Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Richard Garriott Could Wind Up Making Ultima Online 2

It’s all very up in the air, so don’t hold the guy to any of this, but Ultima creator and one-time space tourist Richard Garriott says it’s possible his new roleplaying game, Ultimate RPG, could wind up becoming Ultima Online 2.

“We’ve actually talked to Electronic Arts about it,” Garriott told Eurogamer. “I would love to have access to the Ultima property. We’ve had discussions at very high levels with Electronic Arts about access to the property.”

“We’re in discussions with Electronic Arts even now about a possible marketing and distribution relationships and things of this nature.”

The Ultima games were what really propelled me into PC gaming. I spent most of high school (the late 1980s) with limited access to computers, but when I got my hands on an Apple II and someone else’s copy of Ultima III, it’s all I was playing. I hopped on the Commodore 64 bandwagon late, just as Ultima V arrived, but got right down to business renting (that’s right, from a local computer store) a copy of Ultima IV and snatching up a copy of Ultima V in its gorgeous lift-open box stuffed with decorated manuals, a color cloth map, and other cool trademark Garriott miscellany. I wound up playing them all, including the “Worlds of Ultima” games and one of Warren “Deus Ex” Spector’s first (and best) ideas, something called Martian Dreams. In fact I remember placing several long distance phone calls to Origin’s hint service (remember, pre-Internet days here) to help me past more than one puzzle.

Full article: http://www.pcworld.c … ultima_online_2.html

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The game isn’t over yet for retro gamers

Ron Mobido remembers playing chirpy old video games on his 16-bit Super Famicom game console like it was yesterday.

Come to think of it, it very nearly was.

“I just played Donkey Kong all day long,” says Mobido, 35.

Mobido still buys games for his Super Famicom, which is the Japanese version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System from the early ’90s. He also covets his Mega Man games from decades past for the original Nintendo Entertainment System from 1985.

Mobido is just one of many gamers who enjoy the way-back fun of retro gaming, a thriving movement where video games of old get an extra life.

Retro gaming mainly covers games from the 1980s and ’90s, from cartridges that clicked into an Atari 2600 or NES to discs that dropped into a Dreamcast or the first PlayStation. Games for old computers such as the Commodore 64 also get thrown into the retro-gaming mix.

And like they did so many years ago, retro gamers still gather to get their game on - be it at special conventions such as the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas or specialty stores such as Game Over Videogames, a Texas-based chain where regulars like Mobido buy, sell and trade their old electronic adventures.

“There’s always that place and time where it takes you back to when you were a kid,” says Game Over CEO and president David Kaelin. “In a bigger sense, I would say that retro gaming in general has gotten a lot bigger.”

It’s certainly grown for Kaelin. Since he opened his first Game Over in Austin in October 2005, he has expanded his mini empire to a store in Round Rock, Sunset Valley, San Antonio and a new location he opened in Houston in October.

Houston store manager Brandon Boucher sees everyone from hard-core gamers in search of import titles to casual passers-by who saw the Atari joystick logo outside and had to poke their heads in to see the real thing.

“It’s actually been people from the entire spectrum,” Boucher says.

A walk through Game Over is like a stroll through video-game Valhalla, or at least an older gamer’s garage. Cartridges abound with the likes of Super Mario Bros., the ‘85 hit that made Mario a video-game icon, along with the 1982 jungle treasure hunt Pitfall! and more titles that beeped and booped to life on the family TV back in the day.

“Every time there’s a new platform, you inevitably see versions of these games on it,” says Bill Loguidice, managing director of the video game and computer history website Armchair Arcade. “There’s just something timeless about these games.”

Full article: … o-gamers-2346606.php

Love Commodore 64s? You’re not alone

Turns out that some of us never let that old school technology go.

There happen to be a lot of these Commodore-loving folks in Toronto. Meet Toronto’s longest continuously-running Commodore 64 user group (called the Toronto PET Users Group, or TPUG). This Saturday, they’re hosting a weekend of all things Commodore.

For the bargain price of $10 (non-members), you can gather information about various Commodore systems, watch Commodore-related videos and get the scoop on what’s the latest in Commodore technology.

For those of you who confused about what century this is, Commodore aficionados cite several reasons as to why it’s so great to cling on to these old things.

