It’s an awkward moment to post this newsletter: the Interactive Fiction competition is set to end at midnight, and the Procedural Generation Jam two hours after that. But then, once they’re both done I’m going to need some time looking at the entries, so maybe it’s better to leave them for next week.
For now, other news. After Prince of Persia, another gaming classic has its source code recovered and made public. Atari’s Star Raiders is now on the Internet Archive, in the form of a book full of 6502 assembly code. A few volunteers have started moving it to GitHub, but from here to being able to rebuild the game is a long way. Still, it’s one more bit of gaming history preserved for future generations.
Moving on. Nowadays it seems hard to believe, but there was a time when PCs didn’t come with built-in sound cards. Well, there’s a book out recounting how it all started, and it turns out the Sound Blaster won via business trickery, not technical excellence. Where did we hear that before? Oh yeah, it’s how Microsoft ended up utterly dominating the operating system market for decades. Still think capitalism has your best interests in mind?
Last but not least, I rant often enough against the dangers of always chasing the latest fad in computer graphics, so it warms my heart to see that artists from outside the digital realm understand the issue better than people who spent decades immersed in it. As the article points out,
The odd thing about games as opposed to more traditional mediums such as painting is how entire aesthetics are often considered obsolete as technology progresses. Imagine if cubism or impressionism were simply tossed aside with the invention of digital painting.
Oh, there is the occasional exception to that, such as pixel art, but we need many more such exceptions. And while my own experiment with low-poly art didn’t go anywhere, the potential is obvious. So consider it, maybe?