Retro Gamer 89

Hokey cokey, another issue of Retro Gamer is here so I’ll remember to post to this ‘ee blog; for the classic platforms, the games are the Amstrad CPC conversion of Sub Hunter, platforming action from Gimme Bright on the Spectrum, a C64 clone of Lady Bug called Lady Kakerlak and The Wicked Father for the Atari 2600 is a platformer with an unusual twist to the storyline.

On the current generation platforms there’s a NES-themed online role playing game called Nestalgia, Snake Man is representing for serpents on XBLIG and Attack of the Mutant Camels from Mars is a scrolling shoot ’em up with a ridiculously long name. Finally, Grand Mystic Quest of Discovery is a nice little exploring Flash platformer using the C64 palette and the Homebrew Heroes interview is with Abraham Morales, one of the developers behind the excellent Vorpal.

There’s also the collector’s guide to the Commodore 64 and at the bottom of page 29 is a photograph I was asked to take of a TIB DD-001 disk drive; I’ve actually got two of ’em and they’re 3.5″ DS/DD drives that connect through the cartridge port and transfer data in parallel like it’s going out of fashion! The disks are MSDOS format and the primary use for my two was transferring data from the Amiga to the C64 via CrossDOS.

Retro Gamer 88

For once I’m not late posting… this time it’s more a case of being late picking the magazine up! So for the Spectrum there’s typing-powered minigames galore in Jonathan Cauldwell’s Utter Tripe, the C64 has some scrolling platform action courtesy of Space Trip, Uwol 2 appears first on the Amstrad CPC (before the first game is released for it in fact) and Boulder Logic is a snazzy Boulder Dash-style game for a 16K ZX81 by Bob Smith.

The indie section is all XBLIG releases, Alien Super Mega Blaster (which is cheap and cheerful, with the proceeds going to charity), the superb bullet hell shoot ’em up Vorpal and the thoroughly frustrating Aban Hawkins and the 1,000 Spikes, which is akin to Rick Dangerous but designed by a homicidal maniac. The flash game is Cat Astro Phi, a top down maze-based shooter, and the interview is with Dave Hughes, author of Stamp Quest on the Spectrum.

As a random aside, does a group of berries catapulting one of their own into a cart of berries heading to the Ribena factory count as an assisted suicide? They seem rather happy about heading to their own deaths…!

It’s reality Jim…

Okay, so nothing really is happening to warrant a blog post but I’m going to write one anyway because the poor thing is feeling neglected! I’ve been doing a spot of programming in BlitzMax but haven’t blogged about it because the Bullet Mechanics site is going to be rebooted soon and there’s no point until that’s sorted (and programming posts here are just mirrored from there) and I’ve been giving some serious consideration to going Linux for my servers as long as I can find alternatives for a couple of odds and ends the current configuration uses a lot.

In “other news”, I’ve been following the latest Alternate Reality Game that Valve are running (the fans trying to crack it are using this wiki to pool their resources and there’s a timeline here that’s a good starting point) during the build up for Portal 2; these things are absolutely fascinating to me ever since I accidentally found the now defunct Jamie Kane game the BBC ran a few years back and I lost four or five hours reading through the forum posts just after the last Valve ARG which featured clues buried in a Steam update to Portal.

Valve and indeed the indies involved have really gone to town over the current game with clues arriving from emails, tweets and buried within the Potato Sack indie games bundle on Steam as glyphs, Braille, password protected archives containing pictures which in turn contain other data… my favourite to date (since the ARG is still ongoing at the time of writing) are the images dumped in the alpha channel of other images, that’s just genius! This thing must’ve taken bloody ages to come up with…