Leif Bloomquist, a new TPUG member himself, thinks one reason why Torontonians have stuck to their Commodores for so long is that a number of key Commodore people have lived here. One of them was the late Jim Butterfield, also known as the Commodore Guru. Whenever Commodore developed a new product, Butterfield tested it.

“He was really gifted on how to explain the product, especially to kids,” Bloomquist says.

Commodores are apparently great for learning, too. Back in the day, commodores came with their own schematics, and many of today’s developers got their start opening up their family computer and having a go.

“Many of the people who got their start with Commodores developed new products as a way of giving back to the computer that started it all,” Bloomquist says. And tinkering with a Commodore is still a good way to get schooled DIY-style on electronics.

Bloomquist says he is going to buy the Easy Flash cartridge Saturday, and he’s excited about it.

Meanwhile, York University’s computer museum will showcase a collection of Commodores. And there will be tons of vendors — some hobbyists, some real businesses — hawking their wares.

The Wii, it seems, has nothing on a Commodore.

http://www.postcity. … 64s-Youre-not-alone/

Friday, December 2, 2011

Still Alive: ‘C64 for iPhone’ Gets iCade Support, iPad Coming

The big news in this latest version of C64 for iPhone, version 2.2, is the addition of support for the iCade and compatible devices (such as the iControlPad and Gametel controller we recently covered), which is huge news given the nature of the typical Commodore 64 game title. In this initial implementation, iCade support means joystick and fire button emulation — certain games with extended features, such as The Last Ninja, still require tapping the screen for key input and the like. This update also brings full support for iOS 5.

It’s worth pointing out that, presently, C64 is not a Universal application, and so using it on an iPad in the iCade means running the iPhone app at 2x video magnification. However, Stuart has big plans for the app and shared a short-list of what’s coming, down the road…

A new, Universal app!
This is a rewrite in order to add all the required features
PRO: By not replacing the iPhone version, we can keep existing users with old hardware on the current builds
PRO: For compatible games, we’ll continue to add them to C64 for iPhone
Activate your original C64 for iPhone purchases if you have it installed
Cycle-exact emulation — will require ARMv7 devices
Same OpenGL ES 2.0 retro visual effects currently in progress for iAmiga
iCADE / iControlPad / Gametel support
Network play
More in-app purchases, including existing titles
A big pack of free games to get you started
Retina display support
BASIC mode, with 1541 “disk” save support

http://toucharcade.c … support-ipad-coming/

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

American Icons Gallery Show Recognizes Classic Gaming Consoles For the Works of Art They Are

We live in an age of gaming gorgeousness. Gamers’ lives nowadays are filled with fancy normal mapping and illumination engines, powered by slickly encased hardware that outputs onto super-sharp screens. In short, there’s a lot of thought given to aesthetics in the present day. But, it hasn’t always been this way and an upcoming art show will showcase the uglier—yet vitally important—gaming hardware of yesteryear.

American Icons gathers select works by Massachusetts artist Jason Brockert, who’s done a series of hazy still-life renderings of the Atari 2600, the Commodore 64, the Nintendo Entertainment System and old-school cartridges. Another series of paintings also portray classic Star Wars action figures, with most painted in a quietly contemplative style.

This showing’s being put together by nerd culture collective I Am 8-Bit in their downtown L.A. gallery and will open to the public this Friday. Some of the paintings—which are affordable as far as fine art goes—will also be available as prints for those who can’t make the show. … t-they-are/gallery/1 … lery/american-icons/

Friday, November 11, 2011

Houston Arcade Expo - November 11th/12th

The Houston Area Arcade Group (HAAG) is holding their annual Houston Arcade Expo on November 11th and 12 at the Houston Northwest Crowne Plaza. Admission is $30 for a weekend pass or $20 for a single day, and discounts are available if you buy your tickets in advance. Admission gains you free-play access to over 200 classic and current coin-op pinball machines, video arcade games, penny arcades, and console video games. There will be tournaments, events, music and workshops to keep the young and young at heart entertained.

Speakers include Dan Ferguson (Lone Star Pinball Museum) on the History of Pinball, Ken Graham (former Williams Programmer), and an Atari Homebrew Programming session by AtariAge user Darrell Spice Jr. (creator of Medieval Mayhem). You can also participate in the free swap meet, repair clinics, win door prizes, enter the raffle to win a Donkey Kong Multicade, and take advantage of the concessions and full bar.

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