June 29th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Newsbits, Atari, iOS, iPhone, Apple, Mac, NES, Mac games, Robert Tinney, Byte, Star Simpson, Forrest M. Mims III, electronics, furniture, kickstarter, crowdfunding, books, documentaries
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.
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.
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.
March 14th, 2016 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Dune II, RTS, Westwood Studios, Virgin Interactive, PC Games, strategy, Wolfenstein 3D, 1992, VGCE, advertisement
I just got a craving for The Spice
Dune II is to the real-time strategy genre as Wolfenstein 3D is to first-person shooters. Like Wolf-3D, Dune II wasn't the absolute first example of its genre, but it was the first game to bring together all the distinctive elements of its respective genre into one title — in this case, those elements would later be copied and expanded upon over and over again by games like Command & Conquer and Warcraft.
That being said, I've only played Dune II a few times — only many years after its release. I never got into it, but I can see why it is a historically important game. Warcraft was my first modern RTS game.
[ From VG&CE, November 1992, p.4 ]
Discussion Topic: What's your favorite Real-Time Strategy game of all time?
May 14th, 2014 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Newsbits, news, Nintendo, Apple, art, Etsy, Sega, Jason Scott, Internet Archive, MS-DOS, emulators, iOS, Nintendo, Super Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat, Meridian 59, Paul Ford, Chris Kohler, BASIC, Steve Wozniak
Vintage computing and retrogaming news small enough to eat.
Since I missed last week's column, I decided to fold some of those links into this week's edition. So there may be a few older newsbits, but at least they're still interesting.
- 2300 Console Games Now Playable on Internet Archive
'Ole pal Jason Scott writes about the sudden influx of games playable on the Internet Archive website
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working with a range of volunteers on a massive expansion of what we call the Console Living Room at the Internet Archive. Previously weighing in at about 800 game cartridges from seven console systems, the new collection is roughly 2300 cartridges and a total of 21 different consoles.
- George R. R. Martin Writes Using WordStar 4.0 in MS-DOS
I'm not surprised. To avoid distractions, I sometimes write using Word 6.0 for DOS on a Compaq Aero 4/25 laptop.
The 'Game of Thrones' author confessed to late-night talk-show host Conan O'Brien that he prefers to write his popular books on a DOS word processor instead of the latest laptop.
'I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital letter. I don't want a capital. If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key.'
- Nintendo Forces Takedown of GBA Emulator for iOS
From the not-very-surprising department
In order to play titles like Super Mario and Zelda on your iPhone, then, you have to look at unofficial alternatives. GBA4iOS was one of the most popular — but after its creators received a DMCA notice from Nintendo this week, it is no more.
- Analogue Interactive's $499 NES Clone Up for Pre-Order
TinyCartridge reports on this fancy console with a healthy grain of salt mixed in. (Memories of Generation NEX still make me shudder.)
Analogue has opened pre-orders for its Nt, the Famicom/NES device with RGB output, four controller ports, and purported 'unparallelled'" compatibility with American and Japanese games and accessories.
- New Book About How Sega Nearly Won the Console Wars
Chris Kohler provides an overview of Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle That Defined a Generation.
If a few small things had changed, might we be gaming on a Sega PlayStation right now? That’s the picture Blake Harris paints in his new book Console Wars. It is a narrative history of the brief time period in the lifespan of the videogame publisher Sega when it was on top of the world.
- Midway Planned HD Remakes of Mortal Kombat Games
I would have really loved to see this
With the [ Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection], Midway's initial plan was to release HD remakes of the original games with new actors, and even though that's not what happened in the end, these images with Liu Kang, Sonya, Shao Kahn and the others show that the remakes would have been quite faithful to the original
- The Last Survivors of Meridian 59
A rare examination of obscure Internet game culture from a mainstream publication (The New Yorker)
Today, almost eighteen years after Meridian 59’s launch, Barloque’s streets are quiet and vacant, its cobblestones buffed and rounded by little more than a digital breeze. They are rarely visited by more than twenty people in the world at any one time.
- The Great Works of Software
Paul Ford muses about a software canon
Is it possible to propose a software canon? To enumerate great works of software that are deeply influential—that changed the nature of the code that followed?
- How Steve Wozniak Wrote BASIC for the Original Apple From Scratch
Woz himself writes for Gizmodo, re: BASIC 50th anniversary
The problem was that I had no knowledge of BASIC, just a bare memory that it had line numbers from that 3-day high-school experience. So I picked up a BASIC manual late one night at HP and started reading it and making notes about the commands of this language. Mind that I had never taken a course in compiler (or interpreter) writing in my life.
- How Sega is Rejuvinating its Classic Games in 3D
I'm not sure if "rejuvenating" is the right word here, but I welcome Sega dipping into the past
Few games have had as much attention lavished upon them as the Sega 3D Classics series. The first wave of titles was released between November and December of last year, in pairs over four successive weeks.
- Super Mario Bros. Level Belt (Etsy)
Incredible artistry — an entire Super Mario Bros. level crafted into a leather belt
The images are of a belt that I crafted for my brother, who is a big Super Mario fan, and depicts the last level of Super Mario brothers where Mario finally rescues the princess.
If you want me to include something on a future Newsbits column, send me an email with "[Newsbits]" in the subject line.