No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #237: off-topic again


Hello, everyone. It's another of those weeks when working on something unrelated to games made me pay less attention to what was going on. It doesn't help that when intriguing headlines do show up on my usual newsfeeds, they're all too often stuff I wrote about many times before. Or videos. What is it with people not taking the time to write down their thoughts anymore? That would take less time than editing what they recorded. Oh wait, we don't do that anymore, we just save our live streams as they are, bloopers and all.

Anyway, my pet project this week is a web app for a change. Won't go into details, but if you have a website, it sometimes comes in handy if you're able to quickly push short updates to the front page without having to install some big-ass blog software. You can edit a web page manually, or a RSS feed for that matter, but it's uncomfortable and leads to duplicate work. If you have to use a FTP client anyway, might as well use a simple utility to make yourself a little yet complete website with just a few commands.

Speaking of which: you do have a website, right? You should, if you want to have a presence online. Social media is for finding other people, and making yourself easy to find. Marketplaces are where you sell stuff (or at least try). A website, now that's your headquarters. Possibly your home, too. You need that. And if you can't afford to pay for it, what you get can be quite limited. Which in turn requires more know-how to get good results.

But that's how everything works. Now let's see the news.

This isn't about games, but it's too cool to ignore: a love letter to 8-bit home computers written by someone who wasn't even alive at the right time, yet manages to perfectly capture my experience and that of other programmers I know. Yes, that's exactly what those slow, quirky machines did, namely to show people there was nothing mysterious about them. No secret rituals that only a designated priesthood may perform, but clearly explained actions with well-defined results anyone could observe, measure... and reproduce.

If you meet someone who's not afraid of computers, there's a good chance they grew up with one of those. And now you know why that worked.

This week, Hardcore Gaming 101 covers the Star Control trilogy, a hugely influential franchise. Somehow, the two creators of the series took the decades-old mechanics of Space War (itself one of the earliest videogames) and built upon them something that hasn't been quite equaled since, and not for lack of trying.

I remember seeing one of the Star Control games decades ago at a friend's place, probably the second one. Not much, just enough to give me a taste for the wit and humor. Too bad that's not the part most people liked and tried to emulate. But you can't have them all.

Sadly, that's all until next time. Will try to do better.