computers

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Matt Barton's picture

Consoles and Independent Developers: A Penetration Issue

When it comes to the old "computers vs. consoles" debate, I've always come down on the computer side. Even though nowadays the PC has lost much of its edge when it comes to graphics and what-not, you can't beat it in terms of versatility and software diversity.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Contest: Come up with the perfect title for my book!

As many of you know, for the past what, two years+ now, I've been working on a book to be published by No Starch Press and distributed by O'Reilly online and at bookstores everywhere in October 2007 (tentative, but looks likely). One of the issues I and my co-author, Matt Barton, have been struggling with with the publisher has been titling this potential opus.

Matt Barton's picture

Fun at Bill's Arcade -- A Day in Retrogaming Paradise

Without a doubt, the highpoint of my sojourn last week to NYC was stopping off at Bill's home in New Jersey for a day of absolute gaming goodness. As all long-time AA'ers are well aware, Bill has an ginormous collection of vintage computers and consoles, to say nothing of an even more extensive software and game-related book library.

Matt Barton's picture

Review: "Robots Unlimited: Life in a Virtual Age" by David Levy

David Levy's book Robots Unlimited: Life in a Virtual Age is a great introduction not only to robots, but also the various technologies that must work together in their creation: logic, artificial intelligence (AI), speech synthesis, natural language processing, sensory recognition, personality training, emotion--does it ever end? Although most people assume that we're centuries away from the invention of an intelligent, human-like android like "Data," Levy shows just how close we've gotten and just how soon we'll be interacting with amazingly smart robots on a daily basis. Robots will enhance our lives in countless ways; they'll not only help us in our daily tasks, but also become our friends and even our soul mates. They'll talk to us and show a sensitivity to our emotional states that not even our mothers could match. Furthermore, they'll be wonderful inventors and artists, breathing new life into every field of creative endeavor. Sound like science fiction? Levy shows that the only "fiction" is that robots won't play a vital role in the (near) future of the human race. David Levy will make you a believer.

Matt Barton's picture

Book Review: "Stan Veit's History of the Personal Computer" (1993)

Stan Veit's History of the Personal Computer, authored by--you guessed it, Stan Veit--is a roughly edited collection of memoirs and editorials Veit wrote during his tenure as editor-in-chief of Computer Shopper. Veit's personal experience with personal computer history is tremendous. He was the first personal computer dealer in New York City, and got to know almost every early luminary in the industry on a first-name basis. He's one part technician (he can talk chips and boards with the best of them), one part salesman, and one part patron. In short, it's hard to find an author better qualified to take us on the journey from the Altair to the IBM PC. However, the book is not without its flaws--it's poorly organized, and the typos make your head hurt.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Play-Asia Affiliation for Armchair Arcade

In order to replace the void left by our affiliation with the now defunct Lik-Sang, we have entered into a relationship with Play-Asia. You can check it out under our "Merchandise and Special Offers" section or try it out below:

  Play-Asia.com - Buy Video Games for Consoles and PC - From Japan, Korea and other Regions!

Search affiliate Play-Asia for great deals on Videogame and Computer Hardware, Software and Accessories!

Bill Loguidice's picture

The PC Games Business and Why Things Don't Have to Get Better

Commodore SuperPET: Photo by Bill LoguidiceCommodore SuperPET: Photo by Bill LoguidiceGamasutra has another interesting "Analyze This", this time on "The Current State of the PC Game Business". While prior to the Nintendo Entertainment System's (NES) ascension, it was common and logical to believe that computers would negate the need for a dedicated game machine, since the late 80's the trend has fully reversed where it became fashionable to say that console gaming will kill off PC gaming. While that hasn't happened and will never happen, the "Analyze This" feature does have comments from analysts that indicate that PC gaming has become and will remain a large niche in light of console dominance, which is frankly hard to argue against.

While perhaps not as bold of a statement as it once could have been, I will agree that PC gaming will never again overtake console gaming and will remain nothing more than a third or fourth option in terms of mass market/mainstream development and sales. It's actually unfair to the PC to make the comparison, because the PC is a tremendous general purpose device, while a console is primarily designed to play games. Yes, the newer the console, the more stuff it seems to be able to do - play movies, music, display photos, etc. - but it's primarily thought of and primarily used as a game player. Someone looks at a PC and does not immediately think "game machine". They think "word processor", "e-mail", "Internet", "IM", etc., or simply "COMPUTER", all likely well before they think "game machine" (save for the hardest of hardcore).

Bill Loguidice's picture

Historical Thoughts on Computer and Videogame Collecting

Commodore's SuperPET: From the collection of Bill LoguidiceCommodore's SuperPET: From the collection of Bill LoguidiceIt was back on February 7, 2006, that Matt Barton and I collaborated again publicly for the first time since early 2005. Of course we were working together behind the scenes to kick-start Armchair Arcade's rebirth prior to that, but the now defunct Computer Collector Newsletter's 100th issue was where some of the more observant Armchair Arcadian's would first catch a glimpse of what was to come again. In the interest of historical preservation, I present what was eventually published in that newsletter's 100th issue, complete with edits and changes by newsletter editor, Evan Koblentz:

Bill Loguidice's picture

Notable Entertainment Software for US Home Computers, 1976 - 1979 Launch Systems

BETS (1980) for the Commodore PET: While many games for Commodore's PET computer were purely text-based, some, like Randall Lockwood's BETS (1980), seen here via the VICE: PET emulator, implemented comparatively excellent visuals and animationsBETS (1980) for the Commodore PET: While many games for Commodore's PET computer were purely text-based, some, like Randall Lockwood's BETS (1980), seen here via the VICE: PET emulator, implemented comparatively excellent visuals and animationsAs part of the editing process for my upcoming US home videogame and computer entertainment systems history book, I've been logging the software I mention in each section. I thought it might be interesting to list the software I'm mentioning in the book for the 1976 - 1979, computers section, which I just finished going through. Most of these are the cream of the crop or notable titles.

How many of the following are you familiar with?

Matt Barton's picture

PC Magazine's Top 25 Worst Tech Devices of All Time

PC Magazine has a great feature up about the worst tech products of all time. It's a hall of shame for some truly miserable products. While there's only one game on the list (Disney's Lion King CD-ROM), you'll no doubt chuckle (fondly?) as you remember the items on this list. IBM's PCJr clocked in at at #13 and Microsoft Bob made it all the way to lucky #7.

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