Today, Good Old Games (gog.com) shut down. It was one of the very few ways available to customers who want to purchase a game that's more than five years old. This is sad news, but not nearly as sad as the cannibalistic reality that we've been living with for a very long time.
"Abandonware" is a term that should fill the heart of anyone who cares about computer gaming with shame. Imagine if you couldn't buy or borrow a book written more than five years ago - or if older films like Casa Blanca or Citizen Kane were simply impossible to get your hands on. The grim situation - if you're not already familiar is this. After a game is about 5 to 10 years old, two things happen. Firstly, it is "succeeded" by a sequel. Instead of adding bug fixes, new content and other improvements to the original game, those are usually released in a new box and sold as a separate piece of software. Then, the old software is simply forgotten, and it is assumed that no one cares about them and they are not sold. The other problem that leads to the existence of Abandonware is the insane, frothing-at-the mouth technology arms race that we've found ourselves embroiled in since day one. Technology has, of course, always been linked to computer games; but for the past twenty years, the situation has been ridiculous. If your software is more than six or seven years old, chances are most people won't even have a suitable platform to play your game on.
While charging my Kindle up last week I left the 3G on and lo and behold I got a free upgrade to the firmware. The first thing I noticed is the font change (though this does tend to vary from book to book) and the fact that page turns are now a bit quicker.
I was certainly happy to see that the St. Cloud Times has printed a very nice article about me in today's paper. You can read it here: SCSU professor takes video games to new level. I was really impressed with the reporter David Unze and the very talented photographer Jason Wachter. The article will only be online for a week, so read it while you can! They were excited enough to put it on the front page, above the fold--and very prominent!
My latest video in support of my friend TER who runs the ZAP online Classic Gaming website and forums and who was the creator of the ZAP! Fanzine back in the early 90's.
Racketboy has a neat feature up called Together Retro Game Club: Sega Light Gun Games, in which the community explores a number of great light gun games for the Sega systems (Saturn and Dreamcast) with a few hits for the PC and Wii thrown in. It's a nice feature if you're interested in lightgun games.
I just wanted to post two things quick that I received via email. The first is The Pinball Blog, which looks pretty interesting (I know you pinball fans will want to check it out). The next is a web show called Gold: The Series, which is about a bunch of tabletop RPG fans preparing for a world championship. It reminded me a bit of MST3000 (the intermission bits) and perhaps a bit of a Kevin Smith film. I liked the dialog at the beginning of the 2nd episode, which is about how D&D fans are suffering from the massive appeal and "convenience" of MMOs. Worth a look, for sure.
For one week only, and I believe that week is almost up, those shepherds of cool, those sters of hip, those Arcade Fire career-makers over at Pitchfork Media, are screening Reformat the Planet, a documentary film about the origins and growth of the current chiptune scene set against the backdrop of the 2006 Blip Festival.
Every now and then something useful comes along in a MySpace bulletin, and no, it has nothing to do with a Macy's gift certificate or a free iPhone. If only MySpace itself was more user-friendly, seriously, how about the ability to forward bulletins, sometimes I think the whole thing is held together by Scotch tape, and powered by roomful of daisy chained solar powered calculators.
I haven't posted or read much here in awhile, but I think I've got something of interest to the main demographic of AA, and a quick search didn't come up with anything on it. Which would make this the post equivalent of the folks that have to be the first commenter somewhere and add nothing to the conversation but, "Frist!" (And that would be the correct spelling over at Crooks & Liars.)