Apr 30, 2009

The Adventure 2600 Reboot

Atari Adventure 2600 RebootWhen I first encountered Adventure on the Atari 2600, I was nothing more than a ridiculously young kid, and was thus too confused by its less than straightforward gameplay to actually bother. It was only years later -on the very same 2600- that I actually gave the game a fair chance to impress me, and, to point, it did. Adventure was far more complex and ambitious than the vast majority of simple arcade games that were available for the console and also a decent attempt at transforming the original text-based Adventure (a.k.a. Colossal Cave, Advent etc) into a simpler, joystick controlled, graphical and less processor hungry form. It even sported the first ever video game easter egg. Adventure was indeed a classic.

Then again, not all classics or ground-breaking games age that well. Load Adventure on any emulator for reasons other than nostalgia or historical curiosity, and you'll probably fail to see what the fuss was all about. It'll most probably feel clunky, archaic and quite confusing. Load Colossal Cave, on the other hand, and you'll still be blown away; but that's beside the point.

The point, you see, is nothing else than the shiny Adventure 2600 Reboot, for it is a brand new, excellent and obviously freeware retro remake of the Atari's Adventure. It sports excellent 16-bit styled graphics, proper sound effects, music, more options, new areas, tons of polish and -importantly- a brand new interface that makes the original gameplay shine. Download it, play it, enjoy it and then go on and read this GameSetInterview on Adventure Reboot.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Apr 28, 2009

Simon the Sorcerer 5 and some Gnome's Lair news

Simon the Sorcerer 5Finally! After two not particularly exciting games, Simon nailed that elusive 3D look. Probably has to do with the combination of gorgeous hand-painted background graphics with smartly cell-shaded characters methinks. Now, if the humour and puzzles are as good as the they were in the first two 16-bit Simon the Sorcerer installments, we can all be sure that Simon the Sorcerer 5: Who'd Even Want Contact?! will be an excellent PC adventure indeed. Mind you, the German demo seems fine, and you can download it from Simon's highly informative official site.

For another (or a first) go at the original games on the other hand, you could do much worse than having a look at GOG.com. Oh, and better avoid Simon 3D as it does have more than its fair share of flaws.

Anyway. On to the Gnome's Lair related bit of the post. Thing is, you see, I'll soon (mid-May) be joining the army for something less than year, meaning that new posts will be sporadic at best. BUT, till then, I hope to actually revitalize the blog and provide you with quite a few decent quality posts, that will among other things include two game reviews, an interview, a retro focused guest post and a lot of free games. And that while working on the upcoming issue of Retroaction, updating Retro Treasures, doing stuff for that little project of mine and adding the finishing touches to a PhD.

That's all for now. Really.

Apr 19, 2009

A nice little post with some nice little mags in it

Not that you would have noticed otherwise (I'm quite aware my posting isn't as frequent as it should be; sorry about that), but, well, guess I'd let you know I wont be around for the next 6-7 days. Taking a short vacation, you see. In Crete of all places!

Now, to keep you occupied while you're anxiously waiting, I thought I'd point you towards the latest Retromags offerings: Next Generation #20 and PSM #2. Both issues are freely available for download, scanned and preserved to perfection and sport an amazing variety of quality retro reading. Personal favourites include reviews of X-Wing (Mac), Duke Nukem 3D (PC) and Oddworld (PS), mind. And yes, I did notice the extensive coverage of Mario 64 and N64.

Oh, and if you want to find out what I've already loved to bits and will soon be reviewing for this very lair do follow mystery link 1 and mystery link 2.

Apr 13, 2009

Decker's Delight Links (13.Apr.09)

Deckers and shadowrunners rejoice! Here -finally- are the links you've been asking for. The links to some of the smartest and most original (though not particularly fresh) things the gaming side of the Internet has to offer. Click away.
System Shock 2 ShodanLet's start by me reminding everyone that Gabriel Knight 3 remains one of the best and most memorable games I've ever played. Ever! So, uhm, here's an excellent Making Of... The GK Trilogy, an incredibly enlightening Gabriel Knight 3 postmortem and a shocking visit to Rennes-le-Chateau.

Oh, and while you are rummaging through the hardy developer's workshop (which you should), you do have to pay extra attention at the 7 best martial art scenes in adventure games.

