Category Archives: Videogame History

Videogame and computer history and preservation work, articles, news, etc.

GameCity 2010: A Report

Lego, of course always present
Lego, of course always present

GameCity 2010 was a while back; 27th to the 30th of October. This is a late report, with all the pedantry of trying to remember things from it that are worth reporting on!

Talks, Panels and Notes

Firstly, I have done some rather lengthy notes this year. This comes from doing them on my laptop at the time; so there are quite possibly errors and it isn’t a word for word account 🙂 In any case, I’ll link to the relevant ones as I go through what was fun and so forth. I didn’t get to everything though, and I can’t point to a “Calendar of events” on the GameCity website (which was at ) since it has now disappeared.

Before the Event

GameCity was generally well run and fun this year. There was no horrible Gatecrasher venues, there was most of the events up in advance of the week, although knowing about things more then a few weeks in advance is something they need to strive for 🙂 On one hand I was discussing this with someone and having less people coming keeps it more low-key and more a Nottingham feel, but I opposed this and say if I want friends to come I need to show it’s worth booking travel tickets, holiday time (they have jobs!) and hotels in advance. In any case I hadn’t the nerve to get anyone outside of Nottingham to come up, more the shame to me really – some would have enjoyed it 🙂

One oddity: you could “favourite” events which seemed to put you on a list for events. Stewards were weird, so I booked everything on the first day once I got almost turned away from something. I heard some people got turned away in spite of the rooms not nearly being full too…must try harder! either first come first serve, OR pay for tickets, not a bad mix of both. 🙁

The Tent!

The bomb with David!
The bomb with David!

The tent was good; I never bothered with the EA side, each to his own but exercise can’t be thrown at me like that (with the full set of crass marketing too. I suppose it’s all sponsorship money though). The other side was cramped but good enough – Crysis was well laid out at the side for instance, and the projector games generally were far enough at the back to not get in the way. The other odd thing was not enough chairs and tables, especially for Gambling Lambs! It meant a lot of standing around, and put me off staying there for very long, a shame really. However what went on there was fine even if I didn’t bother with Saturday’s Mario stuff, since I wanted more indie games dammit! 🙂

Oh, and on Gambling Lambs – it was great, got to play Dixit, which is a game where you have to describe a scene in a generic storytelling fashion but not be too accurate; it’s great to play a second time once you work out actually what to do. There were other games to be had too – and David Hayward put on a brilliant Laser Trap Scene Test at Lee Rosy’s, as in any good spy flick needing lots of smoke to see lasers to disarm the bomb! I did it successfully, and was very fun! 🙂

Shame there was no Kinect or Move playable demos. I have no clue what Microsoft and Sony are doing here (apart from Sony apparently hates GameCity) I just don’t know how you can get people to buy such interactive things without being able to try them. There was the Kinect talk, which was okay, but didn’t exactly let me try it 😉

Development; the office space was too small originally - foreboding for UK living rooms? :)
Development; the office space was too small originally - foreboding for UK living rooms? 🙂

Spy Party

Spy Party; the room
Spy Party; the room

A really standout game! I loved playing Chris Heckers Spy Party, I took notes from his talk, and am fully looking forward to the game itself.

To outline; it’s a deception and infiltration game, where you as a party guest have to mimic an NPC while performing certain tasks, while a sniper, a second player, tries to find out who you are and snipe them. As the base game mode, this is just brilliant fun in itself and I can see how it can be easily played online. Chris mentioned possible other modes, more players (multiple spies or snipers, working in teams even) and other changes; well worth looking out for. Gets the “Game of GameCity” award from me!

Jonathan Blow

Jonathan Blow had a double act; a nice sum up of Braid’s design, and his new game The Witness which looks interesting, but I hope doesn’t have too many tutorials; it could get annoying. Still, he’s someone you could rely on to really polish and make a very strong game, which is what I’m looking forward to.

The Witness: What are adventure games? What should they be?
The Witness: What are adventure games? What should they be?

