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Showing content with the highest reputation on 10/13/2018 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    So my 12 year-old nephew read the still-in-progress Christmas Carol story in a single sitting. Well, actually in two, as he took a break when we left to go to the movies in the afternoon. In any case, he finished it. Then, with my heart in my throat and a great deal of apprehension I asked him what he thought and he said ... "It's good. It's really good." Phew! I could breath again. We were all standing in the kitchen, surrounding him: me, my wife, and his parents; and we all stared at him, each one asking more questions and drilling the poor child. I was mostly relieved and let the others asked the questions for me. I didn't want to seem too pushy, so I let them be it instead. Anyway, here are some constructive comments he offered in response to the heavy-handed interview -- all of which of exceedingly important value to me: His favorite part was when Carol found all the candy in the Candy Cove. He suggested that I give names to some of the other background characters, like the many random elves that have dialogue or take some action in the opening chapters of the story. His main criticism was that the story seemed much too heavy with complex words. I mentioned that I don't mind leaving a few (kids will do well to expand their vocabulary), but will definitely revise it if there are too many. He responded that there are too many. I mentioned that I will make illustrations of certain passages, and he requested specifically one for the candy hoard in the Candy Cove. I asked him if he could follow the story: "yes." I asked him if the plot made sense: "yes." I asked him if the structure of the story, its sequence of events and chapter organization made sense and were easy to follow: "yes." My wife asked if the characters were interesting: "oh yes!" My wife asked about Carol's character, if it was too ham-fisted either too superhumanly lucky, brave, strong, resourceful; or too lame, cowardly, stupid, or silly. He said she was "normal, but good normal. Just right." My wife also asked if he was able to follow the geography of the story, where each room and tunnel was located in space, in relation to each other; he said, "yes." Asked what he thought of the Ghost of Christmas Presents, he said, "he was very good." I asked him if my Santa Claus dialogue sounded like he would expect Santa Claus to talk, and he said "yes, very well." I asked him what he thought of the side character Finnley Elf, the cartographer who made the map; his eyes lit up and he said, "that was good!" When I mentioned that perhaps the Finnley Elf story could form part of a sequel book, he got very excited and said, "oh yes!" and added, "also about the Ghost, on Halloween or something like that!" When asked if he would imagine this book targeted at other 12 to 14 year-old children like himself, he hesitated a little, then said, " hmm ... maybe 7 to 9 year-old (as long as you clean up some of the complex words)." He got excited when I showed him I had a map of the caverns, and he started asking all sorts of questions about where some scenes took place. He was able to figure out the rest. At one point, my wife asked what did he think about the part when Carol gets so frightened and frustrated that she breaks down and cries, if it was too over-the-top; and he said, "let me review it quickly," and he knew just where to go, and went straight to the page where it happened! He then said about that part, "it was fine, and fits her." So there. Christmas Carol is now "wife-tested, nephew-approved," and it survived a great round of critique. My nephew promised now to go back to the manuscript and highlight any complex words and other parts that could use editing and to write down comments on the margins for improvements and suggestions. When pressed a little about the intended audience, he said he imagined older kids enjoying the story like he did, but would probably not pick it up out of the blue based solely on the title and theme. That perhaps if it gets published and buzz builds up around it, then they would try it and discover they like it. He suggested that he and others like him, typically choose books based either on an intrinsic topic of their interest, or on their covers; and he assumes that a cover for this title may not be that attractive to them based solely on its initial impression. Overall, all wonderful feedback. Now I can't wait to finish it! That's it for now. See ya'! -dZ.
