In the second installment of my interview with Bill Volk, we chat about his days at Avalon Hill and the dawn of the computer games industry. Bill was a programming machine, writing games and ports for TRS-80, Commodore Pet, Atari 400s, and CoCo! We also talk about his games Controller and Voyager.
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Download the video here.
Sega Enterprises released the game Zaxxon on various platforms, they also happened to release it on the old IBM-PC in 1984. I think it was best played with a joystick but as I don't happen to have one I am playing it with the keyboard. That is trying to play it with a keyboard. The ship needs repeated key-presses to move as there is quite bit of lag for it to move on its own.
Everything seems to be there, a nice isometric game that seems to be tougher than the arcade port even. A definite must have in a retro arcade PC gaming collection I say.
Check out how I did (poorly) in the video.
So, I’m excited to announce that my book, Cancer Nutrition & Recipes For Dummies is officially out—okay, it has been out for a few weeks now (since July 29th, to be exact), but finding the time to do anything these days is a tremendous challenge. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have burnout and need a break from all the extracurricular activities. Bill is in the same territory as I am, so we’re two peas in a pod in that regard. But as tired as we are, we just can’t say no to projects, particularly when they excite us. And that is how it was for me with the cancer book. So, I wanted to tell you a little about how it came to be and what my experiences were along the way.
As many of you know, Bill and I have written a few books together, projects that we got through our agent, Matt Wagner. They were all technology books, of course. And while I love technology, it really isn’t my strong suit. In fact, Bill often likes to tease me by calling me a “technology witch” or “technology lich” (you’ll get that reference if you’re a fan of Adventure Time, like we are). And he’s right! Technology seems to fall apart in my hands. I don’t know why or how, but it always manages to go awry in some way. But I always thought that this quirk, if you can call it that, was what made us a great team on these projects—he’s the subject matter expert who knows his stuff and can fix things and I’m the dope who breaks them, thereby helping us determine which troubleshooting topics to cover.
After coauthoring a few books with Bill, Matt emailed me that he expanded his contacts at various publishing houses and asked if I had any ideas for potential medical titles. He wanted to see if I had an interest in doing stuff in the clinical arena as well. I shot off a few ideas to him, all focused on cancer.
Cancer was foremost on my mind because I had been an oncology editor and writer at my previous job and it’s an area where there’s a lot of activity, so there are always lots of exciting developments to read and write about—kind of like with technology. It was also a topic very dear to my heart because of my mother-in-law’s struggle with breast cancer. I saw the obstacles she faced and felt so helpless to do anything for her. Many people joke about their in-laws, but she was always kind to me and I considered her a second mom, so watching her decline was truly devastating for me.
In this video I demonstrate how well Playstation Portable Emulation is running on Android. The GameMID Android handheld has physical buttons that makes running PSP games on an Android device a blast. You'll be able to probably get similar performances on the Archos Gamepad and the JXD 7300B machines although the GameMID seems to run this best.
In my neck of the woods it is legal to make backup copies of your games as well as 'jail breaking' your PSP and you can have your PSN downloads up and running on this emulator in no-time. The games shown in this video have all been purchased by me and are demonstrated running on Android hardware instead of PSP hardware. Now were did I leave by stack of RPG-UMDs?
This is the first installment of my interview with Playscreen co-founder and Avalon/Activision veteran Bill Volk. An industry veteran with 30+ years experience, Bill is the man to talk to about the current state of affairs and where the future lies for Ouya, Facebook and mobile gaming, and Google Glasses. In this part of the interview we focus on his current projects.
This episode is a review of Jay Barnson's Frayed Knights game, an indie RPG with lots of humor and turn-based combat.
You can download the video here. Apologies for posting this so late!
Centipede on the IBM PC programmed by R.J.Grafe in 1983. It's not the official port by Atarisoft but another release sporting quite an innovative control scheme. It actually features a simulation of the trackball found on the original arcade game. It uses the space bar for firing and the cursor keys to move around the little gun-turret. Pressing a directional key is similar to giving the trackball a swirl. Pressing multiple times in rapid succesion is like giving the trackball more momentum. A bit of an indirect control scheme but it really works well. With this control scheme in place this actually makes for an excellent port.
Take a look at the video and see how I fared.
The sequel to Dragon Spirit, a game by Namco falling into the shmup category. Released in 1991 about 3 years after the 1st game. The cool bit about this game is that it actually has a two player mode which I can't show as I can't control two controllers at the same time. It features organic end-of-level bosses that you will find in many other shmups of this golden era of the shmup.
The Wii (Virtual Console) as well as the Playstation (Namco Museum Encore) got ports of this game so it is also available on newer systems.
If you are interested in the 1st game in this 2 game series check out Dave Webster's video on the 1st game called 'Dragon Spirit'
This video was inspired by him as I heard him mention he didn't own the sequel so I figured I'd show my little gameplay on it.
Check out Dave Webster's channel:
I am showing some of my gameplay and impressions of Riptide GP™2. This game is a cool sequel to the first Riptide on Android and iOS devices. Racing aqua-jets / hydro jets that have been upgraded to have rocket-intro speed boosts on tracks that look amazing. It is possible to tune the game-graphics to meet the specs of your Android device so you can have the most smooth and good looking experience. It has a single player mode as well as an online game mode that I will demonstrate in the video. It needs either Google Play or GameCenter/iCloud on iOS devices.
This game is running on the Android GameMID handheld gaming device running Android 4.1.1. The footage was captured with the AverMedia Live Gamer Portable. Riptide GP™2 was published by Vector Unit. Go grab this game I say. It's worth checking out on both Android or iOS.
This is a link to the first version
Jeff is back this week for one last installment. Topics covered include Tribes, the Torque Game Engine, Indie games, why Microsoft shot itself in the foot with Xbone, and some "tough love" advice for aspiring game developers.
Download the mp4 here.