Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Top 1000 Video Games of All Time

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The Top 1000 Video Games of All Time

Today, PC World published my latest slideshow, The Top 1000 Video Games of All Time.

The in-depth piece — split into 1000 separate slides, each with its own paragraph of text — took over two years to create.

You may be asking yourself how one person could create such an epic work. Well, I got a little help from custom algorithms I programmed partially in Haskell — and partially in Minecraft's redstone circuitry using Boolean algebra.

But I didn't just rely on computer wizardry. Much self-deliberation went into choosing the order of the items on the list. I argued with myself for hours while sitting on the bench at a local park, on the bus, and in the North Regional Branch of the Wake County Public Library. After being arrested 13 times (twice in the nude), I decided to perform future deliberations in the privacy of my own bathroom. I feel that it made the results more pure.

Here's a sneak peek at the bottom 11:

1000. Halo (Xbox)
999. Silpheed (IBM PC)
998. Sewermania (TI-99/4A)
997. Quadrapong (Arcade)
996. Section Z (NES)
995. Pooyan (Arcade)
994. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
993. Popeye: Beach Volleyball (Game Gear)
992. Lloyd the Squirrel (???)
991. Snafu (Aquarius)
990. Descent (PC)

And here's a selection from somewhere near the middle:

555. Superman (2600)
554. Bioshock Infinite (PC)
553. Slipnosis (iOS)
552. Star Trek: Phaser Strike (Microvision)
551. Farmville (Flash)
550. Deadly Towers (NES)

As for the top 10, you may be in for a surprise. My Haskell program determined with scientific precision that the 10 greatest video games of all time are, in fact, different versions of Ms. Pac-Man:

10. Ms. Pac-Man (Apple iPod)
9. Ms. Pac-Man (Atari 2600)
8. Ms. Pac-Man (TI-99/4A)
7. Ms. Pac-Man (ColecoVision)
6. Ms. Pac-Man (Atari 5200)
5. Ms. Pac-Man (Atari 800)
4. Ms. Pac-Man (IBM PC)
3. Ms. Pac-Man (Intellivision)
2. Ms. Pac-Man (Arcade)
1. Ms. Pac-Man (Atari 7800)

Oddly, my redstone program placed Super Mario Bros. 3 in the top 10 seven times — that's how good it is. But I can't do the same game on the same platform in multiple spots, so I compromised. To see the full, final list, you'll have to check out the slideshow yourself. I hope you enjoy it.

And remember: unlike most of my previous ranked lists, I used computer algorithms to ensure its accuracy, so don't get mad if you disagree with the list. You're completely wrong.

—-

Discussion Topic: What are your top 1000 video games of all time?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] USB Instructions

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Kodak Scanner USB Instructions Insert Pink 4J3634 - 2005Words cannot express how hard it is to use USB plugs properly.

This is not particularly retro — in fact, it's from 2005. But I find it so amusing that I have to share it. I believe this insert (about 5 inches wide) came with a Kodak scanner that my father bought some years ago.

The back side of the paper is blank.

[ From Kodak Scanner Insert, 2005 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you read instruction manuals before using electronic gadgets?

GAME BOY CAMERAS SPAM TRY-POD MOUNTER DEVICES

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

GAMEBOY CAMERA SPAM TRY-POD MOUNTER DEVICES (Game Boy Camera Tripod)

UPON ONE OF THOSE TIMES, ULAF CREATE TRY-POD MOUNT FOR THE GAME BOY COLORFUL UNIT, THE CAMERAS, WHICH THE MINDS OF NINTENDOGS CREATES SOMETIMES NEAR 1998 (WHAT A MINDS). WITH GREATEST OF THE SKILL, ULAF CARVE FOAM BETWEEN CANS OF THE SPAM (THE FAVORITE AMERICAN FOODS) HOLLOW, INTO HOLE FOR THE HOLDING OF THE GAME BOY CONSUL OF MY MIND.

WORKED WONDER FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS OF MY MIND:

GAMEBOY CAMERAS PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS

ULAF PRINT ALL THOSE PHOTOGRAPHAGRAPHERS AND HUNG THEM UPON THE REFRIDGERATE OF ULAF.

BY THE WAYS, DID NOT THE GAME BOY GROWS INTO THE GAME MEN? WHERE DID THAT LITTLE BOY OF GAMING TIME GO? MATURATION AND PUBESCENCE, THAT IS WHERE. AND ABOVE ALL OF THE NOISES IT BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS AND ATE MY MIND. AHHHHHH.

PERHAP ULAF EATS THE WRONG MUSHROOM.

JUST A QUICK NOTE FROM MY MIND. GO BACK TO LIFE NOW. UNTIL NEXT TIME THIS IS ULAF SAYING BE THE MASTER.

Ulaf Silchov is an expert in video games and computers. He also writes for "Svadlost Weekly" and "The Overachieving Underling Circular."

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple II Box for C64

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Mimic Systems Spartan Commodore 64 Apple II+ expansion box advertisement ad - 1985A scene from one of Benj's recent nightmares.

Hey mime! Yeah, you! Stop stealing my $599 Mimic Spartan Apple II+ compatibility box for the Commodore 64. I need it to open up a whole new world of hardware and software.

