Founded in 2003, Armchair Arcade is the award-winning Website of professional author Bill Loguidice and a team of leading authorities on videogame, computer, and technology history: Dr. Mark Vergeer, Christina Loguidice (author), and Shawn Delahunty (engineer). Their ongoing mission is to explore the complete history of videogames, computers, and technology in an intelligent, thought-provoking manner. Read all about us here. To join Armchair Arcade, use the Contact/Join button above to send us your preferred username. Armchair Arcade is also on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!
Bill Loguidice's picture

Living with the Surface Pro 2 - Part One

As I recounted previously, I decided to replace my Asus touchscreen Ultrabook (4/128 SSD, 13" screen, Windows 8.1) and Apple iPad 2 (64GB) with a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (8/256 SSD) and Type Cover 2. My thinking was that the Surface Pro 2 would effectively replace both devices in my man bag. Yes, there would be some concessions here and there, like a smaller screen (~10") than the Asus (which my youngest daughter now uses) and a weak app selection in comparison to the iPad 2 (which now sits on a dock on my nightstand), but ultimately, the increase in portability (a lighter bag!) and convenience of a single device outweighed the negatives.

While I used my iPad 2 for many things, my favorite function was as an e-reader. Since the iPad 2 does not have a retina display, it sometimes required me to zoom in a bit for certain types of reading material not optimized to the screen size (I'm looking at you, UK's Retro Gamer Magazine). Overall, though, it was a great reading experience for me and I've spent countless enjoyable hours in the Kindle app. It was also great to read at the gym when I was doing cardio (which I find dreadfully boring) after weight training (which I adore).

Naturally, the Surface Pro 2 would need to replicate the functionality of the iPad 2 for reading purposes, with the added bonus of its 1080p widescreen allowing for sharper text, which would hopefully translate into no longer needing to zoom in on very small details. Overall, the Surface Pro 2 performed well for me in this regard, though there were some quirks. For one, the iPad 2's screen is a 4:3, square-ish ratio, while the Surface Pro 2's is a 16:9, rectangular ratio. That basically means that the iPad 2 is more enjoyable in portrait mode (like a normal book), while the Surface Pro 2 feels a bit awkward (overly tall) in portrait mode (like all large, 16:9 tablets, really), making the Surface Pro 2's ideal reading mode landscape. Now, this was something I resisted on the iPad 2 because of the lower resolution and screen ratio, but it turns out that landscape (multiple columns) is actually a quite enjoyable way to read when you're doing it on the right device. Of course, I still sometimes read in portrait mode on the Surface Pro 2 - like at the gym - because that's what fits best on the various cardio machine holders with the Type Cover 2 attached (I'd rather not detach it and leave it on the gym floor) - and it's just fine like that, but, oddly enough, I think I now prefer reading in landscape. We'll see how that evolves going forward.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Chrome stops supporting third party plug-ins

ChromeChrome Google is joining together their YouTube and the Google+ platforms, whether users like it or not, but also has something else up its sleeve. By January, Google strives to have complete control over Chrome extensions and will turn off support for all third party extensions that are not downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. This all to supposedly make the browser a safer one.

Downloading Chrome extensions outside of Google's Web store will be prohibited come January. Until then, it is possible to download and manually install third party extensions on the Windows version of the popular Google browser. You can still do so by dragging the extensions to the Chrome://Extensions/ folder.

With this action, Google will gain complete control over their Web browser. Only Google will be able to decide which extensions will and will not be included in the store. A sign of things to come is the fact that earlier this year Google already removed ' Adblock' and ' Adaway' from the Google Play Store. And in January this will be a reality on Windows too.

Developers who want to publish an extension for the Windows Chrome version will have to pay a 5 dollar registration fee, and Google will take 5% off any revenues...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Holy Humble Bundle, it's Batman, F.E.A.R., The Lord of the Rings, and Scribblenauts!

Humble WB Games BundleHumble WB Games BundleJust when I said I wasn't going to regularly post about the amazing Humble Bundles, where you pay what you want for great games and can divvy the proceeds between various charities and the publishers, came word just now about the Humble WB Games Bundle. So much for that! Now it's pay what you want for Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, F.E.A.R. 3, and The Lord of the Rings: War in the North. Beat the average price (presently at $6), and you’ll also unlock Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition and Scribblenauts Unlimited. All games are available on Steam for Windows, while Arkham City is also available on the Macintosh. Check it out here!

Bill Loguidice's picture

The Humble Weekly Sale featuring Team 17's Worms and Alien Breed games - Pay what you want!

While we don't always promote the Humble Bundles due to their increasing frequency (and the fact that you should already be on their list!), we just couldn't resist passing along the info on the latest Humble Weekly sale, which features a whopping 10 of Team 17's games in the popular Alien Breed and Worms series. Pay less than $6 and get access to six of the games, or pay $6 or more and get access to all the games, each of which is accessible from Steam. As always, you can set how the money is distributed between all parties involved, including some very cool charities. Most of these games are exclusively for Windows, but a few of the games are also available on Macintosh and Linux. In any case, this is a great way to gain access to some amazingly fun games for very little money. If you haven't been following either series since they got their start back in the Commodore Amiga days, you'll be in for a real treat. Check it all out here.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Fez (PC)


FEZ - a puzzle game developed by Polytron Corp. Designed by Phil Fish. Released on Xbox Live Arcade intially and later on on the PC. The development of FEZ is partially captured in 'Indie Game: The Movie'.

