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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Retro Gaming Gets Hot 280

Posted by michael
from the donkey-kong dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apparently, retro gaming is big business, according to a recent article in The Rocky Mountain News. The story talks to Nintendo, Namco and the maker of those all in one controllers that feature games from old systems like Atari. Lin Leng, who's working on the latest Pac-Man game, summarizes it best: 'The games today are hyper-realistic, photo-realistic and take a long time to complete, an average of 20 hours of gameplay,' he said. 'But with Pac-Man you just jump in and play and you get a quick fix. It also brings back childhood memories for some of us.' There's also an interesting sidebar to the story talking about Invader, the Parisian graffiti artist tagging famous locations around the world with images from Space Invaders. The author's website has the full interview with Invader posted in his weblog."
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Retro Gaming Gets Hot

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:32PM (#9540200)
    "Hey! I get to PAY AGAIN for this game I bought 10 years ago! YEAH!!!!"
  • Retro Lover (Score:5, Informative)

    by CommanderData (782739) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .ihnivek.> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:32PM (#9540202)
    I'm glad that some companies have figured this out! I love the latest and greatest games as much as anyone, but my heart still belongs to good old 2-D action games. Ah the memories of dimly lit arcades where you could go and bask in the warm glow of electronic sex, erm I mean video monitors...

    Emulators like MAME [mame.net] and ZSNES [zsnes.com] are a blast when you just need a quick game to let off some steam or kill some time. When on the go the old Gameboy Advance really has you covered with tons of classic games available as well.
    • by King_of_Prussia (741355) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:33PM (#9540435)
      There are still plenty of people making awesome, simple games that you can sit down at for 20 min and just have fun. Check out this guy's [asahi-net.or.jp] stuff, you'll never think of 2-D shooters the same way again.
      • by CommanderData (782739) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .ihnivek.> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:54PM (#9540497)
        Yes! I have seen and played his stuff. Speaking of interesting 2-D games, have you seen Gish [chroniclogic.com]? Not a shooter, but a very unique and fun 2-D game. Check out the demo, or at least look at the gameplay video (no I'm not affiliated with them, my company's name just happens to be similar to theirs!)
        • Haven't played Gish, but ChronicLogic's other game that I've played (Bridge Construction Set) is *awesome*.

          Introversion's "Uplink" is also a lot of fun. And I see that they're in the process of a second game; probably have to buy that one too. Uplink is a "hacking simulator"; best part is that like in the real world, it has a GUI and a CLI, and some things are *much* faster once you learn the CLI. Second one is called Darwinia, and appears to be an RTS - a sentence I like from its website is "combining
      • For a nice shooter I recommend Starscape [moonpod.com]. It's 2D in 3D (as in requires any cheap 3D capable card, but doesn't really have anything in 3D), and only runs on Windows though.
    • Re:Retro Lover (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @11:17PM (#9540558) Homepage Journal
      "m glad that some companies have figured this out! I love the latest and greatest games as much as anyone, but my heart still belongs to good old 2-D action games."

      I think the retro games are okay, but I really like when they are updated to modern standards.

      Tempest 2000 for the Playstation kicked ass. I loved how they retained the feel of the game, but updated with the trippy graphics and technoo music.

    • Re:Retro Lover (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jagasian (129329) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @11:17PM (#9540559)
      Why not play the real thing? Classic games won't bite. Emulation is not as good as the real thing. While I appreciate emulation, I have my hacked Xbox with several emulators on it, and I also have an original NES and SNES hooked up to the same TV. Know this: the emulators do not emulate the games perfectly. The NES is better emulated than the SNES, but when you can pickup the real thing with several great games for about $50... why not do it?

      If you lack a free video input on your TV, then get one of the A/V multiplexers from Radioshack.

      Do society a favor and keep something that is good as opposed to throwing it away. What would society be like if we threw away Chess, classical music, old movies, etc...? We would be a society without history, without culture.
  • by rd4tech (711615) * <emilijan&cpuedge,com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:33PM (#9540204) Homepage
    ...who's working on the latest Pac-Man game,...

    /rant/ Why don't those guys start trying out NEW ideas instead of endless XYZ pacman/tetris/whatnot variations and tons of chrome. I mean, it's damn pacman, it's the idea that counts, who cares about the rest, it's PLAYABLE.

