2011.09.26

Reincarnated Retro Games

19.25.37 - Mark

Tetris, Super Mario Brothers, Minesweeper and Solitaire. Games like have reached a cultural status that's just shy of godliness. Play them or not they are referenced, rebuilt, or outright cloned to the point where if you're using a digital device with a keypad, there's probably some way of installing some version of those classic games. Those also aren't the games I'm writing about.

Rather I'm talking about the obscure off the map video games. Ones I played as a 7 year old kid on an Macintosh IIsi / Quadra 610 and the internet was AOL or CompuServe, not the World Wide Web and HTML. I spent hours playing games so it's no surprise I remember them after nearly 20 years. Many of the ones I downloaded from AOL's Mac Game Section were buried when AOL shut down it's closed community to cater to the need for national ISPs. Even games where the parent company still exists, like Freeverse's Enigma, have drifted off into the ethers be it Apple's move to OS X or the later move to Intel processors (which from the 90's would have been an unimaginable treachery).

Then there are the ones that while not buried, live only from fan support. I've spent weeks of my life playing Ambrosia Software's Escape Velocity (whose registration postcard I still have floating around) and it's later sequels. While the originals are still sold, there's little hope to see them running on a modern mac, but thanks to the fans there's a plug in to at least replay the it's arcs.

As you dig deeper in the history of Mac games, there are a few, from the smaller firms to the larger, where those classic games still exist, and some that are still being developed. One of my all time favorites was Spectre, who could only afford the demo version, as on release it cost something like $60. I know the price dropped over time, but like all games so did my intrest in it. However a few months ago I learned that it had being ported to the iOS, and at $1.99 I instantly paid for it.

Spectre isn't the only one either. Today I learned an old Mac classic, Glider is not only available as freeware for OS X but is being ported to the iOS by it's original author. [via toucharcade]

While I don't play video games as much as I did at a child, I love the fact that not only can I still download and play some of my favorite games on my laptop, but that I can enjoy them on my iPod when I have a spare minute. Plus, if nothing else, I can send a few dollars to the people who's demos, shareware and freeware helped keep me entertained as a child.

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2006.02.18

Dear Web,

01.27.20 - Mark

Please don't repeat to me the latest blathering of John Dovorak. He started writing about Apple's impending death, or Apple's adoption of Windows, or the impending buy of of Apple by XYZ Corp since the mid 90's. Hasn't happened yet.

Similarly, please stop hyping about the "First Mac Worm". First, this happens every 6 months. Some bored Media outlet finds some post by some dunce who thinks that file he may or may not have downloaded (he pleaded the 5th) may have caused his warez drive to magically loose its magic smoke. It is a) non-propagating, b) benign, and c) nothing new. So unless you are a real, honest to goodness Mac Programmer, or someone who has a bunch of mac programmers on your speed dial don't try and tell me its dangerous, or new.

About the stupidest comment I've seen about this Mac Worm is that "its much more completed that an Apple Script," one would hope thats a new user or at worse a clueless news agency, but that one was a a self claimed Mac journalist. Guess he didn't do that much fact checking since Applescript can be insanely powerful, so much so it used to be the most common code base for Mac viruses.

All you need to do is practice safe computing. Don't open attactments, trusted or otherwise, unless you are expecting it and verify it, and DON'T TELL ME TO RUN NORTON ANTIVIRUS, or any of its kin, except maybe ClamAV. If I wanted to run computers as slow and buggy as Windows, I would run Windows.

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