[ Newsbits ] June 29, 2016

June 29th, 2016 by Benj Edwards

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Vintage computing and retrogaming news small enough to eat.

I've recently received a big influx of news, announcements, and press releases, so I thought I'd bring Newsbits out of cold storage and use it to share everything all at once.

Recent News

  • Producer of The Oregon Trail Donates Collection to The Strong

    It's wonderful to see this stuff preserved, as always

    A group of former employees from the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation (MECC) recently donated an extensive collection of materials to The Strong museum documenting the history of the pioneering company from 1973 to 1996. The collection includes hundreds of pieces of software, internal documents, and press clippings.
  • EveryMac.com Turning 20 Years Old

    Brock Kyle recently let me know that his essential Apple info site is turning 20 this Saturday. Quite an accomplistment!

    Established in 1996, EveryMac.com is the complete guide to every Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Mac clone in the world, with technical specs, configuration details, system identifiers, performance benchmarks, and global pricing info.
  • Atari Video Documentary Project Needs Support

    They've assembled some incredible footage so far; would be a shame to see this disappear

    This 100 minutes long documentary about the Atari story will feature a list of unreleased interviews with the key people of these events, including a very rare one with Warner VP Manny Gerard and a unique one with Atari CEO Ray Kassar, the man held responsible for Atari success and the video game industry crash at the same time, who never appeared in a documentary before.
  • YouTube Gamer on a Quest to Play 1001 Games Hits 100th Episode

    Quite a project

    My name is Gaming Jay. I'm a retro gamer who started a challenge this past year to play through a book called '1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.' Each week I’ve been playing 2 games and recording my gaming sessions and uploading them to YouTube. I have also recently developed a new website to document my journey with written summaries to supplement my YouTube videos.
  • iOS Camera App with Retro Filters Released

    Neat iOS camera app that simulates vintage graphics

    I created Famicam64, an 8bit RetroGaming style Camera app. Famicam64 lets you take photos with 40+ real-time filters that emulate the nostalgic look of retro computers (and games) of the 80s and 90s. CGA, EGA, VGA, Hercules and old PC graphic modes are all there, as well as style emulating home computers and handheld consoles (C64, Spectrum or Gameboy etc. etc.).
  • Secret History of Mac Gaming Book Seeks Funding

    It's a niche subject, but a story worth telling

    The Secret History of Mac Gaming is the story of those communities and the game developers who survived and thrived in an ecosystem that was serially ignored by the outside world. The work draws on archive materials as well as 60+ new interviews with key figures from Mac gaming's past.
  • Cool Links

  • Circuit Classics Boards Re-Create Classic Forrest Mims Designs

    Very, very creative electronics project from Star Simpson

    Forrest M. Mims III is a trusted name in the electronics world for good reason: his charming and engaging texts have drawn millions of people into the world of electronics for the first time. I am bringing some of those hand-drawn circuits projects to life by creating an exquisitely designed series of finely crafted and highly detailed boards. These are the Circuit Classics.
  • NES Coffee Table on Etsy

    VC&G reader Ben Winchester built a NES-shaped coffee table; it's up for sale on Etsy.com

    I wanted to show this to you because I feel this piece is truly unique and original to me. I got my start by replicating your NES DVD player and then moving on to putting my own twist on the NES coffee table, and now I think I have created an original design.
  • Artist Re-Creates Classic Byte Cover in Photo

    Bob Alexander turns Tinney's train illustration into a photo composition

    I've just completed an art project that was inspired by Robert Tinney's painting "Computer Engineering" for Byte magazine. That's the one with a train chugging around a printed circuit board. I made a printed circuit board that resembled the one in the painting, photographed it, and Photoshopped a picture of an HO scale model train onto it.
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    THE CONFUSIONING OF YOUR MIND

    October 12th, 2015 by Ulaf Silchov

    [ Our longtime contributor, Ulaf Silchov, recently completed his first self-help book, which will soon be available through Amazon.com. It isn't completely VC&G-related, but it contains sound advice for navigating the challenges of our hectic daily lives. To help him promote his book, I thought I'd let him write about it here. — Benj ]

    INTRODUCTIONS

    SOURCES OF THE CONFUSIONINGIT HAS BECOME TO THE ATTENTIONS OF ULAF THAT SOMES OF YOUR MIND HAVE BECOMES CONFUSIONED. AND SO ULAF WRITES THE SELFS-HELP BOOKS, WHICH ULAF CALL "THE CONFUSIONING OF YOUR MIND," BY ULAF SILCHOV.

