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Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 188: Joel Billings on the Decline of SSI

Joel Billings is back for one final time (at least for this interview series!) to tell us about the decline and fall of his one great company. Why isn't SSI with us today? Then there's the great What-ifs--What if Trip Hawkins had been at the meeting with EA? What if SSI had held off just a bit longer before selling out to Mindscape? Enjoy!

Download the episode.

Matt Barton's picture

Rob "MaximumRD" Daviau wins role in The Walking Dead TV show

"Cole E. Coe.": The pipe is made from leftover limbs and bones. Yes, that's real zombie juice in the cup."Cole E. Coe.": The pipe is made from leftover limbs and bones. Yes, that's real zombie juice in the cup.I have some great news for fans of The Walking Dead series and MaximumRD, YouTube star and longtime friend of Armchair Arcade. Last week, Rob was contacted by Sharon Bialy, who casts for the series. In an upcoming episode entitled "Mr. Goo's Castle," the characters must penetrate the lair of a psychopath named Cole E. Coe, who has boobytrapped an entire Canadian shopping mall, using the attract mode of arcade machines to lure in zombies. He dresses his undead prisoners as booth babes to lure innocent gamer survivors--who apparently can't tell the difference between live women and zombies provided they're wearing tight-fitting outfits and bodypaint. The nerds who survive are captured and then subjected to vicious retrogaming-related challenges that the Governor was never sick enough to come up with. These range from jumping over alligators and swinging on vines to escaping the clutches of zombies dressed as smurfs. You don't want to know what he's set up for the "Burgertime" room. It's terrifying stuff.

Apparently, Coe was a retrogamer before the turn who claims he is actually happier now, since there are much fewer new games coming out to distract him from his true passion of making grisly YouTube videos of carnage and death.

Congratulations to Rob! I can't to see his rendering of Cole E. Coe and watch how Rick and co. manage to escape his dastardly clutches.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Linux as a Desktop OS - how is it this time around?

Ever since the early 90s I have been experimenting with Linux. Editing the xconfig file with VI with all sorts of refresh rates and resolution values making sure not to make my monitor go poof in the dark. I am more or less system agnostic and like to tinker with all sorts of technologies and software so it is not in my nature to become a fan-boy or pick sides. I have been using Macs next to MS-DOS & Windows machines and have always more or less had a spare running some variant of Linux. Often with varying results where it was fairly easy to completely bugger up an install making you start all over again. The way to go was the command line interface combined with VI, both were not very intuitive and it could be a very nasty experience getting it all up and running. I never ended up replacing my desktop completely with a Linux install as there would always be cracks in the foundation, with certain things I needed not working or buggering up. So I stuck with Windows & OS X but the open-aspects of Linux really were a very big pull and I always kept an eye out for new Linux developments. So after many failed attempts to replace my Windows OS with Linux here I am trying it again to see if this time around it is all worth it.

Read more below to see/experience how it all went.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark plays... Zanac X (PS1)

In this video I take a look at the Japanese Playstation disc with the game Zanac X which is becoming more rare by the day :( Go check it out.

Zanac is a very cool series of Shmup games created by Compile. The game originated on the MSX and NES but also found its way on many other systems like this Playstation One version. It's very similar to other Compile shmups like PowerStrike, Aleste, Super Aleste, M.U.S.H.A. All these games feature a similar weapons system.

Other good Compile shmups are Blazing Lazers on the TG16 and Gunnac on the Nes.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark plays... Boggy'84 (MSX & Arcade)

A nice little platformer with gameplay somewhat remeniscent of that of Burgertime & Mappy. It was brought out on the MSX platform in Japan and also had an Arcade version out in Japan.
In this clip I show the MSX version and the Arcade version and talk a little about the differences between the two and try to play the game as well.

Taito released this in 1984.

Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 187: Lord British on Shroud of the Avatar

This week, I'm pleased to present a very special guest: Richard "Lord British" Garriott, the father of computer role-playing games. I'm sure this man needs no introduction with you guys. We talk mostly here about his Shroud of the Avatar kickstarter, which you definitely don't want to miss if you're a fan of Ultima and Ultima Online. The game will offer some really neat innovations, including a scalable multiplayer option and tons more interactivity than we've grown accustomed to. I'm in at the $125 tier for the box and cloth map.

Download the mp4.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Upcoming Release: Hyperkin's RETRON 5, the Ultimate Retro Console? (kitchen sink included)

Hyperkin RETRON 5 (mock-up)Hyperkin RETRON 5 (mock-up)Although we've been following the developments of Hyperkin's upcoming RETRON 4 closely, Slashdot reports that the company has surprised everyone by going straight to the RETRON 5. Hyperkin has had a spotty history at best of promising the moon and stars with their modern consoles that play classic cartridges, i.e., often falling down on compatibility and emulation, but it looks like they're determined to finally nail it, publicly stating they want 100% compatibility. The RETRON 5 can play the actual cartridges for nine systems, with transparent NTSC and PAL support: Famicom, NES, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, and the Game Boy. Hyperkin hasn't ruled out support for other platforms, pending parts, and it's certainly easy enough to imagine scenarios where systems like the Sega Master System and Game Gear would work just as well with the right adapters. In any case, even if it's just those nine systems/four system families, that's still a mighty versatile single console, particularly since you can update the firmware.

In terms of controls, the system will come with two nice looking six button bluetooth controllers (in fact, the d-pad looks a lot like the superb control found on SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Color), which can be charged with the console's USB port, but there are also six controller ports to use any combination of classic controllers in any combination of system modes, meaning two NES, two SNES, and two Genesis controller ports, and the ability to say, use an SNES controller for Genesis or NES games, as just one example (this includes full user configurable button remapping in all modes). Video is upscaled 720p over HDMI (composite audio/video is also supported for older televisions), with all kinds of options to support different aspect ratios and other video modes as the user desires, plus Hyperkin has claimed that all kinds of technological wizardry is in place to make these standard definition systems look and sound the way they're supposed to on modern high definition displays. Finally, of the remaining key features among a laundry list of them, the console will also allow users to create save states, support auto-save for when the system is suddenly turned off, offer a "cheat menu" (built-in Game Genie/Action Replay support?), and also offer "Manual & Passive Overclocking," which means both slowdown and fast-forward at any time (perfect for those overly chatty text-bubble-based classic games).

Obviously, all of that is a lot to promise, particularly at a sub-$100 price point, but we'll certainly be waiting anxiously for the official release after June to put this potential flying unicorn through its paces. Check out the video presentation for the RETRON 5 at the Midwest Gaming Classic below:

Mark Vergeer's picture

Windows 8 - issues resolved?

Windows 8 you either hate or love it, it's hard to somehow be in between. I've discovered it works great on a media center PC as well as a tablet but it just won't work well on a desktop PC or a Laptop/Notebook where you are using various programs in a multi tasking environment. On a productive system the Metro (I somehow keep calling it Metroid in the video :P ) interface keeps getting in the way.

I found a solution. Read more below.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark plays... Space Manbow (MSX2)

Space Manbow by Konami was a great shmup that shared a lot of family resemblances to Gradius and Parodius. It featured a very similar weapons system. A great game and a must-have for any MSX2 owner who likes shmups.
Sadly this game never was released outside of Japan.

It did come out on cell-phones/mobile phones in Japan in 2006 and it came out on the Wii's Virtual Console in 2009, sadly also Japan only.

The game only comes on cartridge and it features a special SCC soundchip that greatly enhances the sound capabilities of the MSX2 platform. A great looking, sounding and playing game.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark plays... Galaga Destination Earth (PS1)

Galaga Destination Earth is a turn of the century incarnation of the well known Galaga game. But it has a twist to the gameplay making it into a bit of an all compassing shmup. It shares similarities with Gyrus, Gradius and even Panzer Dragoon Ortha. Go check it out.

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