And beckons you to follow. Mind the sleestacks. Friday does so via Halycon Days, which is a nifty and now freely available work by James Hague that is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it's a look back at classic arcade and early PC game development via interviews with a series of developers. Most of them probably won't ring a bell though there are a couple of "big" names on the list like Danielle Berry and Chris Crawford.
If you were into arcade or computer games, though, some of the names are un-mistakable: Defender, Robotron 2084, Archon, Choplifter, and Star Raiders to name a few classics spanning multiple platforms from Arcade to Apple to Atari to the Commodore. Hague says that when he began the project, most of the writing out there on retro-gaming was centered on the collection aspect. It contains interesting pieces of insight into game development (I'm not sure gaming has ever seen a developer as ahead of her time, or forward thinking, as Berry), but also kind of acts as a "where are they now?" piece. The games industry has always been volatile, and unfortunately more than a few creative minds got chewed up and spit out along the way. James also has The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers that's a fun browse.
It's also interesting because Hague first published it in 1997, but distributed digitally. The entire document was done up in HTML and published digitally. Interested parties received it on floppy disc after a $20 purchase. I wonder if they experimented with a direct-download version. The bandwidth abundance many enjoy today didn't exist then, though I can't imagine the document was big enough to make this a serious issue (a 3.5 inch floppy only holds about 1.4 megabytes of data on one side). Still, it was forward thinking, even if digital distribution won't be as big a factor in the book industry as it will in the game industry (my next post, incidentally, is going to discuss consoles and their efforts to expand into digital distribution of games; I don't know how digital book distribution is going, but I suspect actual books will retain their position in our society for some time). Hague has made the work available freely, stating that it has run it's commercial course, making this the third piece of awesomeness associated with the link.
I played a goodly number of games from the Halycon developer list. I never did play Alternate Reality, though I always wanted to, and have fond memories of gazing at the back of the box in a local software store on numerous occasions.
Last 5 posts by Grandy
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