    Instead, they've got blocky graphics, tinny sound and bizarre objectives. And despite their rudimentary look, these games have inspired an almost manic need to play them

    Because when you know for a fact that you have 4 colors and less than 100 pixels on an axis, your mind will start thinking how playable you can make it. When you have 1600x1200 on a 100fps, 48bits w alpha and a graphic card which beats most PC's computational power, you mostly think how to fill all of that for a 'real-life' gaming experience. Well, if I wanted real gaming experience, I would go and play waterpolo or football, not pc 'real games'

    /rant/
    • Clones and variations aren't anything new.

      We had Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Pacland, Pacmania, Pacman Jr and a few more flavours of Pacman that I can't remember off the top of my head. Similarly, we had Tetris, Wetris, 3-D Tetris, etc.

      Even popular arcade machines of yesteryear were sequeled: Galaga/Galaxians, Operation Wolf/Operation Thunderbolt, Nemesis/Salamander/Vulcan Venture, R-Type/R-Type 2, Gauntlet/Gauntlet 2, Outrun/Outrun 2, etc.

      The reason why we got more of the same is because people wanted more of t
    • /rant/ Why don't those guys start trying out NEW ideas instead of endless XYZ pacman/tetris/whatnot variations and tons of chrome.

      Actually, I think this is a new idea. This version of pacman is for the DS. You draw your pacman, and then he starts moving, and you draw walls to "deflect" the pacman and make him eat the ghosts... without running out of "ink".
  • by diesel66 (254283) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:33PM (#9540206)
    It's been hot for a while for some of us. I've been using MAME for years, and I still have an Apple ][e (and //c) with 50+ disks of games that I use every few weeks or so.

    I guess I'm the exception.

    (BTW: these 5.25" floppies from 15 years ago *all* still work. They just don't make 'em like they used to.)
    • This is RMNs. They are your typical newspaper and are several years behind the times on things. They do not catch trends. They catch on to explosions. Trends start in small groups which then network and finally move over to the big times.
    • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @11:08PM (#9540535) Homepage
      I remember buying 5.25" floppy disks with Lifetime guarantees. I forget the name of the company, being pretty young back then, but they used to have an elephant head on their logo. I guess maybe they figured people might take the term "lifetime guarantee" seriously.
      • I remember buying 5.25" floppy disks with Lifetime guarantees. I forget the name of the company, being pretty young back then, but they used to have an elephant head on their logo. I guess maybe they figured people might take the term "lifetime guarantee" seriously.

        They just didn't make clear that "lifetime warranty" referred to their lifetime, not yours. :-)

        BTW, here [cyberden.com]'s an Elephant disk sleeve.

  • by DrMrLordX (559371) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:33PM (#9540207)
    Legal or not, emulators do the work of the majority of old arcade machines out there. Pair them with the right controller/pad/what have you, and you get all of the old arcade experience, or at least most of it. You don't get the old, dimly-lit smoke-filled rooms with drug deals going on in the back, but still, it's damn close.

    I'll be more interested when one of these devices offers a faithful emulation of Baby PacMan. I loved that game, and I always wanted to get good at it, but the machine at the Showbiz Pizza(the only place that had one around here) was almost always broken.
  • The market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zorilla (791636) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:35PM (#9540214)
    It's no wonder that retro gaming is big business. Those who used to play the earliest arcade games are starting to come into positions of influence.

    Take a trip back to the early to mid-90s, or whenever you were a kid, and try to recall all the public service announcements and news stories that all had the same message, "Video games are bad, get out more."

    Now suddenly, video games aren't so bad anymore. Especially the older ones; those who are intrested are making the moolah.
    • The Classic Gaming Expo [cgexpo.com] has gotten bigger and bigger over the years. They've had to seek larger facilities; in fact, this year, as a result of this expansion, they're holding it in San Jose rather than Las Vegas. And since I live in the Bay Area, I'm currently rubbing my hands with glee.

      HEE HEE!
    • Take a trip back to the early to mid-90s, or whenever you were a kid

      As those of us who lived through it can attest to, the era of classic retro games was the early to mid-80's.

