Category Archives: Nostalgia

The office of the future (circa 1982)

From BBC’s “The Computer Programme”. The sound is loud and distorted, so turn your volume down before you click play.

I didn’t think the LEN function would work without parenthesis around the variable, but there you go.

Donkey Kong on 12 different 80s platforms

Part 1: Atari 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision, NES, Commodore 64, IBM PC (DOS), Apple II

Part 2: Vic 20 (dodgy emulator?), TI-99/4A, Atari 8-bit computers, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Atari 7800

With adaptions from an arcade original that had a screen that was higher than it was wide, there’s an obvious compromise to be made between the clarity/resolution of the characters, their aspect ratio, and the number of girders to the top — eg compare the Atarisoft Commodore 64 version with the Ocean one. Some versions look very squashed.

Most surprisingly good I reckon was the TI version.

Via Retroist

Google Pac-man!

To celebrate Pacman’s 30th anniversary, Google’s banner today is not only Pac-man-based, it’s a playable game if you wait for a few seconds.

Google Pacman

And yes, if you clear the first two boards, you get the traditional cut-scene.

Google Pacman

Google Pacman

Is that totally awesome or what?

Am I correct in thinking it’s not actually written in Flash, but in some clever HTML-type thingy?

Update: Yes. CNet reports: ccording to Germick, the company worked with Pac-Man’s publisher, Namco Bandai, to make the project as realistic as possible. Yet the Google team, with the inspirational lead of Marcin Wichary, a Google senior user experience designer, built their version of the game from the ground up using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Update 4pm: If you click Insert Coin twice, you get a two-player game (W/A/S/Z controls Ms Pac-Man). And there is one minor bug I’ve noticed — sometimes when chasing ghosts after eating a power pill, you can pass right through them.

Update 9:30pm: Google Pac-Man: The FAQ + Kill Screen Winners — contains more details on how it was written, where to find it when it’s gone from the main Google page, and a picture of the”kill” screen.

Update Monday: It’s gone from Google’s home page now, but is still online here:

Elite turns 25 years old

BBC: Classic video game Elite turns 25

Elite co-developer David Braben takes the BBC’s Daniel Emery on a flight in the BBC Micro computer game.

The space fantasy involved trading in slaves, narcotics and minerals as you flew around a fictional universe.

Pirate and police ships threatened to disrupt your journey or kill you.

I never got to the rank of Elite, but I did make it to Deadly.

Pac-Man Championship Edition for mobile

Turns out I don’t need an XBox to play the new(ish) Pac-Man Championship Edition; it’s also available on mobiles.

I’ve had a go of it… great graphics, and the gameplay is a really clever twist on olde Pacman. Very cool. Though oddly the sound doesn’t seem to work…

The problem is the controls. You can either use the phone’s numeric keypad (2/4/6/8 for up/left/right/down… pretty logical)… or the directional buttons. But on my Nokia N95 phone, it’s hard to find the right numerics to direct Pacman, and if you use the directional buttons you’re at constant risk of pressing one of the surrounding buttons, some of which will unceremoniously throw you out of the game.

I expect I’ll get used to it.

Right on Commander!

I’ve been trying out Oolite, the open-source Elite clone.

It’s got its niggles, but it’s a very good copy of the BBC Micro original — I took a look at that again to compare. I’ve found myself wanting the original keyboard controls, and may go ahead and reconfigure it to match.

While playing around with the BBC version (actually the slightly-enhanced Master version) I refreshed my memory of how to dock without using a docking computer. I was a bit rusty, but managed to do it without too much trouble. (Well, okay, it was actually my second attempt — BeebEm includes an option to record output to an AVI.)

The C64 lives!

Evidently the Herald Sun thinks predators commonly use the Commodore 64C to access Facebook and MySpace.

Or maybe it’s just an old photo from the library.

The ultimate C64 talk

Never mind the present day troubles with IE, how about some good ol' fashioned nostalgia?

For those remember coding on the Commodore 64 (rather than just using it), check this terrific essay from — to go with a forthcoming talk on the subject.

It took me back to bits of knowledge about 6502/6510 and the VIC II chip that I thought I'd forgotten, and I'll certainly be watching out for the slides.