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davyK's picture

Middle-aged gamer's collection #36-#42 - The rest of the Atari 7800 games

Tower Toppler (Atari 7800)Tower Toppler (Atari 7800)#36 - #42 - The rest of my 7800 collection

While the old 7800 is connected up I may as well cover the other games I have, including a homebrew effort.

davyK's picture

Middle-aged gamer collection #32-#35 - Favourite Atari 7800 official releases

Food Fight (Atari 7800)Food Fight (Atari 7800)#32- #35 - My favourite Atari 7800 official releases

The Atari 7800 is a much maligned console. Released far too late to compete with the mighty NES so it had no chance. This wasn't necessarily because of hardware limitations - but more because of the games released with it which were in the main ports of 80's arcade games which sadly just didn't cut it in the era of Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda.

It actually did OK for a short while but long term the lack of contemporary games finished it off. For collectors its a very interesting console though because of the small and collectable official library, its ability to play 2600 games, and a thriving homebrew scene. I'm only going to talk about official 7800 releases here - specifically my favourites:

Keith Burgun's picture

How "Turn-Based" Became a Bad Word

Most of us who are heavily involved in games and game design realize the massive benefits to simple, classic turn-based mechanics. I'm not going to say that turn-based is "better" than real-time any more than a screwdriver is better than a hammer; they're just tools which we can use to get the job done. These days, however, many game designers are indeed using a hammer to nail in a screw, and building some pretty shoddy birdhouses. So many games coming out today would greatly benefit from a turn-based gameplay mechanic - often you can see that the designers knew this, but that something held them back from using one. Today I'm writing about what this something is - a deep-seated cultural mistake that we make about games in general.

Keith Burgun's picture

GOG's Death (Not?) and the Shame of Abandonware

gog.com's logo. RIPToday, 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.

Keith Burgun's picture

My Philosophy and the Tale of 100 Rogues

In December of 2008, a friend of mine was asked by his boss to create an iPhone game for their company.  He and I were already engaged in some independent game development, so he said "I know just the guy to help us!"  That guy's name is... me! 

Keith's Picture!
Pictured: My Face (got stuck like that long ago)

I'm a writer, artist, musician, and even a little bit programmer, but I usually introduce myself to people as a game designer.  Most indie developers (or pros, for that matter) don't refer to themselves in this way - if a person designed and programmed a game they'll usually say they're the programmer or software engineer.  Game design is too often an afterthought - something that someone just does - despite the fact that it is the most important element (and the only necessary element) to creating games.  After all, you can create a game with nothing but words (like the game "Ghost") or nothing but rocks (like the game "Let's Throw Rocks At Each Other").  Game design is so ubiquitous to the human experience that we do it all the time without necessarily even realizing it.  As children, we practiced the art of game design when we would tell our friends "Ok!  You can't touch the rugs!"  And then if that was too hard, we'd practice our game balancing skills by "patching" our game - perhaps by saying something like "alright, well, you can touch the rug as long as you have your hands on the table."  Children understand the craft of game design without anyone explaining it to them, and yet so many in video game development in particular seem to lose sight of this as adults.  I have many theories for why this happens;  it's often the technological arms-race that we get sucked into, or a feeling like our games have to be more than just games to be worth anyone's time, or perhaps we just get lost in the theming of a game.  With my first commercial game, I was determined to not let any of those things happen.

davyK's picture

Middle Aged Gamer's Collection #9

#9-#15 Bust-a-Move games
Bust-a-Move 2 : Arcade Edition (N64)
Bust-a-Move 3DX (N64)
Bust-a-Move 4 (Dreamcast)
Super Bust-a-Move 2 (PS2)
Super Bust-a-Move All Stars (Gamecube)
Bust-a-Move (Wii)
Bust-a-Move Plus (WiiWare)

I’m big into puzzle games. Like millions of others I was bitten by the Tetris bug around 1990 when the genre was born and I have always picked puzzle games up ever since. I find it hard not to enjoy these – even those games that have garnered criticism such as Tetrisphere.

If I find a particular game enjoyable I will keep on buying different versions across platforms and will follow a series. The Puzzle Bobble or Bust-a-move series is a case in point – it being one of the most addictive. It has that great balance of luck and skill that makes the puzzle video game so great. I'm not going to insult readers with the description of the basic play features but I will cover how these versions differ.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution and Bill Loguidice Featured in Folha de S. Paulo

Loguidice and BushnellLoguidice and BushnellLos Angeles correspondent, Fernanda Ezabella, interviewed me about the popularity of vintage games today and our upcoming feature film documentary, Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution, for Portuguese language newspaper, Folha de S.Paulo, Brazil's largest, which is published in São Paulo. I promised to touch base with Fernanda again when the film is closer to completion, which is the reason why you see no stills from Gameplay in the article, i.e., it's not quite at that point yet. A low resolution version of the actual newspaper article's "tear sheet" is below, but you'll have to log into the Website to see the article by itself. Naturally, it's all in Portuguese.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Another Mattel Intellivision Keyboard Component Owner Comes Forward - Needs Help (plus amazing photos!)

If you guys remember an earlier blow-out feature I did with Matt Barton that Gamasutra ran back in May 2008, we discussed all aspects of the Intellivision platform, including the infamous Keyboard Component, which was the precursor to the wide release Enhanced Computer System (ECS) add-on. There were only about 4000 Keyboard Components made, many of which were recalled, leaving only a handful in active circulation, making them very, very rare and highly sought after - and valuable - collectibles. Charles Ray recently got in contact with me requesting some help with the tape drive for his Keyboard Component. It turns out he has quite a bit of other stuff in his collection related to the Keyboard Component, which he both described and took photos of, the latter of which he gave me the kind permission to show, below. More importantly, I'm also soliciting suggestions for his problem, which I'll describe via his original e-mail to me.

Rowdy Rob's picture

Joystiq Interview: How to quit games for a year!

I found this article on the "Joystiq" website, and it was fascinating reading. The "gamer" in question, Matthew Shafeek, made a pledge to give up his favorite hobby, videogaming, for a whole year! In this interview, he recalls the feelings, trials, and insights on life he gained while obstaining from videogaming for 365 days (which he hasn't quite completed yet)!

Bill Loguidice's picture

New Mattel Intellivision Article on Gamasutra - Loguidice and Barton

Gamasutra has just posted the fifth of six entries from me and Matt Barton in the "A History of Gaming Platforms" series, this time on the Mattel Intellivision, here. This was one of my favorite entries to write in the book this series is based off of, so I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did writing it. As a bonus, I've included here on Armchair Arcade the additional captions and images that Gamasutra chose not to include (I think I again improved image quality - by the way, those screenshots are DIRECT video captures straight from an Intellivision II, NOT from an emulator, and everything else of course is also straight from my personal collection). The next and presumably final entry will be on the Atari 8-bit. Enjoy and I'd love to hear some feedback, as I think it ranks right up there with the best overall articles ever written on platform (said with all due modesty and respect, of course ;-) ).

The unused images and all the captions (used and unused):

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