You Play Gomez, a critter living in a 2D world that goes on a bit of a 3D adventure because of the Hexahedron scattering cubes around that Gomez has to collect in order to avoid complete and utter destruction of all that is known.

The cool thing about this game is that it uses 2D in a 3D world where the perspective makes moves and jumps possible that would otherwise not have been. This is done so by eliminating 'depth' or the Z-axis competely.

Graphics 10/10
Gameplay 9/10

This is NOT a real review but just me trying out the game. I recommend getting this on the PC as the XBoxLive version doesn't seem to get any updates to bugs (or it did corrupt a save file in the past) whereas the PC version does get frequent updates!
http://store.steampowered.com/app/224760/

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Outrun2006 Coast to Coast / Outrun2SP (PC)(Post Replay 2013)


Outrun2006SP a wonderful arcade game that found its way onto the PS2 and the Xbox as well as the XBox360 - not sure about the PS3 but I am sure it's on there too. Well at Replay 2013 I finally got the chance to sit down (barely as I am a tad too tall for the machine to really fit) and play me some Outrun2006SP. I also played the full sized two seater arcade game at the Namco Arcade at the Trafford Center but that also has a hard time accommodating my long legs (I am 6'8"). So my performance was hindered by me not being too good with the pedals resulting in some rather poor gameplay :P
After getting home today I figured up Steam on the PC and downloaded the PC version of the game I bought many eons ago and it worked great. I grabbed it at 60fps which YouTube sadly degraded to 30fps so the footage is not as smooth as the original. I just had to redeem myself a little - recover my crushed ego :P

Well here's a little of me playing the game on Easy and Hard. Enjoy!

Mark Vergeer's picture

Play Expo 2013 / Replay 2013 (Manchester UK)


Custardo aka Erwin, the wife (aka magically floating camera aka cameragirl) and myself went to Manchester (UK) for a couple of days to enjoy the Replay / Play Expo gaming event held at Event City near the Trafford centre. This clip shows our adventures there.

During the event we met some people we knew from Facebook and YouTube and we even got attacked by a Zombie that managed to infect me. RetroGamerVX's video on Replay 2013 - the bit where we get attacked by a Zombie:
http://youtu.be/IsjXklVdDPk?t=20m42s


Custardo has created his own footage & here's a link to his channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/custardoo

Enjoy.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Floppy Days Vintage Computing Podcast Episode 7 - Book mentions!

Episode 7 of Randy Kindig's Floppy Days Vintage Computing Podcast, entitled, Vintage Computer Festival Midwest 8.0, gives shout-outs to two of the upcoming books I've co-authored, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer and Vintage Game Consoles: An Inside Look at Apple, Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, and the Greatest Gaming Platforms of All Time. Though Kindig understandably butchers both my (it's actually pronounced "Low-joo-diss") and Boisy Pitre's last names (it's actually pronounced "Pete"), the mention at - approximately the 17:58 mark - is much appreciated. Kindig should also be receiving review copies of both books for future episodes of his podcast, which is a regular listen for me. Check out the episode here.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Hands on Impressions of the Microsoft Xbox One on the Xbox One Tour

My Xbox One (2014)My Xbox One (2014)In preparation for working on our upcoming My Xbox One book, Christina and I thought it would be a good idea to check out Microsoft's Xbox One console prior to its official November release. Thanks to the One Tour, we had our chance today in Philadelphia through an Area One party. Basically, what this meant was that we had to pick one of the three hour blocks of time, wait in line, and hope we could get in to experience "live music, live gameplay, and more..." Naturally, we were most interested in the live gameplay part.

Once inside the large warehouse area, we were treated to our choice of multiple game areas where we could sit or stand and play some of the Xbox One launch and launch window titles, which included: Crimson Dragon, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle, Ryse: Sone of Rome, Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood, Zoo Tycoon, and Kinect Sports: Rivals.

Getting ready with Christina for Microsoft's Xbox One event here in Philadelphia.
Just outside the venue.

Christina and the Xbox One truck as we wait to get into the event.
Christina waiting in line to get in. Note the Xbox One truck.

Chris Kennedy's picture

Arcade Repair Tips Volume 4 DVD

The arcade and pinball machine world is one filled with great individuals with big hearts.

Arcade Repair Tips has built a library full of helpful resources for troubleshooting and maintaining arcade machines. They have a strong YouTube presence with helpful videos, a podcast available via iTunes, social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook, AND a phone number to help you get that machine working.

In addition to all of this, they have made their videos available for purchase on DVD. These DVD volumes include many of the How To videos from Youtube as well as many extras as exclusives.

I recently sat down and watched the Volume 4 DVD and immediately wished I had had something like it when I first started working on arcade machines over a decade ago. This volume jumps into some of the really juicy topics of arcade repair such as troubleshooting games that are playing blind and rejuvenating a CRT’s picture tube.

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