Showing posts with label rescue on fractalus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rescue on fractalus. Show all posts

Thursday, 3 March 2005

Atari/Lucasfilm Games

It's not every day that I'm compelled to correspond with media industry pioneers. However, seminal video game releases BALLBLAZER and Rescue on Fractalus! have never been eclipsed IMHO. Both games were originally developed exclusively for Atari computer and console platforms as part of a partnership between Atari and Lucasfilm.

Although debuting in 1984, it wouldn't be until 1986 (when Epyx published BALLBLAZER and Rescue on Fractalus! on the incumbent Commodore 64) that I succumbed to their compelling gameplay and the Lucasfilm legacy. Ironically the Atari 800XL version was ready to ship in 1984, but Atari withheld its release in the hope that it would increase sales of VCS 5200 and 7800. I encourage Mac gamers to download arguably the best Atari 800XL emulator.

A couple of salient points worth mentioning. Rescue on Fractalus! was originally entitled Rebel Rescue. And the name of the alien enemy, Jaggies (J'hagga Ri Kachatki), was a technical injoke. The Lucasfilm developers experimented with new anti-aliasing (AKA smoothing) technology, but Jaggies is a term given to the hard edge of a pixel and Atari's 8-bit color palette precluded smoothing.

Last evening it was a very pleasant surprise to receive a reply from Lucasfilm Games founder Peter Langston in my inbox.

Friday, 24 December 2004

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Last evening's party, in Cornwall, was a resounding success. The only fly in the ointment was continuously interrupted sleep! Last year I was awoken by the sound of the hotel fire alarm (a hoax) and this year it was the turn of a too loud TV left on all night! The dulcet tones of Sarah McLachlan - Afterglow Live - eased my chagrin. The season of goodwill indeed!

ScummVM was updated to 0.7.0 just in time for the holiday. And Atari fans can indulge in some XL/XE/XEGS nostalgia. There was a time, long ago, when I drooled at the prospect of playing Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus! on Atari 8-bit. You too can take on the insidious Jaggies once again.



Tonight, as Mariah Carey emotes festive feelings, I'm adding the finishing touches to an end of year backup image. This will be burnt to DVD before the New Year.

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

All I Want For Christmas

In keeping with the spirit of the upcoming holidays. The following list features all my computer and video game hardware owned to date. Most of which were received as gifts at this time of year!

*Atari VCS 2600
*Binatone Mk6 Game System
*ZX Spectrum 48K
*ZX Spectrum+ (same as above, but with 'improved' keyboard)
*Commodore 64 and 1541 Floppy Disk Drive
*Nintendo Game & Watch (various Mario titles)
*Sega Megadrive (Genesis)
*Atari Lynx II
*Super NES
*Apple Macintosh Performa 5200
*N64
*PSOne
*iMac DV SE
*Sega Dreamcast
*PlayStation 2
*XBOX
*GameCube
*LCD iMac G4
*GBA SP

Over the years I purchased innumerable video games from The Fuse Box. During my teens the store, an independent brick-and-mortar retailer located in Exeter's Sidwell Street, was a treasure trove - Rescue on Fractalus!* and Koronis Rift, displayed on the in-store monitors, held me spellbound - before its untimely closure and the advent of etailing. Somewhere in the attic of our house is a dusty old cardboard box that contains Atari, Commodore and Spectrum games (cartridge, cassette and diskette formats) in their original packaging! I've no idea whether or not my Commodore 64 still works (1992 being the last time it was used) and the first ZX Spectrum was passed on to a younger relative only to meet an untimely demise.

Watching Back to the Future II (1989) I noticed Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 in the Cafe 80's scene (a veritable advertising blitz). To reiterate comments made in a previous post. PlayChoice-10 provided Nintendo with a platform to profit from the lucrative arcade market, and uniquely showcased NES titles including Mega Man 3, Super Mario Bros II and III before their home cartridge launch. PlayChoice-10 existed for 5 to 6 years and was briefly superseded by Nintendo Super System. MAME emulation of PlayChoice-10 is not yet 100% accurate, but all known titles are available including The Goonies.

nVIDIA is to produce a bespoke GeForce GPU for Sony's PS3 after Microsoft allied itself with ATi. Combined with an IBM PowerPC G5 processor and possibly OpenGL, the PS3 shares APIs with Apple! Curious said Alice. In a contractual twist, that inspires literary allusions to the one ring, IBM will power all three next generation consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Can you say NDA?

*Rescue on Fractalus! was the first time I'd ever seen the Apple ][ logo. Little did I know that years later the Apple Macintosh would have a profound impact on my creative life.