Comedy and Music

OneLaughLeft - Simon Byron
OneLaughLeft - Simon Byron

There was an evening of Comedy by OneLifeLeft; the jokes were soemtimes groan worthy from the presenters, but still damn enjoyable and fun (although Ste sure is one who does very harsh critical humour!); they should think more highly of themselves for doing it. The comedians were a fine lot; some geeky stuff, some game related material, and one comedian who I’ve seen before at the Fringe (a shame; since I’ve heard some of his stuff before obviously). Well worth attending, had me in fits 🙂 I’d give it 7 out of 10.

The Choir during the music of James Hannigan
The Choir during the music of James Hannigan

The music evening in the church was good pretty much because the composer James Hannigan did Red Alert 3’s main theme “Soviet March” – and it was done better live with the main part being sung by a woman then the theme in game! (I wish I could have recorded it!). The spy music from Evil Genius was good too – the rest, well, I’ll be frank and say that without them telling us what games they were from, which they didn’t, I had no clue if the tracks were Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or any number of other different orchestral soundtracks he’s done – a shame really, since some were pretty fun to listen to. There was only the Pinewood Singers in attendance; not a full orchestra, which worked well given it was a church.

Retro Remakes, History and Parks

A Reproductive System
A Reproductive System

Finally, there was a good panel on retro remakes, the only thing that could have improved it was explaining what a remake was and giving some examples then and there. Coupled to the old stuff side is a panel I attended on game preservation, which sadly lacked the major major problem now occurring: DRM. The British Library might want to get a copy of every game made, but it’ll be useless if the consoles and platforms they run on break isn’t it? 🙁

Also an odd talk was done by Keita Takahashi who is designing a park for the nearby to me Woodthorpe Park; I’m looking forward to it, but I’ve no idea if any of the designs will actually be completed!

Takahashi LOVES the big catapult idea despite its flaws
Takahashi LOVES the big catapult idea despite its flaws


Panel on being Independant Game Developers
Panel on being Independant Game Developers

On the indie side was a good panel called “What’s the Point?“; a shame it was over lunch (like the preservation panel) since it was harder to take notes, but in essence it was good to hear the two sides to working, what indie is, about game jams and other things. I did get to play several indie games too – apart from Spy Party, there was Ben Bradly’s Substream, much improved from GameCityNights, and I talked to the creator of VVVVVV a bit too (and the musician too), who are both totally cool dudes. I aim to play more VVVVVV – now I’ve finished some other games 🙂

Iain Simons doing his vision statement; shout it brother! Shout it loud!
Iain Simons doing his vision statement; shout it brother! Shout it loud!

The last thing really to note was the Vision Statement by Iain Simons – good points to note, he wants to do more GameCity and game stuff, but wants nothing to do with Sonys kind of marketing. It was a rather nice thing to see him explain about it and name some names, and I fully agree about many other things he went into detail – always needing the newest stuff, interactive entertainment and “now being mainstream”.

I missed several things however – the music of Limbo, an indie game producer from somewhere, and the morning panels at breakfast – I felt rather ill so got up late every day sadly – it wasn’t too convenient to get there, but sounded interesting.

So overall it was a lot more fun then last year in most places, although it felt more empty with much less to do at times, mainly due to scheduling no doubt. I say bring on next year with agusto, like I said, hopefully with some forewarning about what is going on before the month it is on 🙂

Nostalgia in Historical Game Articles

This is just a brief thing; I’m trying to gauge the point of this here article. I mainly skim or don’t read The Escapist anymore so I have no idea if this is basically the standard for the weekly content the site was originally built on, but well, I’m still trying to think of the point.

The point appears to be a nostalgic reminiscence with a few bits of historical information thrown in. It is a article which is fine if you want a very basic bit of knowledge about what Dragon’s Lair is but that is it. Sadly, when it comes to historical articles, I am usually disappointed. In this case it is easy to point out some reasons why. It doesn’t make it a terrible article, just one without much of a point.

Framing the Game Against Nothing

Going with any kind of press release is infuriating in history, since they are always overblown and bad. So the first bit of the article simply regurgitates horrible marketing, fair enough.

However we never get a frame against what other things were out at the time. Even some rudimentary research into the actual games, and not a vague reference, as in this case of “Conventional games of the era were sprite-based, representing movement through a series of bitmaps displayed in succession”.

