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A catch-all for anything not covered elsewhere...
Chip Hageman's picture

What's the soundtrack to your arcade life?

ArcadeBack in the late 70's and early to mid 80's, arcades were the place to be. It was a time when there was a noticeable difference between what could be played in public and what you were playing at home. Once consoles and computers started to match the power and complexity of their arcade counterparts, there just wasn't a reason to pry your butt off the couch to get your video game fix.

It's sad really.. because there was a magic to the classic arcades.. a social dynamic that has been lost. Sure, some arcades still exist but they aren't the same- most are just a mess of dancing games, guitar games and redemption machines. And you might say that online multiplayer games with TeamSpeak adequately fill the void left by the arcades.. but I would argue against that. The spectators, high scores, trash talking, lining your quarters up on the marquee, the soda stained floors, the deafening din of the machines, and the music.. oh, the music. It was the soundtrack for your life.

What was the soundtrack for your "arcade" life?

Bill Loguidice's picture

My new PC gaming laptop

Sager NotebookSager NotebookWell, as many of you know, after a two year+ wait with no ETA in sight, I decided to cancel my Pandora pre-order and put those funds towards the best gaming laptop I could reasonably afford. Now, I know that getting a desktop would be both more powerful and cheaper than getting a laptop, but the reasons why I decided on a gaming laptop rather than a gaming desktop are many. For one, I already bought a quality HP TouchSmart PC desktop not too long ago as my main PC and maxed that out, with the only downside of the system being the on-board video, which I was unable to upgrade, as previously detailed. In other words, it does everything I need a desktop PC to do, save for anything that requires discrete video, like non-casual gaming. Next, my oldest daughter's old HP laptop kicked the bucket, and she is presently without a system. My laptop has been an older Gateway Tablet PC for some time (in fact, it was my main system until it died from heat exhaustion (since repaired) and I replaced it with that HP), which I also maxed out, but it is now too long in the tooth to game (and is missing modern-day niceties like HDMI out). However, it will be a perfect laptop for my daughter, and her being 5 going on 6, I thought it preferable to get myself a new system and hand her down my still perfectly functional Gateway (especially since her 4 year old sister - who will surely also use it - is a terror). In other words, instead of having to get her a cheap laptop (and no, netbooks don't have the required resolution for Web games like Webkinz, ironically), it seemed more logical to spend a bit more on something fitting my needs and do the hand-me-down thing. Next, having something both portable - since I can't ever guarantee I can sit in any one place for any length of time - and with the latest connectivity options, gives all kinds of flexibility that a desktop simply wouldn't offer me (again, HDMI out in conjunction with HDTV will prove very useful). Finally, since I need to give my Gateway laptop to my daughter anyway, I'd prefer not to be without a portable workstation, since you never know when such a thing can come in handy (I suppose my work Thinkpad laptop might have been an option in a pinch, but it's preferable not to mix too much personal with business).

After a considerable amount of research and shopping around, including with Alienware and budget brands like Asus, I found that by far the best deals were with Sager, whose laptops hands-down have the best gaming-centric options for the best price. Depending upon model and whatever incentives they happen to be offering, you can get anywhere from 1.5x to 2x the bang for the buck that you can anywhere else (Sager notebooks are available direct and also from a variety of resellers). So, with budget, feature-set and overall bang-for-the-buck taken into consideration, I settled on the Sager NP8760-S1. The specs are pretty good:

Bill Loguidice's picture

Armchair Arcade Games

Please enjoy these free games, courtesy of team members at Armchair Arcade, as well as Neave Games:

Match 3 InvadersMatch 3 InvadersMatch 3 Invaders is a hybrid of two classic genres: the shoot'em up (Space Invaders) and the Match 3 (Bejeweled). Can you concentrate on lining up color matches while simultaneously dodging enemy fire? Can you endure the excruciating time limit as the aliens descend lower and lower upon your position? Most importantly of all: Can you rack up enough points to enter you name on the hallowed High Score Table? Wouldn't you like to know? Match 3 Invaders was created in Unity and runs right in your browser.

Thrust LifterThrust LifterThrust Lifter is a game of timing and precision. Guide your lander into narrow tunnels, avoiding collisions with walls, fires, lava, electricity, and all manner of aliens. Get to the Chilenoids before they run out of oxygen and bring them back to the home pad before taking off to your next destination. Features 15 beautiful levels and an original soundtrack, available as a separate download. If you like the game, purchase a registered copy.

Jeepney JeepersJeepney JeepersJeepney Jeepers is an homage to classics block-busting games like Arkanoid and Breakout but with a crazy twist! Blow up blocks, roast the invaders, rescue your fellow humans and--above all else--get to the last level and take on the awesome might of THE GORFINATOR. Collect upgrades and unleash the unbelievable block-busting power of the five-pronged MULTIBALL. Bust that crit bubble for the amazing SUPERBALL. Bounce up them balls as much as YOU want, no more, no less! If you have trouble downloading the game, try right-clicking on the link and use "save as." See the original announcement page for the game here.