    IN THE BOOKS ULAF EXPLORE THE CAUSE OF THE CONFUSIONING AS WELLS AS WHAT RITUALS TO PERFORM UPON IT.

    (FOR THE CAUSES, ULAF LOOK HEARTILY UPON THE VIDEO GAMES FIFTY PERCENTAGES OF THE TIMES)

    HERE YOUR MIND READS AN EXCEPTION OF THIS BOOKS THAT GIVE A TIPS OF POWER TO THOSE WHO NEEDED IT MOST IN THE TIME OF GREAT STRUGGLE.

    [ Continue reading THE CONFUSIONING OF YOUR MIND » ]

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    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Sega Interactive Comics

    June 1st, 2015 by Benj Edwards

    Sega Interactive Comics Sega Electronic Comics Batman Popular Science What's New - April 1995WHAM! POW! ZAP!

    I've been intrigued by this Sega Electronic Comics System prototype since I first saw it in Popular Science's What's New section back in April 1995. Here is an excerpt from that very magazine.

    As far as I know, this device never made it into production — in fact, the only mention I can find of it on the Internet as of this writing is this post on the Collectors Society forums.

    Apparently, the Sega Electronic Comics device worked in conjunction with a tailor-made paper comic book that one would place onto the device. A series of pressure-sensitive buttons beneath the comic book could be pressed to somehow direct the narrative of the book. (Perhaps like Choose Your Own Adventure — i.e. if you do this, turn to page 3.)

    This reminds me of the comic book device Tom Hanks' character outlines in the film Big (1988), albeit without any type of electronic screen. The crazy thing is that 15 years after this Sega Prototype, you could buy an iPad that could store and display thousands of entirely digital comics in a much thinner form factor.

    [ From Popular Science, April 1995, p.11]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you use an electronic device to read comic books? Tell us about it.

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    [ Retro Scan of the Week ] Choose Your Own Zork Adventure

    November 18th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

    Atari Jaguar and Jaguar CD on Sale in TigerDirect Catalog - 1997"Don't eat me, ghostly tiger-snake!"

    During the Choose Your Own Adventure (RSOTW, 2008) book craze in the early 1980s, interactive fiction meisters Infocom decided to get in on the act by publishing a series of Zork-themed "What-Do-I-Do-Now" titles through TOR Books.

    Here is one of them, formally titled Zork #4: Conquest at Quendor. It was written by none other than Infocom legend Steve Meretzky, whom I met briefly in person back in 2008. He is a very personable fellow. (FYI: Back in 2007, Meretzky made a cameo in Jason Scott's video for the Zork-themed "It Is Pitch Dark" by MC Frontalot, which I love.)

    As for the book, I haven't read it in ages, so I am not equipped at present to tell you if it's any good. I just recently found it in a box of my brother's old computer game boxes at my parents' house (which seems to be how a lot of these scans originate these days). My brother is and was a huge Zork fan, which reminds me that we need to play Zork Nemesis together again sometime.

    I will add that the cover art featuring a translucent, floating fuzzy tiger-snake with squidlike suction cups on its body always freaked me out a bit as a kid.

    [ From Zork #4: Conquest at Quendor (TOR Books, October 1984) ]

    Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite entry in the Zork game series?

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    Epic Atari History Book Released

    November 29th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

    Atari History Book

    Just a few days ago, renowned video game historians Marty Goldberg (formerly of ClassicGaming.com) and Curt Vendel (Atari collector extraordinaire) published their epic Atari history book, Atari Inc.: Business is Fun.

    And by epic, I mean 800-pages epic. Its launch coincides with the 40th anniversary of the legendary video game company, which happens to be this year. (In fact, the 40th anniversary of Pong's public debut happens to be today.)

    I haven't gotten my hands on a copy of this massive work yet, but I thought I'd let you guys know about it because it promises to be an interesting read.

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