Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Amiga 500 lives again — in Google’s browser.
Google developer Christian Stefansen on Thursday resurrected a version of the venerable computer system from the 1980s in the form of a Web app that runs in Chrome. Forty-year-olds who want to relive their childhoods or younger people who want to see just how hard their elders had it can visit the Amiga 500 emulator for Chrome online, boot the machine, and play some games.
Chrome emulates the old operating system by a Chrome-specific version of the Open Source Universal Amiga Emulator. Stefansen brought its 400,000 lines of code, written in the C programming language originally, to the Portable Native Client (PNaCl) foundation built into Chrome.
The Native Client technology runs software written to run on a particular processor at close to the speeds that native software runs. The approach gives software more direct access to a computer’s hardware , but it also adds security restrictions to prevent people from downloading malware from the Web that would take advantage of that power.
Native Client started with x86 chips, but Google has been expanding it with the PNaCl version. PNaCl is processor-independent, letting programmers run native code for the ARM chips in mobile devices — and the old Motorola 68000 family that was at the heart of the Amiga 500.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
PS4 will not put any restrictions on used games, Sony’s PlayStation boss Jack Tretton said today. Gamers can buy PS4 games, trade them in, lend them to friends or keep them forever. Loud cheers. He was drawing several points of comparison, obviously, to the Xbox One.
“In addition to creating an amazing library of new titles on PlayStation 4, we’re focused on delivering what gamers want most, without imposing restrictions or devaluing their PS4 purchases. For instance, PlayStation 4 won’t impose any restrictions on the use of PS4 games.”
The crowd of reporters and gaming industry people at the event cheered at the sight of a slide promising no restrictions on used games.
“Yes, that’s a good thing. We believe in the model that people embrace today with PlayStation 3 and continue to demand. We just heard you there. When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to the game, they can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to another friend or keep it forever.
“In addition, PlayStation 4 disc-based games don’t need to be connected online to play.”
“Or for any type of authentication. If you enjoy playing single-player games offline, PS4 won’t require you to check in online periodically. And it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours.”
Thursday, May 30, 2013
If lights flash and dance everywhere you look, buzzers sound, children laugh and carry fistfuls of prize tickets, and that pinball machine in the back has eaten almost all your beer money — then you’re in FUN-LAND.
FUN-LAND Arcade and Snack Bar has been in business 63 years to date. And if you ask someone of age to bring their grandkids to the beach, three attractions have identified Panama City Beach over those years: Miracle Strip, Petticoat Junction and FUN-LAND.
“We have third generations that come in,” said Joel McDavid, general manager at FUN-LAND for 12 years. “There are baby boomers that come in to bring their grandkids and say, ‘When I was their age I was in here.’ ”
McDavid reflected on when he was 10 years old, coming to FUN-LAND, never dreaming of one day managing the iconic arcade.
FUN-LAND is the last surviving vestige of the three landmarks that embodied the desire for an amusement park-themed beach. Though technically not an amusement park, the clown logo and outside appearance was intentionally misleading to give the impression of a circus mixed with an amusement park — a marketing method to compete with the Long Beach amusement parks of the day.
Originally opened by Don Remsnider in spring 1950, FUN-LAND is the oldest arcade in North Florida, McDavid said. It was purchased four years later and has been owned by the same family since, only changing hands once from father to son in 1990.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
As virtual fantasy worlds go, Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo 3 is particularly foreboding. In this multiplayer online game played by millions, witch doctors, demon hunters, and other character types duke it out in a war between angels and demons in a dark world called Sanctuary. The world is reminiscent of Judeo-Christian notions of hell: fire and brimstone, with the added fantasy elements of supernatural combat waged with magic and divine weaponry. And within a fairly straightforward gaming framework, virtual “gold” is used as currency for purchasing weapons and repairing battle damage. Over time, virtual gold can be used to purchase ever-more resources for confronting ever-more dangerous foes.
But in the last few months, various outposts in that world — Silver City and New Tristram, to name two — have borne more in common with real world places like Harare, Zimbabwe in 2007 or Berlin in 1923 than with Dante’s Inferno. A culmination of a series of unanticipated circumstances — and, finally, a most unfortunate programming bug — has over the last few weeks produced a new and unforeseen dimension of hellishness within Diablo 3: hyperinflation.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The Walt Disney Company (DIS) and Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) today announced a new multi-year exclusive licensing agreement to develop and publish globally new games based on Star Wars characters and storylines.
Under the agreement, EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories.
“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come,” said John Pleasants, Co-President of Disney Interactive. “Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.”
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.