Here's a log transcript of the fateful visit to the Great Horns Tavern of Magincia of the Pacific shard (server), documented and screenshoted by yours truly. Oh, and Matt, full permission extended to use what you want in your writings.
Please note there's a lot of noise because of the various players chatting in the background.
Ben Kahns: *rolls eyes*
Hey guys! I'll be working on the Pong chapter while I'm working on the Spacewar! chapter, as their historical lead-ups kind of run in parallel. In any case, Pong needs no introduction, from its first conceptual appearance on Ralph Baer's Brown Box that "inspired" Nolan Bushnell to ask Al Alcorn to create the original arcade game, to the precursor to it all from 1958, William Higginbotham's "Tennis for Two". Of course I'll also be discussing the various home Pong systems and clones and a few ways that the game influenced future games. As always, your thoughts are much appreciated for this truly iconic game.
So I got my Good old Games http://gog.com invite today, created my account and checked it out.
I'm guessing its going to replace current game download sites (that I could never get to work with its funky client etc)...
DRM free game downloads seem pretty cool, they have Fallout 1 + 2, apart from that its a really small catalogue right now..
Well, the next chapter is on the wonderfully early Spacewar! from 1961 for the DEC PDP-1 mainframe. While there were other games before it that I'll be sure to mention, I would love your thoughts on the games, its home versions, its implementation in the first arcade game, Computer Space, etc. I would also love to hear your thoughts on its ties to Asteroids, as I believe there is a significant connection that must be discussed heavily in the chapter. So not only Spacewar!-like games, but also Asteroids-like games (and any other connections you'd like to suggest). I also read just yesterday that a version of Spacewar! is included in Microsoft's XNA framework as a sample game, so if anyone has any particular info on that I'd love to hear it! Thanks guys!
Play Spacewar! emulated in your browser: http://spacewar.oversigma.com/
Just a heads-up that our upcoming book, Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, the one we've been discussing with you guys lately, is now available for pre-order from Amazon and many other locations you'd expect. We'll post about it again when the entries are updated (they're all essentially placeholders right now), but thought you might like to see that yeah, it's for real:
Keep in mind that the expected release date is roughly February 2009, so there's still a lot of work to be done, particularly on the publisher's end. Thanks for all your support and we'll continue to keep everyone updated. I'll be especially excited when the publisher finalizes the cover design, which should feature artwork from our own Mark Vergeer!
The author of a Tandy Coco RPG, Paladin's Legacy has made it available.
Check out http://paladinslegacy.spaces.live.com/
Check it out;
I've been doing some work now on the Pinball Construction Set chapter for the book and would love to hear some of your thoughts on this "software toy" construction set. Bill Budge's title, first published through his own BudgeCo company in 1982, was of course later picked up and published by Electronic Arts (one of their earliest titles that helped put the company on the map), starting in 1983, for Apple II, Apple Macintosh, Atari 8-bit, Coleco Adam (this release is overlooked by nearly every online source, by the way), Commodore 64 and PC. While I'd love to hear about your experiences with Budge's title and titles like it, I'd also like to hear about even some of the more hardcore construction sets or mainstream development tools, like, for instance, Penguin's The Graphics Magician. Every thought and tangent is appreciated. Thanks!
The next chapter I'm working on is John Madden Football, starting with the Apple II version right through today. Of course this chapter will be used to cover all non-racing sports games, so there will be discussions of games both before and during Madden's reign. The basic premise is that prior to Madden's rise, there was minimal emphasis on real teams and players, while post Madden it's become all but a requirement. Obviously these sports games have grown increasingly sophisticated over the years, becoming full blown simulations for those who choose to go into the nitty gritty details. Why Madden? Well, that's by far the biggest selling sports franchise in the US and I think really indicative of how the sports videogame industry has evolved over the years.
In any case, as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts about sports videogames in general, be it soccer, cricket, baseball, etc. I would leave out boxing and racing, only because boxing will be discussed in the Street Fighter II chapter and racing in the Pole Position chapter. Thanks!
The next chapter I'll be tackling is the one on Grand Theft Auto III, which of course encompasses the games before and the games after it, as well as the various "sandbox" precursors and numerous modern day clones and knock-offs. I'm certainly no expert in the GTA mythos, so any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Right now I only own Vice City Stories for the Sony PSP, though I may have to rectify that with a rental to get up to full speed. Thanks for the help, guys!
I just wanted to comment quick on “The Great Videogame Crash” (my personal official designation, along with my preferred use of "videogame" over "video game", just like "bodybuilding" over "body building") and sort of vet my thought process for public discussion and potential disagreement. After spending ~3 years writing the other book on American videogame and computer systems, I came to the conclusion that it has to refer to the year 1984 if a single year needs to be chosen. This was based on a combination of research and personal experience. To put it simply, in 1983, consumers had no real concept that there was something going on behind the scenes. All the consumer saw was increasing stock and lowered prices. Behind the scenes was a different story, with retailers having excess of unsold inventory and diminishing or non-existent profit margins for even good publishers in light of cut-price dreck from their competitors. The classic supply outstripping demand. It wasn’t until 1984 that consumers started to realistically notice there was a problem when less and less new product started appearing on store shelves. That’s why to me, 1984 has to be the year.
Obviously videogames never fully went away in retail or sales channels, but there was a definite slowdown 1984 – 1985. It wasn’t until the limited release of the NES in late 1985 and its wide release in 1986 that retailers started to want to get back full force into videogames and lots of different companies again wanted to cash in. So really, The Great Videogame Crash can be considered from 1983 – 1986 if you want to get technical, but the years where it was felt the most by consumers - who to me are the most important part of the equation - would actually be 1985 and 1986. At least that’s my theory and one I plan on sticking with. And obviously this only applies to North America and specifically the US, as market conditions were very different elsewhere. Also, we can't mention The Great Videogame Crash without also mentioning that the thinking in that 1984 - 85 time period was that low cost computers like the Commodore 64 would more than fill the function or need of consoles that "just" played games. Obviously that wasn't the case and both markets peacefully co-existed for some time. So, what do YOU think?