      Thanks for making me feel way old, Zorilla. :)
  • Secret of Mana (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artlu (265391) <artlu&artlu,net> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:36PM (#9540216) Homepage Journal
    All I have to say is Secret of Mana was probably the best game ever. Since that point in time, I have never enjoyed a video game because of the pseudo-realism and new format of RPGs. FF7 was a great game, but still those old 2d Nintendo games were just awesome. I remember how I used to look forward to every new release of game in order to see "better graphics" ie: FF2->FF3... but, now I want the games to lose quality. It seems all the game makers went from story lines to graphics.

    I have a friend who is writing a 2d RPG on OSX. He is pretty far in the programming, and no, i dont have a website, but i'm sore the /. community will know about it once it is released.

    GroupShares Inc. [groupshares.com] - A Free Onling Investment Community
    • I still have my copy of Secret of Mana and I still have my SNES. Most people trade in their old games and systems for new credit towards buying newer games. Secret of Mana is one of those games you would be crazy to let go.
    • Re:Secret of Mana (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Erwos (553607)
      "It seems all the game makers went from story lines to graphics."

      It's because game reviewers punish them more for "bad" graphics than bad gameplay.

      Recently, I read a review for Front Mission 4. The damned reviewer simply could not stop talking about how the graphics "didn't live up to the PS2 potential"[1]. But, if graphics weren't that important, then why does that matter? I mean, I saw the screenshots, and I certainly didn't have any issues distinguishing wanzers from each other, and the "drab backgroun
  • Cheesy, yes, but nothing like the end of Enduro Racer. :)
  • by Hatta (162192) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:37PM (#9540222) Journal
    So how long until Nintendo or whoever starts going after the authors of emulators?
    • by Peale (9155) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:45PM (#9540246) Homepage Journal
      Never. They've already tried.

      Not sure what court it was, but emulators were declared *legal.* Copies of the ROM images, however...
      • by jkeyes (243984) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:04PM (#9540323) Journal
        Not sure what court it was, but emulators were declared *legal.*

        Until they realized they could patent the concept of emulating their own systems and then sue the emulator creators for violating their patent, or at least it's coming. They've already got a patent on GBA emulation so any GBA emulator free or not could be killed at Nintendo's whim, they already stopped a Tapwave emulator (if I recall correctly), nifty eh?
        • The patent only covers GBA emulation on mobile devices. Not PCs or Xboxes. (or dreamcasts -- the best emu platform ever)

          Just to keep someone from cloning GBAs.

          I wonder if the patient covers the new DS though?


          Steven V.
      • However, makers of new emulators have had to contend with copyright law, and with the DMCA, accusations of reverse engineering. For example, the Sony lawsuit against Connectix over VGS, the PSX emulator. With the advances of working emulators for current generation consoles (the PS2 and XBox), lawsuits are sure to follow.
      • So why aren't they going after the makers of all those "Super Joy" Famiclone systems that you can find at every flea market in the United States?
    • You think Nintendo would leave emulators alone for this long when they tried to sue Game Genie [wikipedia.org] out of existence?

      It's funny, I do remember a campaign online by Nintendo trying to get rid of emulators...they out and out lied by saying on their website that emulators were illegal even though they're not. :) They're just as bad as the RIAA at times.

      If you don't remember/never heard of those incidents, maybe you remember Bleem! being a commercial product sold in stores? Sony did try to stop that one, but f

  • by Amiga Lover (708890) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:38PM (#9540225)
    Tulip in the netherlands has revived the Commodore [commodore.nl] brand. While they're distributing things like an ePet memory stick or an eVic-20 mp3 player, they also have a 'console' to play ancient C64 games.

    Of course with the number of C64s still out there and available for $2 from goodwill stores, you may as well go buy the real thing and get to play Impossible Mission instead.
  • Most definatly alive (Score:5, Informative)

    by z0ink (572154) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:40PM (#9540229)
    Classic gaming has been huge for years. It's unfortunage what happened with the "Great Arcade Flop" in the late 80's. If you are a real geek there is no doubt you've heard of CGE [cgexpo.com] or the Classic Gaming Expo. They are boasted as the "worlds [...] largest event paying tribute to the people, systems and games of yesteryear."
    • The Philly Classic Gaming Expo [phillyclassic.com] (site is currently a placeholder image for PC6) is just as large, if not larger, than their more famous counterparts on the west coast. Check them out if you don't want to fly all the way out to California for some classic gaming action.

