Bill Loguidice's blog

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Pier Solar Unboxing for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive!

An overview and unboxing for Pier Solar and the Great Architects for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. This specifically covers the USA Posterity edition of the game. It's an amazing homebrew creation involving hundreds of volunteers and years of effort.

By the way, Super Thunder Drive III is a clever fake, and underneath the cartridge is a certificate of authenticity card. Mine is Copy number 11 of 800 for the Posterity edition! Oh, and the "posterity" bit means my name along with the hundreds of others who pre-ordered this edition are mentioned in the manual...

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Made the Switch from Firefox to Chrome

I finally tired of the memory leaks in Firefox and switched to Chrome. While I love the look/feel/interface of Firefox, enough was enough, as I'm a heavy extension user and like to leave a minimum of four or five tabs open at any one time. While Firefox now has a nice cross system sync for things like bookmarks and passwords (I dropped XMarks when they were debating about going out of business; they did recently get new funding), it also pales in comparison to Chrome's cross system sync, which sync's EVERYTHING in the browser, including all of your extensions and settings. What I miss in Chrome is the Google Toolbar (ironically) and the search box in the upper right of Firefox, where I would often search Amazon, Wikipedia and YouTube directly. There is no equivalent in Chrome as Google wants you to use the URL window as your search bar, which sadly allows for only one default search engine (in this case, I use Google), creating a multi-step process or requiring a different type of keyword searching.

A clean open of Firefox can start out anywhere. For instance, a clean open of Firefox just now started out 103MB on the iGoogle page, which is my default. Not touching it, it stabilized just under 102MB. A clean open of Chrome on the same system started out at 63MB. Opening up two Websites, Chrome shot up to 72MB. Firefox in that same time - again, not doing anything - shot up to 113MB. I then opened up two of the same exact pages as in Chrome and peaked at 142MB before settling down to 136MB. Now I can see Firefox leaking memory and shooting up to 185MB. Chrome is now up to 73MB. Firefox now just jumped up to 204MB, while Chrome remains at 73MB and occasionally as low as 71MB. So yeah, a serious issue with Firefox (and as type this, it's now up to 205MB) all in the span of a few minutes...

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Little Known ColecoVision Game Rediscovered!

The CAT Scheduled Oil Sampling GameThe CAT Scheduled Oil Sampling GameI thought this type of discovery deserved a bit of a higher profile, so here goes. Digital Press forum member, "Seaquest", posted about a game his father found about four years ago. I'll let Seaquest's words describe the finding:
"The Cat S.O.S game (Caterpillar scheduled oil sampling game)along with a colecovision was given to every cat dealership in 1983 to support the S.O.S. program. The customers would play it while waiting in the lobby. The game was made by the company Nuvatec. It was never sold commercially and could only be found exclusively in cat heavy equipment dealerships. My dad (who worked at cat) found that they were about to discard of both the game and the console so he saved it and gave it to me to add to my collection.

The game consists of a bulldozer that rides around and pushes dirt. Each dirt pile represents a "job". To keep from exploding you have to send in oil samples to the cat dealership ,then you will be told if the oil is good or bad. If you fail to do this occasionally your oil will go bad and your bulldozer will explode. To clean the oil you have to go to the cat dealership. The goal of the game is to make the most money from finishing "jobs".

I am pretty sure I have one of the last copys left in existense. If anyone knows anything about the value or has any questions please send me a message. Thanks!"

As you can see in the forum topic - which also contains more images - someone has already taken the charge to get the data off the cartridge and create a ROM of this amazing find!

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Is the PC's Reign Ending?

There's an interesting piece by Mercury News Columnist, Troy Wolverton, boldly titled, The PC's reign is ending, where he basically states that this is the beginning of the end of the PC's dominance as our primary computing device. This is the same basic premise as "PC gaming is dying", which we all know is an overblown idea that's been run up the flagpole since the 90's, but, as with that well-worn mantra, I have to agree there's some truth to the concept when it's not taken strictly as a sensationalistic headline. After all, many of us, myself included, have smartphones that perform the majority of functions we used to need powerful desktop or laptop computers for, effectively replacing them in a surprising number of situations.