Keeping on with classic adventure gaming links let me point you to a comprehensive piece on early Sierra games and Mojo's detailed -nay, exhaustive- look at The Dig. Then, be wise and study an article about adventure game puzzles to put things into perspective.

Play this thing gives sound advice and speaks words of wisdom in Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be game developers. By the way, remember the Scratchware Manifesto?

And to keep the indie flag flying and -of course- our spirits high here is WiiHD's quite amazing Wii Homebrew Guide, that allows everyone to have some cost effective fun. What a concept. Oh, dear.

Speaking of concepts, well, here are some rather interesting examples of video game box art courtesy of PC World. As is customary in these things, you should epect more than a few Maria Whittaker, Psygnosis and Amiga references.

Meanwhile in the dark halls of GameSetWatch: Intergalactic spies bring us the secrets behind the development of N64 hit Star Wars: Shadows Of the Empire.

Matty on Games, on the other hand, has done some stellar work exploring some not particularly well known Henhouse Harry games. Like Chuckie Apple for example. Or even Chuckie Egg 2.

On the unreleased games front, let me tell you that (as discovered by the Joy of Sticks) the Jaguar XJ220 Atari ST version is no longer one. I mean it just got finished and released as freeware by its original programmer. Read on...

Finally, Ironic Sans, presents a truly novel idea, that apparently looked -and to be frank still looks- great on paper. It's the Blogosphere Adventure Game concept, it is.

Super fast Quick Links

Apr 9, 2009

Retromags unleashing three wild GameFan issues

GameFan was a US magazine that I, well, had never heard of really. Apparently the thing was first released in 1992 and managed to survive all the way to 2000, despite (?) having an obvious thing for all things console and an admittedly interesting ultra-colourful layout. Now, as the super retro mag scanning team that runs the excellent Retromags has scanned the three first issues of GameFan and as I have already happily browsed through dozens of virtual GameFan pages, I can't help but suggest you too have a look. It might not be the console equivalent of the 90s PC Zone, but GameFan makes for an interesting, nostalgic and fun read.

Download issue 1 here, issue 2 here and issue 3 here. They are obviously free to get and you should probably also get a copy of the equally freeware CDisplay to help you read through them and enjoy game reviews covering everything from the Neo Geo, to the Sega CD, the Genesis, the SNES, the Turbografx-16 and even the Atari Lynx. Oh, and vintage Nintendo fans should definitely follow this link too.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Apr 6, 2009

Molstrums Vintage Apple Mansion

Legacy realms of TerrorI still have fond and occasionally terrifying memories of the first non-parser driven adventure I ever played: Uninvited. It was brilliant, innovative and horrific and was followed by Déjà Vu -which I somehow ignored-and then the excellent Shadowgate that once again attempted to scare me to death. But, sadly, I was 12 by the time I tried that last one and could already bare over 3 horror movies a day, thus failing to feel that dear uneasiness. Then I think I missed most of ICOM's other adventures and only came close to experiencing something similar when Microprose released the great but flawed The Legacy: Realms of Terror.

And then, well, glorious TIG Source came along and showed me the way to another haunted mansion. Molstrums Mansion. It's an ACE Team creation that feels, smells and plays like a proper early point-and-click adventure (it must be one then, right?), runs in your browser, sports a decidedly ICOM-esque interface, comes with glorious black and white graphics and successfully atmospheric sounds, takes place in a spooky mansion, has a solid plot with a few humorous bits in it and is a true joy to play through. Yes, despite being on the rather easy side of things and lacking a save feature.

Molstrums MansionOh, and Molstrums Mansion plays on what can only be described as a web-based simulation of a vintage b&w Mac, utilizing what can only be described as a faux copy protection scheme that subtly plugs the team's visually stunning (and forthcoming) commercial ZenoClash project.

PS. Yes, I know I should have also mentioned Elvira I & II, Waxworks and those excellent Radical Poesis Games like Fedora Spade and Missing, which is something I apparently just did. All fine then. Go play Molstrums Mansion.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:

Apr 1, 2009

Legends of Zork LIVE!

Legends of ZorkThis blog will remain April Fool's Day joke free forever. Or, well, for as long as it stays around, meaning you simply won't have to doubt the good news I bring you, consequently meaning that you should be clicking your collective way to the virtual world of Legends of Zork. It just opened its gates, you see, and after trying it for over 20 minutes I must say I'm happily surprised with the quality of the thing. One might even call it brilliant.