      (CGE just doesn't like the Phillyclassic people for some strange reason, hence why they pretty much deny Phillyclassic's existence.)

  • Retro Gaming Divides (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doomrat (615771) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:44PM (#9540242) Homepage

    Something I've noticed is that retro gaming means different things according to where you're from. Generally this is met with ignorance from the Americas, as they've not been exposed to our scene as people on our side of the pond have.

    American retro usually means old arcade games, such as Pacman. Old consoles like Atari and NES are also common, whilst young, overly blog-keen teen Internet wasters think that their SNES is the most retro thing since sliced bitmaps.

    European retro tends to mean Sinclair Spectrums and similar computers, with strong emphasis on the programmers and sceners involved, particular in smaller countries where more people know each other.

    Amiga and C64 seems to bring common ground to us all, as most countries featured these as popular machines.

  • Good Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by svenvder (778211) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:44PM (#9540244)
    Goes to show that all the money and time you spend on graphics and special effects is all for not if the gameplay suks. I mean these games are in 8 bits at best yet the game play is truly revolutionary and addicting still today. I hope this goes as a message to all the game companies that visuals are nice but gameplay is what will truly make the game great
    • "Goes to show that all the money and time you spend on graphics and special effects is all for not if the gameplay suks. I mean these games are in 8 bits at best yet the game play is truly revolutionary and addicting still today."

      Whoah, hold on there bud. There were a LOT of stinker 8-bit games. The situation back then really wasn't different than the situation is right now. You had your occasional 'classic' with a bunch of trash games, just like today. The classic games of the 80s were few and far be
  • by craXORjack (726120) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:48PM (#9540259)
    The games today are hyper-realistic, photo-realistic and take a long time to complete, an average of 20 hours of gameplay,' he said. 'But with Pac-Man you just jump in and play and you get a quick fix.

    Pac-Man could be played for a very long time on one quarter if you memorized the patterns. And once you got to the key levels the pattern never changed. At least that's how it was with the Pacman ROM at our local grocery store. Of course, after most of the kids learned how to do this they changed the game out. And every time someone lost a pacman they'd hit the machine and blame it on the joystick. 'This f***in joystick sucks, man!' I guess it's the guys like me making retro games big business.

    • And conversely, I don't know of many modern PC games where you actually get 20 hours of gameplay out of it. Most shooters are somewhere in the range of 6 to 8 hours nowadays, and some are even shorter than that.

      But I guess the more disturbing thing is that the interface isn't that easy to get into for a new user any more. With PacMan, it was obvious. Even someone who's never played it before, could just jump into it.

      By contrast, most modern 3D games take quite some getting used to the interface. Now for t
  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:48PM (#9540260) Journal
    All I had to do was look at the shelf at Walmart. They're charging $20 a pop for the "classic NES" series (Zelda, SMB, Excitebike, Donkey Kong). Now, if they put, say Zelda and Zelda II on one cart, I might pay $20 bucks for the "on the go, I'm bored" factor (I did for Dragon Warrior I&II), but the truth of the matter is that Gameboy Advance cartridges can hold 32 MEGS at 8-bit (or 16 at 16-bit). The original NES only went up to 8 MB, *max* (games based on the MMC5 chip. Only a few towards the end of the NES' run used this. I.E. Castlevania III). That means you could fit at LEAST 4 NES games on one GBA cart. It's not like they even did any rewriting. Hell, the reviews say that Zelda still has the old "8-sprite slowdown" from the original NES days.

    Looks to me like the Retro craze is the best thing that could happen to the game companies. Now they can come up with even LESS new stuff and STILL fleece their loyal customers. =\
    • Zelda I on gamecube (Score:3, Informative)

      by caitsith01 (606117)
      At the moment there is a deal floating around where you get the first 4 Zelda games (full versions) with a new Nintendo Gamecube. Pretty cool.

