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Shaggy the Atarian

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About Shaggy the Atarian

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    Utah
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    Video Games(arcades), music, movies, astronomy, writing
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    Tomb Raider (2014); Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
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  1. Ok, I got a response from one of the game developers on Minimum (he is now a professor of Game Design at Purdue U.), and since I promised I'd share, here you go. HH that he refers to is Human Head Studios (now defunct); He later added in the chat that Atari is "a truly pathetic operation" that showed how desperate HH was for work so they could stay afloat: It's really too bad - Minimum could have made for a pretty good VCS exclusive, as it really was a fun game, but Atari's penchant for screwing their devs over on payment likes to get in the way. That's always a great attitude to have when operating a new game console & distribution platform, as both Fergal Mac and Rob Wyatt found out.
  2. I didn't say there aren't compelling experiences, just that it's still a long ways off and not a guarantee that it will become the de facto standard in gaming. VR needing more Beat Sabers is far easier said than done (funny enough, that's a "stand in one spot" game there are many others, including the pinball titles you mention, most games with "simulator" or "trainer" in the name, Vader Immortal, etc.), it's like saying that you just need more sales to be a success - well, yeah. Doesn't mean it's going to happen. Just like with the Wii, WiiU, Kinect, & Move - there was more potential that could've been tapped out of those gimmicks, but outside of some exceptions, the hits didn't materialize and we're back to more traditional controllers with gyro controls being used every once in a while. Yeah, it was well done, but it also hasn't become a "Beat Saber" VR seller either. Most people haven't heard of it. Tacking VR onto big properties is a nice way to reward those who bought into the tech already, but it's not necessarily causing people to drop everything and invest in VR either. Like you said, it needs more unique titles that become tech sellers, but just saying/hoping for that doesn't make it devs have those epiphanies needed to make it happen. Has anyone tried using a VR headset on their VCS? Perhaps that would make it slightly more compelling
  3. Lol, and none of that meant anything to consumers - whom that all affected directly? You once again are demonstrating that you don't have a clue as to what you are talking about. I don't know what you use for your sources, but you really need to get some new ones.
  4. I think it was on the old NeoGAF forum where that sort of spin was going on. And I've worked with some people who are professionally invested in the tech to the point that they buy that sort of hype, but yeah, crazy. Well, VR is a different beast really. With most game devices, I don't have to wear anything to use it. I look at a screen and use a controller to interact with what's on screen. With VR, you're wearing the screen, which also changes the dynamic of what games work with it. This ends up putting the player camera, something that is normally a kind of 2nd person perspective, onto the player's face. While there are some cool things that you can do with that, there are limitations as well. VR then has other limiting factors - price, health (vertigo/headaches/potential injury), compelling software. They can be overcome, but it depends on how much certain companies want to invest or can invest into it over the long run. What VR has done has absorbed different fads and packed them into one - stereoscopic 3D gaming, motion controls, VR itself. Whether or not that will equal lasting success still remains to be seen, but doesn't indicate that it'll become the de facto standard for gaming. In terms of games, yeah people can get crazy about a game like Beat Saber and invest in the tech - then they get tired of it a short time later and they have a nice $500-1000 paperweight since they never use it. Compare that to how many hours people can spend on Minecraft, and VR's a drop in the bucket, comparatively. Unfortunately, a lot of VR games aren't very good, and you can only copy the "stand in this spot and shoot at waves of things approaching you from all sides" so many times before it becomes boring. You have to put it into perspective though. Sure, 5 million PSVR units is great, in and of itself. But it's very small when placed next to the PS4's 115 million unit sales. That mainly showed how big the current early/avid adopter market is, but it's not as massive as it really could be. In reality, AR has vastly outsold VR, although it's sneaky - every smartphone is an AR device. AR has some similar problems in actually being used though, in that outside of concepts like Pokemon Go or QR Code scans, they haven't figured out much else to do with it yet that can draw in millions of sales. That said, there are some very interesting concepts in AR, and if it started to receive as much funding as VR has brought in, that could end up changing. That was about 1974-75, when most stuff on the market was just Pong knock-offs. Atari got lucky with Tank!, which helped save them from bankruptcy, then managed to get the home Pong units out the door. Then Breakout changed everything and gave them the boost that led to the 2600 and the other things that led to the Golden Age. The thing with VR and why I don't jump on it as the Next Big Thing, is that it's been around for so long, that we've seen the same song and dance before. In many ways, it's like 3D movies, which also get this bump every few decades after everyone