Archive for June, 2007

“Platform Agnostics” on

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Platform Agnostics on 1UP

I forgot to mention this earlier, but an article I wrote about the “most ported” games of all time is now up on It’s called Platform Agnostics, and it takes a look at eight games that are prominent for their cross-platform status, i.e. appearing on many different computers or video game systems. (By the way — I’m not a big fan of the “whore” analogy that the 1UP editors used on the subtitle, but hey, that’s their call. I’ll admit that my title is a little dry.)

Anyway, take a look at it if you’re interested. It’s definitely on-topic for VC&G, as most of the games discussed are pretty old.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Mind-Blowing Software

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Epyx Brochure PageIt’s true: headless programmers make better lovers.

[ From a 1987 Epyx Product Catalog ]

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] War + Mech = “Kinda Cool”

Monday, June 18th, 2007
Atari Jaguar Iron Soldier Ad

But war without robots? Forget it; it’s hell.

You should probably know by now that I love the Atari Jaguar. Or at least I did (Read #14) when it came out. I was a huge Atari nut back then. Iron Soldier, the game featured in this bold, well-illustrated ad, remains one of the few truly fun games released for the Jaguar. I only acquired it recently (well, recently as in 2001) but I’ve had a blast with it, even if the missions do feel like three-hour aimless wanderlusts of wanton destruction. I’ll never forget the feeling of punching skyscrapers with my giant robot’s stubby fist for the first time.

Did anybody else out there have this game? What did you think about it?

If you use this image on your site, please support “Retro Scan of the Week” by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

The Glacial Pace of GameTap Customer Chat

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

GameTap's Glacial Customer Service SpeedHaving recently fallen upon hard times (I’m saving up for a new Mac), I found it necessary to trim some fat from my monthly budget. Naturally, funds for groceries took precedence over gaming luxuries like GameTap .

I first tried the GameTap service last year as part of a review for VC&G and I found it somewhat lacking. I canceled my account after my free trial expired.

Earlier this year, I thought I’d check out Uru Live, so I reinstated my GameTap account. The service is much better than before, but alas: money is money, and GameTap had to go. As I mentioned in my 2006 review, canceling GameTap is GameTap Logoquite a hassle, requiring a phone call to GameTap support, a long wait on hold, and an annoying chat with a customer service representative who tries to tell you what you are really thinking. And according to the numerous comments from unhappy Tappers on my review, GameTap’s practice in this regard has not changed. (By the way, thousands of people find this site each month through keyword searches featuring variations on how to cancel GameTap. Check out this entry, at the bottom, for examples.)

[ Continue reading The Glacial Pace of GameTap Customer Chat » ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Infocom Zombie Deprogramming

Monday, June 11th, 2007
Infocom Zombie Advertisement

The lure of graphical gaming is powerful, but Infocom can help you recover from your addiction with its line of text adventure games. How many Zombie converts are out there reading this now? Tell us about some of your favorite Infocom games in the comments below.

If you use this image on your site, please support “Retro Scan of the Week” by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

VCF East 4.0 This Weekend

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

VCF East 4.0It’s that time of year again, where vintage computer enthusiasts around the world emerge from their long winter hibernation to gather in one spot on the east coast of the US and show off their prized computer possessions. The name of this grand gathering? Vintage Computer Festival East, and it’s in its fourth iteration this year (hence the “4.0”). I attended this festival’s big brother (VCF 9.0) in Mountain View, California last year, and it was a blast. So if that’s any indicator of what East might be like, you should drop everything and go. Just remember to pick everything up again when you get back.

I wish I could attend, but I won’t be able to make it. Something about “needing money to eat” or something like that, says my wife. Somebody take pictures for me. And give my regards to Evan Koblentz if you run into him. Does anybody want to file an official report of the show for VC&G? Let me know.

You can read the full press release after the break.

[ Continue reading VCF East 4.0 This Weekend » ]

Thirty Years of Apple II

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Apple II Painting

Thirty years ago today, the Apple II personal computer officially went on sale in the United States. As Apple Computer, Inc.’s flagship product, the Apple II put the company on the map, made stars of Apple’s founders, and changed the world of computing forever. The machine stood out at the time of its release due to features such as its all-in-one, no assembly required design with an innovative plastic enclosure; integrated color graphics, sound, and paddle inputs; and the ability to use an ordinary TV set as a display.

Benj's Apple II PlusI’m not going to get into the details as to why the computer is great — it’s been written about so many times before that you’d be better served reading about it somewhere else. But I did interview Steve Wozniak, creator of the Apple II back in February for Gamasutra, and I had a great time talking to him. Wozniak crafted the innards of the Apple II, an absolute masterpiece of minimalistic yet highly functional design, all by himself. Steve Jobs provided the finishing touch by insisting on a stylish case for the unit, and the rest is history.

My first computer was an Apple II Plus, a unit I still have and hold dear to this day. I squeezed years of entertainment out of it just by programming BASIC, so the Apple II means a lot to me personally. Happy birthday, old friend.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Architecture Caption Contest

Monday, June 4th, 2007
VC&G Caption Contest #4

No; it’s not just tinnitus. That sharp ringing in your left ear means it’s time for another Retro Scan of the Week caption contest. This is VC&G’s fourth contest, being only one in a proud series of entertaining diversions. Here’s how it works:

Anyone out there may enter the contest (multiple times is fine by me) by writing a comment on this post. Simply write the best (i.e. funniest) caption you can think of for the image above. The winning caption will be selected by me and glorified before the whole world as the best caption ever. But of course, it’s not really about winning; it’s about the self-satisfaction you’ll gain by entertaining your peers and the joy of participating in a community event.

So join in the fun. Let’s see what you guys can come up with for this one. Study the image carefully and use every detail to your advantage. May the best captioneer win!

If you use this image on your site, please support “Retro Scan of the Week” by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.