Why C64: A Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer Matters

It must have been one of these singular Eureka! moments in the history of the world when Sam Dyer, a graphics designer from Bath, conceived of his book Commodore 64: A Visual Commpendium, now available from www.funstock.co.uk. Here is a brief reflection on why this elegant publication matters so much.

Celebrating 160x200 pixels in print - Commodore 64: A Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer available exclusively at www.funstock.co.uk
Celebrating 160×200 pixels – Commodore 64: A Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer available exclusively at www.funstock.co.uk

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8bit terror on the Commodore 64: Terrorpods – A reconsideration

Retro Asylum, the UK’s No. 1 retro gaming podcast show, featured an outstanding episode dedicated to one of gaming industry’s most divisive developers, Psygnosis (click here to listen to RetroAsylum’s Psygnosis special). I contributed a segment on one of Psygnosis’s earliest releases, the trading-resource management shoot ’em up crossover Terrorpods.

Terrorpods by Psygnosis, C64 cassette version distributed by Melbourne House in 1988, photo by Andreas Wanda
A mysterious box bearing familiar logos from the glory days of 8/16bit computing contains the Commodore 64 version of Terrorpods, one of the first games to take advantage of the then new groundbreaking platforms Atari ST and Commodore Amiga.

In the weeks leading up to the Psygnosis-podcast’s release, RetroAsylum regular Sam Dyer kindly pointed out to me an exciting ebay offer, a sealed copy of Terrorpods for the Commodore 64. Quickly did I jump at this opportunity to come full circle and procured said 8bit conversion. Box in hand, how did the C64 incarnation fare in comparison to the 16bit classic?
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Han Solo posted first

If only Leia and Han had taken a closer look at Lando’s Facebook page, launched shortly before the fateful Bespin encounter in Star Wars – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back…

The Official Retro Asylum YouTube Channel

Although the Retro Asylum team often post videos via YouTube, they have never actually had a dedicated channel that the entire team could upload to. Thankfully this has now been put right! The channel currently features videos by the great retromaniac Dean Swain, yet all members of Retro Asylum are set post videos in the very near future, so I highly recommend to get watching and subscribe instantly!

The Official Retro Asylum YouTube Channel

Subscribe to The Official Retro Asylum You Tube Channel!
Subscribe to The Official Retro Asylum You Tube Channel!

Media and Technological Devolution

On Friday, November 10th 2013, www.variety.com reported as “breaking news” “Blockbuster to Stop Movie Rentals Saturday” (read the full article here). The news marked another sad milestone in the long and painful disintegration of a welcome branch of entertainment business that furthered communal experience. The dissolution of the video store business model at the hands of digital distribution is but a single piece in a development that oddly leaves mankind by the wayside precisely because of the advances that should carry us onward. Here is a soliloquy.
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In Memory of James Gandolfini (1961 – 2013)

I was jostled from sleep this night at 3 a.m. for reasons I could not fathom until I was notified, upon checking the time, that the great James Gandolfini had died. In memory of his great persona and talent, I have compiled a few clips and articles on the one and only James Gandolfini.

Gandolfini was also nominated for an Oscar with the cast of
Gandolfini was also nominated for an Oscar with the cast of “Get Shorty” (1995), Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser, Business Insider

From www.imdb.com: New Jersey-born James Gandolfini began acting in the New York theater. His Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. James’ breakthrough role was his portrayal of Virgil the hitman in Tony Scott‘s True Romance(1993), but the role that brought him worldwide fame and accolades was as complex Mafia boss Tony Soprano in HBO’s smash hit series “Die Sopranos” (1999). He currently lives in Greenwich Village in New York City. Full article >>

Brian Lowry, Variety: James Gandolfini’s Unlikely Stardom, and the Role of a Lifetime

Justin Chang, Variety: James Gandolfini: A Rich Bigscreen Career in the Shadow of Tony Soprano

You Tube: James Gandolfini on Inside the Actor’s Studio – Part 1

You Tube: The Sopranos – “Are you in the Mafia?”

You Tube: James Gandolfini Plays with Fan’s Puppy After God of Carnage

Farewell, Mr. Gandolfini, you will be greatly missed.


Lure of the Classic: Knights of the Old Republic

The other day I dropped by IGN to learn that Aspyr had released a stunning iPad conversion of the LucasArts/BioWare classic Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) on Apple’s iTunes Store. Although I beamed with exhilaration at the news, I still resisted the lure of one of the great roleplaying games of all time, but gave in a day later: why the reticence when there is so much joy to be had?

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