Archive for October, 2007
Can you believe it? Ultima Online is ten years old, which means it's now firmly in the "vintage" software category. Last week, 1UP published an article I wrote about Ultima Online that surveys its history through an overview of its expansion packs. Aside from a few unfortunate edits/interjections by 1UP's staff (and their erroneous placement of a Kingdom Reborn image in the Third Dawn section), it turned out pretty well. Folks interested in learning more about Ultima Online's long and storied history might want to check it out.
In this excerpt from the first level of Spawn for the SNES, we watch as Spawn's mere presence compels the limitless forces of evil to repeatedly hurl themselves off the top of a skyscraper.
I left this game on for a few hours recently while I did my laundry. By the time I got back, I was morally responsible for the deaths of thousands of pipe-wielding street thugs. And somehow, I didn't feel bad about it — there's always more where that came from.
You don't have to check your calendar; you know, instinctively, what time of year it is. You get that warm tingling feeling in your gut that grows stronger as the big day approaches — the greatest day of the year. You're a Halloween freak.
Some video game fans have a tough time figuring out what costume to wear on All Hallows' Eve, so as per tradition, I figured I'd help them out and provide some detailed suggestions geared towards the gaming enthusiast. Any of the ten costumes listed below is guaranteed to make you popular at the office Halloween party, on the street begging for candy, or anywhere in between.
It happens to the best of us.
How many of these puppies do you have sitting around? A fellow on eBay is selling a lot of 36. I'll have to admit: I have a box of a few dozen myself.
The object in question, of course, is the once-essential manual RF switch, commonly known as a "TV/GAME" switch. Such switches were used to alternate between RF video/audio input from a video game system or home computer and a broadcast (or cable) TV antenna signal. They went the way of the dodo in the mid-1980s — first in Japan with the introduction of Nintendo's innovative automatic RF switch box (it came packaged with every Famicom produced from 1983-1993), and then in the US around 1985 with the introduction of the NES (which included an automatic switch box with every unit sold). Later, RF switches in general became endangered once nearly all consumer TV sets started shipping with separate A/V jacks for composite video and stereo audio. The choice was natural, as video quality through an RF antenna input is inferior to a composite video connection.
Even among collectors, manual TV/GAME switches are mostly useless these days because most of us try to make at least composite (or better) video connections to our TVs, either via special cables or modifications to the systems themselves. Still, if you want to play classic machines like the Atari VCS without video hacks, you'll probably need to use one.
Does anybody out there collect these things? We'd love to hear from you.