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ubersaurus

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About ubersaurus

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  • Birthday June 12

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  1. Oh yes, thank you for reminding me! Another researcher, Whitney Pow, is running a history panel later that same Friday (5:30 pm) entitled "The Glitch: Queer and Transgender Video Game History," which will focus, at least in part, on Jamie Fenton's contributions to video games and digital artwork. I know they've got access to some really interesting items from recent (and as-yet unpublished) interviews Fenton has given, so it should be a good talk as well.
  2. For any enthusiasts who are going to Magfest or live on the east coast, Rachel Simone Weil and I will be running a history panel all about the independent developer/enthusiast scene that cropped around the Astrocade! Obviously quite unique for a game console to have vastly more unofficial, "bedroom coder" style software releases than official ones, and having enthusiast-developed and sold hardware is similarly incredible. We'll be talking about how this scene coalesced, the kind of unique, even artful programs that were created, how it petered out, and if there's time, even a bit about the current state of homebrew development for the platform. I also plan on bringing my Astrocade to the museum area and having it set up to play immediately following the panel with some BASIC games and homebrew/indie stuff on the ultimulti. Magfest is Jan. 2-5 in National Harbor, Maryland, and the panel itself will be recorded and posted on YouTube in the weeks following the event.
  3. Oh yes, not to toot my own horn too much, but I have been reaching out and interviewing people/digging through older sources for my Atari Archive youtube series. If you have interest in any particular games, I highly suggest checking into it! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo_f7y6sBDmFnGbZoq1Ce_w?view_as=subscriber
  4. This book just came out and is quite exhaustive. https://www.amazon.com/They-Create-Worlds-Companies-1971-1982/dp/1138389900 There's also the All in Color for a Quarter blog - I know he's been working on a book, but last I heard it came in way too long to publish in one piece. Dunno what he's doing there. http://allincolorforaquarter.blogspot.com/ Finally I would also refer you to ballyalley.com for information on the Astrocade, and the Hagley Library & Museum has recently posted scans of some of their RCA Studio II-related documents. https://digital.hagley.org/weisbecker there are primary documents held at the Hagley on RCA, the Strong Museum of Play on a number of topics, the Computer History Museum, the National Videogame Museum, and Stanford as well.
  5. Football was listed as available in a 1980 Zircon press release; Casino Poker and Alien Invasion did get listed in their Christmas 1981 order forms though. Though for what it’s worth, the Feb 1982 Arcade Alley column says Alien Invasion was still upcoming.
  6. Forgot to note this, but last year Earl Green did a podcast about the death of the Odyssey3 and how it links to the Odyssey4/Intellivision IV crossover project. He has a little timeline of events implemented on the page for the podcast, too. http://www.thelogbook.com/selectgame/2018/10/21/303-odyssey3/
  7. Getting my next video out before the US holiday. It's Slot Machine, the game David Crane literally wrote for his mother!
  8. I do think there's a good game in there! I just wish the controls weren't so poorly suited to the actual game. I tried talking to Reuterdahl to pick his brain about the game but he seems pretty down on his time at Atari and didn't want to go into it. I suspect making this was not a good experience for him.
  9. The newest video is up, and all about the history of Miniature Golf - an unpopular conversion of an unreleased Atari arcade game. I don't dislike this game, but it is certainly a flawed one.
  10. Dunno about the SII hardware, but I know the Supercharger was designed to not use the R/W line on the 2600 because it had been up-to-then unused and the designers were concerned Atari might eliminate it at some point (from an interview I did with Craig Nelson). They found another workaround to get access to the additional RAM on that machine, so I wonder if there was some similar process Wright used here. He really did imply it was a full-bore VIP with the adapter.
  11. So thanks to Tom Chen, I've been able to get in touch with Jack Wright, the hardware engineer behind that tester cart for the Studio II! Correspondence is ongoing (so hopefully I'll have a lot more in the next couple weeks), but I did send him a photo of the tester that turned up. He said it looked like something from the RCA Labs to test prototypes of the Studio II before they started manufacturing it in North Carolina - he doesn't remember anything they used for testing consoles on the assembly line looking like it. Doesn't sound like he knows if that's the same style of unit that went out to the repair and maintenance shops. One interesting tidbit - he said that since the Studio II was borne out of the same basic design behind the Cosmac VIP, he took it upon himself at one point to develop an insertable game card that would turn the Studio II into a full-fledged VIP, just to prove it could be done. Said the end result was a bit unwieldy and RCA wasn't interested in pursuing it as an actual product. I've asked if he still has any of the documentation behind that design and he said he'd check - might be interesting if it's something that could be reproduced with current components!
  12. This video is probably the most anyone has ever - or will ever - talk about Casino. Seems like a fine enough gambling game, but boy it sure made me wish I knew the first thing about Poker!
  13. I've bought their super pots and swapped out the old ones in a number of my paddle controllers that desperately needed it, as cleanings weren't getting the job done. They're fantastic.
  14. Yeah, one of a kind games - especially prototypes that are frequently, if not always, on media with a limited shelf life - should absolutely be preserved if at all possible. And Cifaldi has historically been willing to work with these collectors to back up those games to make sure that they're not at risk of being lost permanently. I know who he's referring to, and the guy has been happy to sell off these protos and such to back up. It sucks that it has come to that rather than everybody pursuing the goal of saving as much game history as possible, but collectors hoarding historical artifacts and keeping them from being properly preserved or available for research has predated video games and will undoubtedly outlast them. Easiest to just work with those folks to find some kind of amicable ground. And given how much of his own money he has spent on that pursuit and to make game periodicals and documents available to researchers via the VGHF (which no, he hasn't charged people for access, and he's even put a number of previously unseen press materials online for free) I don't think your argument holds up in the slightest.
  15. Well, not in the modern sense. Games and consoles basically just dribbled out over the course of weeks and months as the distribution network across the country made its rounds. But the Sears version was reaching their stores the same time that the Atari branded one was getting out there too.
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