- Written by Rev. Robert A. Vinciguerra
- Category: Sci & Tech
- Published: 28 September 2009
- Hits: 1322
For the sake of not having to type out either long name that this console has, hereinafter it shall be referred to as simply "DINA."
Now that that's out the way, what is this DINA thing that I speak of? It's a console developed by the Taiwanese company Bit Corporation. It incorporates both a ColecoVision and a Sega SG-1000 into one unit. These were made available to US gamers in 1988 when Telegames USA began distributing the units via mail order for $40.
Most units were branded with “Dina 2-in-One,” but there is a variant that has the “Telegames USA” logo instead printed on the console instead. (By the way, does anyone else think it's weird that they spelled out “One” but not the “two”?) The console was available through catalogs, which apparently ended in 1994 when the stock was destroyed by a tornado. (Only in America, folks!)
So, that actually does sound pretty cool. After all, the ColecoVision was a great console, had great games, and some of the best graphics in the second generation, easily besting 2600 and Intellivision. The Sega SG-1000 is right on par with ColecoVision, only that buying a real SG-1000 can be very expensive. SG-1000 machines are highly sought after and impossible to find in the US. eBay auctions for these consoles regularly exceed $200.
While the DINA is somewhat rare, auctions seldom exceed $125, and I picked mine up for half that. To dispel an internet rumor, no, the SG-1000 slot was not disabled, it does work with SG-1000 carts, but it doesn't have a card slot. However, I can confirm that the Sega “Card Catcher” adaptor is compatible.
There's even a built in game, Meteoric Shower, (which was a Bit Corporation release for ColecoVision). Really, it's not bad for a free game. It's a Galaga clone, except the enemy formations come from both the top and bottom of the screen. Players have to switch direction to attack enemies. Actually, it's not that bad. I just wish the ship could move higher up the screen.
All in all, I thought DINA sounded pretty damn cool! When I got it, I didn't have either an SG-1000 or a ColecoVision. It opened up the door to two whole consoles for me; and I've had some great gaming experiences with some of those games. Unfortunately, I have not had a good experience with the DINA.
First, it doesn't come with a power supply. That is simply inexcusable. It's not like the Odyssey, which could run on batteries, this thing needs a power supply to operate. These were sold separately because – get this – they didn't fit in the box. Here I was thinking my whole life, “Gee, wouldn't it be great if I had to buy a power supply separately for every console?” It's not like you can't just buy a power adapter, but you need to know what type, and this thing doesn't come with an instruction manual of any kind. I had to actually track down an owner of one of these obscure consoles to find out that it takes an input of +12v at 300mA.
Second, it doesn't come with an RF switch either. Not that it should come as a real shock or anything. It does come with the cable; that sure was nice of them to include.
It doesn't even work with a standard RF unit of the era. You know, the “automatic” type, like what the NES came with? No, it uses the manual kind of a “TV/Game Switch” that you have to flip back and forth between TV and console each time you use the damn thing.
Amazingly, it does come with controllers. Color me shocked. These controllers suck, however. (My shock wears off.) They're rip-offs of SG-1000 Mark II controllers, but they're too light, and the cords come out the sides of the controllers. So, on Controller I the cord is in the way of the action buttons, and on Controller II it's like it's playing goalie, blocking your thumb from getting at the D-pad. Fortunately, standard Genesis and Master System controllers work just fine, and are recommended (by me).
Guess what, though? If you're wanting to play a ColecoVision game that requires the number pad on both controllers, you're boned. There's only one number pad, and it's on the console itself. Built in. This is very annoying, as it's required to start every ColecoVision game.
Like the controllers, the console just feels, well, empty. It's almost as light as a Game Boy, and it's four times the size. This thing is absent of any significant shielding. It's guaranteed to put wavy lines all over your TV screen. No shit, it does it even when it's not connected to the TV.
Did I mention that it only works on channel 13? This is an NTSC console, and you need to flip to 13. Not 3, not 4, but 13. There's no explanation I can fathom for that, unless they were trying to subliminally warn people that attempting to use this console is just going to be bad luck.
Well, it is bad luck. Getting a game to work is a chore. I put it in, and get static. I turn it off, unplug it, plug it back in, and it works, but the color is muted. I pick it up, drop it, and the color is fine. Sometimes I need to do this three or four times to really get it to work. After 15 minutes of playing or so, I've found that this thing can get pretty hot, so watch out for that.
To reiterate, DINA is a poorly made console that doesn't work well. My advice is to pork out the money for a SG-1000 or a ColecoVision, or both. Buy this console only if it's cheap, or if you really want a SG-1000/SC-3000, but don't want to pay the price for one, as ColecoVision consoles are common enough.