Episode 10: Xybots, BBC Micro, Reality is Broken, 3DS, iPad 2

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XybotsXybotsFight for your future! We're back with Episode 10! If you have feedback about the episode, please leave it HERE. Also - Don't forget to review the show on iTunes. We really appreciate it.

Click here to download the show.




Segments and approximate times below:

  • Mark Vasier on the BBC Micro (3:37)
  • Chris Kennedy and Aaron Wegner discuss Xybots (20:18)
  • Matt Barton dissects Reality is Broken (55:11)
  • Bill Loguidice discusses new projects, the Atrix 4G, Nintendo 3DS, and the Apple iPad 2 (1:27:13)

As always, we'd really appreciate any feedback you have to offer on the episode. You can leave comments here, email us, or review the show on iTunes. You can also subscribe to our RSS Feed.

The books mentioned in Matt's segment:

The books from the Armchair Arcade staff mentioned in Bill's segment:
     

Comments

Red (not verified)
The refresh button finally

The refresh button finally pays off. I suggested 10 10 minute segments for Episode 10, but oh well. ;)

Matt Barton
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Hi, guys. I haven't had a

Hi, guys. I haven't had a chance to listen to the show (plan to do so tonight!), but I did listen to the opening and Mark's segment. Outstanding work as usual. I love the work you're doing, Chris! You've really added a professional edge to the podcast.

Hopefully, we'll be able to record a live segment for the next episode. I think we're all pretty gung ho for that.

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Matt Barton
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Hi, guys! Finally got a

Hi, guys! Finally got a chance to listen to the whole episode. Thoughts below:

Mark: I particularly liked your segment this week. As an American, I obviously have little experience with the BEEB, so it was nice to hear so much about it.
Chris: Unfortunately, I never played Xybots so a lot of this went over my head. The coop mode does sound intriguing, though.
Bill: I think I can appreciate how stressed out you must be from so many simultaneous projects, Bill. Amazing that you found the energy to record a segment during all that. I have no plans to buy an Atrix or Android, but still like to keep up on it from a distance. It seems we're kinda stuck doing books that don't really appeal to us personally, which is really sad. It's a real shame we haven't been able to keep doing fun books in the style of Vintage Games, which I wrongly assumed at the time was going to be our mainstay. Poor ol' Gameplay Forever indeed...

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Bill Loguidice
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Books
Matt Barton wrote:

Bill: I think I can appreciate how stressed out you must be from so many simultaneous projects, Bill. Amazing that you found the energy to record a segment during all that. I have no plans to buy an Atrix or Android, but still like to keep up on it from a distance. It seems we're kinda stuck doing books that don't really appeal to us personally, which is really sad. It's a real shame we haven't been able to keep doing fun books in the style of Vintage Games, which I wrongly assumed at the time was going to be our mainstay. Poor ol' Gameplay Forever indeed...

Well, one of the main things I don't like about the "Dummies" and "My" series books are the rigid templates. Naturally, all of those respective books need to conform to a particular style - which is understandable and part of their branding and appeal - and as a result use very involved templates. You spend a huge portion of your time just wrangling the templates. It's not really straightforward, either. For both this latest "Dummies" and "My" series book, I'm also responsible for all the images, and those include elaborate callouts (particularly for the "My" book), something I really didn't have to deal with before. So it's a multi-step process. Write the chapter to in the correct style with the correct formatting applied via the template. Take the images. Do callouts for each and every image in PowerPoint. Only then is it ready for the first review by the publisher.

Contrast that with our work on "Vintage Games", which had a modest template and a style/format that WE set. It's a VERY different way to work, where we mostly just had to focus on the writing, not the other stuff. I'm not sure when my next opportunity to work on such a book will be (meaning, one without a rigid, pre-determined structure that has to be adhered to), but I'm sure it will seem like a comparative vacation to what I'm doing now.

And just to clarify, it's not so much the subjects that don't bring me joy (they do on many levels--I really do love ALL technology), it's the rigid structure that sucks any "fun" out of the process. With that said, while you can never truly master these templates, it does get a bit easier with each subsequent book for that particular publisher. Ultimately, if it really were that bad, I wouldn't take future projects from these publishers, and in actuality at least for the "My" series, it looks like we'll definitely be doing more titles.

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Bill Loguidice
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BBC Micro
Matt Barton wrote:

Mark: I particularly liked your segment this week. As an American, I obviously have little experience with the BEEB, so it was nice to hear so much about it.

I definitely enjoyed Mark's segment. I'm a BBC enthusiast, amassing a very nice collection for the Acorn Electron and BBC Micro itself (at least for a guy in the US). I never thought I'd get into that particular computer series, but I was lucky enough to acquire some good hardware. It really was released in the US, but man, you'd never know it. I don't think I've ever seen one for sale these days on eBay, and all I ever saw from back in the day were some obscure ads. It definitely was of the came and went variety, no doubt due to the failure of every other machine in that category at the hands of the C-64 and the crowded US market in general.

