Discussion Topic: What's your favorite RPG on the Super NES?
People seem to be talking about football a lot these days, and I'm not quite sure why. To appease the raving hordes, I thought I'd throw out a Football retro scan. In this case, it's for Super High Impact on the Sega Genesis.
I've never been a fan of Football video games in general — my favorite is probably still Tecmo Bowl for the NES. Nostalgia for that game's intro music alone is enough to get me to play it a couple times a year.
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your all-time favorite American football video game from the pre-32-bit era?
Just a few months ago, the 20th anniversary of the launch of WorldsAway, a pioneering graphical online world, came and went without any major notice (it launched in September 1995). But I remembered the milestone, and I wrote a recent This Old Tech column over on PCWorld.com about my memories of the service, which I stuck with in some form or another until 2001.
WorldsAway was simply magical when it launched. It promised to put you, as a user, into a graphical world that you could share with other online users (the term "Avatar" as an online representation of your physical self came from the creators of this lineage of online worlds). It delivered on that goal with a charming atmosphere — where you could change between whimsical heads with ease — and a vibrant community that I still look back on fondly to this day.
Honestly, I miss being part of that WorldsAway community. My involvement there came at a time when I was fairly lonely and isolated with my hobbies — my high school years — during a time when few "average" people used any online service whatsoever. Don't get me wrong; I did fairly well at school, and I wasn't a freak with no friends — but the real-life friends I did have did not share my love for the online world. Online, of course, I could find others like me, and on WorldsAway, we all celebrated that commonality together in a vibrant, playful world.
Did anybody else use WorldsAway in the 1990s? I'd love to hear from you.
P.S. I was an avid reader and subscriber of CompuServe Magazine in the 1990s, which is where I found and drooled over this ad back in the day.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you use any graphical online chat worlds in the 1990s? Tell us about it.
This Apple II-clone machine became popular in the mid-late 1980s as a low-cost alternative to the Apple IIc (almost half the price
but twice the RAM — scratch that, Apple IIc had 128K too), especially for home use. I have a Laser 128 in nearly pristine condition in the box, and it feels nice to use. It echoes the integrated form factor of the IIc, which makes it convenient to setup in a pinch if you need to pull out an Apple II in an emergency. Or at least that's how I use it.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you have any Thanksgiving computer or gaming traditions? Tell us about them.
Here we see an ad for the Super NES version of Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Apparently, when VII received its port to Nintendo's console, its Roman numeral designation got the axe. As a result, the title became merely Ultima: The Black Gate.
I'm not a big fan of the SNES ports of the Ultima games (VI and VII). In the process of chopping things down to fit in a reasonably-sized ROM cartridge, a lot of content and features were lost (including the Roman numeral in this case). But at the same time, those ports likely gave console fans a taste of the Ultima universe that they would not have had otherwise.
As for me, I was lucky enough to originally play the Ultima games on the PC (and the Atari ST, in the case of Ultima III), so I guess I am spoiled.
Discussion Topic of the Week: In your opinion, what's the best console port of any Ultima game?
The Nintendo Entertainment System turned 30 years old in the US yesterday — well, according to Nintendo, anyway. That date is still a little fuzzy, in my opinion. Still, it's close enough.
This year, I have done nothing to celebrate except scan this NES Zapper. It's a beaut.
Just a few days ago, the designer of the NES hardware revealed that the NES shipped with the Zapper because "Americans in general are interested in gun." Indeed they are!
In 1989, Nintendo changed the dark grey parts of the Zapper to "blaze orange" to meet new US Federal regulations about toy guns. That regulation involved required orange plugs or paint at the tips of the barrels of realistic or imitation toy guns.
The regulation passed because people were robbing banks with toy guns, and the orange plug was supposed to let cops know the difference between a deadly weapon and a hunk of plastic. (Turns out the plug requirement doesn't work as planned. But it did ruin the toy gun industry.)
The Zapper isn't exactly a realistic toy gun, but acting with its usual overabundance of caution, Nintendo went way beyond a barrel plug. Either way, I am proud to say that, to this date, no one has ever been shot and killed by a NES Zapper.
P.S. In January, I scanned a line drawing of the Zapper from the NES manual. You may enjoy that as well.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you think someone could rob a bank with a NES Zapper? What about in the 1980s?
This is a rather famous early ad for the Sega Genesis that I have never featured until now. It played upon the dramatic graphical differences between the Genesis and the NES, claiming "Genesis Does What Nintendon't."
It's worth emphasizing that Sega is comparing its console to the 8-bit NES here, and not the Super NES — Nintendo's 16-bit machine had not yet been released in the US, allowing Sega to get a jump on the next generation in the American market.
Discussion Topic of the Week: What year did you first get a Sega Genesis? What were your first games for it?
Discussion Topic of the Week: Excluding Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, what is your favorite Pac-Man-themed video game?
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite Tetris spin-off game?
Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite boxing video game of all time?