      Further, if you get a copy of Animal Crossing for GC and perform various bizarre Japanese tasks you can get full, working versions of:

      - excitebike
      - wario woods
      - donkey kong
      - tennis
      - golf
      - baseball
      - zelda ...and several more. It's quite cool, there's a built in NES emulator.
      • Yep, I have both of the Zelda special discs (Zelda collection and Zelda:OOT Master quest). The sound on Zelda:Majora's Mask is kinda funky, but other than that they seem to work pretty good on the 'Cube. Still, they're trying to rip us off.
    • They're charging $20 a pop for the "classic NES" series (Zelda, SMB, Excitebike, Donkey Kong)

      All 4 of those games are in Animal Crossing.
    • The 8-sprite slowdown implies that Nintendo is using some kind of low-level emulation of the NES/Famicom. So yeah, they didn't rewrite any of the games, they just wrote an emulator (or maybe used an already existing emulator).
    • Not 8MB (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dwedit (232252)
      There are no games as big as 8 megabytes, nor 8 megabits for that matter.
      The largest offical NES game was Kirby's Adventure, weighing in at 768 kilobytes.
      The largest unlicenced US NES game was Action 52, at 2 megabytes.
  • Whuzzat? (Score:5, Funny)

    by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@[ ]ngo.org ['sta' in gap]> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:48PM (#9540261) Homepage Journal
    "Pac-Man is still as compelling today as it was 30 or 40 years ago," said Genna Goldberg, spokeswoman for Jakks Pacific, a company that sells a classic Atari joystick loaded with 10 games from the original 1970s Atari home console.

    2004-1980 = 30 or 40??? That must be that "new math" I'm hearing so much about.

    ~Philly
  • by Jonathan (5011) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:49PM (#9540266) Homepage
    "Pac-Man is still as compelling today as it was 30 or 40 years ago"

    Considering that Pac-Man only came out 24 years ago, this statement is pretty amusing.
  • But then again there are games out there that give a quick fix. Hell, GTA (of any sort) gives a quick fix when you think about it - you don't have to do that 5 minute stake-out and all that.

    OTOH booting up and getting going can take longer than those 5 minutes.

    I like those new joystick-with-old-games things, like the Namco, C64 and Atari gamesticks. They must start up pretty quickly and give instant satifaction.

    Hell, I still think that Zombie Apocalypse 2 was the best instant satisfaction game ever made,
  • Linux gaming... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zorilla (791636) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:51PM (#9540275)
    Since the number of big-time games designed to run on Linux are very few, I've found that most of the time I'm playing games in Linux is through, well, open source emulators that quite often are availible as cross-platform.

    Because of this, retro games tend to come to the rescue for entertainment while using Linux.

    Let's face it, Frozen-Bubble and Tux Racer get old real quick, whereas Super Metroid and Zelda (for example) are interesting for quite a longer period of time. Besides, I've always preferred the original Puzzle Bobble in xMAME anyway.
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:51PM (#9540276)
    The other day I'm at Walmart, looking at the new "Classic NES" games. They release Pacman for God's sake. It's there for $20 bucks right next to Namco's Pacman Collection (Which has 4 games, I might add) for $10. Then there's Bomberman. The NES Bomberman with no multiplayer support. I'm all for rereleasing classics, but this just smacks of Nintendo making a quick buck. I always thought Nintendo was above this sort of thing. Maybe with the Gamecube tanking Ninendo's desparate for Cash.
    • Uh, the Gamecube is not tanking. It's second overall in the world, in front of the Xbox hypocritical /.'ers love so much. Way ahead of the Xbox in Japan and making quite a bit of money there. Plus a lot of games on all three consoles sell the best on GC (Soul Caliber 2).

      Secondly Nintendo is never been over a quick buck. Mario Bros 2 USA was just a Mario packaged version of Doki Doki Panic. They whored out Nintendo characters for awful CD-i games. Nintendo characters used to be on Shasta (yummy ;D) an
      • Plus a lot of games on all three consoles sell the best on GC (Soul Caliber 2).

        Hey, come on now, there's an excuse when it comes to SC2. Link or Heihachi... NOT a tough choice.
      • Being second in the marked doesn't count for much when both you and # 3 are getting slaughtered in sales. Yeah, I think the Gamecube is probably the best console out there from a technical standpoint, but so what? Sony's marketing is better, and Nintendo has kind of a history of screwing third party developers (those N64 cartridges where expensive, and Nintendo charged you per cartridge, not per sale, fees for licensing. Now if they'd split the cost of the cartridge and license fees and only charged the lat
  • Proof of Hotness (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Retro Gamer Magazine [livepublishing.co.uk]

    Retro gaming is back!
  • When it comes to Tetris or other arcade games, it's easy enough to find a PC clone. But, are there any decent win32 clones of Q*Bert? I've been searching for years but still haven't found one.

