Episode 7 of Randy Kindig's Floppy Days Vintage Computing Podcast, entitled, Vintage Computer Festival Midwest 8.0, gives shout-outs to two of the upcoming books I've co-authored, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer and Vintage Game Consoles: An Inside Look at Apple, Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, and the Greatest Gaming Platforms of All Time. Though Kindig understandably butchers both my (it's actually pronounced "Low-joo-diss") and Boisy Pitre's last names (it's actually pronounced "Pete"), the mention at - approximately the 17:58 mark - is much appreciated. Kindig should also be receiving review copies of both books for future episodes of his podcast, which is a regular listen for me. Check out the episode here.
In preparation for working on our upcoming My Xbox One book, Christina and I thought it would be a good idea to check out Microsoft's Xbox One console prior to its official November release. Thanks to the One Tour, we had our chance today in Philadelphia through an Area One party. Basically, what this meant was that we had to pick one of the three hour blocks of time, wait in line, and hope we could get in to experience "live music, live gameplay, and more..." Naturally, we were most interested in the live gameplay part.
Once inside the large warehouse area, we were treated to our choice of multiple game areas where we could sit or stand and play some of the Xbox One launch and launch window titles, which included: Crimson Dragon, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle, Ryse: Sone of Rome, Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood, Zoo Tycoon, and Kinect Sports: Rivals.
Considering the amazing number of devices most of us have access to these days, including smartphones, tablets, consoles, set top boxes, and computers, I'd be curious to know how everyone goes about playing. Do you stick to a handful of devices (and if so, which ones) or do you like to sample from everything that you own? What if you're like me and also have a collection of vintage platforms to choose from as well? There's a point where you have "option paralysis," of course, where you have so many gaming options to choose from that you tend not to play much of anything. Have you reached that point?
As for me, I find my habits fluctuate greatly. One week I might be on a vintage platform kick, while another I might exclusively game on my tablet or PC, while another still I might pick a recent console. Other times I want to play multiple things on multiple systems and end up not being able to choose or be limited by real world demands on my time (or energy), despite my enthusiasm otherwise. I suspect this will get worse as the two latest consoles get released this November and interest in the previous generation of systems wanes and we have to start making decisions about what to do with these now "legacy" consoles. Of course, that's to say nothing of things like low cost Android devices and even the upcoming "Steam Box," which will add further options (and confusion) to the mix. All these choices are truly both exciting and overwhelming.
So, what's YOUR plan of action?
As an unapologetic technophile, I naturally crave the latest and greatest technology. However, somewhat stifling those cravings are the reality of the high costs of new technology, available space, and the needs of my present workflow. In other words, even though I spend a disproportionate amount of my money on technology, my purchases must still be carefully considered for a variety of reasons.
While I have a demanding day job as a Technical Writer, I'm also a professional author and journalist, which requires a certain amount of portability if I don't wish to be chained to a desk for 12 - 16 hours a day. This portability is particularly important to me as I always try to make a point of balancing my working life with my personal (especially family) life.
I'm thrilled to officially announce that another one of my new books, Vintage Game Consoles: An Inside Look at Apple, Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, and the Greatest Gaming Platforms of All Time, written with Matt Barton, is now available for pre-order from booksellers everywhere, including Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, and of course, the publisher's (Taylor & Francis/Focal Press) Website. As always, my personal favorite place is Amazon, where you can buy it at a nice discount from the full retail price, plus, if the price drops upon the book's publication sometime in February/March 2014, you get it for the lower price. Of course, you don't get charged until it actually ships.
What Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, did before it for software, Vintage Game Consoles, does it now for hardware platforms, covering 20 of the greatest game playing computers, consoles, and handhelds of all-time. This full color paperback and ebook is packed to the gills with well over 400 pages of content and 400 images. Nathan Strum's amazing cover art, inspired by legendary magazine, Electronic Games (the first I ever bought myself as a child and incredibly influential to my future path in life), rounds out the package.
Also in early 2014, be sure to look out for My Xbox One, written with Christina Loguidice (the follow-up to My Xbox: Xbox 360, Kinect, and Xbox LIVE), and of course, published this holiday season, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer, written with Boisy Pitre.
