Discussion Topic of the Week: What's the best non-Ultima game Origin ever made?
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?
10 DAYS OF VINTAGE: Day 10
One week ago, I had a chance to talk to Felicia Day, an American actress who has gained considerable renown for embracing her geeky side.
In 2007, Day created a pioneering web TV show called The Guild that focused on a group of disparate characters in a World of Warcraft-like MMO who are nonetheless bound together by their devotion to the game — and to each other as teammates.
After launching The Guild, Day went on to co-star in Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, an award-winning musical miniseries crafted especially for the web. She has also acted in shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, and Eureka.
Just this year, Day released a memoir called You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), that I read from cover-to-cover in a few days and enjoyed immensely. In it, she talked about growing up in the American South, her gaming habits, embracing her geeky nature, and creating The Guild.
With that book in mind, I thought it would be fun to ask her some questions about her early computing and gaming habits. Along the way, we touch on the philosophy of genius and celebrity, and whether it's safe to do an interview while you're driving a car.
I hope you enjoy it.
This interview took place on November 4, 2015 over the telephone.
- Seattle Retro Gaming Expo 2014
Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 5:00 PM (PDT) in Seattle, WA
"The Seattle Retro Gaming Expo is an organization dedicated to creating a network of gamers in the Seattle area, and providing outlets for us to express our passion for all facets of the geek culture in general, and classic videogames in particular.
- Richard Garriott Holds Contest to Resurrect his Teletype-era RPG; Ends May 15
Hit the link for a BASIC source printout — and a smidgen of self-aggrandizement
"D&D #1 represents one of the earliest known computer role playing games. Originally created and refined between the years 1975-1977, this game is one of the few true founding efforts of the entire computer gaming genre. Interestingly the ascii based tile graphics are a clear forerunner of what followed in Ultima and many other computer role playing games, and thus remains relevant to the genres history.
- Nintendo Game Boy Turns 25 (The Onion)
"Lets just call it what it really was: a Tetris delivery system.
- Almost Every PlayStation Classic and PSP Game Now Downloadable on PS Vita
They perfectly emulate the two minutes of introductory logo screens too
"In a rather sudden turn of events, almost every PlayStation Classic and PSP game on Sony's SEN marketplace is now downloadable on the PS Vita including those that previously weren't available on Sony's portable console.
- Super Mario Bros. 3 Released on Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console
Sixth time is the charm.
"Jump, swim, and fly through one of the most beloved Super Mario Bros. games of all time on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems!
- NES Remix 2 Launches For Wii U April 25
With Super Luigi Bros., Nintendo makes an unconscious nod to ROM hackers
"NES Remix 2 also features two exciting new modes. Super Luigi Bros. stars our nervous hero, Luigi, and dares players to beat each level of the original Super Mario Bros. backward! The other new mode has you trying for high scores in three rapid-fire levels from different NES games, using a scoring system inspired by the 1990 Nintendo World Championships.
- Retro Platformer Cave Story Coming to 3DS in Europe on May 1
Loved it on the Wii
"It's happening! Cave Story comes to Europe on the Nintendo 3DS eShop May 1st, 2014!
- The History of Technology, as Told in Wacky British Pathe Newsreels
These ancient computer videos should keep you busy for a while
"In an inventive, generous act, British Pathe has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 pieces of footage from vintage newsreels to YouTube. I pulled up some choice bits relating to computers — especially how they got used to automate practically everything in the 1960s.
- If Sega Made Easter Eggs
Clever Eggman art
- See Pac-Man Rendered in Physical 3D Space
Demo for the "voLumen" rotating 3D display. Check out 1:34 for Pac-Man in the video and 2:34 for a shout-out to Super Mario Bros.
- Sex Sells — Even on the Moon
Either the best or most sexist arcade video game flier ever made, circa 1981. Remarkable for what it says about the arcade vending audience at the time (probably not safe for work)
- Street Fighter II: What Did Critics Say in 1992?
Neat review roundup from Defunct Games
"Not only was it the biggest arcade game around, but it forced every other publisher to come up with their own fighting game. Could this Super NES game possibly live up to the hype? To find the answer to this question, we decided to look through the pages of Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, N-Force, Super Play and other magazines of the era.
If you want me to include something on a future Newsbits column, send me an email with "[Newsbits]" in the subject line.
Vintage computing and retrogaming news small enough to eat.
- Microsoft Releases Source Code for MS-DOS and Word for Windows
A great move by Microsoft and the CHM
"On Tuesday, we dusted off the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows. With the help of the Computer History Museum, we are making this code available to the public for the first time.
- Yoshi's New Island Out Now on 3DS
A Nintendo 3DS sequel to the Super NES classic with all-new stages.
"New island. New adventure. Same awesome Yoshi. The little Mario Bros. are in big trouble. Help Yoshi save the day — with help from cool power-ups, giant Eggdozers, and crazy transformations.
- New Ultima Online Shard Freeshard Open
by the name of "An Corp"
"A brand new freeshard for Ultima Online has opened up and it is amazing. T2A era, full-loot, open-world PVP, revamped loot tables, exciting new expansions like the Township/Kingship system, and Order/Chaos/Balance battles.
- Play Zork on an Altair 8800 Clone via Telnet
and watch the panel lights blink in realtime
"Logon using your favorite telnet client to: altair.micronick.com on port 23. You can SAVE and RESTORE your Zork game. I suggest using terminal type vt100 or ANSI.
- Magpi: The Micro Arduino Gaming Platform Interface
A retro portable game console built from scratch
"Here's a retro hand-held gaming console I built with my son. It uses an Arduino micro-controller, a small LCD screen, push-buttons, a 3D printed case and home-grown "PC" board. It's really pretty easy to solder and put together. My son & I wrote two games and a drawing program for it.
- Classic Game Room Reviews the Sega Dreamcast Dreameye Camera
A neat peripheral many people have forgotten
"TV phone, video mail and photo mail with your Sega Dreamcast and the Dreameye camera! Hook this up to your Dreamcast and connect to the Japanese Internet in 2000 for some great times!! Records 25 second clips of video from a terrible webcam, but it's great for laughs.
If you want me to include something on a future Newsbits column, send me an email with "[Newsbits]" in the subject line. My email filter will route it directly into my brain.
I'm not a huge fan of Ultima: Runes of Virtue for the Game Boy. However, its sequel, Runes of Virtue II on the SNES (which was also released on the Game Boy) is quite an interesting action RPG to me — despite its general clunkiness. It feels sort of like a Zelda title set in the Ultima universe with Ultima VII-style graphics.
Just a small administrative note: I'm moving the Retro GIF of the Week column to Fridays. So expect the next entry in that column this Friday.
Discussion Topic of the Week: If EA made a new core Ultima game today (think Ultima X — and no, not the failed MMO), would you buy it?
I love Ultima VI, so it's excellent that Origin made two spin-off games using the same engine. I've played Martian Dreams, the other Worlds of Ultima game, but never The Savage Empire. Is anybody out there a fan?
Discussion Topic of the Week: Which is best: The Savage Empire or Martian Dreams?
Discussion Topic of the Week: I've already asked you what your favorite Ultima game was. What's your least favorite game in the Ultima series? Which one do you think is the worst?
Discussion topic of the week: What's your favorite entry in the Ultima computer game series?
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