Tag: old games

Legends of the Joystick: The post-retirement lives of characters from your favourite games

Nobody plays Frogger anymore. Even less people are likely to play pong. At least you can probably get Frogger on the iPhone… So what happens to the characters from these games when they’re put on the shelf to rot. They get old. And become irrelevant.

Legends of the Joystick takes a trip down memory lane with some conversations with the original stars of the gaming world. Like Frogger, the 2 Pacs, Mario, and the paddles from Pong.

Eight more here.

Piecing games together

Have you ever wondered where all the elements of a successful game come from? Well. They’re painstakingly put together in factories. Truly. Here’s proof. From Tetris, Mario, and Sonic.

YouTube Tuesday (a day behind)

One of my favourite EA sports games was the Rugby League 96 game featuring commentary from Channel 9’s commentary team – with no Phil Gould. I hate Phil Gould (except when he’s coaching NSW). One of Paul Vautin’s frequent pieces of commentary advice was for people who did something stupid to “give themselves an uppercut”. This guy took that advice literally…

YouTube Twosday – wherefore art though Mario

Here are two Super Mario inspired videos along a similar theme – what would happen if Mario appeared in real life (and not in a terrible, terrible, movie version…)

The first takes a real life Mario (played by a human) into an 8 bit society (made from cardboard).

While the second takes the real Mario onto the streets. It’s worth a watch – especially from about a minute in.

Warp Whistle
by MatthewDominick

Pac to the rafters

Ahh Pacman, where would I be without you… about four posts down per day I reckon.

Pacman’s gravitational structure has always puzzled me. It has some bearing on his actual shape – are we getting a topographical view – or a view from the side? Who knows? Well, someone. And now you can explore Pacman with gravity as a factor thanks to the marvels of modern programming technology…

Download it here.

Pre-emptive strike

Sometimes when I’m driving home I feel like one of the vehicles involved unwittingly in a game of Frogger. I wonder if the cars in the classic arcade game were theoretically able to see the pedestrian frog?

There is one particular stretch of road just outside my office – at the bottom of Flinders Street – that is particularly bad. Flinders Street is dotted with gazetted pedestrian crossings – and yet they are widely ignored. Pedestrians cross without paying any heed to oncoming traffic.

What really gets me isn’t the jaywalking. It’s the pre-emptive pedestrians – the ones who start stepping onto the road as you approach in your car.

Defensive driving means assuming that every other road user is an idiot. I operate under that principle. Whenever I see a pedestrian start their perambulations I hesitate – like a rabbit in the headlights – only I’m driving. I’m the one posing the threat.

The thought of pedestrians blindly wandering in front of my pristine purple excel fills me with dread. A pedestrian would no doubt do more damage to my car than a kangaroo

So, next time you start crossing the road as a car approaches – even if you are completely aware the car is approaching – stop, and think of the children.

Consoling myself

Attention console owners and video gamers you are killing the planet.* I hope you leave your conscience at the door when you turn your machine on.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has released an American study that found gamers in the US are filling the air with toxic carbon emissions and killing the polar bears.**

“NRDC and Ecos Consulting performed the first ever comprehensive study on the energy use of video game consoles and found that they consumed an estimated 16 billion kilowatt-hours per year — roughly equal to the annual electricity use of the city of San Diego. Through the incorporation of more user-friendly power management features, we could save approximately 11 billion kWh of electricity per year, cut our nation’s electricity bill by more than $1 billion per year, and avoid emissions of more than 7 million tons of CO2 each year.”

 The news is not all bad for me – as I still don’t own a new generation console. I am an eco-friendly gamer with my Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 faring best in a tabled comparison of power usage.

For those of you who are visual thinkers, here’s the graph:

You can read the whole report here (PDF). A Playstation 3 ($160) will set you back 16 times the price of a Wii ($10) in energy costs over a year if both devices are left on, and five times the price if both are turned off – $3 and $15 respectively. More video game energy factoids can be found here (another PDF).  

Climate Friendly’s carbon calculator says the Playstation 3 user who leaves their console on all year round uses an appropriate 1337 kWh per year – which produces 1.4 tonnes of carbon – offsetting that via the aforementioned company will cost you $95 a year.Year round use of the Xbox 360 uses 1031 kWh per year, produces 1.1 tonnes of carbon and costs $75 to offset.

My coffee machine uses 2190 kWh per year (estimated), produces 2.3 tonnes of carbon emissions and would cost $156 to offset. Luckily the Nintendo 64 doesn’t even register on the calculator in terms of its annual carbon emissions so I’ve got a fair bit of credit up my sleeve through my environmentally friendly gaming strategies. Come to think of it, I’ve been an eco-savvy gamer since way back when playing Eco-Saurus (aka Zug’s Adventures on Eco Island). A game so obviously ahead of its time.

*In a literal, physical sense not in the actual game you’re playing.
** Killing polar bears would be another fun game – Polar Bear Hunter the long awaited sequel to Deer Hunter…

From the Vault 2 – the CD32

I made fleeting reference to this in the lego post – and decided that since I’m waiting around for some approvals on some things before I do any work today I’d write about it now.

The Amiga CD32 was the most technologically advanced Amiga I ever played with – and I got to play with a few courtesy of dad’s freelance writing gig (reviewing computer games).

Released in 1993 the console was out a year and a half ahead of the PSone – and offered pretty much the same capabilities – just without the volume of games. 

It was a last ditch effort to save the mother company – Commodore – which declared bankruptcy in 1994.

Pretty much the coolest thing about the console was the game it came bundled with – or vice versa – Diggers which probably inspired a generation of mining exploration in the same way that lego inspired modern architecture. It was a race to find valuable minerals – teams of five race(r)s all with unique racial characteristics – literally battled for underground supremacy. You could win by wiping out the other teams – or by reaching certain cash thresholds. Mining revenue could be spent improving equipment – with automatic drilling machines vital weapons in the battle to (un)cover the most ground.

I think I downloaded a Diggers ROM to play using the Ubiquitous Amiga Emulator (UAE) and it was still fun years later. You can download it for PC here.

From the vault

I was reading something today – and there’s a language warning on that page – naming and shaming the 10 worst game consoles of all time. I had a pretty privelaged upbringing when it came to consoles – dad was a freelance computer game reviewer for a newspaper and some magazines – so we used to get things for free to play with – and our experience would help shape the stories. Sometimes we got to keep them. 

One of these units – which I remember quite fondly – didn’t make that top 10 list. But in all honesty probably should have. The Commodore CDTV was pretty groundbreaking in its day. It was one of the first units to integrate a CD like disk (well a CD – a precursor to the DVD) with a television.

I have fond memories of playing Defender of the Crown – a strategy game with some third person sword fighting thrown in (mostly to rescue damsels in distress who would become your bride – but occasionally to steal all the other person’s money) on the machine.

Anyway – this really is just a chance to pay a little nostaligic homage to such a crap machine. And is the first in a series of posts designed to convince my wife that an X-Box 360 is a necessity, not a luxury. Videogames teach valuable life lessons.