Vintage Games Bonus Chapter Published - Elite: Space, The Endless Frontier

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Gamasutra has released the fourth of nine bonus chapters not found in our book, Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario and the Most Influential Games of All Time. The new bonus chapter is called, Elite: Space, The Endless Frontier, and like the other bonus and in-book chapters covers not only the title game, but discusses those games that influenced it, what it influenced, and the genre in general. You can read more about the book at its main page, where you'll also find links to the other online bonus chapters and well over 100 online bonus images not found anywhere else. The next bonus chapter will be on Rogue and will be released May 2009. Enjoy!

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yakumo9275
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Interesting, I wonder if its

Interesting, I wonder if its one of those polarising games. I never liked elite itself but loved some of its inspired titles like solar winds (on palm) and less random ones like Starflight and Spacerogue.

The concept of the billion random galaxies on a disk thing was so awesome tho.

-- Stu --

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Matt Barton
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Of course, I recently played

Of course, I recently played this game on Matt Chat, so it's still fresh in my memory. One thing about it, though, is that there seems to be less reason to play the original version when there are so many sequels and derivatives with better graphics and what not. This fact is arguably untrue about some of the later games with more focus on story and missions. In any case, the BBC Micro version I played would stutter whenever there were explosions or more than one or two enemies on the screen. I don't seem to remember this problem with the C-64 version, but I could be "misremembering," to use Bill's term. :)

I've been trying to remember an Elite clone I played in the late 90s without success. It did have a story and so on, but I ultimately got tired of it and quit. However, there are plenty of great looking space sims out there.

X3: Terran Conflict is a new one that looks great. Might have to check it out.

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Matt Barton
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Too Quiet

What's with the silence regarding this article? I was really proud of it, but it no one but Stu seems to care about it. Do you other guys just think it sucks or something?

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Bill Loguidice
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Reactions to this stuff - My thoughts
Matt Barton wrote:

What's with the silence regarding this article? I was really proud of it, but it no one but Stu seems to care about it. Do you other guys just think it sucks or something?

I doubt that's it. Like I mentioned in e-mail, Elite, much like the next one, Rogue, have been done to death before, so, no matter how good they are (and even I'm proud of some of the connections to other games and other games mentioned in it that I snuck in there), they just won't net much reaction. Also, both Elite and Rogue (as examples) don't have much mainstream gamer crossover appeal--you have to be a "real" gamer to even know about them and then bother to read it to in turn become excited about them.

I think Pong received a decent reaction because the article covered a lot of history, even though Pong itself is too "been there, done that". Pinball Construction Set received a great reaction simply because it's one of those legendary titles that doesn't receive enough coverage, plus it was able to tie into the whole "user generated content" movement. Tony Hawk - well, it wasn't particularly good or bad as a chapter - but the most interesting part was receiving "mainstream" attention from both the Tony Hawk official site and skater sites; there was a hook beyond the usual audience, which really didn't respond. I already touched on Elite and next month's article, Rogue, which I think will receive a similar reaction as Elite. After that is Spacewar!, which may receive some novelty attention, a la Pong, but I'm not optimistic for that because again, it's a well worn story, though we do cover some interesting angles and take focus away from Spacewar! itself, since it's already been discussed in other bonus chapters.

After that is Defender and then Robotron, both of which I think will be very well received, since both have kind of a broader appeal and haven't received an excess of coverage to this point. I think Robotron in particular will elicit a great reaction. Finally, the last bonus chapter, Star Raiders (September 2009), will be the most interesting to me. We pretty much avoid going on and on about the game, but make some interesting connections. It will either be well received or hated because of the angle we took, but it will certainly get the attention of the Atari fan community, which always helps. In short, there has to be some hook to either get masses of gamers excited or interested, or a particularly vocal community (a la the Atari one) to drum up reaction - good or bad. Some topics do that, some don't. In the end, it's not about one chapter in the book or online, it's about the whole, the sum of the parts. With that, I think we've had a great success.

Of course, I'm dying to see some reviews and get some more Amazon reaction. That part of the equation puzzles me, as the review copies have gone out long ago. Why the silence in regards to that? I just don't know.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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Too Full?
Bill Loguidice wrote:
Matt Barton wrote:

What's with the silence regarding this article? I was really proud of it, but it no one but Stu seems to care about it. Do you other guys just think it sucks or something?

I doubt that's it. Like I mentioned in e-mail, Elite, much like the next one, Rogue, have been done to death before, so, no matter how good they are (and even I'm proud of some of the connections to other games and other games mentioned in it that I snuck in there), they just won't net much reaction.

I'm not sure Bill's assessment explains everything.

I, of course, read the "Elite" chapter and liked it. I read it three times, as a matter of fact. It delved into certain areas that were unexpected, like the philosophical connections of "Elite" with Capitalism! That's an interesting angle, and would be fun to explore. In this sense, it was quite different from the previous bonus chapters, in some ways upping the ante. (And, of course, the chapter itself was well-written and compelling.)

