vintage games

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Next Book Chapter - Robotron: 2084 - Need Assistance

Well, it's beyond crunch time now and we're in danger of having to drop some chapters if we don't pick up the pace, so we need your help now more than ever. I've been jumping around a bit in the book and just threw a bunch of notes in the Robotron: 2084 chapter. I would love to hear about all your favorite games with Robotron-like 360 degree independent movement and firing, be it in the arcade or at home, to ensure that I don't miss any. It would also be a big help if I could hear a good listing of Xbox 360 and PS3 downloadable games that make use of the Robotron-style control scheme, as there are legion. It would really save me a ton of research. Thanks so much, guys!

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Pong - Your thoughts on arguably the true originator of our industry

Hey guys! I'll be working on the Pong chapter while I'm working on the Spacewar! chapter, as their historical lead-ups kind of run in parallel. In any case, Pong needs no introduction, from its first conceptual appearance on Ralph Baer's Brown Box that "inspired" Nolan Bushnell to ask Al Alcorn to create the original arcade game, to the precursor to it all from 1958, William Higginbotham's "Tennis for Two". Of course I'll also be discussing the various home Pong systems and clones and a few ways that the game influenced future games. As always, your thoughts are much appreciated for this truly iconic game.

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Spacewar! (1962) - Your comments and thoughts

Well, the next chapter is on the wonderfully early Spacewar! from 1961 for the DEC PDP-1 mainframe. While there were other games before it that I'll be sure to mention, I would love your thoughts on the games, its home versions, its implementation in the first arcade game, Computer Space, etc. I would also love to hear your thoughts on its ties to Asteroids, as I believe there is a significant connection that must be discussed heavily in the chapter. So not only Spacewar!-like games, but also Asteroids-like games (and any other connections you'd like to suggest). I also read just yesterday that a version of Spacewar! is included in Microsoft's XNA framework as a sample game, so if anyone has any particular info on that I'd love to hear it! Thanks guys!
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Bill Loguidice's picture

Vintage Games by Loguidice and Barton is now listed on Amazon and elsewhere

Just a heads-up that our upcoming book, Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, the one we've been discussing with you guys lately, is now available for pre-order from Amazon and many other locations you'd expect. We'll post about it again when the entries are updated (they're all essentially placeholders right now), but thought you might like to see that yeah, it's for real:

Keep in mind that the expected release date is roughly February 2009, so there's still a lot of work to be done, particularly on the publisher's end. Thanks for all your support and we'll continue to keep everyone updated. I'll be especially excited when the publisher finalizes the cover design, which should feature artwork from our own Mark Vergeer!

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Madden Football is the Next Chapter, Though it's more Sports Gaming in General

The next chapter I'm working on is John Madden Football, starting with the Apple II version right through today. Of course this chapter will be used to cover all non-racing sports games, so there will be discussions of games both before and during Madden's reign. The basic premise is that prior to Madden's rise, there was minimal emphasis on real teams and players, while post Madden it's become all but a requirement. Obviously these sports games have grown increasingly sophisticated over the years, becoming full blown simulations for those who choose to go into the nitty gritty details. Why Madden? Well, that's by far the biggest selling sports franchise in the US and I think really indicative of how the sports videogame industry has evolved over the years.

In any case, as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts about sports videogames in general, be it soccer, cricket, baseball, etc. I would leave out boxing and racing, only because boxing will be discussed in the Street Fighter II chapter and racing in the Pole Position chapter. Thanks!

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Grand Theft Auto III: Your Thoughts for the Book on this Popular and Controversial Title

The next chapter I'll be tackling is the one on Grand Theft Auto III, which of course encompasses the games before and the games after it, as well as the various "sandbox" precursors and numerous modern day clones and knock-offs. I'm certainly no expert in the GTA mythos, so any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Right now I only own Vice City Stories for the Sony PSP, though I may have to rectify that with a rental to get up to full speed. Thanks for the help, guys!