forgets about it. VR got started back in the 60s with the Sword of Damocles setup, but obviously the tech was far too crude for a mainstream product; then you had experiments with it in the late 80s and early 90s. Virtuality made a really solid go at it in the 90s, but then it all came crashing down until Lucky Palmer resurrected it. Yeah, the tech has improved a lot, but it's still nowhere near a lock that it's going to become how we all play games (same with streaming). The HD switch required enormous changes in tech infrastructure including the billions spent on upgrading, or inventing new tech to handle the potentials of 1080p over 480i or less. Everything in media - movies, TV, video games, internet, computing - changed to adapt, which cost a lot of money. Developers had to spend more money to make games, as artists had to spend more time and learn new skills to handle the higher quality textures/models/techniques; Filmmakers had to update various aspects of production to shoot in the new resolutions; New wiring standards were produced (HDMI, Display Port); Factories had to retool their lines to manufacture the new technologies; ISPs have had to make massive changes and upgrades to handle the amount of data that is required just for HD video content and gaming and the government eventually mandated changes to OTA signals, all because of this switch. There was a "format war" in 2006-09 or so between HD DVD and Blu-Ray that was noticed by more than just tech bloggers. You also are forgetting that the switch changed aspect ratio standards. It's kind of a big deal to go 70-80 years at 4:3, then switch over to the 16:9 that HD came with. A lot of that baked-in some future-proofing for 4K/8K, so yeah that hasn't made as big a wave since it didn't need the hype like SD to HD did, and didn't see as drastic a change in the quality and style of footage, but adoption for 4K is moving along just fine and seeing grow. I really have no clue how you can gloss over that and think it's no big deal, unless you were living under a rock the entire time or you weren't around before the switch happened.
  5. Oh, I'm sure that Facebook wouldn't cut corners on their manufacturing quality! One of the unsaid secrets of VR that the spinsters really don't like to acknowledge is that wearable tech is a vector for transmitting certain nasty things - pink eye is common (even with "sanitized" HMDs, if you're not incredibly throrough, something can survive and jump into your eye. Talk about immersion!). No, not everyone that uses VR is getting pink eye, but it can happen. Or worse, you can get your eye socket crushed:
  6. Get yourself a good ad blocker! Then again, I thought I had one and it looks like YouTube changed something recently so I'm seeing their ads again, which I hadn't in a long time. Maybe this will work, it plays for me without an ad: If that's still a problem, here's a link to an article discussing The Void, although mainly their woes. The sum of it was: They were the closest thing we'd seen to a holodeck in terms of "Mixed Reality." It was location-based VR, but you had a maze you would walk through. Inside the headset, the virtual was mapped over the physical, so you could reach out and touch the walls, feel heat from a fire (from an installed heater), sit down, etc. It felt a lot like going into a lazer tag arena with a VR headset, backpack and all. It was cool, but it was far from perfect - the first issue I had when I used it was that where your brain thinks the walls are and where they actually are are a little different (by a few inches). That sort of broke the immersion. There were some other little problems, although I did play a pre-Disney build, so maybe they figured it out. That all said, while the pandemic was blamed for their failure, there were main stories coming out in 2019 (by all accounts, a pretty good year for most businesses) about some troubles The Void was having. Their pricing structure didn't jive with the enormous costs it took to constantly operate. On a tangent, I've tried a lot of different VR things, but I'm in the part of the populace that has issues in using the tech (somewhere around 10% of the pop will have an issue - that's never good for widespread adoption). Even when using the "non-vertigo" inducing, high refresh HMDs, I would still get a little bit of vertigo - after getting Lasik, that also helped, but no matter what system I use, I end up enjoying a migraine for the rest of the day after I use any VR, even if it's just for a few minutes. Normally I don't have migraines at all.
  7. Doesn't the VCS require a bunch of personal info to make an account, email included, and then stores all that data in an easy-to-find, unencrypted file? Not sure how Linux or Atari wins a point there.
  8. Before this falls too far behind in the discussion, I wanted to point out that I'm friends with one of the game designers who worked on Minimum. The company was Human Head Studios, but I remember him telling me about what happened and it wasn't "bad programming." I've asked him to comment on it as it's been a long time, but as I recall, it had to do with Atari being cheapskates and refusing to fund the necessary work that was needed to complete the game and the server side services, which needed constant maintenance and that also meant money, which Atari didn't want to supply. Atari screwed Human Head over to such a degree (including paying them in French stocks, which were difficult to cash in) that it was essentially what put them on the road to closing down a few years later. The horror stories of working with Atari in the game development community are plentiful and no, Atari does not have a good reputation in those circles, having burned many bridges in the quest to chase an easy buck. I'll update here if he responds with any corrections/additions to the events that happened from his end.
