Jan 28, 2009

Decker's Delight Links (28.Jan.09)

Things I currently have to do include such lovely activities as finishing a design doc for a certain game, completing the redesign of this very blog, helping with a mag, playing a C64 shmup and finally getting around to reviewing a lovely and brand new indie game. But, really, you don't have to wait standing. Here's a seat, some tea and a selection of links to entertain you.
10 games that redefine science fiction? Well, that's an interesting approach based on a truly intriguing -if not obscure- selection of games . Almost valid too. Well done Fidgit!

Swabbleflange doesn't mean anything apparently, though this top 100 games list definitely does. It's a very personal and quite brilliant look at over 20 years of gaming and it even includes Dungeon Master.

Imagine's MegaGames... the stuff of legends and a concept that failed to save the company from a truly spectacular crash. Click the link to an insider's view as narrated by Bruce Everiss.

Eurogamer goes for a rather more fascinating Jon Hare insider view instead. This time about the legendary and never completed Sex 'n' Drugs 'n' Rock 'n' Roll Sensible Software game. Soundtrack, video and art are happily included.

Ever heard anything about Lucasarts' online Habitat of the pre-intenet era? No? Thankfully GameSetWatch has all the answers in a fantastic Rogue Leaders extract.

On the objectivity of game reviews: how devs punish game journos. Totally unrelated to all things BDSM. Courtesy of ars technica.

On the objectivity of Contra Retrospectives: from the mind of NebachadnezzaR. Shockingly, the word Probotector isn't mentioned once.

Jeff Minter, the hairy psychedelic prophet of a new digital interactive art (uhm, video games that is) has spoken to the RPS flock about his forthcoming Gridrunner +++. Some Space Giraffes were also mentioned.

The Artful Gamer, on the other hand, proved his artiness by searching for the poetic and lyrical bits in BASIC text adventures. Oh, and by exploring the wonderful Art of Eriq Chang.

Matty from the aptly named Matty on Games blog chose to focus on 8-bit text adventures, remade Amiga Knights and a retro Grandad. Lovely, indie, old, freeware and smart!

And, finally, let me remind everyone that the Sega Master System Junkyard is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, while the Saturn Junkyard is preparing to celebrate the scary, pagan, dirty and highly dangerous Saturnalia. Oh, and Retroaction is coming. Soon. Very soon.

Quick Links FTW. Really! Here:


  1. Regarding Bruce Everiss, he caused a minor scandal amongst the retrogaming community about a year ago when he wrote an article claiming that piracy "destroyed Imagine" which was contrary both to what he said at the time of Imagine's collapse and what everyone else who knew about Imagine said - namely that Imagine collapsed due to terrible management (hence why other companies which suffered the same level of piracy didn't collapse). He was challenged about this in the comments section of his blog and didn't defend himself very well and so deleted all the comments that contradicted what he said and left a few that seemed to back-up his original claims. Needless to say, "scorn" isn't quite the word to describe our reaction to Bruce's little bit of creative editing.

    I read that link but Bruce still seems to be the same old Bruce, alas and I'm not sure how good the info is. A much better look into Imagine and the "Megagames" (which were an outrageously stupid commercial decision that were destined to flop) can be found on an old TV "Commercial Breaks" documentary made at the time which was supposed to document Imagine creating the "Megagames" and ended-up documenting their collapse. Apparently, almost no progress was made on the games themselves which seem to have been more vapourware than anything else.

  2. Thanks for the link, Gnome. A little more about GOLD the Series, the first link in the mini-list:

    GOLD is a web series comedy about professional role playing gamers @ www.goldtheseries.com

    "GOLD" follows the American and British Goblins & Gold RPG teams as they prepare for the World Role Playing Games Championships. It's comic look at sports TV and films, and a tribute to traditional tabletop role playing games which I love.

    We've three episodes so far, and we'd love you to stop by and check it out: http://www.goldtheseries.com

    Thanks, and extra-special thanks to Gnome for posting the link.

  3. @ Matty: That's pretty shocking and nasty, and frankly I absolutely see your point. Censoring in such a manner is more than infuriating... Oh, and I have managed to see the more than enlightening "Commercial Breaks" episode on Imagine and Ocean, though I guess I'll have to look into them Megagames a bit more then. I'm pretty sure they eventually involved into ST games or something... Thoughts on piracy should be expressed soon (-ish).

    @David: Thanks for informing the people mate ;) I should manage a review bit on the series as soon as possible. And -of course- you are more than welcome!

  4. You're right that the Megagames "evolved" into other titles - some of the graphics ended-up in Ocean's Gift From The Gods on the ZX Spectrum and the general idea for one of the game (Bandersnatch) eventually reached the Amiga and Atari ST as a game called Brataccas which didn't exactly set the world alight.

    In fact, according to Wikipedia (which I've just consulted) Psychlapse (the C64 "megagame") didn't make it beyond some ideas scrawled on a piece of paper.

    Imagine were largely the victim of having risen very quickly in a very young industry and being unable to deal with encroaching competition from better-run companies. Having said that, from what I can gather, some of their management decisions were absolutely ridiculous (they poured all their staff into writing the ill-fated "Megagames" meaning they were unable to produce any other games and ended-up being unable to fulfill their obligations to business partners) and Imagine would probably have been in trouble even without competition from the likes of Ocean.

  5. There's an excellent article here:

    Crash 12 Imagine Article

    which I think is the print version of the documentary Matty is talking about. It's an amazing read.

    If Bruce seriously thinks piracy had anything to do with their epic failure, he is delusional.

  6. I'm so glad the GOLD link was included in this post, otherwise I might never have read that story/BBC transcript about Imagine and the megagames. Fascinating stuff. It was a bit before my time, but striking in its similarities to the Dot Com crash (which was right at the beginning of my career as a designer).

    I remember my old executives blamed everyone but themselves when we crashed and burned as well.

    Thanks for the link to the story.

  7. @ Matty: I once again stand deeply enlightened my friend! Bratacas seems like a truly interesting game. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that Imagine wasn't just mismanaged, but actually stolen from. Seems like a most shady kind of collapse to me, to be frank...

    @ Milieu: Excellent link! Thanks. Obviously piracy is always the easy and quite obviously wrong way to justify software company failures.

    @ David: Hmmm, the similarity to the Dot Com crash is rather intriguing a thought...

  8. That Basic Program was GREAT!

  9. Yeees, but that's Artful Gamer for you... Digital interactive poetry...