While interviewing Tim Snider (see the interview later in the issue), I was informed of a wonderful project from the guys over at Atari Age. They are getting people to donate items for an auction that will raise funds for the people who were affected by the tragic events of September 11th. I was able to talk with Alex Bilstein, one of the people responsible for the Atari Age website. He let me know some more information about this auction and how we as collectors can help out.
#1-I just heard about this charity auction, can you give us some information on it?
Andrew Davie and Joe Grand came up with the idea of auctioning off some of their homebrew games for the September 11th relief fund. They approached us about it and we thought we might be able to help promote the auction with our site. The response has been fantastic, and people have already offered to donate some wonderful things. Ebay has established the Auction for America program in which they waive all the standard auction fees, and payment can be made online directly to the relief fund. We think the auction will show how generous the classic gaming community can be.
#2-What kind of items are you looking to be donated?
Classic gaming software, hardware, books, and memorabilia are all welcomed. Basically, anything that is rare, unique, or unusual in some way. We're looking more for quality of individual items, rather than quantity. That said, we want to have as many quality items as possible.
#3-Besides donating items and bidding, what other
ways can classic gamers help out?
The game itself is pretty much a remake of the original Venture. The rooms are the same, but the monsters and treasures are different. If you played Venture, you will see alot that is familiar. But as you play the game through, you will find some very nicely drawn creatures. Even the big hallway monsters are given a sprucing up.
While it is a very nice game, it is essentially a nicer looking version of the original. There are some surprises in there, but most of it is the same. This is not a bad thing as the original Atari 2600 version was not given the respect it deserved. Like most of the Coleco games for the Atari, it was quickly put together and it showed. But Tim's version shows alot of care. You can see that he wanted to do a better version and he succeeded.
I really wish there were more levels and some different rooms, but considering I have no programming experience, who am I to talk? I know that memory constraints are a big part. There is only so much you can do with the limited space. But if you liked the original Venture, it is safe to say that you will enjoy this one even more! A very enjoyable job! The game can be bought at Hozer Video Games at the following URL:
With all the stuff that was written about Tim Snider after he announced this game and especially after he decided to pull it from CCAG, I thought it would be great for Tim to tell what happened with Venture 2. So, I set up an interview with Tim and I think you will find it very interesting. As with all my interviews (including the interview with Leonard Herman that comes next), I just list the questions and the responses to them.
#1-A sequel to Venture, what made you decide
to do this? A fan of the game?
(I would like to take this time to thank Tim Snider for the interview. I know it was tough for him to speak about it, but he really wanted to let people know what happened and why the game was pulled from CGE.)
Late Breaking News!
After doing this interview, Tim Snider emailed me with this big news!
After promising myself and others that I would never make another V2 cart and box, it turns out I will be making one more treasure-chest edition after all. The gang at AtariAge are
putting together a classic game auction with all proceeds to benefit the victims of the WTC/NYC terrorist attack.
If you want to bid on this item or any of the other items and help a very good cause, go to the following URL:
Last Month, I did a review of Phoenix, the Fall and Rise of Video Games. This excellent book chronicles the history of video games from the very beginning, up to recent times. I thought it would be great to do an interview with Leonard and find out a little about how the Phoenix project began and how he feels about the industry. When someone puts as much time and effort into a project like this, they tend to get very close to the subject. With this in mind, I wanted to see a little into the mind of the man. So if you ever wanted to know a little more about Leonard Herman and his great book, this is your chance!
us a little about the history of your Phoenix book, how it came about, the
b) The 3d edition adds an additional four chapters to the 2nd, bringing the history of videogames up to the end of 2000.
c) Additional photos throughout.
e) Focus-On sections: In-depth-columns featuring people and places which go beyond the normal history.
f) Cover gallery of American videogame magazines and books.
#4-After doing three editions of this book, which one posed the greatest
#5-While compiling the information, were there any old video game myths that you found the truth about and were surprised by them? (AKA-the real origin of Donkey Kong's name, the reason for the first Easter Egg, etc...)