    And FWIW, I'm also a sucker for Arkanoid clones. The latest I've found is BreakQuest [nurium.com] which (will be) shareware and is currently in beta (4 levels or so in the beta). And, Jardinains [jardinains.com] isn't bad either but there's no save-game functionality so even advanced players end up starting at the beginning each time :(.

  • Interesting to read about this guy. For one thing he's so damn French. For another, I was just in Melbourne, Australia a couple of months ago and I actually saw one of these big space invader symbols on a wall in an alleyway. I thought it was kinda cool at the time... the fact that there are apparently hundreds of them all over the world is also quite cool. I wonder how many will survive the passage of time.

    You can replicate the Invader's feats with this stuff [thinkgeek.com] from ThinkGeek (with which I am in no way af
    • Actually, Invader's site for the project [space-invaders.com] sells its own stickers, those Think Geek stickers are a rip off (I think...). The guy also sells "Invasion Kits [space-invaders.com]" which are bags of the appropriate number of ceramic tiles required to create one of the invaders, along with instructions (no glue though).

      There are also some less interesting (but still cool, I guess) things like T-shirts for the project, sneakers for the project (!!), a 45RPM 7" record single containing a song for the project, etc.
    • Yeah, the Invader stuff is big in Melbourne. If you're interested in finding it, here are some spots to look:
      1. Degraves Lane (opposite Aix Cafe). 2. The Swanston St bridge, near the Arts Centre (ie. the Southbank Side).
      3. Myer's Place (or is it Mier's Place, anyhow the lane off Bourke St, near Spring St).
      4. Some lane near Collins and Elizabeth Sts. Can't remember which now.

      As far as I know, only four got done when in Invader was in Melbourne. I seem to recall that he originally came down for the S

  • Emulators... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sam Nitzberg (242911) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:10PM (#9540340)
    What I really enjoy about the emulators is the mobility that they give you.

    I have an Apple II emulator running on a notebook computer, so I have that with me - not just for gaming (downloads of Apple disk images are available), but for playing with the old system. You can do a "call -151" and drop right down to machine language. Boot an (emulated disk) with Integer basic, do a call -151 and then an F666G (I hope I got that address right), and you are in the mini-assembler... You can play with these systems in many ways - not just on the gaming side.

    Also, you can look up Apple CE. This program lets you run an Apple emulator on your handheld pocket PC. All the disk images on your emulator can be brought right over. The Apple emulators tend to support a Monochrome mode, and there is a nostalgia to the warm green monitor feel that is produced. Besides, when you save off your spreadsheet at work for someone, and they have trouble reading it, you can always just tell them that it's in "Visicalc."

    There are often some (technical) differences between emulated environments and the "real thing" - sound a delays of disk devices, the number of supported expansion devices may differ from the simulated and "real" systems, including how shared resources / critical sections may be handled (if anyone really wants a technical example of this, they can e-mail me).

    Anyway, emulators are really expanding the use of "orphaned" platforms.

    There are emulators for IBM 370, Apple, Commodore, and many others. At the University of Pennsylvania, they did an "Eniac on a chip" project. For many, the emulator itself is the game.

    sam@iamsam.com
    http://www.iamsam.com

    • Re:Emulators... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by g-san (93038)
      call -151, those were the days.

      you could access memory locations and make the speaker click (0xC055?), or start the disk drive motor. the x and y axis on the joystick (or your koala pad) was another memory location, as were the buttons. add a mockingboard, and you could get to the synth channels with a few STAs. tie them all together and you could 'draw sound'. you were on the bare hardware.

      thanks for the memories.
    • Re:Emulators... (Score:3, Informative)

      by bcrowell (177657)
      By coincidence, I just hit this story after a really fun evening of fiddling with a TRS-80 emulator that runs on Unix. (For you young-uns, that was a computer made by Radio Shack back in the 20th century.) People have (probably totally illegally) posted the roms, and disk images of lots of the software. What a blast from the past! The Dunjonquest games are just as much fun as I remember.

