Bill Loguidice's blog

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Hover Force in 3D for the Intellivision using $5 glasses! (video)

Yes, the 1986 Intellivision game, Hover Force, can now be played while viewing it in its original 3D, just by using a simple Crayola toy. Check out the video overview and the links below for more details!

Click here for the original AtariAge forum topic discussing the discovery.
Click here for the full YouTube video for Hover Force for Intellivision.
Click here for the Hover Force Wikipedia page.
Click here to purchase the Crayola 3D Chalk with glasses from Amazon (just one of many options to get the required glasses).

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More on Avalon Hill Computer Games on Heath/Zenith platforms

I had some time to further test Telengard (which I discussed here the other day), B-1 Nuclear Bomber, Computer Football Strategy, and Computer Stocks & Bonds, which, as far as I can tell, and seems to be confirmed by the "Heath/Zenith Games" insert included with all of these boxed games, were the only H-8 H/Z-89 Z-90 H/Z-100 ports from Avalon Hill. As was stated, these games require CP/M-85 and MBASIC to work on my Z-100, which is an all-in-one model. They're all single density disks. All of the games worked, and I was able to make backups of each, though some disks did have errors, which as far as I can tell did not affect running the games or were necessarily present in the copies. It probably helps that these were more or less one or two program BASIC files.

One thing I should point out is that Avalon Hill games are notorious for having catalogs and manuals with staples that become rusty, even when the box is sealed. That was present in my sealed copies. I put any of the documentation with rusty staples in their own zip loc bags for safety, so hopefully that will solve that particular issue going forward.

Of the four games, the only game with multi-platform instructions that specifically mentioned and included the Heath/Zenith platform(s) was Computer Stocks and Bonds, otherwise, every other game just included the aforementioned insert, with the previously mentioned incorrect instructions for running Telengard. So, outside of Computer Stocks & Bonds, you basically had to use the generic instructions for keyboard commands and otherwise wing it.

On a side note, Avalon Hill specialized in supporting many, many platforms with single games right up to the mid-80s through a combination of games written in BASIC and the use of cassette tapes, the former making ports easy and the latter allowing multi-platforms on each side of the tape (six or more platforms on one tape was not uncommon). Naturally, with a disk, at best you could have two formats, one on each side, but all of these Heath/Zenith-based games just had the one platform. In looking at the instructions for B-1 Nuclear Bomber, which again, didn't even mention the Heath/Zenith version it was included with, the game was on Atari 8-bit, Apple II, C-64, TI-99/4 and 4a, TRS-80 Model I/III, IBM PC, and Timex/Sinclair (oddly enough, no PET or Vic-20, which were two Avalon Hill favorites). Every version was assumed on the same tape except for the IBM PC version, which mentioned being on a disk.

The Heath/Zenith versions of these games are mostly unremarkable, with rudimentary text-based graphics, with the occasional line or symbols that vaguely represented what they were intended to be. Crude, but functional, and again, the only CP/M support that I know of that Avalon Hill ever directly provided.

Here are some rough photos of the screens for each of the games just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:

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Avalon Hill's Telengard for Z-90 or H/Z-100 with CP/M-85 and MBASIC: A casual tale of making it work in photos and videos

Telengard (Z-90/H/Z-100 version)Telengard (Z-90/H/Z-100 version)This right-after-the-fact casual blog posting will be about the rarest known version of Telengard, one that has not previously been documented in otherwise exhaustive historical accounts, so bear with me a bit as I set the scene... Since I lack any real electrical engineering skills, I recently sold off the non-working portions of my Otrona and Heathkit collections. Both collections went to fellow collectors who should be able to get the various systems working. While it was difficult to part with even those non-working portions of my 430+ system videogame and computer collection, this will give me more room and time to focus on all of the items that do work, and at least shows that psychologically I'll be able to part with more redundant and/or non-working portions of my collection going forward. One item in those groupings that I didn't sell off was my Zenith Z-100 all-in-one, which is the pre-assembled version of the Heathkit H-100, able to run Heathkit-branded versions of CP/M and MS-DOS thanks to its dual processors. As you may or may not recall, I was trying to get my low profile (same system, no built-in monitor) to run way back when. Long story short, among many other hurdles and much fact finding, and after acquiring an unnecessary replacement power supply and a necessary replacement disk controller board, it had a memory error on boot-up. So, I sold it along with various other Heathkit items. However, when I was going through my saga of acquiring those replacement parts, I was able to acquire a working all-in-one version, the Z-100. Now, I obviously love old technology, but truth be told, I was most interested in running the aforementioned rare versions of the official Avalon Hill games on the system. Interestingly, these ports run on the Heathkit/Zenith Z-90 or H/Z-100, as long as they're running CP/M-85 and MBASIC. Now, I did not have a copy of CP/M-85, but I was able to acquire a replacement set (among other disks) from a gentleman who provides that service for a modest fee. Unfortunately, the Avalon Hill games require MBASIC, which was NOT included by default with the Heathkit/Zenith systems apparently. Luckily, a gentleman from the SEBHC mailing list was able to come through with a copy for me. Here is what went down, told casually, as it happened a little while ago, complete with equally casual photos and videos (by the way, check out Matt Barton's old interview with the late great author of Telengard, Daniel M. Lawrence, here):

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OUYA videogame console Kickstarter madness: What am I missing here?