Then, later we get comparisons to contemporary games as if they were inspired solely by Dragon’s Lair. It might well have influenced quick time event games in general from that point onwards, but a lot more came out after Dragon’s Lair (and plenty of games basically were QTE games before it); especially which were not animated and a lot more “typical” QTE games on consoles and PC’s. The genre itself entirely failed since they were all so really really bad. Almost all FMV games were QTE based. Sigh.

The fact these are not even mentioned is bemusing, apparently the entire QTE industry just died soon after Dragon’s Lair (even though it was soooooo good!). Very selective revisionist history!

Leaving out Important Information

For some bizarre reason when expounding the love for the game, it is glossed over just how much the game cost to play; “during a time when a quarter got you a bus ticket, two seats at a movie and a hamburg steak, if my grandpappy’s stories are to be believed” – wha? What? That’s your accuracy?

Then we go onto why the games failed; perhaps the fact laserdisc machines broke easily and were expensive to do games for (and they worked in very specific technologically-limiting ways). Doing hand animation must have exacerbated these costs massively; the amount you can make from one expensive, if novel, game is limited. Perhaps the money train had gone, and it was a fad, but where are the stats to back this up? Perhaps it was there were just actually too few of them and they were too short so even a die hard fan could only spend so much? Do home consoles not factor into their decline either? Sure you’ve got the American 1983 crash (which might well have helped Dragon’s Lair), and afterwards a larger and larger increase in power; meaning proper home ports were available of the once-50cent-per-play game.

The main company Cinematronics was also acquired in the 1980’s so isn’t a vast change in management also an issue? Is Bluth and Dyer leaving an issue or not? Who knows why they left…the author sure doesn’t, and doesn’t cite anything of course, it’s pretty much speculation.

Creators Relation to Other Games

What else did Bluth and Dyer do after Space Ace? Apparently nothing? I don’t get how you can centre so fanatically on them, especially Bluth, without a followup besides “He’s got his own animation company” and “he saw the future” (yet it wasn’t to be! sarcastic sad face here.). I mean, for goodness sakes, his artwork is also in the sequel (also unmentioned) called Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp!

It’s a shame since we also don’t know what Dyer even did before this game, which at least we got for Bluth. Space can’t be an issue (see “Questions”), especially also since I’ve seen articles much longer on The Escapist.

Platform Adaptations

“To date, Dragon’s Lair has been released 59 separate times across over 30 platforms” – please, at least qualify it properly that until major amounts of space were available, the actual gameplay in most of the 59 titles was no where near the original thus are name-tie-ins only, almost akin to “Videogames of the Film” – being platfomers, adventure games and, haha, not even having quick time events in them as such! That’s just lazy.

It is also odd since no connection is made even here between the availability of the game in it’s original form more-or-less and the rise of FMV games at the same time. It’s even funny to see him mention BluRay and DVD releases too.


Who doesn’t like questions? Do you not like unanswered questions? Do you think questions are a cheap cop-out for actually putting some worthwhile words on paper? Do we agree that I’m using too many sentences to make this point?

Well, perhaps not:

“are games defined by form, or by content? Do you turn to games for stories or beautiful graphics? Or are you content with the bare bones of gaming – the stuff Bluth would contemptuously describe in Digital Leisure’s interviews as “little sticks and dots”? What ultimately do we desire from our videogames – control, or the illusion of control? Put simply – how much game do you want in your game?”

Gee, thanks for naming all that stuff, but not actually bothering to do anything with it. Most are pretty rubbish polarising questions with no answer (“Do you turn to games for stories or beautiful graphics?” doesn’t have to be one or the other!), the others are rhetorical at best such as “how much game do you want in your game?”.


Even after this deluge of questions Brendan basically carries on the nostalgia – even after hinting it is a “mongrel movie rather than game proper” nothing is questioned as to why it even was made this way. Nostalgia rules over the fact that even if these were the best looking games at the time the amount of effort to make them was astronomical and economically unfeasible (after all; the market is there for new or long lasting things, not playing Dragon’s Lair repeatedly especially at the cost it was – it simply wasn’t really a full game).

