science fiction

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Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Tubular Worlds (PC / MS-DOS / Amiga / 1994)

I was going to play the Amiga game but that kept on crashing on me so I chose to do the PC version instead which is very similar if not identical.
A great R-type/Nemesis/Gradius like shoot'm up for PC and Amiga systems. Very nice smooth scrolling and a wonderful use of the 256 colours of the VGA palette. It spreads around 4 levels (worlds), has a nice weapons upgrade system comparable to that of Konami and Compile shooters. Nice soundtrack and great sound FX using the wonderful Sounblaster and FM synthesis. A two player mode is optional but I was unable to show you that as I didn't have a second player available to me. The game is controlled through either mouse, joystick or keyboard

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Nanotek Warrior (PSOne)

A cool little 3rd person perspective Tube shooter developed by Tetragon and published by Virgin in 1996-1997 on the original Playstation. The only platform it came out on.

Matt Barton's picture

Paul Reiche and Fred Ford's Science Fiction Reading List

In my Matt Chat interviews with Fred Ford and Paul Reiche, the duo proposed updating their 1991 list of science fiction novels and stories for aspiring game designers. They've also added a few fantasy authors to "keep us guessing!" How many of these fine authors have you read?

Matt Barton's picture

The Drone Wars

This is my serialized novel about The Drone Wars. Every so often there will be another chapter presented here.

Bill Loguidice's picture

The 100 Sci Fi Movies To See Before You Die

Nicole at the Only Good Movies Blog was kind enough to give us the heads up about a new feature they're running called, The 100 Sci Fi Movies to See Before You Die. Included on the list at number 26 is "Deathrace 2000", which includes a nice linkback to my own blog post on the related arcade machine from 1976 from when Matt and I went to San Francisco for the week to work on the upcoming feature film documentary, Woot!: The Videogame Revolution. Be sure to check out the complete list of films.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Don't read this if you potentially don't want your love of science fiction tainted forever

For some reason, towards the end of my sleep cycle, I had a dream I was in a Doctor Who-like world. It's hard to recall now, but I remember lots of wood and alcoves, sort of like some space cruiseship thing built from stuff at Ikea. In any case, I remember the Doctor and his companions (at first the Doctor was another but he ended up being Tom Baker) struggling to get into the TARDIS for whatever reason and me dropping all the stuff I knew about him, almost like an outsider looking in, despite my standing right there. In any case, it was when I said "TARDIS" that they were finally able to get into the craft that was elaborately blended into the wood surroundings, though looking really nothing much at all like the famous sci-fi staple. In any case, I'll save that bizarre imagery for another day and perhaps turn it into a short story or something, where the Doctor and his companions don't know they're on TV or something (complete with our inability to hear their inner monologues).

Anyway, that rather long winded blathering brings me to my thought upon waking just a few moments ago thanks to a rather loud lawnmower cutting my lawn (or perhaps it was the fact that both of my arms were asleep or that my cat was warmly nuzzled in my left armpit; the point is, I woke). This thought can indeed ruin or at least taint my love of good science fiction, particularly when it involves humanoid travel between planets. You see, it's the very real issue of gravity. Why the hell in nearly every sci-fi book, movie, videogame, etc., is gravity never ever an issue when humanoids (or any other non-magical gravity balancing creature) land on a new planet? The planet could be very, very large, the planet could be very, very small. It could have no moons or it could have lots of moon. The point is, no matter how alien, regardless of need for some type of breathing apparatus or other equipment, there's no consideration made for the gravity, meaning the humanoids aren't either leaping about with ease or struggling to move? (I'm looking at you, Star Trek) Obviously part of it is convenience, part of (depending upon the medium) is expense, and part of it is that it wouldn't often make for a good story. Loud explosions in space I can handle, no inertia in movements I can handle, etc., but it sure would be nice if someone could throw a bone to gravity once in a while. Perhaps in Doctor Who's case it's yet another mysterious "gift of the Time Lords" or some type of blessing from the TARDIS, like being able to understand and speak all languages anywhere. Who knows?

