After giving my impressions of Sony's and Microsoft's respective efforts at e3, it's time to turn to Nintendo. Since tomorrow is Nintendo's stated day to focus on 3DS stuff, today it was pretty much all Wii U. I think there was a lot there to keep the Nintendo faithful happy, but I think overall there's still some work to be done for those who felt burned by the Wii or who didn't respond to the 3DS. Regardless, here is my impression of what I thought the highlights were:
After giving my impressions of Microsoft's surprisingly effective conference yesterday - that is, considering the fact that they'll be competing against a major new hardware unveiling from Nintendo - I wanted to follow up with similar impressions of Sony's major announcements related to the PlayStation 3 and Vita. Nintendo impressions will follow after their big announcements later today. Unfortunately, Sony didn't particularly impress, with a similar mix of the usual types of new game announcements as Microsoft, just without much else of interest to augment it. Naturally, if any of these companies make any big announcements following their main events, I'll put up another post. With that said, here are the few Sony announcements from late yesterday I found of interest:
So, as the first day winds down, I thought I would toss out a few impressions of what I thought were the most significant announcements from the early part of the first day, which focused on Microsoft and the Xbox 360. Next, we should expect to see Sony's stuff and then Nintendo's major Wii U announcements, both of which I'll also discuss.
Two new articles (of five total to date) have been released that add new companion information to our latest book, My Xbox: Xbox 360, Kinect, and Xbox LIVE. Check out: Discovering XFINITY TV for Xbox 360 and Using MLB.TV on Xbox 360. The former covers using your console to replace a cable box and how to easily control movies and TV shows with your controller or Kinect, while the latter covers the ins and outs of the MLB.TV app. A third new article (sixth total in the series), authored by Christina, will be released shortly. Give them a read, and, as always, let us know what you think!
I sent the free sample of The Best of Creative Computing: Volume 3 (1980) to the Kindle app on my iPad 2, and I must say, speaking as both a historian and tech enthusiast, there are definitely some historical nuggets of genuine interest in there. The book was originally a 1980 release and collected more than 120 articles from the 1978 run of the legendary magazine. From the tone and content of the articles, you can definitely tell this was written for an unusually intelligent, sophisticated, and yes, geeky audience, which makes sense considering the type of individual who would be interested in computing in the late 1970s, and is a refreshing change from what tech magazines became from basically the late 1980s on as the potential readership expanded and the content had to be simplified accordingly.
Anyway, below you'll find a few select screen captures from the free preview, with a bit of commentary. I'll definitely be making this a purchase, since it's only $9.99 for the Kindle edition, and the original paperback often sells for upwards of $100+! Enjoy (and get the ebook!):
Cloanto has released the latest "R2" enhanced versions of their popular and easy-to-use Amiga Forever and C64 Forever 2012 emulators. This is great news for old and new fans of the greatest Commodore platforms, including all versions of the Amiga series (inclusive of the CDTV and CD32), and most of the 8-bit line, including PET, VIC 20, C-64/128, and C-16/Plus4. Around here, it's among our absolute favorite emulation packages and used as pack-ins with various devices, including the MCC, so you know it has to be great.
As an admitted techno-luster, I've been following the trend of 3D printing with intense interest, particularly as prices continue to drop from previously stratospheric levels. Gizmag reports that Solidoodle 2 has broken the $500 barrier--which puts it right in line with that sweet spot for home/hobbyist use. With that said, the output does look far rougher (particularly texture-wise) than I've seen from the more expensive units (which are double or more in price, though), but I'm sure that will improve over time.
Wouldn't you know it? After Christina posted earlier about our first author interview appearing on the Amazon Website for our latest book, My Xbox: Xbox 360, Kinect, and Xbox LIVE, we find out that the whole series in Que Publishing's OnGadgets&Hardware is available on their site. You can check out the links here (click on Podcasts) to each of the videos or watch the embedded versions we've included below. They're also available at iTunes and in audio-only versions. Thanks for the support!
I posted about this as a comment in another thread, but since this is such a big deal I thought I would whip up a quick front page blog post to give it its due. There's a new Kickstarter for an Atari 2600 version of Star Castle, a 1980 vector-based arcade game from Cinematronics that received an excellent port to the Vectrex home console in 1982. While the Atari 2600 can only produce raster, not vector graphics like the Vectrex, a recent port of the game was created by D. Scott Williamson, an original Atari programmer, albeit one who started working there six years after the 1982-release of Howard Scott Warshaw's Star Castle-inspired Yars' Revenge. Williamson was similarly inspired to create his Star Castle homebrew by Warshaw's creation, so he purposely limited himself to 8K of ROM for authenticity's sake, even though the cartridge hardware that he made could handle up to 64K.
Long story short, Williamson ended up wanting tens of thousands of dollars for his programming effort--a reasonable request if this were the platform's early 80's heydey. Unfortunately for Williamson, most homebrewers these days do it for the proverbial love of the game, so no one was willing to pay anywhere near that. In fact, in a convoluted AtariAge thread, his actions and subsequent reactions, not to mention that of the community's, eventually led to another homebrew programmer being himself inspired to create a version, which he released for free, here, and by all accounts is superb.
Undeterred, Williamson decided to take his case to Kickstarter, which you can see here. It's a genuine soap opera (one that I'm not even sure I have sorted correctly), albeit one within a niche of a niche within our industry. It will be interesting to see how this Kickstarter works out for Williamson. I'm certainly intrigued by the cartridge with flashing lights timed to the gameplay and admire his engineering effort, but $100 for a complete, boxed copy is a bit tough to swallow. Maybe with a bit of time I'll reconsider...
What are your thoughts on this mess? Obviously Williamson can charge what he wants for his work - and it's up to the market to decide what they'll pay (and they didn't pay the first time around; maybe this Kickstarter will be different) - but is he out of touch with the realities of the homebrew market? After all, even the best homebrews can struggle to sell 250 boxed copies at well below his $100 boxed copy asking price...