I didn't know that Warren Robinett left Atari long before his name was
discovered in Adventure. In the first two editions I wrote that Warren hadn't
been reprimanded by Atari because they were happy with the publicity they
received. This was updated in the third edition when I learned that he wasn't
even with the company any more.
Every company had its share of good and bad. I have no respect for Tramiel's
Atari even though I am an ardent Atari supporter. On the other hand, I have
never been a fan of Nintendo during their monopolistic days but I am admiring
them more and more now.
I've always felt that Nintendo got off too easy in 1991 when it threatened
dealers not to charge less than $99 for each NES unit. It's punishment was to
send $5 coupons to all NES owners who purchased the unit during the particular
time frame. Everyone had to purchase a Nintendo product to use their coupon so
Nintendo wound up winning anyway.
Yes, Magnavox. They introduced the very first videogame console but they always
take a back-seat to Atari. The truth is that Magnavox didn't know how to market
their product and Atari did. Later, Magnavox released its Master Strategy Series
which brought together videogames and board games. It was a great innovative
idea that never caught on.
The crash of 1983 was caused by a lot of cheap crap on the market that was
selling in place of the expensive stuff and causing a domino ripple through the
industry. We now have brand-new games for the Playstation which cost less than
$10. There is just too much product out there and not enough disposable income
to keep up with it.
The only times we've ever had a successful third machine is when the third one
was a bargain machine. For instance, the 5200 and Colecovision fought it out but
the 2600 was still popular because it was an inexpensive machine at that time.
We've never had three machines in the same price range to successfully compete.
In the early '90's the Turbografx-16 had no chance against the Genesis and SNES.
The Saturn and Jaguar were losers against the Playstation and N64. Even the
Dreamcast, which many cite as the best machine out there, couldn't hold its own
against Sony and Nintendo. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft fares.
Hype will carry it initially but where will it go from there?
The time when Nintendo offered the NES to Atari. Imagine what the industry would
be like today if Coleco did not run Donkey Kong on the Adam!
The 2nd edition was received favorably. It was used in college classes and I was told that many developers have it on their bookshelves. The 3rd edition isn't selling as briskly. One reason, probably, is because Amazon doesn't carry it. Also, there haven't been any reviews out as there had been with the 2nd edition. I think a lot of people don't know it's available
With the horrible tragedies that have occurred recently, it has become difficult to write about something like video games. My heart and prayers goes out to any and all that have been affected by this. Either directly or indirectly.
Like some movies (Spiderman, Collateral Damage), some games that were scheduled for release have been sent back for editing due to some scenes that depict the New York skyline. Some have been removed from the shelves because of box art with exploding buildings. Some have storylines that hit a little too close to home right now. One of the most recent game requiring some modification is the highly-anticipated Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty. Sega has delayed the release of Propeller Arena. Who knows if they’ll ever release it.
Video games are a fairly recent entrant when it comes to forms of entertainment. They’ve been around about 25 years. And while we’ve had lots of things happen in the world, nothing on the scale of what we witnessed on September 11, 2001. I heard people say it was like watching a movie or a video game.
I prefer my entertainment to be a distraction from real life.
I want to do things and see things that don’t happen in real life.
I don’t know about you, but it is going to be a while until I can play certain games without wincing
(Fred has been playing games for over 25 years and actively collecting them for over 10. The 2500 + games that he has takes up most of his home office and living room. He lives in Denver, PA with his understanding wife Jennie, his 5 year-old, button-loving son, Max and his 2 year old, 4th player, Lynzie. Fred can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Gyruss is one of the most well-remembered fusion of music and video games of all time. The fantastic musical score that plays throughout - “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach, engulfs you like an ocean wave and doesn’t let you down off the surf board while it is rolling in. It’s quite a rush, and can put you deep into the gaming “zone”. Why didn’t all games have cool music like this? Soon after, most arcade hits did.