By the way, I've been watching even more science-based programming than ever of late so that's had something to do with that weird and disturbing (for entertainments-sake) idea just popping in (recently our cable company moved channels like The Science Channel, Discovery, History Channel, etc., to hi-def). That and reading Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic "A Princess of Mars" on my Sony e-Reader for the past several weeks, which does in fact address the gravity thing (ding, ding, ding!), albeit a bit incorrectly (when the main character is mysteriously transported to Mars he's imbued with superhuman strength, including the ability to leap massive distances due to the red planet's lesser gravity). And maybe, just maybe, I was also influenced just a wee bit by my listening to the introduction of the digital audio book of "The Answer" on my way home from work yesterday, a book which explores where creativity and those "aha!" moments come from and how to make it far less of a random occurrence. Anyway, back to writing "Vintage Games"...

Matt Barton's picture

Jumpman: A Story by Matt Barton

Justin sat in the darkest corner of the darkest bar in the space station, shrunk into the shadows like a wet rat in a lightning storm. He was wary for a reason. If anyone guessed who he was or his purpose, his presence here would end his past. He needed answers. He needed courage. But he was scared as hell and fresh out of pencils.

Matt Barton's picture

Science Fiction Short Story Coming to Armchair Arcade!

Greetings, Armchair Arcaders and all of our beloved readers! I have some great news: Within a few weeks you're going to see something at Armchair Arcade that you've never seen before--a science fiction short story! Don't adjust your resolution, you read it right: in addition to all of the great news and feature articles about classic and modern gaming you've come to expect from your favorite website, we're bringing you the most exciting short stories you've ever read--or my name isn't Matt Barton! The first story in the queue is "Jumpman," a bold tale about a reluctant space-faring young man who finds himself embroiled in a mystery of universal (or should I say, multi-dimensional) proportions. You'll be clawing at your keyboard in anticipation of what will happen next in this amazing story! And wait until you get to the surprise ending--nothing can possibly prepare you for it! If you have any interest whatsoever in science fiction or just flat out good story-telling, don't miss it.

Don't be the chump that hears about Jumpman secondhand--stay tuned to this website, and grab it the nanosecond it hits the net!

Matt Barton's picture

Review: Dreamcatcher's "The Crystal Key" (1999)

Dreamcatcher's The Crystal Key, released in 1999 for Macintosh and Windows, is a humble Myst clone without much to offer folks who aren't already committed to this particular type of adventure game. Although it has an interesting storyline, good graphics for the time, reasonable sound effects, and some good puzzles, none of these elements are polished enough to really make the game stand out against the competition (can anything really compete against Myst and Riven on their home turf?). Furthermore, it's a chore getting the game to work properly in XP, and it won't run at all on my iMac. Nevertheless, this era of GAGs is critically important for the genre, and Cyan wasn't the only company exploring the possibilities of first-person perspective and CD-ROM storage.

Matt Barton's picture

Shatner to Voice Kirk in Upcoming Star Trek: Legacy

Here's exciting news for Star Trek TOS fans: Shatner himself will be voicing Kirk in Bethesda's upcoming Star Trek Legacy. Furthermore, he's already out publicizing the game and drumming up enthusiasm for it, mainly because he feels that the Star Trek franchise has dropped to impulse and needs a good game to buck it back up to warp speed. Although Shatner apparently doesn't play videogames (his grandson will teach him, he says), it's nice to see a TV and movie star of his stature really stepping in to the videogame scene. The game itself sounds interesting enough. From what I'm able to gather, it's a massive space strategy game that covers all eras of Trek, starting with TOS and carrying all the way through to Enterprise. There will also be support for Xbox Live, and I assume PC players will be able to join in as well. That's exactly the kind of game that would've had me bouncing off the walls with glee back in 88.

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