Archive for June, 2013

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Tiger Barcodzz Handheld

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Tiger Barcodzz Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Handheld Electronic Game Ad - 1993DUUUDDE, BAAR CODZZZZ, MAAN

Never played it, never wanted it. Amusing idea though. See also: Barcode Battler

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, November 1994, p.163 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used a barcode gaming device?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Running with Computers

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Otrona Attache Attaché Portable Computer Ad - 1983The Otrona Attaché: For people who love teeny-tiny computer screens

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.110]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever run as fast as you can while holding a computer? If not, what's the largest object you've ever held while running full speed?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Rayman and Frustration

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Ubisoft Rayman Advertisement - Original first Rayman Game - 1995Rayman: Missing limbs since 1995

I bought Rayman for the Atari Jaguar shortly after it came out in 1995, hopeful it would bring some Mario-style platforming magic to Atari's "64-bit" machine. While lushly illustrated with a deep color palette, I found the gameplay and the controls a little kludgy, and I had trouble advancing past one of the first few stages. I gave up and moved on to other games.

Shorty thereafter, I lent Rayman and my Jaguar to my brother and his roommate to play at college, and they beat it within a few days. Determination was just as important as skill when it came to completing video games in those days, and I had no motivation to torture myself with a frustrating game.

Which brings me to a tangential point: When I was a kid, if I couldn't beat a video game, I thought it meant that I was a bad video game player. I thought it was my fault. But years later I realized that the games that frustrated me most were just poorly designed.

Not to say that all difficult games are bad games — in fact, I'd say there's a big difference between "difficult" and "frustrating." Merely difficult games are still fun even if you fail; they make you want to try again to complete a challenge. Frustrating ones feel unfair and make you want to smash your game console with a hammer.

One of my friends did that to his NES once. He also threw it off his second story apartment balcony. Ah; those were the days.

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, September 1995, p.129]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever visited physical violence against a video game console or controller?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Hand-Drawn Golf Reference

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Chris Apple IIc hand-drawn Golf Map and Reference - circa 1980sIf there were only 40 degrees in a circle, this is what it would look like.

There is a certain rustic beauty in hand-drawn video game notes that I will never cease to enjoy. Case in point: this map/reference key created by family friend Chris when he was a kid in the 1980s. I'm not quite sure what game it was for (other than "Golf"), but it was likely a game for the Apple IIc, as I found it among related Apple IIc ephemera when I acquired his collection some years ago.

For more hand-drawn video game goodness, check out this VC&G post about my friend's Deadly Towers maps from 2006.

[ Update: 06/03/2013 - I was just talking to my brother, and he thinks that either he drew this alone or I wrote the letters and he drew the numbers. It was either a reference to a Golf game he programmed in C in 1991, or an old Atari 800 golf game that I haven't found yet. I still think it's possible that Chris wrote the letters. ]

[ From Chris' Apple IIc papers, circa mid-late 1980s ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you ever hand-draw maps for modern video games?