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Super Mario Bros. - Your Thoughts on the Can of Worms

The Super Mario Bros. chapter is going to be worked on on and off as well. Obviously discussion of the precursor games, like Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., Pitfall, etc., will be critical, as all of the 2D games in the series (Super Mario 64/Tomb Raider are their own chapter), as well as the "challenge" of Sonic, but what are some of your other thoughts about the impact, influences and clones of the best-selling game of all time? I'd love to know, as I'm certainly no connoisseur. In fact, I was a bit "resentful" of Super Mario Bros. and the NES in 1985/86 in my youth, as I kind of blamed it for the downfall of systems like the ColecoVision (how wrong I was). I still ended up wanting one, but never got a NES when it was a contemporary system.

By the way, I'm sure you're wondering why the "can of worms" comment in the title... I consider it one of those chapters that has to be done right, otherwise we'll hear no end of it... Even with the impossible time crunch, it's one of those chapters that Matt and I need to heap some extra TLC on.

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Blogging about Writing the Latest Book: New Concept for Armchair Arcade

We've made no secret here about the book that Matt Barton and I are presently working on for Focal Press (Elsevier) on some of the most greatest and most influential (that's key) videogames of all time regardless of platform. It also explains why things have been a bit quiet around here from our end. We'd like to change that though and kind of give everyone at least a partial glance into the trials and tribulations of the process and perhaps even get some much needed help with certain parts. Hopefully it will be interesting for you and ultimately helpful for us, making a better book.

First off, let me start out by saying that if anyone has any questions about anything, just ask, and, if possible, we'll definitely answer whatever we can. With that all said, I'll just start things off by saying that the chapters on Dune II and Dance Dance Revolution are in the hands of our new tech reviewer, and I'm presently trying to finish up the chapter on Defender. Matt just finished off his part on Final Fantasy VII, and I just need to do my work on it and convert it to publisher's Word template before getting it off to the tech reviewer. Matt is now diving into the Pac-Man chapter.

By the way, Matt and I are doing our initial work in Google Docs, which is an easy way for us to collaborate from anywhere. Once the text is reasonably settled, meaning both Matt and I have done what we wanted to it, I convert it to the publisher's Word template. After that happens it goes over to the tech reviewer, who provides her comments/corrections, then we fix whatever we deem necessary. Matt and I then work on the images, I insert the captions and image references into the document, then zip the Word document together with a folder containing all the images (this usually works out to a 30 - 60MB file). I then pass that on to the publisher. Easy, right? ;-)

Finally, as part of the contract with Focal, we'll need to make a portion of Armchair Arcade dedicated to the book. That should be a lot of fun, as there will be lots of bonus content that simply wouldn't be able to make it in book form. I'd like to see Matt's first book get a similar treatment, right around the same time!

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New Book Deal Confirmed!

I can't go into too much detail, but I can finally announce that Matt and I have secured a deal for a new co-authored book. The topic? The best, greatest and most influential games of all time. Not too exciting you say? Well, that's the challenge that Matt and I have--to really push our writing abilities to the limits to make this something that you'll be very, very excited about. And obviously being who we are, you know we won't leave ANY platform untouched in telling what will hopefully be a definitive and compelling tale. One nice thing I can reveal is that this will be a full color book (!) throughout and the publisher, Focal Press, which is part of Elsevier, is targeting only a $35 list price, which is pretty nice for what is estimated to be 350 pages. They also want us to create a special section on Armchair Arcade for bonus content related to the book, which we've agreed to. So, while I was unable to secure a new publisher for the years-in-the-making book excerpted at Gamasutra (which we'll revisit selling at some point in the near future), this is a nice "consolation" prize. In fact, after months of negotiation, Focal ultimately wasn't interested in that book for its economic viability, but was impressed enough to ask us to write to this topic, which was actually their idea originally. We have until roughly September to wrap it up and we're starting with ZERO content, so wish us luck!

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