It’s with great pleasure that I announce the imminent launch of the new Armchair Arcade Website, which will happen automatically on Friday, October 24, 2014. This is our third (and hopefully final) major site redesign since our inception in 2003. While the two previous incarnations of the Armchair Arcade Website (including this one) will still remain accessible, this new site is where all new content will exclusively reside going forward.
While your existing RSS feeds and other pointers will still continue to work, there will be no new content from this site. Luckily, the new Website makes it easy to establish the connections of your choice.
Despite originally planning for a more flashy Website, the whole point of Armchair Arcade was always to make the creation and development of new content easy for the team, with minimal administrative hassle. Unfortunately, the previous sites - including this one - never achieved that goal. After more than a decade, this new site finally does, and, as such, we’ve kept extraneous “flash” to a minimum. Of course, we do plan on adding features over time, but it will never again be at the expense of easily creating new content. Further, it will be far easier for our fans to create a new user account and comment on any of our content, making Armchair Arcade more interactive than ever.
This new site represents a new era for Armchair Arcade and one that I’m proud to be a part of. Hopefully you feel the same. So once again, welcome, and once the new site is live, be sure to subscribe to our updates via the email form on our Website, your RSS reader of choice, or the various social networks where we have a presence. As always, we’ll leave the light on for you.
The program for Classic Gaming Expo (CGE), which runs from September 12 – 14 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino right on the Las Vegas Strip, is now being previewed here. As indicated in the program, our film, Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution, will be shown on Friday, September 12, 10PM, Panel Room B, as part of a special advance sneak preview. If you’re able to make it, be sure to drop us a line and let us know what you think. Enjoy!
It seems legendary comics paying clever homage to past videogame dalliances continues. Hot on the heels of Jeff Parker doing so on Wizard of Id back in January, Garfield's Jim Davis, did something similar on a Sunday strip for July 20, 2014 (Joel D. Park, on the thread he started on AtariAge, is the one who pointed it out).
AtariProtos.com has excellent coverage of the ultimately unreleased 1983/84 Garfield game for the Atari 2600 that the comic header clearly mimics. While there is some speculation in the AtariAge thread about how Jim Davis "re-discovered" the 8-bit art, it seems to me that, based on the AtariProtos.com piece, in granting permission to release the ROM image, he was certainly aware of its existence, and relatively recently at that. Considering the near exact replication, it's likely he was working off of screenshots in his possession rather than a random Web search, and did so quite deliberately. Regardless of whether or not you're a fan of Garfield, if you're into videogames, it's hard to deny it's a cool move.
Gravitas Ventures has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to our documentary film, Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution. Gravitas specializes in the aggregation of entertainment content by connecting independent filmmakers, producers, and distribution companies with leading cable, satellite, telco, and online distribution partners. In the last five years, Gravitas has released more than 2,000 films on Video on Demand (VOD). Through its relationships with studios and VOD operators, Gravitas can distribute a film into over 100 million North American and one billion worldwide homes. At present, Gravitas is working with the creators of Gameplay to translate the film into more than half a dozen additional languages. Additional details to follow.
Our friends over at The Retro League have posted their latest podcast episode, 240, entitled, "Extraordinary Games Require Extraordinary Evidence." They cover their usual breadth of topics on the show and even took time to comment on a brief editorial I posted, "Is the retrogaming community too entitled?." Check out the episode here.
We're happy to announce that our latest book, My Xbox One, published by Que, is now available. You can check out the book, including sample content (which includes the front matter, Prologue, Chapter 3, and the index!), by going to the Pearson/Que Website (here). They have both the ebook and paperback versions available, as well as special bundle pricing. Of course, both formats are also available at booksellers everywhere, including Amazon, though it may be a few more days before the paperback shows as in stock (be sure to use the Look Inside and send a sample to Kindle features on there as well). As for the book, think of it like the missing manual for the Xbox One, providing visual, step-by-step guidance and tips for getting the most out of Microsoft's latest and greatest game console and media/entertainment center powerhouse. Let us know what you think, help spread the word, and, as always, thank you for the support!