Perspective is everything and the article basically has none. It tries to make it up as a precursor to Metal Gear Solid 4 or Heavy Rain, yet makes no actual attempt to describe why such techniques are still used since they plainly didn’t work for Dragon’s Lair even after saying how often it fell flat on its face! He actually comments a little more in the comments about how the game was basically a way to get a short film out to people in Bluth’s own words – this is an area that could have used better examination, and contrast it versus todays games (or even the later FMV titles).

It is, admittedly, at least showed how a “game” which so little input obviously wasn’t long lasting. It perhaps is a testimonial to how you can make short term profit over anything else by making something look so ridiculously pretty. Perhaps too it led to the long deluge of bad QTE based games, or inspired ones that use QTE’s to never use them like Dragon’s Lair. It is worth a better, fairer article then it got here, since it had some influence at least in the art department, something that isn’t actually raised at all how the traditional artwork still isn’t used today much. There are many other points I could bring out but these ones apply well to many other historical articles I’ve seen. I’ll be on the lookout…and really should write some of my own or research games more.

Finding That Damn Game

Wow, how hard is it to find an item on the internet you don’t know the name of? Especially something reasonably obscure? In this case, it’s my partial area of expertise; videogames. Let’s see, and also handily (for me in the future) I’ll list all the resources I used.

This is a bit odd, I wanted to find an awesome set of animations – pixel art videos – and the only single thing I could remember (after vaguely trying some search terms) was that the artist in question mentioned a game…the game, I recall, was something based on mechanics or something. Might have involved strategy. Turn based? Mmm…DS game, yes!

Had the name of the lead in the title. So I did some searching – Wikipedia is de-facto useless for this kind of thing, consisting of non-cross referenced categories or long lists. No joy there. Mobygames is much better – but in this case, I wasn’t sure what year it was released in – I checked the DS games for 2009 (not there for certain, very limited list) then 2008 (huge list!). No pictures doesn’t help, since I remembered the distinctive art style. Giantbomb was another offering – after some URL mangling, I managed to get DS games only, by release date. Sadly, a few pages in and still no luck – and the search functions didn’t work too well on either site – “mechanic” (all I could really remember at that point) didn’t come up with anything.

Stuck! Darn it, that damn game, you know, on the DS, which I’ve not actually played…

Mmm…strategy…mmm, not in those categories on Mobygames, so coming again at it, defence was involved…towers…tower defence! To the Google machine! Google helped out – my final ridiculous search string found a reference – 3rd one, “Lock’s Quest”! Yes, matches with what I thought it was!

Finally, I found it! Now…credits…credits! Come to daddy! No credits! No credits!…wait…try agian… yes! Credits! (Via Google). GameFAQ’s is a merge between Gamespot’s DB and it’s own (now it’s just the same thing, long ago it wasn’t, but GameFAQ’s is easier and faster to search at least).

(In addition, IGN was a bit useless, and there are not many other game DB’s that either game up in Google, or in fact I know of. I need to search any more reputable ones out for this kind of work).

So, finally found the game – a victory for my memory!

However, the person isn’t on the credits list! How did I find this out? Yep, for starters, there appears to be no artists listed – I vaguely recalled the person referencing it as freelance work – but I couldn’t be sure, so I checked the people on the list. No go!

So, down to Google again – I had the game (Lock’s Quest), the item (pixel art video) and the person (artist). Some massive amounts of variations later…I had it! The 3rd link down, a name I recognised – Paul Robertson!

How can I be sure it is him? Well, his site is down (as of posting this) so no luck there, but it was a blog post. I took a site: Google search and found it, a post about what games he’s worked on – as an animator (a type of artist, so I was close). Lock’s Quest stuck out mainly because it was the one place I saw it to investigate “What on earth it was” – at the time I had no idea it existed 🙂

I’ve now got his site in my RSS feed (he has some really, really great pixel animations – a lot are bizarre, most are plain amazing, many are bizarre and amazing). The films I wanted to re-watch after losing them (heaven knows where they’ve gone on in my files) were Kings of Power 4 Billion %, and the earlier, and I think actually much cooler one Pirate Baby’s Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006. Best to download them (the pixel art otherwise suffers), there are valid links on both – or check Google for the titles. Amazing works of art.