Just for a second, imagine if I could add these features to my Commodore 64: Apple II+ hardware and software capabilities, 64K RAM expansion, four software selectable Commodore 64 cartridge slots, non-dedicated 8-bit parallel port, and standard audio cassette deck capabilities for my C-64. Yep, all of that!

The suggested retail value of comparable products offering only these capabilities is over $2,200.00*. But the Spartan gives me much, much more, mime! Oh yes. By building on my investment in my Commodore 64 — an excellent introductory computer — I create a whole new system with both C-64 an Apple II+ capabilities.

There is a whole other world out there! And if you'd just give it back, a huge selection of Apple II+ hardware and software would be mine to explore. Call toll free for the Spartan dealer nearest you.

* Burp.

[ From Compute, November 1985, p.29 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Open Discussion: Whoever posts a question first gets to decide what we'll talk about this week.

See Also: MacCharlie's FrankenMac (2013)

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] That Sanyo Feeling

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Sanyo MBC-1100 Desk-Top Business Computer Ad, Sanyo EHD 511 Hard Disk - 1983"My whole torso is numb, and it feels great!"

The Sanyo MBC-1100 (1982) was a Z80-A-based business machine that ran CP/M as its operating system. It was one of many, many Z80 business machines from that era designed to run CP/M.

Japanese computer manufacturers were just breaking into the U.S. computer market at the time, so the Sanyo MBC-1100 would have likely been a curiosity in an American office setting.

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.213 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used a Japanese-designed vintage computer? Tell us about it.

[ Snapshots ] Fixing an Apple IIc

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Behind the Scenes of SNES Plastic Discoloration ArticleExpert Apple IIc repair by Ulaf Silchov (November 2007)

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Surfin' The Net!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

PopSci for Kids September-October 1995 CoverOuch. Get off my hand, you tiny mounted knight.

Few magazine covers represent the playful optimism of the early Internet craze years like this cover of PopSci for Kids from 1995. Before the public understood what the Internet really meant, it was up to journalists (who usually didn't know either) to tell them. This resulted in lots of visual hyperbole (see children happily trapped inside a computer above) and colorful metaphors like "surfin' the net" to convey the energy and potential of something that, in reality, looked rather mundane on the screen.

Did these whimsical and exaggerated media tactics succeed? I think so, because that little thing called The Internet became much more popular than even journalists in 1995 could imagine. There is no doubt that the media played a large part in popularizing the global computer network in its early public years.

[ From PopSci for Kids, September/October 1995, cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When was the first time you surfed the 'Net? Did you feel like you were actually surfing on a digital surf board made of ones and zeros?

10 Computer RPGs That Defined the 1980s

Monday, March 12th, 2012

10 Computer RPGs That Defined the 1980s

Over the weekend, PCMag.com published a slideshow I put together covering 10 classic computer RPGs of the 1980s. Here is a passage from the introduction that excited Slashdot recently:

Throughout our story, we'll cover 10 classic computer games that both defined and extended the definition of the RPG in the 1980s. You'll see names like Ultima, The Bard's Tale, and Might and Magic, which may seem familiar, but you'll also find a few surprising titles that you may never have heard of.

It's funny — I was going to try to sneak this one past the Internet populace with a modest, unassuming title instead of something like "THE TEN MOST IMPORTANT RPGS OF THE 1980S." But nooo, someone found it anyway, dug out the interesting kernel of truth buried in the introduction, and put it on Slashdot for all to see.

I bet if I had titled it something like "10 Games," we would be hearing about it on the CBS Evening News tonight.

All that being said, I hope you enjoy it.

Read "10 Classic Computer RPGs" at PCMag.com

Ask the Chessmaster

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Ask the Chessmaster

Greetings, my fellow chess fans. Welcome to The Chessmaster.

That is, welcome to a new feature where I, The Chessmaster, will answer your personal letters to the best of my chessly ability.

Since I have been playing chess almost non-stop for over 300 years, I thought it might be a good time to bring my accumulated wisdom directly to the people.

In preparation for this column, I have been soliciting questions from a troubled American populace for the last six months. It is my hope that my responses will benefit all readers as much as they help those who submitted the questions.

With that out of the way, let's get to the first question.

[ Continue reading Ask the Chessmaster » ]

You Know It's an Old Website If…

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

You Know Its An Old Website If...

Just a little while ago on Twitter, I started spouting out some one liners, Jeff Foxworthy style, about how you know if a website is old. I love coming across old websites, so it's fun to spit these out.

I can't guarantee that they're funny, but I think they're at least amusing. People liked them enough that I decided to post my lines here and ask you guys to continue the list. I may add more to it over time.

  • You know it's an old website if…
    …every image on the site rotates.
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …they refer to AltaVista in the present tense.
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …you found it through a web ring.
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …it says "Best viewed in IBM WebExplorer."
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …your browser complains that there's no MIDI plug-in installed.
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …it forces you to enter the site through a splash page.
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …it asks you not to hotlink the GIF images.
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …every single link on the page '404s.
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …the owner claims it's "under construction."
  • You know it's an old website if…
    …it brags about having 1,000 hits.

Now it's your turn. Add your one-liners in the comments below.