Watching Onedimensional (Atari 8-bit)

Running over last weekend was the latest edition of the Atari-centric Silly Venture party which has spent nearly two decades bringing fans of all things Atari together to party, chat and do demo-ish things; there were some great releases over the various Atari platforms as always, but I found myself drawn to one particularly old school demo which took part in the 16K Atari 8-bit competition. It’s called Onedimensional, was coded by Shadow of Noice and is basically a 1980s-style raster intro which features a four colour logo parked at the top of the screen, a double font scrolling message trundling past at the bottom and industrial quantities of raster bars dancing like nobody is watching between them.

This really couldn’t be described as pushing the Atari 8-bit’s boundaries and Shadow himself commented that it’s a “compo filler” in the scroller, but regular readers will know I love me some raster bars so a new production that does lots of variations on that particular theme is always going to catch my eye. The graphics are reasonable and do what they’re there for – Rocky’s logo is well drawn but part of me wants a teensy bit more colour – whilst the music was composed by Tobikomi (who appears to be a newcomer to the POKEY by the look of it) and is quirky but fun, suiting the on-screen action well especially since all of the effect and logo colour changes have been synchronised to it.

To be honest, I resisted the urge to do something along similar lines to this for about a decade – even when I finally gave in there were excuses like using 256 colours in MD201701 to hide behind rather than just going hell for leather with a no-nonsense, WSYNC-powered colour splitter – because the potential backlash from hardened Atarians to something like that is, quite frankly, terrifying! But Shadow made of sterner stuff than me and ran with it, doing every solid job overall especially when considering the small memory footprint he was working within.

Old School Demo 3 (PC)

It’s All Hallows’ Eve girls and boys, so time for something appropriately spooky from deep within Cosine’s cobweb-strewn crypt; on the slab tonight is Dark Bit Factory forums and inspiration was taken from a Halloween demo released by Arkanix Labs for the C64 back in 2013, specifically the hidden screen.

As with the previous instalments in the series, the PureBasic source code and appropriate assets are included in the archive for those curious as to how the code works. And when you exit the demo, there’s ghostly laugh which originally comes from the closing titles of kids telly classic Rentaghost!

Watching The Woman Who Fell To Earth

Before I properly get going here, we’re not going to talk about specific plot points but anyone reading this before watching The Woman Who Fell To Earth for themselves might want to rectify that situation before continuing – if nothing else, you’ll at least be better armed to disagree with me! So for everyone still reading… now the default disclaimer is out of the way, here we go with a new season of Doctor Who, a new Doctor in Jodie Whittaker and three new companions all in need of an introduction.

My Beloved and I sat down to watch it together and enjoyed meeting all of these characters for the first time, learning more about them and finding out how they were connected to and interacted with each other; obviously we knew who the actors were going to be well in advance because that’s how the hype machine works these days but it’s always fun to actually see them in action as it were. That said, it’s been a few years since I last visited Sheffield but I don’t remember it being quite that dark and forbidding… perhaps I just managed to avoid the more ropey, alien-invaded areas?

The response online has apparently been mixed and I’ve already seen this episode described on social media as the “worst opening of a new series” amongst other things, but that rather implies a lack of previous Doctor Who experience on the part of the commenter… this was a post regeneration story and those have always been relatively weak in part because they need to dedicate time to establishing the new Doctor’s character. Other elements tend to be left aside to make room for that process, so classic ‘Who brought us “gems” like Time And The Rani, which I’d argue that still stands as the worst opening of a new season and is incredibly unlikely to ever lose that dubious “honour”. And don’t get me started on The Twin Dilemma…!

So the villain was okay but two dimensional enough to slip under a badly hung door and I felt that the resolution of Twice Upon A Time’s cliff hanger was something of a letdown (oh dear… sorry about that) but at least easily retconned, but as a whole The Woman Who Fell To Earth did what needed to be done in a more than reasonable fashion. The companions will no doubt be fleshed out as the season progresses but are already interesting enough that I want to find out more, the story was a “fun romp” and the new Doctor is a little scatterbrained but charming and likeable, with lots of energy which makes her a good counterpoint to Capaldi’s more brooding and grumpy rendition.

The new version of the theme works nicely with lots of Radiophonic Workshop overtones – I’m thinking it’s an improvement over the last season personally – and I’m very interested to see where things go especially after the cliffhanger and the roll call of upcoming guest cast – again, some people on the interwebs have complained that they felt this showed a lack of confidence on the BBC’s part but it’s no different to the season-wide trailers we’ve seen previously and actually less likely to spoil future episodes in the long run – so roll on next Sunday evening and, whilst I’ sort of expecting a certain missing element to remain so for a while longer, we also have that reveal to look forward to.