As both a reminder and confirmation of the final details, the first special advance screening of our documentary film, Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution, at The Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show, will be on Saturday, June 7, 2014, from 8 - 10 PM in Seminar Room 316, and will be hosted by our talented director, Richard Goldgewicht, who will take part in a question and answer session following the showing. We look forward to the response for our first public screening of the feature film. We'll also continue to keep everyone updated as further screening and broadcast dates are revealed in the coming months. Be sure to help us spread the word and thanks as always for the fantastic support and enthusiasm around this project!
Nintendo doing a Skylanders/Disney Infinity-like take using their impressive stable of characters (news story here and seemingly everywhere else) was one of my past unsolicited suggestions for helping to goose the Wii U's listless sales, but I fear that their intended implementation, which seems to involve the figures working across a range of games is too non-specific. Critically, I think they also need a triple-A Disney Infinity-like open world/mini-game title for fans to rally around and where all of the figures will work. To my mind, having that (and future sequels) in conjunction with letting the characters work in several future games (Mario Golf, Smash Bros., their platformers, etc., all immediately come to mind) would be a slam dunk. It might even help turn the Wii U's fortunes around, but even if it didn't, it could certainly point to a great plan for Nintendo's future and an all-in-one successor to both the Wii U and aging 3DS (whose sales I expect to remain fairly steady, if no longer on a growth trajectory) that could incorporate the needed technology from day one. The only major hold up for incorporating connected figures in future Nintendo titles and, even with a possible triple-A open world/mini-game showcase title, is the company's continued sluggish software release schedule, which has plagued them for many years now. This inability to iterate quickly might also be why their strategy is just to bake use of the figures into select future titles--that would clearly take less time.
At its core, a correctly implemented figurine concept would indeed be a killer business plan, but not if Nintendo continues at their current glacial release pace since this is the type of thing that needs to feed on its own momentum. In any case, we'll know more about Nintendo's intended strategy for this concept around E3 in June. Let's hope they get it right.
Hot on the heels of the forthcoming Atari Flashback 5, Intellivision Flashback, and Sega Classic Game Console 2 pre-orders, described here yesterday, Toys "R"Us now has the ColecoVision Flashback available. Like the new Intellivision Flashback product line, AtGames has designed the ColecoVision Flashback to mimic the design of the original console, right down to the removable, backwards compatible controllers. There is also a limited edition set of overlays included, themed to the 60 built-in games. While there is no cartridge or SD slot in the ColecoVision Flashback, it's obviously still going to be something well worth supporting upon its late 2014 release. Note that the design on the front of the box will likely change to reflect the look of the plug and play console, not the original.
While we were aware of AtGames' plans for some time regarding the new Atari Flashback, Intellivision Flashback, ColecoVision Flashback, and Sega Classic Game Console releases, among others, for 2014, public details about these items have been sparse. It seems that with pre-orders now appearing on eBay and Toys "R"Us for a vague October 2014 release, some of these previously private details are now revealed.
The Atari Flashback 5 is another refinement of what AtGames started with the Flashback 3, and now includes an impressive roster of 100 games. While it can use wired controllers, it comes with the same wireless joysticks.
The Intellivision Flashback features 60 games, representing approximately half of the original library. The console itself will be small and reminiscent of the original Intellivision's styling. In addition, two new wired controllers, again modeled after the original with just a few modifications, are included (and yes, the discs provide all 16 movement directions). These should work with original Intellivision consoles that feature removable controllers, though that still needs to be tested. As you can also see, a limited edition set of overlays is included, which is a great bonus for collectors.
Unfortunately, the ColecoVision Flashback is not yet up for pre-order. This is likely due to its packaging being finalized last. Without giving away too much, expect a similar package as you see with the Intellivision product.
The Sega Classic Game Console 2, like the name implies, is a refresh of the first Sega Classic Game Console, which itself was a refinement of previous products. A full roster of 80 games is included, and, yes, there's still a cartridge port and two wireless controllers. Wired controllers are still supported. Expect details on other Sega-related products to be revealed soon.