All posts by Tateru Nino

Play it now: Virtual Apple

For the impatient, let’s start with Virtual Apple is awesome and you should run off and tinker with it right away.

For anyone who is still left, Virtual Apple is really awesome. Off you go!

Wait, what? Some of you are still here? Oh, alright then.

Virtual Apple is a Web-site with over 1300 Apple II and Apple IIgs disk images, and an embedded emulator that works on most browsers and systems. You can play a lot of old Apple II games from the 1980s right in your Web-browser, or you can download disk images from the site to work with a local emulator.

For simpler games, you can just load the page and start playing. For more complex ones (games that require custom player disks and the like) you might want to download the images and an emulator for your system… but Virtual Apple allows you to sample most of these treats before committing to the (admittedly microscopic in modern terms) download. One or two of the images online won’t work due to copy protection (Earth Orbit Stations comes to mind) but a local emulator may be able to bypass such fuss.

Yes, Apple II games were not the most sophisticated. It was an 8-bit system with limited sound and graphics capabilities, and very little memory to go on with. That said, you can find some real gameplay treasures in the archive (many of which deserve remaking).

The Web-based emulator itself has gone through numerous revisions, so if you’ve visited the site in the past but have been away for a while, it is worth checking out again.

Now, go on and get out of here and spend some quality time with Virtual Apple.

Play it now: Fallout collection promo

Gog.com is having a Fallout Collection promotion. They’re selling the original Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, DRM-free for US$14.37. That includes some premium content like soundtracks and the 205 page Fallout bible.

Even if you already bought one or more of the originals years ago on disk, that’s a darn good deal.

Fallout is fondly remembered by a generation of gamers, and with good reason. The promo ends on midnight, 27 April.

Thompson loses appeal

Judging by the reader figures, Florida ex-attorney Jack Thompson is a popular topic among readers. Given a lifetime disbarment in September 2008 for 27 counts of professional miscondunct, Thompson appealed to the Supreme Court.

Now, these sorts of disbarment appeals happen from time to time. The appeal is first heard by a panel of judges who decide if the appeal will take place. Less than one in 25 are actually permitted so it represented some pretty long odds.
Well, it seems that Thompson doesn’t get to be one of the special snowflakes this time around. I can only wonder what he’s going to do next. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to just let it slide. I can’t imagine why you’d want to be a part of a professional association that doesn’t want you as a member, though.

Beta-ing

Another week another beta. This time for [can’t say because of the NDA]. On the plus side it looks interesting. Whether it holds my attention once I start fiddling with [the other beta I’m supposed to be accessing over the weekend, but can’t mention because of the NDA].

On the plus side, there’s a lot of exciting stuff in beta at the moment, and I’m more or less looking forward to the release of all of them. On the downside, the restrictions about even mentioning them on my own blog are a bit of a pest.

Sure, the restrictions make sense. Some of this stuff is still pretty shaky in some ways, and they deserve a chance to get that hammered out and polished smooth before release. But still. It’d be nice to say that I’m interested and a bit excited about them, right?

Not being able to mention them puts tedious holes in the social media stream.

Fallout, the television show

Bethesda/Zenimax (you know those folks, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3, that sort of thing) registered some new trademarks just recently.

On 5 February 2009, Bethesda Softworks LLC applied for the Fallout trademark for “Entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program” (s/n 77663853) and for “motion picture films about a post-nuclear apocalyptic world” (s/n 77663852). Obviously they already own all the other US trademarks to do with this game property at present.

Fallout, the film. Or the TV series. Hmm. Interesting notion.

Jack spams Utah legislature?

Unhappy with the fate of his the bill he drafted, disbarred Florida attorney Jack Thompson apparently sent enough emails to the Utah senate president Waddoups that he was asked to stop, including an image of GTAIV’s protagonist character getting a lap-dance, essentially calling it pornography.

Interestingly enough, the Utah legislature might agree with him in part, because when he sent that to the whole legislature, Waddoups decided to pass the matter on to the State Attorney General to see what action may be taken.

In a sense, Waddoups might be playing into Jacks hand (argh! Did anyone else just go to a scary visual place just then?) with this one. Is it offensive material, or is it not? Or is it just that it is inappropriately out-of-place?

See also:

Utah Senate President Wants to Prosecute Jack Thompson Under CAN-SPAM Act

http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_12142617

Lessons in Future Publishing

So, Edge Online’s staff appear to have all quit? Why? Because editorially, it appears that Future Publishing basically wanted the online arm to work editorially just like the print arm.

“Edge-Online’s editorial control has been brought in line with the magazine in an effort to create a “strong, consistent voice” for the brand, according to Future Publishing.”

Now, Future Publishing… I like you folks. We’ve got history. You and I go way back, and I’m fond of you. So I’ll be gentle.

Dumbass move.

I think that’s about as gentle and diplomatic as it gets in this particular case.

What you’ve basically suggested is the equivalent of saying that there’s no effective difference between TV and the cinema screen. Your print arm and your online arm have as much in common as television and cinema — which is to say a whole lot. The things that they have in common make them strong. The things that they don’t have in common make them useful and appropriate and relevant. Each to their own.

Gloss over those differences and you lose usefulness, appropriateness and relevance — and you’d be economically better off shutting one of those arms down. In fact, that’s pretty much what you just did, effectively. Staff gone, and most of the readers will go with them.

Future, you should know better. I always thought you did, in fact. You can have a strength and consistency, but you need different voices for different media. That’s an old, old lesson now, from before many of us were born. I believe it’s written down somewhere.