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Posts Tagged ‘retro computing’

Retro Gamer: Citadel (BBC Micro, 1985, Superior Software)

May 29th, 2012 No comments

This month’s Retro Gamer (May/June 2012 #103) contains a four pager from yours truly. This time, the subject is the 1985 BBC Micro/Electron release Citadel. Like most games of the era, it might look a bit primitive by modern standards, but programmer Michael Jakobson squeezed every ounce of storage out of the old Beeb to deliver a colourful gameworld made up of 240 interlinked screens. It’s a wonderful example of a vintage arcade adventure, and it’s also a consummate BBC Micro game. One of the commenters on the forum remarked that when he first played it, the game seemed as big to him as Skyrim does now. This time I was able to get in touch with Michael Jakobson and also Simon Storr, the author of Citadel 2.

I was particularly happy with the layout as the guys managed to cram some decent sized screenshots into the mag to show off the (8 colour) graphics. The BBC Micro had a colour system that was based on primary colours giving it a very bright and distinctive look and Citadel is a fantastic example of that.

Some of the guys that I follow on YouTube have covered the game before. Steve Benway gave it a first impression look, and PsiMan did a more detailed retrospective on it as it was a favourite of his back in the day. There are some more gameplay vids to be found on YouTube and there is a nice video of Darren Jones, the editor of Retro Gamer flicking through the issue here. The article is being discussed on the StarDot (BBC Micro) forums, and the issue itself is being discussed on the RetroGamer forum.

Retro Gamer 95 Krisalis Software

October 13th, 2011 No comments

It’s that time again. This month’s Retro Gamer contains my six page feature on Teque/Krisalis Software. It’s my fifth article for the publication. Between 1987 and 2001, working as both a developer of original games and conversions power house, Krisalis produced hundreds of games. As ever, putting the feature together was fun but a lot of hard work.

This time around, I was able to contact and interview quite a few of the people who were originally involved in the company. Krisalis was particularly close to my heart because they converted a lot of mainstream hits to the Acorn Archimedes series of computers, which was the system that I ran as a teenager. As ever, it was great to interact with people whose names I’d seen come up on the screen so often over the years. I doubt I could have imagined this sort of contact when I was a spotty teen, admiring their efforts. Thanks go to Shaun Hollingworth, Tony Kavanagh, Neil Adamson, Keith Birkett, Nigel Little and Matt Furniss for all of their help.

I don’t have my copy of the magazine yet, but you can watch the editor of the magazine, Darran Jones, flicking through the latest issue on YouTube. There is a feedback thread for the issue on the Retro Gamer forum.

RetroGamer issue 86 – Changing Worlds

February 1st, 2011 No comments

Subscribers are starting to get hold of issue #86 of RetroGamer as I write this. This month features my six page article on 3D arcade adventure games. The article has an emphasis on early pioneers in open world gaming.

I managed to cover one of my favourite genres and talk to some of the desingers. The games mentioned include Cholo, Damocles, Midwinter, Hunter, Cybercon III and loads of other utter classics. I just hope that the readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

There is a feedback thread for the issue here. Read more…

Retro Gamer: DOS Gaming

December 4th, 2009 No comments

This month’s RetroGamer* magazine (issue #71) features my six page article on the history of DOS (PC) gaming, my second article for that magazine. Hopefully this is the beginning of a productive relationship between the mag and myself.

I don’t have  a copy of the article myself as I don’t yet have a subscription to RetroGamer. Subscribers should have it by the weekend and it should be on the high street by the middle of next week. However, for an early look at the issue, check out Darren Jones’ Youtube video in which he flicks through it while giving some background info. My article appears at about 3:00. The feedback thread for the issue is here.  Hopefully, by tomorrow night, there should be some feedback on my article. Why do I get the feeling that I’m going to get savaged over my choice of eight important DOS games?

In my research I found loads of interesting early games such as Atarisoft conversions of Defender and Digdug that they did back in 1983. I also managed to get a few words with the founders of SSI and Apogee in order to beef up the article. You never know what editors are going to cut out but it looks like they’ve inlcuded:

  • Main essay: history of DOS gaming 1981 to around 1997
  • Soundcards
  • graphics standards (CGA, EGA, VGA)
  • 8 important DOS games side feature

Read more…

RetroGamer: Acorn Archimedes

June 18th, 2009 No comments

This month’s RetroGamer (issue #65, with the shiny red cover) features my six page feature on the Acorn Archimedes, a computer system that I used to run when I was teenager. The article is split between the main feature and a “Perfect 10” summary of some of the classic games. I have the magazine now and the layout looks great.

Note that this content won’t be included in my future article compilation books as the Imagine Publishing contract does not allow it. The Arc A310 in the photograph is my very own well loved machine, and hopefully it’ll be back with me in the next few days. Oops, it seems that I forgot to put the drive eject button back in when I put the machine back together! The issue is being discussed on the RetroGamer forum here, and the comments about my article seem quite positive. Hopefully, I’ll do something else for the mag in the future.

Read on for some more about the article including some content that had to be cut for length. Read more…

Micro Mart: And the brand played on…

April 9th, 2009 No comments

This week, Micro Mart is carrying my feature about four brands that lived on beyond the demise of the companies that established them. The article is entitled “And the Brand Played On: Four brands that died… and then lived again.” I delve into the history and subsequent resurection of the Acorn Computers, Apricot, Atari and Commodore brands. Naturally, due to the subject matter it’s an article with a bit of a retro flavour. It’s in issue 1050, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

Micro Mart: Acorn Archimedes

February 23rd, 2009 2 comments

I’m a bit late with the announcement, but this week’s Micro Mart contains my six page feature on the Arc. It’s in issue 1043. If you want a copy, you’ll have to hurry as it will be replaced by the latest issue on Thursday the 26th of Feb.

The article details the history of the machine with a buyers’ guide, a guide to emulators, and some other details about the platform. In addition, it’s accompanied by some near pornographic pictures of my beloved old Archimedes A310, inside and out. The focus of the article on the Arc as a retro platform rather than the current RISC OS scene.
Read more…

DOSBox, a multiplatform PC emulator

May 23rd, 2008 No comments

Free Software Magazine have published my DOSBox review. DOSBox is an PC emulator that is optimsed for accurately running vintage games. From the article:

“Let’s be clear: not every old game is worth revisiting. As a general rule, about eighty percent of everything, in all media, is rubbish. If not actually rubbish, entertainment media can be so tied to the time in which it was made that it cannot survive the transition into a later era.

However, there are games that are worth hunting down and re-playing.

An old game might employ a gameplay style that has no modern equivalent, or a much-loved old game might have a nostalgic attachment for a gamer. Sometimes, the gamer wishes to try out a game that they passed over at the time of release. Finally, some old games are simply great games and are worth playing in their own right.”

Click here to go the article on the FSM website.

OS News: The Return Of The 8 Bits?

April 14th, 2007 No comments

Another month, another tech article. Actually, I think that I missed last month’s. I’ll try and run off another quick article in order to maintain the one article per month goal. I’m about to submit this one to OSNews.com and when (if) it’s published, I’ll link to it in the side menu.

Here is the teaser paragraph:

In this article, I’m going to explore the idea that the 8 bit home computer not only had a great deal to offer the prehistoric early-humans of 1985 but that it may also have a place in the modern world; perhaps, there is something that we can learn from it. Having identified the laudable, worthwhile elements of this class of machine, I’m going to make some suggestions towards a scheme that would embody these characteristics in the form of a machine that would have a place within the modern world.