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.
While we had a previous poll and some thoughts and speculation on the next Xbox here at Armchair Arcade (among many other thoughts from staff and other commenters), it's now time to discuss the reality from today's #XboxReveal, with Microsoft the last of the three to play its next generation hand. As you no doubt already know, Nintendo's Wii U is struggling mightily, while Sony's PS4 has a lot of positive buzz so far and will be released around the same time as the new Xbox (Xbox One). With all that said, let's take a look at what was just unveiled.
Hot on the heels of Amiga Forever Essentials for Android, Cloanto has just released the latest "2013" versions of their popular and easy-to-use Amiga Forever and C64 Forever emulators. This is great news for old and new fans of the greatest Commodore platforms, including all versions of the Amiga series (inclusive of the CDTV and CD32), and most of the 8-bit line, including PET, VIC 20, C-64/128, and C-16/Plus4. Around here, it's among our absolute favorite emulation packages and used as pack-ins with various devices, including the MCC, so you know it has to be great.
The full press release details are below, along with all the links to the various packages available:
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 first posting, or clue, to the first mystery, here. Enjoy!
On Tuesday, May 21, we'll have the next Xbox announcement. Nintendo has obviously already played their hand with the Wii U, an intriguing, but possibly failed gamble on a mix of current gen technology with tablet paradigms, and Sony has shown much of what they'll be offering with the PS4, a "social" next gen console that emphasizes its access speed for everything from updates to getting to play games/demos without much, if any, delay. Interestingly, Microsoft was first out of the gate this current generation, but will be last to make their announcement thanks to positive momentum in the past few years (everywhere except Japan, of course).
In any case, the rumor mill has been quite active, obviously, with the usual mix of thoughtful and not-so-thoughtful claims. You can read all about those elsewhere, but here are my thoughts on what is and isn't likely:
For all the Tandy/Radio Shack Color Computer (CoCo) fans out there, don't forget that this coming weekend is The 22nd Annual "Last" Chicago CoCoFEST! You can get more info on the festivities here. It's been a good year for the CoCo and it's only going to get better, so this event will definitely be worth attending for those who can.
Paul, aka @prode81 on Twitter, has made available one of the first Pebble watch apps, a nifty Web browser-based watch face generator. The link is here, and it's a simple, but great way to experiment with your own Pebble watch without knowing a lick of programming. Check the image below to see how the Armchair Arcade watch face turned out, plus you can scan the QR code with your phone to put it on your own Pebble. If you like Paul's work, don't forget to donate!