Archive for April, 2006
Do you want hundreds of different games of diverse genres that span video and computer gaming history available for unlimited play on your PC, 24 hours a day, without the hassle of having to set up eleven different game and computer systems? So do I. But in this case, you're going to have to pay $10 a month to Ted Turner for the privilege. And there's another catch — the "unlimited" games have the darnedest habit of magically disappearing at the blink of an eye once you stop paying your monthly gaming tariff. Hmm. Sounds pretty limited to me.
Thus is the state of the GameTap Broadband Entertainment Network, the world's first large-scale legal attempt to make a rerun channel for video games. It's an admirable goal that is pulled off relatively effectively with their candy-coated software wrapper that wrangles together 400 disparate games from the late 1970s to the present into one virtual gameplay arena. The interface is clear-cut and simple to understand, allowing you to easily browse through and select different games you want to play (one at a time, of course). Upon selecting a game, you're presented with a game overview, some history, the choice of some game-specific bonus information, and instructions on how to play. Then, if you choose to continue, the game is downloaded to your PC and…you play. Download times range from a few minutes or less for the simple games to over 30 minutes for the modern PC Windows titles. Don't expect to make copies of the games you've downloaded, of course, because every downloaded game is chopped into pieces on your hard drive and likely encrypted, rendered useless unless played through the GameTap client itself. But if you just wanted to do that, you would have already (likely illegally) downloaded the game already, right? You're here for the experience and the convenience of having everything accessible and playable in one place.
Today is the the thirtieth birthday of perhaps the world's most iconic personal computer company, Apple Computer, Inc. We almost lost her back in 1996 when she was at her all-time low. Rumors of Apple's impending collapse, or even the embarrassing possibility of a desperate sale to another company, were everywhere. But just in the nick of time, Steve Jobs made his triumphant return and turned the company completely around. In 2006, Apple is actually more profitable than ever before (thanks to the iPod) — even more so than during the height of the Apple II days.
The machine that founded the company, the "Apple I," is pictured on the left in a homemade wooden case, as seen at the Smithsonian Institution. I downloaded the picture from Compuserve back in 1992, and it's always been one of my favorites, despite its grainy GIF quality. I thought about planning some more Apple-related features today, but so many others have done it so well already. Check out these interesting articles that Wired has put together on the whole event.
Never before or since has a company put so much soul into a computing machine, and I'm proud to say that I have loved and used many Apple computers in my short time on this planet. Join with me in toasting Apple, a true pioneer in the PC industry, on their big day. I'm really glad you made it this far, Apple. Here's to another thirty years of incredible success and continued innovation!