News Roundup: March 5 - April 3

mossy_11 on Sunday, 03 April 2011. Posted in News

We’re building a better MacScene, and we need your help. Developers, designers, writers, editors, and anyone else with expertise that will be useful for a bigger, better MacScene should check out this forum thread for more details on the changes and how you can help. And yes, the emulator database is set to return.

Apparently, March is a slow news month. Here are the updates in the world of emulation on the Mac.

Boxer, a powerful DOSBox front-end that can wrap games into individual OS X apps, has officially reached version 1.0 -- and subsequently received a minor update to fix a bug with System folder icons being overridden when they are set as game folder. See the official site for full details and a download link, and also check out the blog for an interesting discussion about the future of Boxer -- which includes distribution on the Mac App Store.

In news we missed last month, multi-platform DOSBox game launcher DBGL has been updated to version 0.72. Changes include support for forced scaling and configurable dosbox.conf locations. See the official site for full details and a download link.

Open-source MSX emulator openMSX has been updated to version 0.8.1. The update fixes a number of minor issues, adds scripts to help with Tool Assisted Speedruns, and adds emulation for a few MSX devices. See the changelog here, and check the official site for download links.

Keep reading after the jump for more updates.

ColecoVision

Pixelcade on Thursday, 24 March 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

The year was 1983.  A little Pixelcade turned 4 and was given for his birthday a brand new ColecoVision!

It was already a year into its lifecycle, and I was very little, but I knew this was something special. Atari, Intellivision and Odyssey were constants in my life from friends and older cousins, but this was MINE! My first gaming system to have, hold, and forge memories on. But what was ColecoVision? And who was its manufacturer, Coleco Industries?

Airborne

mossy_11 on Saturday, 12 March 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Before he co-created the legendary Mac game Dark Castle -- long before he led development on the now-dominant Flash multimedia platform -- Jonathan Gay made a little black-and-white game called Airborne. The Macintosh was still in its infancy at this point, and Airborne was released more-or-less alongside the freeware Banzai!, but this did little to detract from Airborne's appeal.

The concept is simple: destroy the advancing tanks, planes, helicopters, and soldiers with your mortar or anti-aircraft gun before they reach your position. If someone gets close enough to shoot you, you lose -- presumably ending an admirable, or perhaps foolish, last stand against all odds to repel an invasion force. If you manage to defeat them all, a new wave arrives. There is no winning, just a staving off of the inevitable and a hope of setting a new high score.

News Roundup: February 7 - March 4

Niemann on Friday, 04 March 2011. Posted in News

apple-logoApple has released new MacBook Pros, with the new Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt connectivity. Early reports indicate that they are much faster than the previous generation machines -- to the point where the new baseline 13" model matches or betters the old 17" model on many speed and performance tests.


overview_missioncontrol20110127It has been revealed that Mac OS X Lion will drop Rosetta, a software abstraction layer which provides support for PowerPC binaries on Intel machines. This is an interesting move that some are labelling premature, as, on the one hand, it forces developers to get their code up to modern standards, but, on the other, it breaks compatibility with some professional software still actively in use. Some of the other features slated for Lion are looking promising, though.


iPad2At a media event on Wednesday, Apple announced a second-generation iPad, complete with a processor upgrade (the iPad 2 sports a 1GHz dual-core A5 processor), front- and rear-facing cameras, Smart Covers, and an option to get it in white colour. The new iPad models will be available in the US from March 11, and in other countries over the following weeks. In the meantime, you can pick up the first-generation iPad at a discount.


Also announced at the event was iOS 4.3, which features some useful enhancements to AirPlay, allows iTunes Home Sharing, improves performance in Safari, and offers the long-demanded iPad side-switch preference (rotation lock or mute). It will be available from March 11, and is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 GSM, 3rd-gen iPod Touch, 4th-gen iPod Touch, iPad, and iPad 2 (I guess that means iPhone 3 and 2nd-gen iPod Touch owners should upgrade now).


We've had a quiet month in Mac emulation news, but there were notable updates to VICE, Dapplegrey, and gbpablog, amongst others. Hit the jump for details on these and other minor emulator updates, as well as a couple of Mac gaming tidbits.