  9. IIRC, it was around 2012 that Lucky Palmer popped up on the scene and started the ball rolling, and that's when you had people proclaiming that consoles were assuredly dead because of "how freaking amazing [VR] is" There was a business that started in 2016 just a few stores down from my arcade - they were offering VR to the masses for a relatively cheap starting fee. They setup some locations at different malls around Utah, they were riding the hype. Before the pandemic started though, they ended up closing all of their stores because the money wasn't there. The owner told me how much he made in Christmas 2019, which was the best month I'd ever seen at my arcade, and I made $10k more than he did. There was a pretty cool concept that started here in Utah called The Void. Was the most immersive VR I ever used. But despite having a very good concept and enormous funding from the likes of Google, Disney and others(even having a star facility setup at Disney Springs in Orlando), they just went bankrupt. Yeah, someone else is looking to take their place, but just because something is amazing doesn't guarantee it'll be a success. This circles us back to "this is the year of Linux!" It's said about Linux, it's said about VR, said about game streaming, will be said about the VCS I'm sure. At the moment, VR has had Alyx and Beat Saber as the "big" things that draw people to it (I've also heard some good stuff about Elite as you mentioned, although talking about it from the perspective of: If you approach some random person on the street and ask them to name a VR game, the most likely answers would be HL:Alyx or Beat Saber). They are two great games, but that's not enough to drive adoption to the point where it overcomes the issues in price, reliability, health (vertigo and/or skin issues - even the brand new Oculus Quest 2 is causing problems with some people), etc. A lot of people have gone bankrupt rolling the dice on VR so far, and while it's not going away, companies see that and decide they'll keep waiting or take the cautious approach. It's not a lock that VR will become like it was portrayed in Ready Player One (and we could say the same of game streaming - maybe it will, but not any time soon)
  10. Stadia has been the face of stream gaming, operated by one of the best resourced companies on the planet. Yet they're stumbling hard with it and things aren't getting better for them. This isn't a surprise to anyone who bothers to look at their long history of failures, the primary success that allows them to overcome that being their search engine/ad platform. This happens with every piece of tech that comes with a major inherent issue behind it. Internet & input lag are the primary obstacles for game streaming and just because internet in your area is good for it doesn't mean that it's universally like that everywhere else or that obtaining such service for 4k gaming is anything near affordable. Maybe decades from now, but by the next console generation? Lol, sure. This is similar to the spin that came out when VR reemerged on the scene about 10 years ago. Plenty of claims that the traditional TV/console concept was dead, it was all VR from here on out. Yet here we are in the next generation and Sony has barely mentioned the PSVR for the PS5, Microsoft has abandoned HoloLens for consumers, Nintendo has better things to do, Google dropped their VR support last year. While there are some new HMDs on the horizon, it's still very far and away from becoming mainstream or replacing consoles like I remember reading about.
  11. So very likely that Google has halted 1st party development on games for it, then didn't even mention it during their last big conference and they have to keep telling people that everything's fine with the Stadia, long live the Stadia!
  12. Sure, Tempest itself isn't everyone's cup of tea, and it dwindles the more psychedelic the game became, but the point is more this: Out of all Atari's older properties, the Tempest remakes have stood out for several reasons. They've helped sell hardware. That was certainly true of the Jaguar, and was to a lesser degree on the NUON, and Atari obviously knew enough about how loved Minter's work is to show that game off when they were pitching the entire concept to the public. It's enough that if you watch the Indiegogo pitch video, Tempest 4000 takes center stage, being the only game mentioned in the narration, particularly when they are talking about how there's "so much more" that the VCS would offer in modernizing that wonderful 2600 experience. This would be like Nintendo showing off Wii Sports for the Wii, then not having Wii Sports on the system or advertising a Spider-Man movie then not putting Spider-man in it. Those fandoms would get pretty vocal about being duped, but in the wonderful world of today's Atari, we're supposed to find that as a feature, not a bug (then go and reserve our room at the Atari Hotel)!
  13. Well, most people would, but there would be that small group that would say how innovative it is that they're grilling dogs with a Fuji logo on them, so shut up and take my money, does it come with bluetooth speakers, maybe they can grill E.T. carts next, Atari is BACK!, etc., etc.
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