I'm happy to officially announce that my next book, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer, written with Boisy Pitre, is now available for pre-order from booksellers everywhere, including Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, and of course, the publisher's (Taylor & Francis/CRC Press) Website. My personal favorite place is Amazon, where you can buy it at a nice discount from the full retail price, plus, if the price drops upon the book's publication sometime in November, you get it for the lower price. Of course, you don't get charged until it actually ships.
What's nice about the book (available in both paperback and ebook versions) is that this is the first time the story of Tandy's Color Computer - affectionately dubbed "CoCo" - will be told in this manner. The first version of the computer debuted on July 31, 1980, and it and its successors were staples in Radio Shack stores into the 1990s. While never the most popular computer series, the ubiquity of Radio Shack's stores, catalogs, and overall advertising meant that it was impossible to ignore, even if systems like the Apple II, Commodore 64, and IBM PC garnered all the headlines. Thanks to extensive interviews with most of the principles involved in the computer's creation, community, and support, you'll have a definitive first-hand account of how the computer series came to be, from an extensive pre-history right through to what's going on today, where a small, but enthusiastic cadre of fans still enjoy working with the systems. In short, you get to learn about the "soul" of this underdog computer series, including all the business decisions that went into its creation, all the personalities both directly and indirectly involved in its support, and some of the herculean efforts needed to keep the platform alive.
Finally, for those not interested in pre-ordering, I'll be sure to post again once the book is actually ready to ship. As always, I greatly appreciate the support.
It is with great honor and humble appreciation that I write this blog post officially acknowledging Armchair Arcade's 10th anniversary. That's right, Armchair Arcade was founded way back in September 2003, an eon in Internet time. Little did we know when we founded it back then that we'd still be going strong 10 years later, and looking forward to another great decade ahead. Since Armchair Arcade's founding, our team members have created well over a dozen major books, a documentary film, and countless thousands of feature articles, blog posts, forum posts, editorials, games, podcasts, and videos. Of course, team members and friends have come and gone in those 10 years, and we've even had a few births along the way, but the more things have changed, the nicer it's been that Armchair Arcade itself has stayed right where you'd expect to find it.
It looks like the publisher posted an image of the cover - featuring original Nathan Strum art - for our upcoming book, Vintage Game Consoles: An Inside Look at Apple, Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, and the Greatest Gaming Platforms of All Time. The book, which covers 20 of the greatest gaming platforms of all time and is the next in the Vintage Games book series, won't be out until early next year, but hopefully that awesome looking cover art gets you excited for what's coming soon!
Before the year is out, we'll have the choice of the latest console systems from the three big manufacturers, with three very different value propositions. I'll briefly break each of the three down, one-by-one, then I'd like to continue the discussion in the comments.
First up, there's the Wii U, relying mostly on the same type of technology found in the current generation's Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles, with its primary hook being its tablet controller that allows for touchscreen interactions and off-TV play, priced between $300 - $350. There's a good chance, despite Nintendo's insistence that they won't or can't, that this will drop in price just before the launch of Microsoft's and Sony's new consoles. I base this on the jockeying Nintendo already seems to be doing, for instance with eliminating the $300 BASIC version of their system in favor of the DELUXE (and no doubt different future bundles). The negatives for the Wii U are that, for various reasons, third party support has already dried up, and there's no evidence that their tablet controller hook has resonated (or will) with the public. There's always a chance for things to change, but right now, I don't see how Nintendo recovers a dominant console position, particularly since there's really nothing that reeks of "next gen" in their forthcoming software line-up. Certainly with their first party software they'll continue to appeal to the Nintendo faithful, and that should be enough to help the platform stick it out for the next few years. Beyond that, it's impossible to speculate, particularly since we don't know how Microsoft and Sony will ultimately fare (it could just be the new norm, in light of smartphone, tablet, and PC competition to have a tough time with traditional consoles and gaming handhelds).
In anticipation of our upcoming book for CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group, CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy’s Underdog Computer, my co-author, Boisy Pitre, has started a new series of blog posts that will (very slowly) lift the veil on some interesting stuff that we discovered during the course of our research. He's doing it in the form of series of puzzles. You can read the second posting, or clue, here. Enjoy!
In other news, in terms of important milestones for the book, we turned in everything to the publisher last night. That means once it goes through the editorial process - which could take several months - the book will be on its way to release. We appreciate everyone's support through this process and hope you're anticipating publication of this book as much as we are.