I think "Elite" is NOT as underground is you're making it out to be. It's no more "done to death" than "Pong" or just about any other chapter in your book, and probably much less so. Elite has such a legendary status that I doubt it's any more obscure than "Pinball Construction Set."

It might be timing. The previous chapters were a novelty because they came out before "Vintage Games" began shipping. Here might be an interesting analogy: a movie. Before the movie is released, trailers are released to build interest (i.e. your VG "bonus chapters"). Now the movie is released, and it's a hit (VG is published). Now extra content is placed on the DVD release, be it deleted scenes, making of documentaries, or whatever (i.e. current bonus chapters from here on out).

Naturally, people aren't going to get as excited about the bonus materials after the real deal is published. And as much as I enjoyed "Matt Chat: Elite," it might be unfortunate that it was released so soon coinciding with the bonus chapter, since it covered a fair amount of the same material.

When the first "bonus chapters" were released, there was a thrill of novelty, but now, after reading essentially 30 chapters of "Vintage Games," including the book and the bonus chapters, the novelty isn't there anymore. Again, unfortunate timing, since probably many readers (including myself) haven't had time to recover from reading "Vintage Games" and "Matt Chat." It's sort of like stuffing yourself with a banquet; no matter what delicious foods are thrown at you, you're too full to really enjoy it. Perhaps next month (or further), more interest will build in the forthcoming chapters, since the readers might be "hungry" again.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Matt Barton
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elite and ale
Rowdy Rob wrote:

When the first "bonus chapters" were released, there was a thrill of novelty, but now, after reading essentially 30 chapters of "Vintage Games," including the book and the bonus chapters, the novelty isn't there anymore. Again, unfortunate timing, since probably many readers (including myself) haven't had time to recover from reading "Vintage Games" and "Matt Chat." It's sort of like stuffing yourself with a banquet; no matter what delicious foods are thrown at you, you're too full to really enjoy it. Perhaps next month (or further), more interest will build in the forthcoming chapters, since the readers might be "hungry" again.

That's an interesting thought, Rob. I'll have to ponder this for awhile. It might be comparable to fine Belgian ales. If you only have one or two, it's utterly fantastic. However, if you were to try to drink 7, you'd appreciate it much less, simply because you'd be too drunk to really savor the flavor. On the other hand, if someone were traveling through Belgium on his way to his vacation in France and purchased 7 fine Belgian ales, I'd be happy to put this to the test.

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Bill Loguidice
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Good thoughts, Rob, but I

Good thoughts, Rob, but I still stand by my impact analysis. It's certainly one thing for all of you guys to have Bill and Matt fatigue, but the rest of the world either picks up on a topic or it doesn't (they can't possibly have fatigue as we're more or less ignored externally). The Elite chapter's response is quite muted, even by the UK audience, who eats that game up. So I stand by my theory of why certain titles will do better than others in general impact and reaction. Of course, only after each one is released will my analysis be proven right or wrong, but I'm going with my gut on this one and my gut is usually pretty accurate when it comes to stuff like that.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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Who's right?
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Good thoughts, Rob, but I still stand by my impact analysis. (....) Of course, only after each one is released will my analysis be proven right or wrong, but I'm going with my gut on this one and my gut is usually pretty accurate when it comes to stuff like that.

My gut is pretty accurate too! It could be that we are both right in some respects. Gamasutra regulars have gotten accustomed to VG bonus chapters (and possibly have read VG as well), and may not be as enthused as they were when the "Pong" chapter came out. But, Elite and your next chapter are probably more obscure games (to Americans), meaning less response.

In upcoming months, you have "Star Raiders" and "Robotron," which will probably generate a great deal of response, proving my point! And yours!

Even if I'm wrong (or you are), so what, you guys are still kicking major butt, so take the ebbs and flows of the Internet (or life) in stride and keep moving forward. It's unfortunate that Matt caught the "ebb" of the stream with the release of his chapter, but oh well. The "Elite" chapter still rocked, even if few will comment on it.

The overall picture I see: two guys who didn't know each other that were mere forum posters on the RGR forum are now multi-published book authors and film producers. Impressive.... most impressive. :-) You guys kept moving forward.... (to paraphrase "Rocky Balboa')

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Calibrator
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Time is of the essence!
Matt Barton wrote:

What's with the silence regarding this article? I was really proud of it, but it no one but Stu seems to care about it. Do you other guys just think it sucks or something?

You guys are producing too much input for me ATM!
I simply haven't had time to read the article and I've also read only three chapters of the book - other things occupy my mind too much at the moment.
Ignoring the recent thread we had about Elite which I remember vividly I'm fairly sure that this article is up your usual quality level - in fact you bear the honor of being the only author I've bought two games-related books from! ;-)

take care,
Calibrator

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yakumo9275
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Well, I will spam the rogue

Well, I will spam the rogue article all over rec.games.roguelike.development/misc ;)
Defender wooo that should be a good chapter.

I dont think elite aged well (outside of concept) and it does not really have a huge retro following as a genre in itself.

-- Stu --

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