Luckily, the article is not as superficial as the headline and opening, and does in fact make the point we've made around here time and again, that the reality is a computer by any other name is still a computer. So while it may not be a big gray tower under your desk or a clamshell notebook with a full stroke keyboard in your briefcase, it's really just an evolution of the form factor and more specific functional repurposing (e.g., a smartphone being designed around making calls first, or a videogame console being designed around playing games). The reality is when you factor in things like smartphones and now, tablets, computers are more explosively dominant than ever and will continue on such an upward trajectory until we reach the point of complete saturation and actual disposable computing devices. It's said everything will eventually have a microchip, and really, we're not that far off. I for one welcome our new computing overlords, no matter what shape they take or by what other category we try to place them in.

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Second Ever Magnavox Odyssey Homebrew in Development

Odball in actionOdball in actionThe second ever homebrew for 1972's Magnavox Odyssey console, a system we talked about here in one of our bonus chapters from Vintage Games, is now in development from the gentleman who did - appropriately enough - the platform's first ever homebrew, Odball (original AtariAge development forum topic here). This new game is thus far called, "Project Mentis", with preliminary discussion here. It sounds like a clever board game design, able to be played with or without the Magnavox Odyssey, and by either one or two players, which is why he dubbed it the "World's first single player Odyssey game". Though that's steeped in hyperbole, this is undeniably another cool project for a very unusual, but historically significant platform. While you're still in an Odyssey kind of mood, don't forget to check out the popular Chronogaming series we ran to learn more about the original games for the platform from the early 1970's.

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Arcade Nano Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Unboxing and Overview

Here's another quick, late night overview and unboxing, this time for the Arcade Nano Sega Mega Drive/Genesis device from AtGames, available at www.gamesbasement.co.uk, who were kind enough to provide me with a review copy. I will follow this video up soon with a formal, written review and direct capture of the device's output.

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Happy New Year from Armchair Arcade! Some thoughts and reflection...

As we enter our ninth calendar year of operations here at Armchair Arcade, I just wanted to take a moment on behalf of the entire team to wish everyone out there a happy, healthy, and successful 2011, and reflect on what has come and what will come around here. A lot has happened since Armchair Arcade's founding in 2003, some bad of course, but most of it very, very good. We released a year and a half worth of original Webzines before moving exclusively to an available-content-right-after-it's-created blog format, which began in October 2004. We've produced four major books to date, with the promise of more on the way. We've been in production on a major feature film documentary since 2009, which we expect to finish and release this year. We've been producing popular Web videos since 2004. And of course we recently entered the podcasting arena with our eclectic Armchair Arcade Radio, which is already onto its sixth episode. Though that's just the tip of the ongoing saga that has been Armchair Arcade, it's something I'm quite proud of and quite thankful to have you along for the ride after so many others have come, gone and even come and gone again (and again).

Anything new you'd like to see us tackle in 2011? Have other ideas? Have some feedback? Let us know in the comments. We always love when you make some noise out there!

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The Top Free Browser-based Videogame and Computer Emulator Sites - January 2011 Edition

I'd like to provide the latest update to my list of working emulator/simulator sites for various videogame and computer platforms. All of these enable play directly within your browser, so there's no sticky business of downloading software and finding the necessary game files to get it all going. These are all great sites and we should all show our support. This is the "January 2011" edition of the list and, naturally, I'd love to keep adding to it, so suggest away. Here goes:

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Microsoft Kinect from 1980

A short sequence from disc 1 of Cosmos: The Complete Collection, The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean (1980). Carl Sagan demonstrates a vision of a futuristic interface that involves simple hand motions, much like today's Microsoft Kinect. Just like the Apple iPad from 1986, it's just a matter of how long - not if - to make what seems futuristic or even impossible today a reality tomorrow.

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RetroGaming RoundUp 26 - We Forgot Star Wars (December 2010 Podcast)

Our friends over at the RetroGaming Roundup Podcast have released their December 2010 episode. The David Crane And Gary Kitchen interview are one of this episode's highlights. Check below for the contents of their latest production:

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