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Matt Barton's picture

24 Years of Game Programming

A programmer named Steve Riley (of Eureka3D) has posted the first of a planned 3-part series (have I started somethin'?) reviewing his 24 Years of Game Programming. The article starts off with the VIC 20, moves on to the C-64, and covers the various shades of early PC programming. Riley starts off with machine language, but gradually learns that high-level languages aren't so bad.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Feature Article: Defining Past and Present Game Genres

DEFINING PAST AND PRESENT GAME GENRES

Why past and present?  Certain game types, while still alive through the efforts of thousands of active hobby programmers, are no longer available in mainstream retail outlets and thus don’t knowingly exist to large portions of the game playing public.  Therefore, described in alphabetical order is what has been and what is still available.  Keep in mind, however, that one of the beauties of gaming is that many games don’t fit neatly into one specific category.  When example software titles are listed, only the publisher or developer is noted in parentheses, along with one of the systems or platforms the game appeared on.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Feature Article: Defining Home Videogame, Computer and Handheld Eras

DEFINING HOME VIDEOGAME, COMPUTER AND HANDHELD ERAS

What is often lacking in casual discussion of eras or time periods when certain systems or types of technology dominated is an agreed upon definition of what these really encompassed.  Below is one attempt at defining the significance of eras in the key classifications of home videogames, computers

Matt Barton's picture

The Most Dangerous Toys of All Time

A site called Radar Online has a hilarious, must-see feature up called Pray for Coal: The most dangerous toys of all time. If you're worried about getting your tyke an unsafe toy for Christmas this year, maybe you should consider how safer things have gotten since the days of the "Atomic Energy Lab" (includes radioactive materials) and the "Johnny Reb Cannon." It's a great article with lots of pics and clever writing.

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

Family Computing - January 1986 - Volume 4 - Number 1 (104 scanned pages)

Family Computing Magazine Cover - January 1986Family Computing Magazine Cover - January 1986I put this issue up in September of 2004 on my personal Website courtesy of one Mr. Jay Snellen, and thought that since the new Armchair Arcade is so good at indexing things that I'd make mention of it again here on my blog and bring attention to it for those that missed it in the past. I don't know why there is still no online repository of Family Computing issues, but at least there's this one example up. If I can ever gain access to a non-destructive quick and simple scanning process, I'd happily scan my large collection of Family Computing , Electronic Games and countless other information-rich industry magazines from the 1970's - 80's. Family Computing and Electronic Games were invaluable resources to me as a child growing up in the heady days of the first videogame and home computer explosion and it's a shame that each is not readily available to scholars and enthusiasts alike...

Matt Barton's picture

RadioShack and the Origins of PC Gaming

Someone calling himself "DeadDrPhibes" has a great post up at The Older Gamers Paradise called The Birth of PC Gaming. The author takes us on a little tour of the earliest days of home PCs and gaming, starting with furniture-sized monstrosities and ending up with the Apple Mac and the Windows PC. He strikes me as a died-in-the-wall TRS-80 man, and spends good time discussing Radio Shack and Texas Instruments' entries in the home computing market (the CoCo, and so on). It's a fun read, even if it seems to be drafted mostly from the author's own experiences and memories. At any rate, it's nice to see a history like this from this perspective, since most "history-lite" like this I've read has focused mostly on the Apple, Commodore, or IBM. Now all I'm waiting for is a great feature on the Atari line of home computers.

Matt Barton's picture

Interview with Tom Kalinske--How Sega Japan Ruined Sega

Sega-16.com has published an interview with Tom Kalinske, former president of Sega US. If you're a Sega fan or just interested in their rise and fall, it's worth your while to check this out. In a nutshell, Kalinske seems to imply here that what really ruined Sega was the overbearing Japanese division, whose petty jealousy and petulance over the American division's success caused them to turn down opportunities that would've kept them in the ring. For instance, they refused to purchase SGI's technology on the grounds that it "wasn't good enough," yet that same tech ended up in the Nintendo64. The Japanese division also refused to go in with Sony, who (after also being rejected by Nintendo) ended up releasing its Playstation (d'oh!). However, of course we have to bear in mind who all of these views are coming from, and it's no surprise that Kalinske wants to make himself look brilliant and everyone who disagreed with him as idiotic.

Matt Barton's picture

Where are they now? A Look at 5 defunct game superpowers.

Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh of Next Generation has another excellent feature out, this time about five legendary game companies that bit the dust--or, as Waugh puts it, a tribute to "five fallen icons of the videogame industry." In case you're wondering, the icons in question are Atari, Origin, Sierra On-Line, Black Isle Studios, and Looking Glass Studios. All of these companies made outstanding games, and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading about their rise and fall--and contemplating how things would look now if these companies were still with us. He ends the piece on a powerful and insightful note:

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:

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