Gyruss is mostly a hybrid of Tempest and Galaga. Like Galaga, formations of ships enter each stage in attack waves, swoop about and fire at you and the settle back down into a central formation. You circle about their formation and always point and fire inwards while they rest in a space well (Tempest). Actually it is more like you and the enemy ships are moving through a circular space corridor, or worm-hole. After the fourth attack wave arrives, a set of three satellites appears outside the formation. When the middle satellite is eliminated, you are given dual shot (firing) capability. Having this dual shot capability is a must, especially to survive the later stages, and to score the maximum bonus points in the chance stages. Until all ships are destroyed, a few ships at a time break away and dive towards you, attack, and then settle back into formation. Other perils include large meteors that come hurtling outward at you, and a pair of ships that work together with a deadly force field between them. The meteors cannot be destroyed, but taking out either of the force field ships knocks out the force field as well.
When all threats are vanquished, you complete the stage and are now one warp closer to your destination, Earth. You begin the game 2 warps from Neptune and then 3 more warps to reach each planet inward in the solar system. After reaching Earth (quite a challenge at the arcade), you’d start the entire sequence all over again, beginning at 2 warps from Neptune.
One of the unique aspects of the game was the controller choice. Instead of using the same rotary paddle from Tempest, an 8 directional joystick was used to move around the circumference. Awkward at first, it becomes second nature to push the stick around the circle in the direction you want to go.
You receive a slight break in the action upon reaching each planet, and its chance stage. Shoot all 40 (4 sets of 10 formations of ) ships to earn the maximum bonus 10K. Otherwise 2000 points per ship. Your ship cannot be destroyed in the chance stages, only score points. Destroying an entire formation before it completes a maneuver (warp stage), or leaves the screen (chance stage) and you earn even more bonus points. The warps from Mars to Earth are extremely difficult due to the fierceness of their attacks and maneuvers. You earn a bonus ship at 60,000 and every 100,000 points thereafter.
Arcade Game Designed in 1983 by: Centuri for Konami, by Yoshiko Okamoto.
Classic Platforms all done by Parker Brothers: Atari 2600, 8 bit, Atari 5200, Colecovision, and Commodore 64 (Joe Hellensen 1985).
Categories: Gameplay, Addictiveness, Graphics, Sound & Controls
All 5 classic carts, and a partial C64 screen
shot - (sorry about the poor quality).
The Controls are nice (8), but seem sluggish. Maybe it's just the slower speed that you are allowed to circle about in the 2600 version. The Gameplay is fair (5). Not counting the lack of both sound effects and the formation of ships, additional elements missing are: the force field ships, a pause, any text indications of bonus points, and the ever popular last second Meteor - which rushes at you just when you thought the stage was cleared. Fortunately the 2600 does offer 4 levels of skill difficulty and a choice of either 3 or 5 lives to begin with.
Have Nots: Atari 5200 (36)
Bronze Medal: Atari 8 bit (41)
difficulty levels. The Sound is crisp (8), with a wonderful musical score, but some of the effects seem cheap and unpolished. Unfortunately, the Graphics are only decent (6), offering little to no sharpness to any of the objects. But the Atari 8 bit (& 5200) has no problem with animating all the objects smoothly in this motion-filled game. The Addictiveness is quite enjoyable (8) and you'll be motivated to keep trying until you make it to Earth. The game is available on cart, disk and emulation, and better to play this one over the 5200. The Graphics, Sound and Gameplay notes and scores apply to the Atari 5200 as well.
Silver Medal: Colecovision (43
The CV port may have the best, superb (9 or 8)
Gameplay, including a pause, difficulty options, and all other elements. There
may be a glitch in the 2 player game, or my cart. I lost a ship on the first
wave of a stage, only to find that when that player resumed play there were no
more waves. The formation, although not complete, was done forming and what
ships were there came out for attack, not allowing a chance for the satellites,
or the dual shot capability. The Controls are outstanding (9), but only when I
put aside the CV controllers and play it with an Atari stick. Hmmn, but then can
one pause, other than using a Y-cable, or playing the 2 player version?
