Archive for May, 2009

Tim Sweeney Interview: On ZZT, Shareware, Epic, and More

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Epic Games' Headquarters

You’ve probably heard of Epic Games by now — you know, the company behind Gears of War and the Unreal Engine. We read a lot about those blockbuster products these days, but Epic’s story stretches back much farther than that. For example, did you know that the very same Epic was once one of the world’s foremost shareware game publishers?

In January of this year, I had the immense honor of exploring Epic’s rich history in a sit-down interview with Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic. Over lunch at a local restaurant, we discussed his early programming years, the genesis of ZZT (Epic’s first game), Jill of the Jungle, Apogee Software, the shareware wars, his thoughts on id Software’s early work, the future of game graphics, and much more.

After some time on the back burner, this long, in-depth interview has finally seen the light of day over at Gamasutra. Shareware fans and general history computer buffs shouldn’t miss it. Heck, I did the interview and I’m reading it again. I hope you enjoy it.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Kensington Expert Mouse

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Kensington Expert Mouse for Windows Ad - 1990The Un-Mouse (click for full advertisement)

[ From BYTE Magazine, November 1990 ]

Discussion topic of the week: This ad compares Macintosh and Windows environments circa 1990. So here we go: Which, in your opinion, was the superior computing experience: MS-DOS + Windows 3.0 or Mac System 6?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Wasteland

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Wasteland Commodore 64 Ad - 1988“Hot. Mean. Radioactive.”

[ From Compute’s Gazette for Commodore Users, December 1988 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What’s your favorite computer RPG of all time?

[ Fuzzy Memory ] The Secret Illusion of Evermore Mana

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Fuzzy MemoryEvery once and a while, I receive emails from people looking for a certain game, electronic toy, or computer from their distant past. This time, a friendly fellow named Daniel has sent me a puzzling inquiry regarding an action-adventure game from the early 1990s. As usual, I’m not an oracle of infinite knowledge, so I need your help to crack the case.

[ Continue reading [ Fuzzy Memory ] The Secret Illusion of Evermore Mana » ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Computer Insurance

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Safeware Computer Insurance Ad - 1983“Don’t wait till it’s too late to insure your computer.”

[ From Personal Computing, December 1983 ]

Discussion topic of the week: Have you ever been the victim of computer theft? How about computer damage in a fire or other disaster? Tell us about it.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Crystalis

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Crystalis for NES Ad - 1990That kid is one heck of an evil overlord.

[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, November 1990 ]

Discussion topic of the week: In your opinion, what’s the best Zelda clone out there?