I'm a big fan of Kickstarter and have personally backed over a dozen projects to date. I'm also a big fan of technology, particularly videogame and computer stuff, and practically gobble up anything new that I can. So why I am not caught up in OUYA videogame console frenzy? It has over $3 million in pledges in a little over 24 hours from over 25,000 backers, so it's already a success, and this will all surely continue to tick up dramatically and impressively over its remaining 28 days of open pledges, perhaps even breaking the Kickstarter record along the way. Clearly then, I'm in the minority when it comes to figuring out the appeal, so let's break it down.

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My next book project... A Radio Shack Color Computer (CoCo) history book!

I'm happy to say that as work winds down on my forthcoming book, My PlayStation Vita, I won't be idle for long, making a long overdue return to my classic videogame and computer roots. For my eighth book, I have agreed to co-author a Radio Shack Color Computer (CoCo) history with Boisy G. Pitre, who is a former Microware engineer who worked on OS-9-related technologies in the 1990s, and is well known within the modern day CoCo community.

Boisy has already conducted a good deal of research and lined up interviews with several notable individuals, but we could always use more authoritative information and resources as supplements, so if you have access to anything or anyone you might think of interest, please let us know either via email or in the comments. The more help we get, the greater chance we'll meet our goal of making this book entertaining for both general technology enthusiasts who love a good story, as well as all of the past and present fans of Radio Shack's longest lived series of computers. Thanks for the support!

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Thoughts on Google's Big Reveals

Hot on the heels of yesterday's striking Vizio Co-Star announcement - a proper Google TV device for $99 that also happens to incorporate the excellent OnLive streaming game service - was Google's big I/O event today. There were several major reveals, including the nifty features of the next version of the Android operating system, Jellybean; the Nexus 7 7" tablet; the Google Nexus Q, a streaming media device that's made in the USA; and Project Glass, Google's upcoming augmented reality glasses. Let's take each one of these in order:

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Microsoft's Surface Tablets - We'll love it if the plan comes together

Microsoft SurfaceMicrosoft SurfaceAs we're all all too aware, the tablet market has been dominated by Apple since the April 2010 introduction of the first iPad. While there have been several quality Android tablets released to compete since, outside of pure budget plays like the Kindle Fire that all but ignore the presence of its operating system, they've failed to make much of an impact with the masses. Other tablets like HP's TouchPad and RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook suffered from corporate indifference with the former and corporate incompetence with the latter. What this has all led to is a competitive vacuum that Microsoft seems poised to fill with their surprisingly well-kept-secret announcement event yesterday.

While we were expecting a Microsoft-branded tablet to leverage its well regarded Xbox branding, instead Microsoft recycled the Surface table name (which is now PixelSense) for its two-pronged tablet attack. Surprisingly, for Microsoft of recent vintage outside of its Xbox stuff, the unveiling was spectacular and sure-footed. Not only did Microsoft pull an Apple with the secrecy and subsequent excitement surrounding the event, they clearly pulled together an A team of designers and engineers to manufacture tablets that even Cupertino's famed group would surely be proud to call their own, right down to the clever cover designs.

They say if you want something done right, do it yourself, and Microsoft clearly has taken that to heart, joining Apple in controlling the entire tablet eco-system, and, unlike HP or RIM, seemingly doing so with conviction. Obviously Microsoft will still let just about anyone else create Windows 8 tablets and hybrids, but the bar has been raised to the point where any type of half-hearted effort will look foolish in comparison and destined for failure.

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E3 2012 - Most Significant Happenings from Nintendo's Wii U Showing

After giving my impressions of Sony's and Microsoft's respective efforts at e3, it's time to turn to Nintendo. Since tomorrow is Nintendo's stated day to focus on 3DS stuff, today it was pretty much all Wii U. I think there was a lot there to keep the Nintendo faithful happy, but I think overall there's still some work to be done for those who felt burned by the Wii or who didn't respond to the 3DS. Regardless, here is my impression of what I thought the highlights were:

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E3 2012 - Most Significant Happenings from Sony's Showing

My PlayStation VitaAfter giving my impressions of Microsoft's surprisingly effective conference yesterday - that is, considering the fact that they'll be competing against a major new hardware unveiling from Nintendo - I wanted to follow up with similar impressions of Sony's major announcements related to the PlayStation 3 and Vita. Nintendo impressions will follow after their big announcements later today. Unfortunately, Sony didn't particularly impress, with a similar mix of the usual types of new game announcements as Microsoft, just without much else of interest to augment it. Naturally, if any of these companies make any big announcements following their main events, I'll put up another post. With that said, here are the few Sony announcements from late yesterday I found of interest:

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E3 2012 - Most Significant Happenings from Microsoft's Xbox 360 Showing

My Xbox bookSo, as the first day winds down, I thought I would toss out a few impressions of what I thought were the most significant announcements from the early part of the first day, which focused on Microsoft and the Xbox 360. Next, we should expect to see Sony's stuff and then Nintendo's major Wii U announcements, both of which I'll also discuss.

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