andy King – Cathode Ray Podcast #27

The Cathode Ray Podcast is a series with CRT shaman Steve from Retro Tech and Louis Zezeran from Zez Retro. Together we talk about CRTs, TVs and other retro gaming topics.

In this episode we talk to Andy King. Andy runs where he documents his work to repair and service CRTs. Andy also has a lot of experience RGB modding consumer sets and his website is one of the best resources available for that.

Andy runs a small CRT repair service based out of Northern California. If you are interested in his services, please reach out to him at

Tales from the CRT workshop – Cathode Ray Podcast #25

This week Steve and I have a general catch up on what we have been doing this week.

00:00 Start
04:45 Tell Him He’s Dreaming’ recap
11:05 SECAM discussion
15:00 PAL / NTSC / SECAM
28:00 Steve’s video on those big ass CRTs
34:00 Tales from the CRT workshop
53:30 We react to eBay CRT listings (dreamin’!)

Steve and Louis maintain a blog about their projects “The Cathode Ray Blog”

You can find the audio on the web or your favourite podcast app

Catch us on Twitter

For all your CRT repair needs, check out Steve’s channel

Steve’s trip to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The last week Steve was visiting Houston, Texas where he was running a series of workshops for the Museum of Fine Art. The purpose was to educate their curators of this museum (an several other notable museums) about CRT preservation and maintenance. Steve tells the story of his 20 hour drive to Houston, the different workshops that he gave and what he learnt about the use of CRTs in the world of visual arts. He also saw a great wrestling match.

If you missed last week’s episode, go back and check out Steve’s tour of prominent 20th century artists who used CRTs in their work.

00:00 Start
1:16 MiSTer S-Video updates
3:28 Steve’s trip to Houston
7:20 First day of presentations – PVM 2030 teardown
22:10 Steve tears-down a dotronix monitor for the first time
30:45 The HDMI to S-video converters driving the exhibitions
32:40 Backstage in the museums CRT storeroom
37:50 CRT or flat panel for visual art?… Read the rest

MiSTer FPGA S-Video & Composite Update – May 2022

Today I put out a short video giving an update on how work is going on the S-Video MiSTer FPGA cores by Mike Simone.

If you are not into watching videos, here is the script.

Antonio Villena Prototype Adapter

Last week Antonio Villena sent me a couple of prototype dongles which are designed to be used with these new cores. Remember, Antonio has had an external RGBs to S-Video and composite adapter available for years now which works with any core, you can see my video about it in the card above.

Antonio was nice enough to send me a prototype which works with the new cores and while some parts of it still need work, some cores already really great over composite.… Read the rest

CRTs in visual art – An art history tour by Steve

Recently CRT repair expert Steve from Retro Tech has been consulting for a museum, helping them preserve their collection of CRTs.

You may not have considered this before but CRTs have played a huge part in visual art in the 20th century. Almost since they were created, artists have been incorporating them into visual installations. In this podcast, Steve gives us a presentation showing a few of the notable artists from last century who used CRTs in their work.

The CRT visual art presentation starts at 36:51

Why are CRTs important to museums?

When museum curators are putting on installations which incorporate CRTs, they have many of the same concerns we retro gamers have:

Is this the same monitor that the artist originally designed this with?

Read the rest