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Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 188: Joel Billings on the Decline of SSI

Joel Billings is back for one final time (at least for this interview series!) to tell us about the decline and fall of his one great company. Why isn't SSI with us today? Then there's the great What-ifs--What if Trip Hawkins had been at the meeting with EA? What if SSI had held off just a bit longer before selling out to Mindscape? Enjoy!

Download the episode.

Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 184: Joel Billings talks Gold Box

In my third installment with SSI founder Joel Billings, we chat about the Gold Box series, Panzer General, and Dark Sun. If you've ever wondered why TSR chose SSI to represent its interests in the videogaming world, this is the video to see. Also check out my rad 3D effects on two of the classic Gold Box box covers.

You can download the video.

Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat 183: Joel Billings and SSI's Rise

In the second part my interview with Joel Billings, founder of SSI, we chat about his company's growth and publishing strategy. During this period, SSI was publishing games from third-parties such as Questron and Phantasie, before doing some in-house work with Wizard's Crown.

You can download the mp4 here.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Bill's Collection Photos - 02 - Cartels & Cutthroats (1981, SSI), Micro Illustrator (1984, Commodore), and Deathkeep (1996, SSI)

For this second entry in the ongoing series, I've taken photos of Cartels & Cutthroat$ for the Apple II, Micro Illustrator for the Commodore Plus/4 and C-64, and Deathkeep (AD&D) for the 3DO. Enjoy:

Matt Barton's picture

Episode 6: Collection Obsession, Motion Gaming, SSI Goldbox, Persuasive Games

It's that time of the month again--Armchair Arcade Radio time, that is! Check out Episode 6, which features over 2 hours of retrogaming eggnog spiced with rum and boasting a nutty (as a fruitcake) aftertaste. This episode features exclusive content from Chip Hageman, Rob Daviau, Nathan Tolbert, Bill Loguidice, and yours truly, Matt Barton.

Click here for awesome.

Segments and approximate times below:

  • Chip's Picks: Steel Storm Ep. 1, Space Chunks, Rocky Memphis, and more (00:04:09)
  • Bill's Motion Gaming, continued: Sega Activator, XaviX XaviXPORT, and more (00:13:35)
  • Rob's Collection Obsession (00:40:07)
  • Nathan on the SSI Goldbox series (01:05:34)
  • Matt on Unit Operations and Persuasive Games by Ian Bogost (01:18:48)

As always, we'd really appreciate any feedback you have to offer on the episode. You can leave comments here, email us, or review the show on iTunes. You can also subscribe to our RSS Feed.

We'd also really appreciate anything you can do to help spread the word about our podcast. Don't be a lamer. Post about us on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever dens of iniquity in which you lurk.

Enjoy the show!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Exclusive Scan: Geopolitique 1990 (SSI, 1983) - Commodore 64 (C-64) Version

Good news, everyone! I've got a special Armchair Arcade exclusive today. Attached to this very blog post and freely available to download is a nearly complete scan in PDF format of SSI's classic computer strategy game, Geopolitique 1990, from 1983, Commodore 64 (C-64) version. The 31 page PDF clocks in at 35.63 MB and features the box front, box top, box bottom, box side, box back, special notice and registration card, disk and catalog, scratch sheet map from the full notepad (blue), double-sided reference card, and the manual itself. As you can tell, this is the typical pre-1985 SSI deluxe bookshelf (oversized) packaging. If you'd like to play the Apple II version in your browser, you can do so here. Enjoy and let me know what you think of this semi-forensic scan of the game billed as "A Political, Economic & Military Game of World Dominance".

Matt Barton's picture

Matt Chat #1: Pool of Radiance Now Available!

Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoy my first-ever effort to make a video! Matt Chat #1: Pool of Radiance. Please let me know what you think and feel free to give me tips or suggestions for future episodes. Just keep in mind that this is my first attempt at this, so be gentle. :)

Bill Loguidice's picture

Forensic Scans and Info on SSI's "Six-Gun Shootout: Gunfights of the Wild West" (1985)

I recently received a request for manual scans from my copy of Six-Gun Shootout: Gunfights of the Wild West (1985), from SSI. I was happy to oblige, but of course I wanted to do a little extra since it's the same approximate amount of effort. In addition to the manual, I also scanned the box, the Apple II disk, one side of the registration card and the inside cover of the 1985 SSI catalog, featuring both Six-Gun Shootout and Colonial Conquest, the latter of which is one of my all-time favorites (C-64 version, though the Atari ST version is overall the best).

Here is the link to the Flickr gallery, which includes a few screenshots from the Virtual Apple 2 - Online disk archive, which allows you to play Apple II and IIGS games in your browser, including of course, Six-Gun Shootout. SSI's western-themed game is an interesting blend of strategy and RPG elements, similar in style to their war-themed, Computer Ambush, which I'm also lucky to own (I'm obviously a huge fan of SSI's entire catalog of games, from themes to cover art to when they used bookshelf boxes). If you have the time, I definitely recommend you check it all out. Enjoy!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Wizard's Crown Chronicles (03) - The Beginning

(See the prior entries in this ongoing feature)

NOTE: The format of these for now are going to be the REVIEW (semi-walkthrough) portion first, followed by the STORY (fictionalization) portion. Each portion is stand alone and I'll separate them with headers.


Bill Loguidice's picture

Wizard's Crown Chronicles (02) - The Setup Part III (Final)

(See The premise at the end of this posting for details on this ongoing feature)
OK, I'm sure you're getting tired of "setup" at this point, but this is finally it. Frankly, it was bothering me that I'd have to type on the same system I was using as a display that I was also capturing direct images and videos on, so I decided to be a bit technically poor and split the composite video/mono audio signals coming from the C-128D into two outputs. There appears to be little-to-no noticeable degradation, so there you go. This will now allow me to be as "authentic" as I prefer to be, meaning I'll be playing "Wizard's Crown" on a real Commodore 8-bit system with a vintage monitor, while still having full capture capability on my laptop.

So, once and for all, here are the specs for the review and chronicle:

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