News

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Regularly updated news on all topics relevant to Armchair Arcade.
Matt Barton's picture

"Out of Control": Chris Kohler's History of Wacky Controllers

Chris Kohler, author of Retrogaming Hacks and PowerUP, has a fantastic feature at 1-UP called Out of Control: The Craziest Game Controllers Ever. This article is definitely a must-visit for all retrogaming fans, particularly those with an interest in novel input devices. Where else are you going to read about Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, the Korean arcade fisting simulator? I thought I had seen some quirky controllers before, but Pom Poms? An accordion? There are also lots of comparisons here between Atari and Nintendo, as well as a look into modern arcades.

Matt Barton's picture

Pole Position will leave SKID MARKS on your SOUL!

"It'll bust your crank...and leave skid marks on your soul!" Oooohh...Shiver. And let's not ignore the bustin' on the corporate execs--the Hannibals at the gate of the Ancient Atari republic. "You're going to play POLE POSITION!" What the heck am I raving about? This classic Pole Position TV commercial of course. The entire commercial is classic vintage 80s, right down to the hair metal-esque theme. You can click the link or see the YouTube here after the jump. For more kicks--The Cult of Leia's Golden Bikini. The belly dance is definitely worth it.

Bill Loguidice's picture

The Latest Offerings for the ZX81 and Timex Sinclair - 25th Anniversary Year

Alien Mind for the ZX81/Sinclair/Timex Computers (16K)Alien Mind for the ZX81/Sinclair/Timex Computers (16K)Andre', our favorite French ZX81/Sinclair (including the Timex Sinclair 1000/1500) enthusiast, brings us the following exciting updates for the woefully underpowered systems (but that's the fun of it, right?), edited for English:

Bonjour,

"GOALIE", the July program is available NOW! Go and get it at

Matt Barton's picture

Free Multiplayer Asteroids Online!

Asteroids--Well, SortaAsteroids--Well, SortaHoly Asteroids! Head over to cogames right now to play Multiplayer Asteroids! Yes! It's about time folks starting exploiting the multiplayer potential of Flash games (Perhaps I will set my sights on this kind of niche soon). I couldn't manage to survive more than a few minutes with this game, but thankfully, respawning is fast and easy.

Bill Loguidice's picture

IGN on Wii Sports - A Tough Balancing Act

Nintendo Wii Controller and AttachmentNintendo Wii Controller and AttachmentIGN has a surprisingly balanced look at the challenges, risks and promise of Wii sports titles, here. While I know it's an unpopular view, particularly with Nintendo's relatively recent goodwill as the supposed underdog and champion of innovation (and good business practices, and peace and harmony, blah, blah, blah), I think the article is worth reading because it illustrates my basic point about the control scheme itself. If you even look at the videos, whether it's Shigeru Miyamoto at E3 demonstrating Wii tennis or the promo video showing the enthusiastic Japanese three-some playing baseball, while having an alternative control scheme is great and fun and all that, you also lose a certain "crispness", a certain level of control that you don't get with direct intervention like you have with a typical, non-virtual, control scheme. In other words, pushing left on a little stick is instant reaction, while moving left in a virtual space achieves the same thing, but in a very different, approximate, manner.

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

Apple II News and Notes for June 2006


A2 News and Notes June, 2006

INDEX
* Cloning Around
* What's My Spec?
* Old Parts, New Owner
* Software Copyright
* Programming For The Masses
* Understanding Apple
* Online Group Kill
* VGA Support
* Color Our World
* KFest

Matt Barton's picture

Action Figures and Legal NES Clones

I've got two tangentially related items for your reading queue today. First, Lore Sjöberg of Wired News has posted some funny ideas for new game controllers. While some are ridiculous (a brick?), others are more intriguiging, even if meant only as a joke. For some reason, his idea for a game controller based on an action figure seems on-the-money, though I'm not sure how it could be implemented. I'm sure that most of us here grew up playing with action figures, whether they were those crappy Star Wars figurines or those GI Joes that went weak-in-the-knees after a few hours of play. Still, we all had a great time with them, and no doubt part of the thrill was the tactile aspect of it. I think this is one reason why so many grown men and women indulge in games like WarHammer, which feature little miniatures in lieu of the more abstract creatures and heroes in the typical D&D table session. I think Lore's tongue-in-cheek suggestion might actually lead towards some really innovative games and control schemes.

Matt Barton's picture

A History of Stupid Superman Games

Superman's Buns of SteelSuperman's Buns of SteelIn honor of the newly released movie, 1up has a very colorful feature up called Gamer's Kryptonite: Superman's 10 Worst Games. The article starts with Superman for the Atari 2600 and covers titles from many computers, consoles, and arcade machines. It's really curious how easy it is to take a big budget and really make a cringe-worthy game based on a mega-popular franchise. I mean, how hard can it be to get a Superman game right? I distinctly remember playing Superman: Man of Steel on my Amiga and thinking how lousy it was. Then again, Superman's powers don't necessarily lend themselves very well to a videogame--he's simply too powerful. It's hard to translate his powers into compelling gameplay. About the only challenge left would be strategic ones--assuming Superman can only be in one place at the same time (an assertion challenged in the movies). Should you save a bus from going over a bridge or Lois Lane from an earthquake?

Matt Barton's picture

Some Thoughts on Halo for the PC

Here's your fries, sir.Here's your fries, sir.I realize I'm very late to this game, but I finally got the chance to play through Bungie's famous first-person shooter, Halo, often-called "The Greatest FPS Ever Made." Since I don't have an Xbox, and not sure how I'd adapt to playing an FPS with a controller if I did, I played the Windows version on my PC. I assume everyone here is familiar with the game, so I'll skip the background and technical stuff and just discuss some aspects of the game I found intriguing. And, no, I don't consider it to be the greatest FPS (I'd give that to Half-Life 2), but I did enjoy it.

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