So, now, whew, finally finished – all told, took about 1.5hours including writing this mainly as I went. Internet detective work can be done frankly really quickly, although finding something without knowing it’s name is still damn hard – a person or a game!

I’ve still got a game I need to find actually – one from my days playing DOS games, it was a demo at least I played – I am sure it’s a point and click, “sci-fi” game, with the one thing I remember there being is a chain-mail-like shirt made out of credits/coins. It was the most utterly bizarre thing about it, everything else is pretty much just “it was sci-fi with gangs perhaps”. Man, that game annoys the hell out of me for not being able to find it. Older games like this can be really difficult to find if they don’t hold some kind of cult or mass status! Yes, I have asked around, and my damn post now comes top of the Google search for related terms. Hah! Thanks me! 🙁 Sadly, after trying for a few minute on Mobygames and remembering I’d only notice it by picture (who knows if anyone has any of it), and that I don’t know the platform specifically, the game maker, name, or year of release (even an estimate) it’s a bit futile. No where seems to have “point and click” as a mechanics genre either, odd that, or I missed where it was listed.

Edit: Actually, after checking, there are no such things as “point and click” it appears in any game DB, heh. They’re “Adventure” in most places, “Puzzle Solving” on Mobygames too. Still not worth checking everything in this list for it though. At least not yet!’s Treasures

igda logo
igda logo

The old IGDA site will be closing down, with a new site put in place, sometime – I presume – next month. In the mean time I’ve done some automated, and just recently some entirely manual preservation of the site. I still need to confirm the original site will be preserved, or better put online as archived pages.

In any case, now is a good a time as any to say there are some rather unknown but great articles and words on the site, just very difficult to find! Most of it is under the aptly named Content section, so it’s worth digging yourself of course…

The Articles section hasn’t been updated for a few years, but contains some nice, lengthy articles. Some good reports, good opinion pieces and some factual works too. Work a check out 🙂 – I just wish there were more new ones… 🙂

Out of the various Columns, only 3 are currently active (I presume paid for, and come out monthly). All 3 are worth reading themselves – if only for the entertainment, although as advice and opinions they are well informed and extremely on the mark.

The archives are good too, Famous Last Words by Jim Charne goes into a lot of legal and contract topics (fascinating stuff, even if not all American law applies to the UK for me) – no wonder he got an award for MVP award in 2006 🙂

Matt Sakey goes in-depth into culture and related areas in Culture Clash – a highly recommended read. The great thing about the archives is the additional reading material links (if they still work). He also gets down on culture more often at his Tap-Repeatedly site (formerly the quirky-named Four Fat Chicks), which I’d also urge a read or search of the archives 🙂

The Games Game by Tom Sloper does a good job, and entirely applicably still in the archives, give great advice to students and those looking for industry jobs. A lot is basic, but there are some things worth learning there for sure 🙂

Finally, the closed columns!

The Ivory Tower is fascinating – I’ve not read nearly enough of it yet to give a full comment, but I’d say this would be something worth bringing back – or doing more ad-hoc articles for the IGDA site in the same vein. Lots of writers I recognise, with good topics – on games at the time, the collaboration of academia and industry and much more. I will be making enquiries at DiGRA if I have a chance on if this would ever be restarted!

Miller Time by Scott Miller is a fun little read, stopped short it appears. Since 3d Realms is now in the area known as “mostly dead”, seeing the old words from the owner back when Duke Nukem Forever wasn’t so much a joke is interesting.

Finally, Words of Wisdom is a nice look at luminaries’ quotes – not enough of this is done I think, more is needed so people can be called out on repeating rubbish or changing views or being hypocritical – but this column was more just for advice for new people, sought out by Barbara Walter, who I can’t find online (but appeared to be a recruiter, and worked the moderation of the newbie forum at the time).

I’d love to see more of all of this on the IGDA site! 🙂

There are also some well-worth-reading white papers and other material in the Papers and Reports section – a wee bit old now, but some is still highly relevant and not out of date at all. It misses out any kind of new papers (from around 2006 onwards unless it links to a more up to date page), which is a big shame.

