Nathaniel Tolbert's blog

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My review of CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer

Tandy CoCoTandy CoCoJust recently I received a package in the mail. It was a flat pack type envelope addressed to me. Perplexed as I had not ordered anything recently, I opened the package. A small book slid out of the packing onto my desk. It took a moment to realize; Oh yes I had asked for a review copy of the new CoCo book. I finished the book this last Monday and I have spent the last 5 days collating my thoughts and opinions before sitting down to write this review here. Due to a hiatus on my podcast, I will be posting a review there as soon as possible, and may have to do a side recording specifically for the book. Read more below.

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Champions Online - Free for all - Thoughts and opinions

Champions OnlineChampions OnlineHello everyone! Long time no post. First thing's first I can happily say, that I have completed my degree and graduated as of March 1st, 2011. It's just my first computer science degree and there are two more I am after so I will start on them soon.

So as many people know about a month or so ago, Atari and Cryptic games announced that they were turning Champions Online in to a free to play game. After my final ended last Wednesday and I actually had time to sit down and check it out, I thought I might share my thoughts and opinions on my playtime so far.

The game is based on the a tabletop role playing game of the same name, Champions. It uses the same attributes in game as in the table top game but it doesn't seem to influence characters as much as it does in the tabletop game. It takes place in a fictional city, I believe in Canada called Millennium City. You play the typical role of super hero extraordinaire. Your mission? To defeat all the bad guys that are running amok in Millennium City. Now I cannot say much about plot line as I have only played about 10 hours worth of game time, making it to the paltry level of 11. But I shall start with the graphics set of this review first.

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Electronic Art's Games Label President says Single Player mode is dead

The article that this blog and personal opinions are based on is located here.

I was reading through some online sites through links that were posted here, and I came across this article listed above. As the title says, the president of a section of Electronic Arts says that single player games are, to quote the article, 'finished.' He backs his statement with the following, 'because online is where the innovation, and the action, is at.' I read his comments and was personally surprised. I know I'm in the minority here when I say that about the only multiplayer games that I play are MMO's. I could turn this into a rant because it bothers me that someone so close to the industry could think that people only want online functionality in their games, but I will attempt to maintain a level head, unlike some of the responses in the comments to the article.

My feelings are that even though as time progresses, single player mode will be de-emphasized in games (it already is, if you ask the people who have played the new Medal of Honor, and Call of Duty games, with their dismally short, and lackluster single player experiences.) but that doesn't mean that this mode should be dropped or reduced to a minor role. If this methodology was accepted industry wide, I wouldn't have gotten to play such interesting new style adventure games like, the whispered world, Lost Horizon, and Kaptain Brawe, a Brawe New World (Thank you Gamer's Gate for the nice sales on these games, so happy to get good games for a price a poor college student like myself can afford:-). These games are exclusively single player and where as they are not everyone's cup of tea, they would not work in a multiplayer fashion. I sucked it up and bought wings of prey, which is a WWII flight game, which has a sizable single player arc, at approximately 50 missions. The game also has a multiplayer function as well, and that is heavily emphasized, but I haven't played it yet.

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Abandonware and some possible reasons why it exists

Abandonware. We've all heard of it, most of us have even called programs we have it. Many of us have complained about the fact that it even exists at all. But the sad fact is that the term Abandonware is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. I'll start with a rough definition of what the term is; Abandonware: A software product, especially a video game, whose copyright is no longer defended or which is no longer marketed even by the company who made it. 1 (sorry don't know how to do superset here.) The definition is simple and easy to understand. A game, or software product that isn't defended via copyright law by the producer anymore.

But how can this exist at all? With copyright laws currently extending life of the creator plus 90 years this means that any product made since the mid to late 1920's should be covered by copyright law, correct? Well, technically this is true, and holds true for all of the software that is termed "abandonware". This means that realistically, every time you download an old computer game, you are infringing copyright. 'But people do it all the time with old software and I never hear of them getting in trouble.' You say. Again, that is true, but the fact is that if the copyright holder at any point in time decided that they wanted to go after anyone whom had downloaded their product without paying for it and you were taken to court over it, you wouldn't have a leg to stand on. But this doesn't answer why it exists at all does it? I've only explained how it technically doesn't exist. There are countless reasons as to why some software is coined as abandonware and I will attempt to discuss a few of what I see as major ones below.

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