  2. 1 point
    Apollo presented the games market with a very mixed bag of games. Some were rather fun to play but not very original, like Space Cavern, others were original but not at all fun to play, like Racquetball. One game though seemed to rise above the rest, garnering a somewhat cult status in some circles, that game is Infiltrate. It’s impressive that a game company which appeared and vanished so very quickly even had any offering at all; Apollo was a flash in the pan even when compared to other third-party companies. Apollo was the second third-party company to publish for the 2600 after Activision, and in their one year run, managed to publish eleven games of varying quality. It seems that the owner of the company was getting a bit too big for his britches and was running the company into the ground with lavish spending and delusions of grandeur, the main core of programmers fled the company which ultimately led to it filing for bankruptcy, don’t worry the programmers went on to program for other, more established, companies. The final game to be released by Apollo was Guardian, hence the rarity since almost immediately after it went into production Apollo was dead. Let’s now look at the game though, or we’ll just be here all day weeping, this is Infiltrate. AHHH! MY EYES, IT SO RAINBOW!!! This is an extremely basic looking arcade platformer, it looks strikingly similar to Fast Eddie (TCF) but with a few notable differences. First of you have a very garish color palette, and instead of ladders you have raising and lowering platforms, some of which will raise up two floors while some will on raise up one. Instead of having a, very goofy looking, spy on each floor Infiltrate only has two that will doggedly attempt to catch you or shoot you. Admittedly this game doesn't look very good, everything is super chunky, the spies look like ghosts, the secret documents you need to collect are a rectangle as tall as you, and you are a stick figure wearing a top hat, I’ll admit that the explosion looks fairly decent but that’s about it. This game has the bare basics of sounds; most of it is just repeated beeps of a different pitch. I’ll admit that the sounds do fit fairly well with the presented aesthetic but it still just feels lazy, I’ve been spoiled by better sounding 2600 games and now I want them all to sound good, but that’s never going to happen. I will admit though that the explosion sound is very nice, but that about the only thing I can praise in the sound department. The premise of the game is very simple, get to the top and then get to the bottom, avoid the spy guys. In practice the game is far more difficult, with every secret document collected the spy guys get faster and smarter, until they become so fast and smart that it’s impossible to play the game. That’s my main gripe with this game, as soon as you make a round trip, top to bottom, the spy guys are so fast that it’s impossible to outrun them or even get a shot in, in the end it’s all down to the luck of the duck. You shoot them, duck, and pray you hit them before they hit you, or you’ll miss and they’ll just run into you and take a life. The game is incredibly hard but it does have the ever coveted ‘one more time’ mentality that so many games try and fail to acquire, this game is fun, it’s fun to see how many trips you can make before your lives are drained, I bet this would be an incredibly fun multiplayer game, but since I have no friends that will never happen. Also like many Apollo games this one has a good amount of game variations where you can select the amount of players, spy guy intelligence, and whether the spy guys are invisible. For what it is, Infiltrate is a fun game, but by no means is it a masterpiece. It’s also a very cheap game; I’m seeing loose carts on Ebay for at least five buck. No Collector’s Zone for this game today, mainly for being a decently fun game and for being incredibly inexpensive.
  3. 1 point
    Who here remembers Dig Dug? All of you? Well that’s good because I WAS gonna talk about it today but instead of doing that I actually just kept playing the game, and by the time I realized I need to start writing the review I was out of time to write it. So, instead of putting it off a day I’m just going to tell you right now, if you don’t own Dig Dug on 2600 you NEED to get it right away, no joke I just spent three hours playing Dig Dug. I have tested the 2600, Intellivision, 7800, arcade via a plug-n-play, and Colecovision versions and the only one I wanted to keep playing was the 2600 version. Despite its graphical shortcomings the 2600 version was the only one I could fully enjoy. You can find copies all over the place in the wild, on Amazon and Ebay people are asking 10-15 dollars which, while a bit steep, is a fair price to pay for such an amazing game. I don’t even think this game needs a review, just go out there and play the damn game already!! I just spent three hours of my life playing this game, you should too.
  4. 1 point
    We all have our own unique like and dislikes, it's fine for you to dislike or be indifferent to something I love and vice versa. Weirdly enough though, I'm not actually a big fan of Dig Dug at all, if anything I rather dislike the arcade version (I have played the actual machine), it's only the 2600 version that stands out. Yep the Coleco version is just a prototype, just imagine the arcade version but all stretched out on your 16:9 monitor and there you go.
  5. 1 point
    If I'm not mistaken, Buck Rogers was another one of those games that started out as something completely unrelated and later had a license tacked onto it. *googles to check* Yep, the game was a Sega arcade original called Zoom 909, released in Japanese arcades in '82 and on the SG-1000 and MSX in '85. The Western console and computer ports had the Buck Rogers license, but the games are more or less the same. Not sure how the Buck Rogers IP came into play, but at least we can take a pretty good guess as to where "Planet of Zoom" came from.
  6. 1 point
  7. 1 point
    Try WinFF. It's a converter for many audio/video formats. I did a test with a MIDI to MP3 conversion and it works.
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