PS: I’m still working on other posts, but without a gallery which, yes, I’m still looking into, I’m reserving those for when I can upload pictures 🙂

Videogame Nation


The Urbis Gallery opened the Videogame Nation exhibit two weeks ago – I was invited by the curator, David Crookes, to go along. I meant to get up something about this before, but my camera died (these are it’s last pictures) when I broke it accidentally.

The exhibit is based around the UK videogame industry from past to present – there is enough for a good few hours, if not more, looking at the exhibits, playing the games on show, and reading the huge amount of information on a whole range of aspects – from playing to making videogames.

An entire bus stop, yep

I personally loved it – some great games on display (apart from the arcade cabinets all free to play), design documents and a varied amount of information on different magazines, publishers, developers and people. The games are presented in a variety of forms – including some nice football bench seating for Sensible Soccer, and a bus stop and bus seat backs for portable games (okay, that was more odd then great, hehe).

N64 lunchtimes!

I added a few things to the places you could write and draw – I’ve got pictures of my additions to the wall of consoles (sadly missing out several older consoles, but still allows you to pick one and put a comment up), and my Half Life “crowbar” cover, no doubt by now replaced but, well, a game which deserved a clean classic-like cover 🙂 (it was also easier to draw then any of my other ideas! 😛 ).

The Urbis at night
Half Life cover

There were also some great displays on the mini-controversies in the UK around videogames. For Manchester, the Manchester Cathedral sillyness, with Sony’s response printed in its full glory, in the 18 rated section (where, for some reason, Bully was situation despite not being rated 18…), as well as some on the value of fitness to do with videogames.

Never finished Oliver-twins material

However, the main thing that was great for me was the history side – there is a lot of information about pre-current-generation games, including ones not finished (Dizzy 2, as photographed to the right), the design of many UK titles – Lemmings, Sensible Soccer, Broken Sword (which I still need to play…), Jeff Minter classics, Oliver Twin games and things from the bedroom programming era – including Elite, and more. It is about the only UK exhibit of videogames on right now – so well worth a visit. Check my gallery of pictures to see some of the information boards and pictures of what was available to play – not at all comprehensive, I should have took more picture 🙂

I am also going to try and get back for some of the Sunday-timetabled related events, some sound very interesting 🙂 and if I go I’ll put down what they were like (especially since I’ve not been updating my site much!).

For more pictures I did find Negative Gamer to have some great pictures up, and David has a small Flickr set too 🙂

GDC2009 – Friday – My Student Mixer, AI SIG roundtable, Game Preservation and a Cold

Friday – the final day of GDC. In the morning passing over a Larrabee session I visited the career area briefly – loud, busy, and I just noted who was there more then anything.

Later in the morning was the AI SIG Roundtable. There was really not much a chance of discussion on the problems with going forwards with the AI Standards the SIG seems to be built around. I hope that the issues are resolved and information provided or worked on that AiGameDev or the AI Guild themselves wouldn’t do – such as academic relations, looking at listing tons of papers, and so forth. I’m going to keep an eye on it and lurk but I’ve got too many commitments elsewhere to help directly.

I had my own session – the student mixer – just before lunch. I took a few notes – but mainly it was discussing some of the cool things the students present were able to do, how they felt about their course and work (which they are all usually fine with – no doubt the people who come to GDC are that dedicated 🙂 ) and about the IGDA efforts I did a little questioning about if they thought more communication, student groups or possibly in the future a student event would be a good idea – on all counts yes, and I hope to get this going by myself if no one else will help 🙂 – one of the things people dislike is the students have to be integrated into the normal chapter meetings, online resources and groups – segregating it helps immensely, since it would allow people interested in the area to help, but the rest to work on their own things.

During the mixer I finally got to meet Julia Brasil – who is finishing her design/art course soon, and I meant to meet last year. In fact I managed to miss Corvus Elrod who I saw once but had to rush off somewhere else. In any case, we went to the Preservation SIG meeting, then roundtable – lots of notes I have to write up, and a general feeling of some progress, with a lot more to do in the future came out from some of the stories people brought up. In related news to this seeing Devin Monnens article in the print IGDA Journal was awesome.

In the evening there was the AI Dinner, where I got to discuss all sorts of things. Some nice discussion on things with a few fellows from Google, including possibly getting the search term “A*” or “A* search” specially listed as an exception – since it currently just lists all the terms starting with A 🙂 – also discussed some bits and pieces of AI, design of an MMO, and the IGDA a little.

