Armchair Arcade Issue #4 - August 2004

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Welcome to Armchair Arcade's fourth issue!


Welcome to the latest issue of Armchair Arcade. This month's cover is by industry mover Seb Brassard, inspired by Matt Barton's in-depth article on classic game audio. We're very proud to feature Seb's work and look forward to his future covers. Also new to this issue is Armchair Arcade's first video article, which is a roughly 10 minute feature on five Atari 2600 shooting games—brought to you by Bill Loguidice. We're also happy to release the System Ranking Matrix, a comprehensive guide featuring technical statistics, ratings and comparitive rankings for 75 U.S. game capable computer and videogame systems. The System Ranking Matrix will be an ongoing feature from this issue forward; as new information flows in (from our own research and reader feedback), we'll expand and improve the matrix. You can do your part now by viewing your favorite systems and making comments.

And we're not stopping there! In the future look for technical articles, how-to's and more creative uses of the Web's amazing potential (hint: video and Flash are just the beginning) that makes us a publication unlike any other. Of course there will be more of everything that you already love about Armchair Arcade...

Our thanks to everyone who has supported us and we look forward to a continued bright future with both old and new friends. As always, we love to get your feedback, both with the articles and on our forums. If you haven't already, register and start participating in our forum community. We love interacting with our readers and would be thrilled to have you! See you there!

Issue 4's articles:

The editors speak in this Issue's Hot Topic editorial: Games for Grownups

The Rise and Fall of Game Audio
by Matt Barton
What can you do with a computer that you can't do with an orchestra, and why aren't more people doing it? To answer that question, Matt takes us on a journey through the history of game audio and shows how big business and lack of artistic integrity led to the fall of true innovation in the field. The article is informed by Matt's personal interviews with greats like Rob Hubbard, Jon Appleton, Jan Harries, and George Sanger (The Fat Man).

System Ranking Matrix - Technical Statistics and Ratings for 75 U.S. Game Capable Systems
by Bill Loguidice
How does the Commodore Vic-20 compare to the PalmOS platform? How does a modern PC compare to the RCA Studio II? How do all four of those units compare to each other and dozens of other systems? These questions and more are answered in two ways for 75 different US game capable systems, with a factual, objective ranking, and a real world observation-based rating that is subjective. Don't agree? Have information to contribute or correct? Do so via each system's handy comment box. This will be an ongoing Armchair Arcade feature.

Violence in Videogames: The Second Person Perspective
by Buck Feris
This is part one of a two part series where Buck examines the effects of videogame violence. Where do you stand?

Scorched Parabolas: A History of the Artillery Game
by Matt Barton
Remember Scorched Earth? Worms? How about Artillery Duel? In this article, Matt presents an illustrated history of the artillery game, starting with obscure 70s BASIC titles and ending with the incredible new Scorched 3D and Worms 3D.

Atari 2600 Mega Mini Reviews: Part I [An Armchair Arcade Video Article]
by Bill Loguidice
Bill brings us our first video article, which features a lively look at five shooting games for the Atari 2600: Chopper Command, Defender, Fantastic Voyage, Space Cavern, and Space Jockey.

In Defense of Retro Gaming: A Discussion of Abstraction
by Buck Feris
Part one of Buck's multi-part editorial takes issue with those who believe a game's visuals are a deciding factor in whether it's good or not, thus eliminating a large portion of classic games with tremendous gameplay.

Head-to-Head with Popeye the Sailor
by Mark R. Wiesner Jr.
Mark brings us a look at the legendary Popeye and provides a comparison of the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, ColecoVision and NES translations of the arcade game. Which version will come out on top?

Sequential Access: Essay Nybbles
by Bill Loguidice
Through a series of five short essays in this first of a regular column, Bill gives us a highly opinionated look at some interesting topics as they relate to classic and modern computers and videogames: ESSAY 01 - Exploring Emotions and Sophisticated Themes in Videogames, ESSAY 02 - Defining Videogame Eras, ESSAY 03 - Perceived Value in Gaming, ESSAY 04 - Defining Past and Present Game Genres, and ESSAY 05 - Classic Games, Music and Movies. Don't agree with the conclusions? Take it to the forums!