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Bill Loguidice
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Xybots
Matt Barton wrote:

Chris: Unfortunately, I never played Xybots so a lot of this went over my head. The coop mode does sound intriguing, though.

I would play this in the arcades quite a bit with my friends. I was never very good at it and the turning was rather annoying, but it was undeniably cool. I'm shocked there were so few home versions. I have the excellent Atari Lynx version, but as far as I know, there was only that a ZX Spectrum version of all things. It definitely begged for more power (though the Lynx was sufficient).

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Matt Barton
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Well, Red, I think you must

Well, Red, I think you must be our only fan! OR, wait--you're not a family member or editor-in-disguise, eh?

On a serious note, I'm sad to say I think ten episodes followed by crickets is enough, guys. I guess the world just doesn't need another retro and computer gaming podcast, even one with such excellent direction and production. It pains me to see us all pouring our hearts and minds into this, and only getting one or two comments as our only reward.

I've been thinking that we might be better off contributing our segments to some of the existing podcasts. I know one (ahem) that probably wouldn't even notice another 2 or 3 hours tacked on, and from what I can tell editors are really nice guys who would likely be open to the idea. What do you think?

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Bill Loguidice
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The podcast
Matt Barton wrote:

On a serious note, I'm sad to say I think ten episodes followed by crickets is enough, guys. I guess the world just doesn't need another retro and computer gaming podcast, even one with such excellent direction and production. It pains me to see us all pouring our hearts and minds into this, and only getting one or two comments as our only reward.

Yeah, I think the experiment is probably over. We had a good run, but this is not the type of thing that can be sustained without gaining SOME traction. We definitely appreciate those few of you who provided feedback and support, though.

Perhaps we'll retool the concept and bring it back in another form at some point in the future.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
Well me chiming in on

Well me chiming in on podcasts is.. err.. wrong as I dont listen to them. I have listened to about 6 total in my life. I have listned to 2 of the Armchair Arcade ones, a couple on 80's metal (you guys think you have no listeners..., try 80's metal the stuff everybody listened to (who grew up then) but would never admit it now). I really think if you guys are not enjoying it, dont do it, but if you are... why stop? If its about people telling you that you did good, I hate to say it.. but nobody does that anymore. Take a look at a NEW games forums.. there are a 1000 posts, one with the title "these guys made the greatest game ever" and the poster ment it, but the thread is full of hate for that poster and the game. And all the rest of the threads are about how bad or what should be fixed in the game. PEOPLE just dont comment on stuff they think is alright, people like to bit@h.

I guesss i look at it, if its not somthing you enjoy or have time for, dont do it, but if you enjoy it, maybe scale it back, go for slower releases.. of course those will both maybe thin your listnerers even more, but what can you do?

Dont look anywhre but each other for if you should continue, I say you should but only if you guys like it.

Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
Podcasts: Maybe the Internet isn't ready yet.
Matt Barton wrote:

Well, Red, I think you must be our only fan! OR, wait--you're not a family member or editor-in-disguise, eh?

On a serious note, I'm sad to say I think ten episodes followed by crickets is enough, guys. I guess the world just doesn't need another retro and computer gaming podcast, even one with such excellent direction and production. It pains me to see us all pouring our hearts and minds into this, and only getting one or two comments as our only reward.

I've been thinking that we might be better off contributing our segments to some of the existing podcasts. I know one (ahem) that probably wouldn't even notice another 2 or 3 hours tacked on, and from what I can tell editors are really nice guys who would likely be open to the idea. What do you think?

I'm a bit late to the party on this, but I have a few thoughts on this.

I'm curious if there's any way to gauge "ratings" for a podcast. Do you know how many listeners you actually had? For the record, I listened to, and enjoyed, them all. They were a total class act all the way through. Unfortunately, I didn't post comments on them.

There doesn't seem to be a "podcast" central, like there is for videos (Youtube) or music (several sites), that has hit the mainstream. If someone wants to hear a podcast on his or her favorite topics, where do they go? With Youtube, you can see how many "views" you are getting, and how many subscribers you have. With podcasts.... nothing? There's no "stumble upon" mechanism for podcasts, it seems, for random discovery, except possibly a very lucky "Google" search.

I suppose there's iTunes, but that's designed more as a storefront than a free content provider service. You have to install a program to get it going, and you have to provide your credit card info to get access even to the free stuff. And even if you get past that, I wonder how well iTunes "pushes" free podcasts over the latest music and videos that they make money on?

The show was, of course, very well done and worth listening to. I'm sorry to see it go. I wonder, though, if the Internet just isn't ready for the "podcast" revolution yet.

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