      A really cool thing about those old games was that a lot of them were written in BASIC, so you got the source code automa

  • by NarrMaster (760073) <dfordyceNO@SPAMmix.wvu.edu> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:11PM (#9540342)
    "Zoidberg! You ate fry! Fry's dead!"
    "Its alright! I had another guy!"
    "Hooray!"
  • Um, no shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stick_Fig (740331) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:22PM (#9540392) Homepage
    Back when I followed emulation pretty heavily, you could just tell this undercurrent was coming back up. I picked up on this in 1996. It's 2004. Something about newer games really smacks of "losing soul", because they take forever and a day to play. Personally, i just got sick of following new games after a while, because they are too complex for playing for short periods of time. I admit it: I'm a grazer, and when I can choose from a thousand NES ROMs, I'll play nine or ten in a session.
  • Urge to Compete. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:23PM (#9540397)
    One of the draws for me to the older games is the high score. After you're done, you get a numerical number of how good you are, and if you're lucky, a spot on the high score table.

    Once I moved my MAME system into my new apartment, our competitiveness really showed, you wouldn't think you'd see people our age getting pissed over the high score in Pooyan, but it happens.
  • by r0d3nt (185166) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:30PM (#9540425) Homepage

    Dear Corporate Masters [penny-arcade.com]
  • by BortQ (468164) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:36PM (#9540441) Homepage Journal
    This is actually a big boon to the indie games market. Games like Pac-Man don't require 3 million dollars and a team of people to create. All it really needs is one guy and some artwork.
  • by DMouse (7320) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:36PM (#9540444) Homepage
    In the bad old days (yeah I'm thirty in a handful of days, and i have been using and programming for 25 of them) games didn't have the hyper-real look to them. They didn't have specially mastered soundtracks, nor cinematic cut scenes.

    But they did have gameplay. I remember sitting on the couch playing my old dick smith vz-200 with my brother, becuase the game encouraged co-operative play. And it was fun. I don't enjoy playing some tekken clone where the sole point of the game is to beat up the guy next to me.

    Sure I can see my blood splattering everywhere as my avatar gets the crap beaten out of him, but it winds up leaving me with very little empathy for the guy i'm playing with.

    The difference really comes down to the fact that the current titles are all derived from traditions coming out of the hyper-competitve japan school boy environment, whereas the old games came out of a very different co-operative environment of the old silicon valley.
  • by CrazyJim0 (324487) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:45PM (#9540473)
    I sat down not too long ago, and blew through most MAME, Commodore 64, nintendo, atari2600 game made.

    You take in a culture if you remember what date one game came after another.

    The new kids can't really experience what it was growing up on a trim diet of video games, they got them all at their hands.

    Today it takes a lot of time for a good game to come out, so we're still forced to play old games or nothing at all. I recently just beat Dracula on Castlevania 1 without dying the whole game. Mame lets you save your replays :)

    Of course, if you know video game culture, and what's came out before, you really really know how BLEAK things look out there, especially with the corporatization of sequel ideas over new ideas.

    The best thing we have to look forward to is a better PlanetSide, or a Virtua Fighting World Online. Games that take whats known and make an intensive RPG for longer game lasting play, and online games give great dynamics for competition and cooperation.

    Dungeons and Dragons by Turbine should be cool, as well as Lord of the Rings by Turbine. World of Warcraft looks semi cool. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas looks cool.

    My favorite RPG of all time still remains Legacy of the Ancients for Commodore 64:
    http://www.legacyoftheancients.com/

    I'm really a sick video gamer too, I've competed in world championships and did well. I'm famous through Starcraft/Warcraft3. I really know what I'm talking about on this stuff.

    People think theres unlimited ideas for a video game, but theres only so much you can do, and you see lots of video games being the same. Take River Raid for example, it was copied in all those side shooters, Gradius/LifeForce/etc. Theres hundreds of side shooters. Once you play one style of video game the bar is raised, if another game can't give you at least as good as features, then it loses out. Not a lot of people see this.

