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Classic Games (Games) Games Technology

Retro Gaming Technologies Released Before Their Time 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-remembers-when-game-companies-took-risks dept.
Barence writes "Motion-sensing golf game controllers that appeared 20 years before the Nintendo Wii and the 1980s handheld console that operated on solar power are just two of the gems unearthed in this article about retro gaming secrets. Davey Winder has delved into his extensive personal collection of retro hardware to unveil the first handheld console to play '3D games' from 1983, 'the most realistic "gun" game controller ever produced' from way back in 1972, and the device that offered multiplayer computerized Scrabble almost 30 years before the iPad."
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Retro Gaming Technologies Released Before Their Time

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  • Re:Analog joysticks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by veganboyjosh (896761) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @06:19PM (#33772666)
    We got our first 2600 in about 1987. My parents got it used. I was young enough to still think it pretty cool at the time. Whoever we bought it from had hacked two buttons onto one of the joysticks, for use in video pinball. One button was the same as "left joystick", while the other was the same as "right joystick." The joystick functioned as normal.
    I remember seeing an episode of Mr. Wizard where he took apart an Atari Joystick and had the girl play the game by manually touching the contacts on the circuit board, instead of using the joystick. I was able to figure out what the previous owner had done from memory of that episode.
    Even at that age, it didn't take long for me to realize that I could do something with the hacked buttons that I couldn't do with the joystick alone. Namely, "move" to the right and the left at the same time. I don't remember the result in any other game but pacman. I'd play agains my sister, and midway throuy turn, i'd hit bottht once. Pacman would turn all of a sudden into one of the walls, and go through it, all the way across the screen, until he froze, all the power pellets dissappeared, and I moved on to the next round.
    My sister would cry "cheater!" but I'd just shrug my shoulders and say "i dunno. the game just messed up."
  • 3D Monster Maze Myth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ambient Sheep (458624) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:09PM (#33772946)

    From the article:

    > The first game to simulate 3D was 3D Monster Maze for the Sinclair ZX81...

    That's the second time recently I've seen that myth trotted out. It's not true. Although a good game, it was actually a copy of a similar game for the Commodore PET that I played at least a year before the ZX81 even came out.

    I know this for sure as I used to play the PET version at school (they got a 3016 in March 1980), and then when I got my own ZX81 (which came out Spring 1981), I was thrilled to be able to play a version of the same game at home when it was released a few months after that.

  • Re:Analog joysticks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jesset77 (759149) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:16PM (#33772990)
    I'm sad they didn't mention the TI-99/4a speech synthesizer. I mean every computer in early 80's movies and television could talk (Kit, WOPR, Hawking) but try getting that tech into your personal video game system, right? Even today Microsoft Sam on a quad core 3.3Ghz machine with 4gb of RAM hasn't really gained a lot of ground past Parsec's onboard computer 29 years ago on a single core 300khz machine with 16kb of (usable) RAM. Yeah speech synth was a hardware add-on, might have had it's own processor and ram but they sure as hell weren't any denser than what the chassis had.
  • Re:Analog joysticks (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:16PM (#33772992)

    The 5200 sticks suffered from a plastic contact sheet that self-destructed just sitting in the box (oxidation). Repairing 5200 sticks remains a mini-industry in itself.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ksemlerK (610016) <kurtsemler@gm a i l.com> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @09:29PM (#33773722) Homepage

    Watch out. By using your argument, that the second or third comer to the party that actually "does it more successfully" is the innovator, you are coming very close to saying that Apple innovates. Just thought you'd like to know. You don't want to fall into any self set traps now, would you?

    Fixed it for you.

    Apple is not an innovator. They are a marketing and design company, dedicated to the prettying up of existing technology. Did apple create the MP3 player? No. (Saehan's MPMan, 1998) The first smatphone? No. Simon; it was designed by IBM in 1992, released to the general market in 1993. It had no buttons, it was touchscreen only. First PC? No. It was the IBM 5100, (1975). Did they have the first GUI OS? No. Xerox PARC, 1973). Apple didn't ever invent anything, nor are they innovative. They just take existing technology and wrap it up in a fancy package so the public thinks they are a new-tech company.

  • Re:Analog joysticks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @07:02AM (#33775634) Journal
    Speaking from experience of 286 years, sometimes the analog would not calibrate right. And even when you calibrated, if you didn't push the stick the full degree to its range of motion, it would not know you moved there. Red Baron was a great game to play though with analog. Speaking of Red Baron, why haven't they came out with a modern version of it for Internet play? That could be a great game.

    Oh later, another good game was Stunt Island. Remember how you could make your own movies? How cool would it be if Disney made Stunt Island 2? Then you make your own maps, share them with others to play. Then they can rate and play them? Also, sometimes the movies are funny. If there was an automatic feature to post them to youtube, that could be cool to share your movies. And in game, there could be a rating system to see which ones are the funniest by user vote.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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