Lastly, throughout the day I got a worse and worse cold. Urg, the final few days of my trip will be pretty basic – I’m writing this on Sunday and, well, I’m not out riding a bike as I had hoped – at least this didn’t hit me early on in the week. *sniff sniff* *achoo*

Byte Back 2009

The memories!

On the 8th and 9th of March I attended Byte Back, a small retro game convention hosted near Stoke-on-Trent, UK. I should really have taken more notes from the event, but honestly it was just a good time for me to get out and actually play some of the videogame history I keep writing about.

It was great to meet some other great people involved in videogame preservation or history – some I still need to contact (I’ll do so after GDC 🙂 ). I had a long chat with Andy Spencer of the Retro Computer Museum – he’s looking for a place to actually display the material he’s collecting, and is looking into making the organisation (which is very new) much more official. Some great systems he had on display, and he’s been getting a lot of good volunteer help and donations.

The pinball machine was popular

I caught up with Steve Webley, who’s really looking to work in the area of videogame history a lot more. Should be good seeing what he comes up with even if he is super busy doing tons of other cool things! 🙂

Dave Moore from Stairway to Hell was also a great insight into the UK game history scene, especially emulation. I’ll be in contact with him more I hope, certainly since I intend to research the webpages dedicated to systems and gather the webpages own histories. I also chatted very briefly with Weekend Gamer’s Sir Clive, who I should have done a more in depth chat with to see where they’re taking their series (which I brought both DVD’s of – should be a good watch!).

The second room

There were some good people (who only briefly chatted with) from the Retro Gamer forums, where I need to join up really. So many forums to join up to!

I didn’t do much journalism as such – I hope to get some of the footage recorded by some people onto the Internet Archive if possible, a service sadly not many people know about. I should have done some more prepared interviews, but without a real aim – since I haven’t got down even what information I want to write about the museums and archives, not even getting onto collectors, enthusiasts and private groups! I need to get more involved – or at least do some coverage of – the UK videogame history area.

A working copy of the Doomsday project! wow!

However, I do have some highlights from the event. At the charity auction (in fact all the money was going to charity, awesome!), I managed to bid for the books The Ultimate History of Videogames, by Steven L. Kent, and Game On From Pong to Oblivion The 50 Greatest Video Games Of All Time, by Simon Byron, Ste Curran, David McCarthy. The former is meant to be a great read – the latter very much a more popular look at good videogames, but I think should be a fun read in any case despite what the One Life Left guys say themselves about it on their show 🙂

Ocean Reunited

The Ocean Reunion was a little strange – various reminiscent, rants and good stories from the old company. There’s a video of the event on youtube, which is worth a watch (I wish it was on the archive though 🙂 ).

Jon Hare

I missed Jon Hare, which would have been good to see, but did manage to get involved in the first round of the fighting tournament – I fought a girl from the Retro Gamer forums, and while I managed to win at Soul Calibur, I did really poorly at Street Fighter and finally lost playing the decided in King of Fighters, which I had honestly barely played (although it was pretty close considering). The winner was pretty damn good, I just got roped into it as literally the last contestant, so there we go, my adventures as a pro gamer cut short 😉

Tony Temple, Jon Stoodley and Paul Drury

Lastly, Paul Drury’s Q&A with Jon Stoodley and Tony Temple was amazing – it explained the phenomenon of high scores, the techniques and games they played (Pacman and Missile Command respectively), the other high scoring players, and some amazing and funny anecdotes (especially relating to Tony Temples strange “opponent” Roy Shildt). This is another area which isn’t really being preserved apart from those dedicated organisations who record the scores, and the odd news or magazine article (sometimes written by the people themselves!). There are the odd few documentary though too – King of Kong (which I still need to watch) and some others I have forgotten about, doh. I’ll put this onto my growing “to investigate” list 🙂

All in all a good weekend, I’ll definitely come to the next one. I’ve also brought a ticket to the Retro Computer Museum open event on May 31st, should be good!

Gallery of pictures, can anyone name every system and game (if they are visible, I need to get a better camera):