    Right now theres nothing worth playing, so I'm writing up my own video games. www.pathofdreams.net/crazyj

    I'm still trying to get a foot in the door of the video game industry, but it seems like I'll have to code a whole game myself before that'll happen.
  • Bullshit! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    My eBay sales in this area are way down since 2002. Don't know if its the economy or emulators but retro gaming is certainly not hot financially.
  • by Shimmer (3036) <brianberns@gmail.com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @10:57PM (#9540501) Homepage Journal
    I've been playing Nintendo with my two boys (ages 8 and 3). We just finished playing Donkey Kong Country I and II -- 16-bit games from about 10 years ago. They loved them. Compared to Donkey Kong 64 from a few years ago, the older games are much better -- much more exciting, challenging, and satisfying. My kids don't care about retro, they just want to play fun games.
    • Man, I hardly use /. "friends"/"foes" feature, but if you play DKC (with your children, which is a wonderful thing to do in the future for me), you automatically become my friend :) There are more of us, thanks for that one! :)
    • Hey, I'm just playing DK64 this weekend and am slightly disappointed compared to my memories. They seem to have been stretching the graphics rather than the gameplay on that game, although there are a lot of great things in it, for example being able to save at any time, the monkey rap, and the banana transporters.

      Jumping and missing those ropes gets me too many times, and the close-up angles can be really annoying when you want to do some platform jumping; IIRC Banjo Kazooie was better for that but I'll h

  • by dotz (683519) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @11:05PM (#9540524)
    I don't know much about 8-bit computers market in US, but in my country, 'retro gaming' is more like '8-bit computers', and not 'gaming consoles'. Of course, NES (Pegauss) was available here, but machines, which were much more popular for an average teenage users, were Atari 65 XE, Commodore 64, and last, but not least - ZX Spectrum (aka Timex 2048, which of I was a proud owner).

    Why are such computers featured so rarely on slashdot retro games? Wasn't they popular in US?

    Another thing, big "booya!" to all authors of emulator software. Thanks to their software, I use my unix workstation to do some gaming sometimes - nowadays games are too much schematic for me, sorry! :)

  • Power Joy III (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 404notfound (467950) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @11:07PM (#9540533)
    Another of the plug-and-play multiple game controllers is the Power Joy III [powerjoy.com], which packs 84 NES games (though many were never released in America, and one is, unusually, marked as having been created in 2003), and also comes with one of those silly LCD foo-hundred in ones, which is really just a few games with different speeds/difficulties. ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com] used to carry it (which is how I got it), but it seems to have vanished from their lineup.
  • by LoadWB (592248) * on Sunday June 27, 2004 @01:13AM (#9540885) Journal
    I've bought a few of these to do web reviews, as well as for the novelty value. I have the Atari 10-in-1, the Activision 10-in-1, and the Namco Arcade joystick.

    They flat out suck.

    I am horrbily disappointed that, in this day and age of microcontrollers and well-written emulators, a better product could not be produced.

    TVGames is slaughtering at least my memory of these classic games. Amongst other things, I found that all three are lacking a noise generator (makes explosions sounds like "boops", especially in Missile Command,) the colors are off, and the Namco arcade joystick is locked into four positions but includes Bosconian -- an eight-position game. In their defense, the game play for most games are identical to the originals.

    What it comes down to is that if you DON'T have the console or a good emulator and rights (term used loosly) to the ROM image, it's not a bad $19. Otherwise, stick with the emulators and, of course, the original console; the former posessing much more longevity.
  • by extrarice (212683) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @11:19AM (#9542840) Homepage Journal

    The slashdot crowd might want to check out Console Classix [consoleclassix.com]. They've taken the game-rental business model and applied it to emulation. Nintendo knows about CC, and has left them alone. For each copy of a ROM they have available, they have a matching physical cartridge. So, if they have 3 ROMs of Tetris, they pulled the ROMs from three individual carts they have on-site.

    The emulators are all open-source, and they are encouraging porting from other platforms (currently it's Win32 only). Atari 2600, NES, SNES and Sega Genesis are availble, with other platforms coming soon. The NES and 2600 are free, but the SNES and Genesis clients require a small monthly fee to play (like $5 or something).

    Anyhow, go check them out, and if you have any old carts lying around that you don't want anymore, consider donating them to CC so they can have more ROM images available for "rent".

There has been a little distress selling on the stock exchange. -- Thomas W. Lamont, October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday)

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