MayhemMayhemMayhem is a combination platform and shoot'em up game that is playable in your browser. Shoot the aliens, snatch the power-ups, but don't fall to your death! Features destructible terrain, lots of power-ups, a variety of aliens, and of course, a menacing end-game boss. This game was made with Gamemaker HTML 5 edition. If you have issues with Firefox, try using a different browser or hit enter or space after clicking on the game window.

TRS-80 GamesTRS-80 GamesTRS-80 Emulation Page features a full TRS-80 Model III emulator which functions entirely inside of your browser. Multiple classic games from the machine's heyday are offered for your enjoyment, via a simple 1-click "Load 'N Run" option. You will also be able to play Retro-ZAP!, the new retro-game release written by Shawn Delahunty. (The emulator and games function best in Google's Chrome browser, but all major browsers will work with sufficiently fast system hardware.)

Neave Frogger | Neave Asteroids | Neave Pacman | Neave Tetris N-Blox

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Rob Daviau's picture

Help! WANTED MAME recommendations that involve Horror. Gothic. Monsters etc.

I am working on a video project and I want to compile a list of MAME arcade games that have a Horror or Monsters and Gothic theme and

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Still Going Strong

Dungeons and Dragons has been around ever since 1974, when it was first published through TSR. It has been available as an online game since February of 2006. As a free to play MMO, it stands above most of its kind. It is actually free to play. Most of the 'free to play' MMORPG's out today only let you play for free up to a certain point, usually 25-50% of the way through the game. But D&D Online actually does let you play the entire game without having to flap your wallet. Purchasing any of the multiple upgrades and tools does make the game-play easier, but none of them are required. Like most, D&D Online has the in-game store that you can spend your points/cash on gear and quest unlocks, but you can also collect the points in game. So if you would rather grind a bit than paying out, the game stays free.

Hyperwar, My Homemade Arcade Game

Last year, while attending the California Extreme Arcade and Pinball Exposition, I had a flash of inspiration that eventually led to the construction and coding of my very own cocktail-style arcade game.  While playing with the variety of machines on display at the expo, I came to the realization that I was having a ton of fun with the cocktail games, possibly because of the greater social interaction between players who are physically facing each other.  While I had considered building a general MAME machine for quite a while, it was then that I decided to go all out and create my own game specifically designed for the cocktail form-factor with custom controls.  And so Hyperwar was born.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Atari's 1981 Anti-piracy Advertisement

On his excellent TRS-80.org Website, Matthew Reed has a nice blog post and break down of Atari's 1981 anti-piracy advertisement, which was merely the marketing tip of the legal iceberg that would have ramifications throughout the industry. This is still something of a hot topic in the burgeoning homebrew community--it seems many of today's top homebrew programmers are content with creating more perfect versions of well established arcade hits rather than creating original designs. While a fan and purchaser of these amazing programming efforts, I still philosophically fall on the side of wanting to see something original created with that talent, even if it may be flawed. As industry legend Scott Adams stated himself in his somewhat dated, but still relevant quote found in Reed's post, "I would like to suggest that anyone writing arcade-style software base it on original ideas. Novel and original arcade games will be best sellers, and who knows, maybe your arcade software will end up on a coin-operated machine!"

While it's unlikely anything will end up on a coin-operated machine these days, a quality original homebrew design might just make the next great mobile game design, as one possibility, and with the plethora of easy-to-use development tools, that scenario is actually quite plausible. After all, even if you do create the best 8-bit home version of Satan's Hollow ever, it's still really not your creation and you are skirting copyright law. Of course, sometimes it's the proverbial kettle calling the pot black, as Scott Adams himself was no stranger to "borrowing" ideas, particularly when it came to his legendary first commercial product and Colossal Cave Adventure. A multi-layered issue indeed...

Bill Loguidice's picture

Some Miscellaneous GCE/Milton Bradley Vectrex Photos featuring Matt and Bill

Matt and Elizabeth Barton came for a visit back in July, and I'm just now getting to cataloging some of the photos and video. Looking through the footage we took, I saw a fun series of Vectrex-related images, which I thought I'd share. This is truly miscellaneous stuff, but still a glimpse into some of the Vectrex-related homebrew activities that are out there, including the madtronix 3D imager and the VecVoxx-enabled (voice and high score) Spike's Circus. Enjoy:

Short video of Matt Barton and madtronix 3D imager for the Vectrex running a compatible game

The photos:

Bill Loguidice's picture

First Pandora Impressions from Early Shipments

While my colleague, Mark Vergeer, and I wait for our own Pandora handheld videogame computers to arrive (I'm roughly 750 - 850 in the queue, and they recently passed the 100 shipped mark) and deliver our own coverage, I thought I would share some of the first impressions others have posted for the year-and-a-half+-delayed device. For a written overview, check here (and more detail, here). For a video overview, look below:

Looking at the video of the device both Web browsing and playing Super Mario Kart (SNES version), I must say, my long dormant excitement for the device is starting to come back!

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