Gold Medal: Commodore 64 (47)
OK, why didn’t Parker Brothers make a TI version of this game? Given the same quality programming PB included in their other arcade hits, I'm sure that the TI port would have beaten the CV and maybe pushed the C64.
(Come back next month when I review the Many Faces of Star Wars: the Arcade Game for the Atari 2600, 5200, 8bit, Commodore 64 and Colecovision. Alan Hewston, who is looking for TI-99/4A carts of Star Trek, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Frogger, Robotron, Centipede, and others for this column, can be reached at Hewston95@stratos.net or if to trade http://members.core.com/~hewston/Hewston_vg.html).
Once my mind is made up, I run down the corridor, towards the oncoming robots. As they near, I see them raise their hands. Suddenly, the peaceful looking robots appear much more sinister. Their hands had long and very dangerous looking pinchers. The level of danger had just risen. I grabbed my gun and shot at the robot. It immediately was zapped into pieces. As another robot moved closer, I also took aim and shot it. Then I looked around to make sure there were no other dangers. Once I was certain that the place was safe, I went over to examine the robot's remains. I grabbed a piece of the metal to better examine it. As I picked up the piece of metal, I felt a burning sensation. The piece was still hot and was scorching my fingers. I flung the piece towards the wall. As it hit the wall, there was a loud zap, much like the sound of a hundred bug zappers, all going off at once. The walls are electrified! I had to be careful.
With this added knowledge, I proceeded with caution. I would need my wits to get out of this one alive. As I turned up the hallway, I looked to see different paths. I had the choice to go forward, go back or turn right. My hunch about being a maze, appeared to be true. Wonderful, just wonderful. Now I needed to know if my gun would have enough power to get me through this maze. Since I was unfamiliar with this weapon, I did not know how much power it had. I examined the gun, carefully and found that it appeared to be a normal laser gun. There was no settings, no gauges to tell how much power was left. I did not even see a place to put new power cells.
Before I had a chance to make my move, I heard the following phrase "Intruder Alert!" It came in a voice that sounded as sinister as it did mechanical. As I turned around, I saw the strangest form of death, coming right at me. Half expecting some immense robot, armed to the teeth with weapons or something like that. What I found instead was a large, bouncing smiley face. It was bouncing over the walls and right towards me. It kept repeating that infernal phrase, "Intruder Alert", over and over. I shot at it, but the bullet did not seem to faze it. It kept coming, faster and faster. I turned to run and saw a group of robots up ahead. I proceeded to run right past the slow and plodding machines. As I looked back, I saw the giant smiley face land on the robots and crush them. This only made me quicken the pace. if it could destroy a hunk of metal, what good would my flesh and bones be against it?
As I turned a corner, I saw a doorway. Normally, I would proceed with great caution, but this was not a normal situation. I rushed through the doorway, with as much speed as I could muster. As I came through the other side, I saw more robots, only this time they were red. Before I could do anything, they shot at me. A bullet struck me in the chest and I screamed in pain. Then everything went blank.
Tune in next month for the next chapter!
It was not supposed to be this way. We are America, the world’s only superpower. No one would dare attack us. We’ve put men on the moon, won the Cold War, and out produced everyone as the “Arsenal of Democracy”. The most highly technological society on the planet. People come from all over to us, to find a better life.
On September 9th, in the Year of our Lord 2001, all that changed. In a matter of a few short hours, the World Trade Center was in ruins, and the Pentagon had been hit. Thousands killed, and many to be never seen again.
We will long remember where we were when we first found out about the attack on the USA. The horror of the pictures, the live video of passenger jets being used as human bombs, the buildings collapsing as we watched.
