Make yourself a very Speccy Christmas with Santa Sam Dyer’s ZX Spectrum – A visual compendium

Illuminated in a mesmerising green hue of ethereal beauty and presence, a home computer of old comes to life, leaps off a page in Sam Dyer’s latest masterpiece in the exceedingly rewarding “Visual Compendium“-series. Opening the impressive volume emulates perfectly that moment a computer is switched on, with every page impersonating the starkly coloured screen display of the titular ZX Spectrum. Sam Dyer’s “ZX Spectrum: A Visual Compendium” is a special experience of layered significance.

Layers of history, experience, enjoyment, insight and colour are in story for the readers of Bomb Jack and Paperboy in Sam Dyer's ZX Spectrum: A Visual Compendium from Bitmap Books, available at www.funstock.co.uk. Photo by Andreas Wanda.
Layers of history, experience, enjoyment, insight and colour are in story for the readers of Bomb Jack and Paperboy in Sam Dyer’s ZX Spectrum: A Visual Compendium from Bitmap Books, available at www.funstock.co.uk. Photo by Andreas Wanda.

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30 Years Later: Lucasfilm’s Fractalus Revisited

David Fox’s silent game changer

Oh how seductive the eternal evolution of technology! Oh what boredom lies in volumetric dust clouds of uncountable pixels, their toilsome birth betrayed only by the high-pitched struggle of a graphic card labouring inside a run-of-the-mill desktop computer. The mind slackens into a tupor of robotic keyboard spasms. Disbelief no longer needs suspension: with the visual display quite a spitting image of nature, the brain only needs to soften the roughest of edges. Oh what glory then the memories of old bestow on the stalwart art of retrography, the magic of 8-bit computing, beautifully preserved in Lucasfilm Games’ Rescue on Fractalus. And yet the most crucial ally in its creative success, the oft-forgotten and sadly underestimated manual of words crafted bold and true on sheets of paper rested inside boxes colourful and bold.

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The Complete Retro Asylum Star Wars Trilogy

The circle is now complete: from The Empire Strikes Back by Parker Brothers to the LEGO Star Wars series, the Retro Asylum podcast saga on Star Wars retrogaming is (almost) the next best thing to finally welcoming back Luke, Han and Leia in The Force Awakens. Switch off your targeting computer and let retro flow through you…

The Retro Asylum Star Wars Podcast Saga starts here!

Paul Driscoll’s absolutely astounding volume on all things Star Wars can be downloaded here!

Did U.S. Gold’s C64 conversion of Gauntlet ever feature speech?

While perusing vintage copies of German computing magazine Happy Computer over at kultpower.de, I read that there was potentially an earlier edition of Gauntlet on the C64 which featured “easily comprehensible speech synthesis”. Follow an intriguing dig in pixels from ages past at Frank Gasking’s always fab Games That Weren’t!

 http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2015/06/gauntlet-c64-with-speech/ 

Review: Commodore Amiga: A Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer, Bitmap Books

Commodore Amiga: A Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer, from Bitmap Books, available exclusively at funstock.co.uk

With great trepidation I turn the page to reveal the next spread of Sam Dyer’s landmark volume on the Commodore Amiga. Sadness is slowly creeping up as I briskly process the remaining years covered by Commodore Amiga: A Visual Commpendium; every letter, every pixel presented in a lavish, precisely elegant layout feasting on the glory of 16-bit graphics I savour like that eagerly sought after drop of water, enjoyed at last, after a perilous journey through a barren landscape.

The Amiga-less years have been harsh and unforgiving and this fabulous volume, clad in a pearly-white sleeve, finally provides relief to Amiga fandom. Continue reading “Review: Commodore Amiga: A Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer, Bitmap Books”

Retroasylum Podcast: From Silver Screen to Video Game!

Retro Asylum goes to the movies with TheDrisk in charge of tickets and Matt Lambourne armed with the popcorn as the guys look back at a bunch of movie licensed video games!

http://retroasylum.com/episode-113-from-silver-screen-to-video-game/

 
For an in-depth analysis of the demise of movie tie-ins see Of Movie Tie-Ins and Joystick Storytellers: The Video and Computer Game Revolution that Devoured Hollywood http://www.obiwandi.at/?p=1122

Special Editions: Why Patrik Spacek’s Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis matters

Patrik Spacek has submitted a stalwart pitch to The Walt Disney Corporation to have his fabulous looking “special edition” of Hal Barwood’s and Noah Falstein’s legendary point-and-click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis officially sanctioned and supported. On the eve of what is certain be an important event,  a review of the common practice and history of “special editions” is in order. What does a product make “special” beyond the difference in pricing and packaging? Is it justifiable to attach such a powerful attribute to a word as mundane as “edition”?

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Of Movie Tie-Ins and Joystick Storytellers: The Video and Computer Game Revolution that devoured Hollywood

Why did the computer and video game industry “tie in” with motion pictures? How come the once ubiquitous game adaptations disappeared whilst gaming is more popular and lucrative than ever?

Of Movie-Ties and Joystick Storytellers: How  the Computer and Video Gaming Industry devoured the Motion Picture. An Analysis by Andreas Wanda. Screenshot: Jurassic Park by Ocean Software, Amiga OCS, 1993
Of Movie-Ties and Joystick Storytellers: How the Computer and Video Gaming Industry devoured the Motion Picture. An Analysis by Andreas Wanda. Screenshot: Jurassic Park by Ocean Software, 1993

This is an analysis of how gaming industry’s original envy turned into unsurpassed pride, of how the relationship between the motion picture and the computer and video game industries has undergone a significant change over the last four decades, of how players cast off the double-duties as brand ambassadors name-dropping a film’s title in conversations to tell their very own, very personal story of their adventures inside the bits and bytes of computer and video gaming. This is the journey of the joystick marketeer that lived to be a virtual storyteller…

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