June 10th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Ubisoft, Rayman, Atari, Sony, Sega, Playstation, PSX, Saturn, Jaguar, CD-ROM, frustration, violence, damage
Rayman: 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?
February 1st, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro GIF, GIF, BBS, dragon, Macintosh, textfiles.com, art, CD
Click to see other views of this image: [ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ]
This week we're taking a look at another image that made the rounds in the BBS days, DRAGON6.GIF. In it, we see two digitally illustrated Chinese dragons who appear to be springing forth from a magical stone. Iridescent waves crash around them, and smoke curls throughout an ethereal void. The color palette is rich and bold, underscoring the image's Eastern art influence.
At the moment, the artist behind this amazing work of digital art remains unknown. Still, we can narrow down when the image was made and how by taking a look at its resolution, color depth, and file date.
[ Continue reading [ Retro GIF of the Week ] Twin Chinese Dragons » ]
October 1st, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: TechHive, Compact Disc, CD Players, CDP-101, freelance work, anniversaries, 1982
Thirty years ago today, Sony released the first commercially available Compact Disc player, the CDP-101. It launched alongside 50 CDs in Japan, marking the commercial birth of the widely popular digital audio medium.
Over at TechHive (a new site run by the folks behind PC World), I've written an in-depth piece that details the history and impact of the CD as a medium for both audio and computer data. I hope you enjoy it.
June 18th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Deathtrap Dungeon, sexism, violence, current events, PlayStation, PSX, PC CD-ROM, Eidos, GamePro, 1998
I think they have it backwards.
Amid the recent media hullabaloo that modern video games are sexist and overly fixated on violence, I give you this ad for Deathtrap Dungeon from 1998. That is all.
[ From GamePro, May 1998, p.72 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Graphics quality aside, do you think today's video games are more sexist and violent than games from earlier eras?
January 10th, 2011 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Atari, Atari ST, ICD, ICD FA-ST, FA20ST, FA52ST, advertisement, STart, 1988
"Refresh Your Memory. And Keep Your Cool."
I recently ran across this ad for the ICD FA-ST Atari ST hard drive system in a 1988 issue of STart magazine that my wife's uncle gave me. He was quite an ST fan himself back in the day, and I was the lucky recipient of his ST collection last year.
According to an ICD catalog I have, the 20 megabyte model of this HD system (the FA20ST, seen here) retailed for US $699.95 in 1988 ($1,294.60 in 2010 dollars). The highest end model( FA52ST), which included two 50 megabyte drives, sold for $1649.95 (or $3,051.68 in 2010 dollars).
Those steep prices (common for all hard disks at the time), along with the small market size of Atari 16-bit owners in the US, made drives such as these quite rare. I've never seen one in the wild.
[ From STart, Summer 1988, p.9 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you own hard drive systems for any of your vintage, non-IBM PC compatible computers? Tell us about them.