Star Raiders (1979): The New Hope - Final Vintage Games Bonus Chapter

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The ninth of nine free online bonus chapters that are in addition to the 25 chapters found in our book, Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, available at booksellers worldwide, including Amazon.com, is now available. Head on over to Gamasutra to read Star Raiders (1979): The New Hope. This concludes our experiment in providing a true value add for readers of the book, content that could never fit in a reasonably priced mass market publication. Hopefully this convinces the last of the fence sitters to buy the book! Don't forget there are well over 100 bonus images not found in the book or in the online bonus chapters, available here. Want to know what others' think of the book? Check it out here. Between all of the free online content and the content in the book, it should keep you busy for quite some time. It looks like there is also a good possibility for fully translated special editions of Vintage Games for other territories, starting with an Italian Edition. We'll let you know as this news develops.

Our next book out should be Wii Fitness for Dummies, which will be released in early 2010, followed by an amazing feature film documentary on the history of videogames through Lux Digital Pictures. Keep checking back at Armchair Arcade for the latest on these and other exciting projects!

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Matt Barton
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I'm very curious what the

I'm very curious what the response will be to this one. My guess is that some will object to the fact that we don't get to the actual game until the 2nd page. :) I submitted it to slashdot, so we can see how it goes.

I have a big gap in my PC gaming right around the Wing Commander/X-Wing Fighter era. I didn't have a PC then and was still trying to make do with my Amiga 3000. Unfortunately, it's a bad era to have a gap in, because getting those high-end DOS games running properly under emulation is a real pain. Last time I checked, X-Com just wouldn't work under Vista at all (from what I read, it was hard enough getting it working in XP). Maybe some of these have better community support and fan patches or workarounds now, though. There's also the problem that many of these games haven't aged well, so that even though Wing Commander may have been great fun back then, it's harder to get into now that we have so many later games with better graphics and so on. Still, I need to get to it at some point.

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Bill Loguidice
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Think outside the (Dos)box
Matt Barton wrote:

I have a big gap in my PC gaming right around the Wing Commander/X-Wing Fighter era. I didn't have a PC then and was still trying to make do with my Amiga 3000. Unfortunately, it's a bad era to have a gap in, because getting those high-end DOS games running properly under emulation is a real pain. Last time I checked, X-Com just wouldn't work under Vista at all (from what I read, it was hard enough getting it working in XP). Maybe some of these have better community support and fan patches or workarounds now, though. There's also the problem that many of these games haven't aged well, so that even though Wing Commander may have been great fun back then, it's harder to get into now that we have so many later games with better graphics and so on. Still, I need to get to it at some point.

Well, the nice thing is now that you have a 3DO, you can get some good Wing Commander games on it. There are also good ones for your PS1. In fact, X-Com is even on the PS1 and it supports the PS1 mouse!

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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My review of "Star Raiders - The New Hope"
Matt Barton wrote:

I'm very curious what the response will be to this one. My guess is that some will object to the fact that we don't get to the actual game until the 2nd page. :) I submitted it to slashdot, so we can see how it goes.

Here are my thoughts. They may not be representative of the overall consensus, but here it is.

The chapter was.... different. This seemed to be the most heavily philosophical of all the "Vintage Games" chapters, both the book and the online chapters included. The tone was unexpected, but...

I liked it! The opening general philosophical tone nicely segued into a treatise on "Star Raiders" from a philosophical/historical perspective. There were hints of "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution" in the chapter's treatment of Mr. Neubauer. The philosophical bent nicely created a sense that "Star Raiders" was truly extraordinary for it's time, so the chapter was thus a very fitting tribute for a largely forgotten game.

The PLATO-related information was surprising. While many of the "old hardcore" gamers could see the connection to the text-based "Star Trek" game, very few (myself included) would have known of the connection to PLATO "Spasim" game until now.

The chapter then nicely summarized the games (or the entire genre, for that matter) that were direct offspring of Star Raiders, and the accompanying photos were excellently chosen.

My main criticism of the chapter: TOO SHORT! Only three pages? There's so much more to talk about when it comes to Star Raiders! But all the bases were excellently touched upon: the origin, the innovation, the thrill, the nostalgia, the technology, and the lasting influence of "Star Raiders." Whatever criticisms you might receive over this chapter will probably be due to the fact "you left this or that out!" Of course, I know that was because of your limited page count, but probably the majority of your readers won't, and will therefore feel like some key point was missed, or wasn't expounded upon enough.

This is definitely among the best, if not arguably THE BEST, of the Vintage Games chapters, in my opinion. Because the tone struck me as noticably different than the other chapters, this might fuel the critics' fire that "Vintage Games" was tonally inconsistent. For the record, the lack of rigid structure throughout the book (and the bonus chapters) actually worked in the book's favor, in my opinion, because a rigid tone might have become stale after 400+ pages. As for this chapter on it's own, I suspect that the reception on "Slashdot" will generally be favorable, due to the intellectual crowd that hangs out there.

The philosophical tone of the chapter made it both a great tribute to "Star Raiders" as well as an excellent epilogue to the whole Vintage Games project. So, overall, the chapter gets a very big thumbs-up from me!

I thanked you with my dollars when I bought "Vintage Games," but I must say I'm actually sad to see it end. Even after the book and all the bonus chapters, I'm left wanting more! It's been very intriguing to follow the whole project through AA from the beginning to the end. Thanks for your efforts... it's been a great ride!

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Bill Loguidice
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Thanks so much for those

Thanks so much for those thoughts, Rob! You are indeed correct that it's "only" three pages because it was originally a book chapter. Some had to necessarily be shorter and certainly Star Raiders was planned as a shorter one all along because many of the concepts were already covered in the Elite and Flight Simulator chapters, for instance.

They only left out one image this time, which I included in the bonus images on our site. It was the "sitting around" scene from an early Wing Commander game that was meant as a companion (the a to the published b picture) to the flying about bit. I'm actually surprised Gamasutra chose to cut it, as the chapter was short enough that it wouldn't have impacted it. And hell, there really shouldn't be cuts for space on the Web anyway.

Here are the bonus images (the first one is truly a bonus, the second one is the one that was cut): http://www.armchairarcade.com/neo/node/2333

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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I thought the chapter turned

I thought the chapter turned out well, though of course it would have benefited from 4 or 5 extra pages. It was one of the last (if not the last) chapters we wrote, and I think we were too exhausted to be exhaustive. :P Still, I think there's enough there for someone not familiar with the game to take an interest, and the rest can easily fill in the blanks themselves.

To tell the truth, I hadn't ever played this game until we wrote the chapter. I'd heard of it, of course, but didn't appreciate its true worth. After I booted it up and saw what it was about, I was really impressed. I can only imagine what kind of impact this game would have had on me if I had played it when it was still new on the shelf. Of course, I was only two years old then. :-)

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Matt Barton
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Slashdotted!. Some pretty

Slashdotted!. Some pretty hilarious comments this time. I laughed my arse off at the ones about my link to LucasArts! I *wish* I had a monetary connection.

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