This was our Pearl Harbor, and many WWII vets have said that this day was even worse.
While we would have preferred to have made our mark on history by other means, it is now time for Generation X to step up to the Plate of History. History demands it, and, we have no choice.
It is heartening to see the unity in the American people, across all lines. The seeking of God for answers, and for comfort. If the intent was to terrify and panic us, then they, whomever and wherever they may be, have failed. But, we have been forever changed by the events of 9-11-01.
The outpouring of support has been overwhelming. People from all over are helping out and doing what they can. You are seeing our best as Americans, in the worst of our tragedy.
I call upon my fellow countrymen, to not repeat the mistakes of the past. I pray, that you do not accuse our fellow Arab Americans with what a minority extreme have done. To not persecute our fellow citizens, because they are of an Arabic background. If anything, we ought to be supporting them, in this great test of National Character.
You see this hits close to home for my family. One of our Jewish relatives, married a Muslim, he is from Morocco. And, one of my Brother’s in Christ, Chuck Abdouch (mentioned in my other TI articles), who had helped me many times before, is of an Arabic background. Brothers in Yeshua Hamashiach, as we Jews call Jesus the Messiah.
Pray then, for the families of the victims.
Pray then, for the many who are risking their own lives trying to search through the rubble.
Pray then, for the many who are trying to help.
Pray then, for our leaders, that they may do what is right.
Pray for our President, George Bush, and his family and his staff. He has a burden not seen in many years. Pray that he makes wise choices, being patient, yet decisive.
Pray for our military leaders. And, for those in the US Military, of all the branches-active, reserve, and guard. And, their families and loved ones. This will not be a quick war, but long and protracted. The battlefield will be abroad, as well as here at home. Across many different fronts and situations.
My own unit, B Co 112th Engineers, has not yet been called, but we are ready should the President need us, as are all Guard units in the State of Ohio.
History has called us.
First off, I want to say thanks to all the people who emailed in answers for the questions last month. It was greately appreciated! By the way, for everyone else, the answers were, the laser disc racing game was Star Rider and the old space combat game was Space Wars. Now lets get onto this month's questions!
When I was younger (like about 10 years old, oh 15-16 years ago) I used to hang about in arcades when my mother was out working. I used to play a game which involved controlling a large UFO which could either shoot or tractor beam the various enemies. You could then release the captured craft to fight for you. I seem to recall that the game involved time travel, with tanks, cannons and suchlike appearing as bad guys....
If you could help I'd be ecstatic, Ive been trying to find this game for YEARS!
Cheers, and thanks
for a great site!
This one is new to me, but it does sound pretty cool! Anyone have any ideas?
What happened to "Overheard in the Newsgroups" and "eBay Notes"? I really enjoyed those columns. signed What's Up?
To be honest, I don't go onto eBay that much anymore. Since the categories got so fragmented and you have to use the search feature to find anything, I haven't bothered as much with eBay. Also, all their rules that they seem to make up daily is enough to turn off anyone.
As far as the newsgroup, I rarely frequent the classic video game newsgroup. If I read one more person whine about eBay, I will puke. It just isn't the same anymore. That is the reasons why I dropped those columns. But maybe someone else would like to do them.
Time to close out another issue. I must admit with the events of the past week, my heart wasn't into doing it. But I know how many people rely on reading a new issue each month. Luckily, I had already done the two interviews, so it made it much easier to do.
You may notice that there are less contributors this month. With the events of late, I did not press anyone for articles. If they did one, great, if not I understood. This is a time to spend with family and to reflect on what has happened, what will happen and what we can do to help. As much a part of our lives as video games may be, it is only a part. I pray for everyone involved, directly and indirectly. I pray that things will begin to improve and not get worse.
Tune in next month for the big 50th issue! I do not know what I have planned yet, but if anyone has any ideas, I am willing to listen. Until next month, stay safe and enjoy life!
(This issue was done to mostly silence. Couldn't think of any music I wanted to play.)