Final Fantasy I

Pixelcade on Saturday, 26 February 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Editor's Note: I'm sure everyone here is familiar with this game -- by name and reputation if nothing else. It kicked off a franchise that's still going strong today, with sequels, spin-offs, collectibles, films, concerts, and many other products all being released under the Final Fantasy brand. Pixelcade shares his memories of the game that started it all. -mossy_11


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The Final Fantasy…or was it? Hello fellow gamers! This RGotW is brought to you by the year 1987 and the system Nintendo, sponsored in part by the company Square. With a helpful grant from MacScene and Pixelcade. Rather than my usual choice of some obscure game or movie or random event no one has heard of, this week I am doing a mainstream game.

So, 1987: Where were you what were you doing? US President Ronald Reagan was undergoing prostate surgery, La Bamba moved everyone's hips in dance clubs world wide, and PBS was hacked in Chicago by a man wearing a Max Headroom mask, babbling about who knows what -- it sure wasn't New Coke. Also at this time a video game that would go on to shape every single RPG to date in one way or another was developed by a little company going out of business -- Square.

Shufflepuck Café

mossy_11 on Wednesday, 09 February 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

As far as strange bars go, you'll be hard-pressed to find something weirder than Shufflepuck Café. Staffed by a robot, and replete with several dysfunctional regulars, its main attraction is an air hockey table. This standoffish group, composed of nine individuals (including the robot waiter), has just one interest: destroying you in a game of virtual air hockey.

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News Roundup: January 5 - February 6

mossy_11 on Sunday, 06 February 2011. Posted in News

appStoreThe Mac App Store launched in early January, pulling an impressive one million app downloads in the first 24 hours of operation. The initial lineup of 1000 apps has expanded considerably over the past few weeks. For gamers and emulation enthusiasts, the impact of the store is still unclear. It is certainly good for the exposure of games on OS X, but could potentially discourage people from looking elsewhere for software that doesn't meet Apple's stringent requirements. The only emulator that seems to have made it past Apple so far is MacWise (a terminal emulator).


LugaruHDApple's stringent approval policies have come under fire recently, following the listing of an unauthorised clone of Wolfire's Lugaru HD game which severely undercut the price of the original. The developers of this unauthorised version claim to be within the rights of the GPL2 licence under which the source was released back in May, while Wolfire insists that the assets -- graphics, sound, other artwork -- are protected and may not be redistributed. At the time of writing both versions remain on the Mac App Store. Also see the Kotaku post for a more detailed run-down of the issue.


OpenEmulatorA new(-ish) emulator called OpenEmulator -- not to be confused with Open Emu -- aims to be "an accurate, portable emulator of legacy computer systems." Development efforts are currently focused on implementing a Mac OS X interface and emulating the Apple I and MOS KIM-1 computers, although there is also functional Apple II support. The emulator notably uses a software components framework, which allows the simple addition of expansion devices and peripherals (including virtual monitors). See the official website for more information.


MS-DOS emulator Boxer approaches nearer to its official 1.0 release, reaching 1.0rc1 a few days ago. The 1.0 release promises to be a complete overhaul, with more intuitive game installs, a new interface, support for cover art, better stability and performance, and "much, much more." See the official website for full details and a download link.

More emulator updates after the break.

Sinistar

Pixelcade on Tuesday, 25 January 2011. Posted in Retro Game of the Week

Editor's Note: After a brief hiatus, the RGotW community feature returns. I'm too young to have played this game -- or to have even seen it at an arcade -- but it seems that Sinistar lives up to its name. I believe it is also historically significant, as an influence on many later space shooters, so take note if you're into video-game history. -mossy_11


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RUN RUN RUN! Greetings classic gamers! It's time for yet another instalment of Pixelcade's "games you may have not heard about" segment. This time, we are going to take a look at Sinistar by Williams.

Let me get the technical details out of the way first. Year: 1982; cabinet type: Space Shooter Vertical Cabinet or Environmental; players: 2, but only one at a time; input: two buttons, one joystick; MONO Sound (yes kids, I said MONO -- as in one channel of audio). So with those technical details gone done lets see what's going on here.

1982: I was crying my eyes out as that little lovable alien E.T. couldn't get a calling card to phone home. Ozzy found love and married his manager Sharon. And I was busy playing my Colecovision and still picking my nose. On trips to the local arcade one could hear dozens of games in attract mode, begging you to approach and put in that lovely silver quarter.