The March Miscellaneous Mischief
Code, Books, and Squirrels
Welcome to March 2022! I don't have a particularly substantial update or review this month, but thought I would point a few things out. First is several PixelatedArcade code updates have been pushed live; some changes you won't notice as it's mostly backend administrative stuff, but I did finally enable sorting on game lists! It's a pretty basic feature and embarrassing it took this long to get in place. I've actually had the code in place for a while but not enabled due to some really poor performance; I finally resolved the performance issues so it's available now...
Do Not Attempt To Adjust The Picture
Actually, DO Adjust It For These Games
Color monitors are ubiquitous now, but that wasn't so in the early days of computing. On early computer systems and game consoles where support for color displays was even an option, color was always achieved with various trade offs (usually as a result of limited amounts of RAM in order to keep prices low). Some computers simply limited the number of colors available at once; the Amstrad CPC and IBM PC with CGA let programmers set any pixel to any color, but no more than four colors at a time could be on screen (without clever programming that is). Many systems, including the popular Commodore 64, allowed more colors on screen at once with the catch that you couldn't just set any pixel to whatever color you wanted willy nilly; the screen was instead broken up into blocks, and within each block there could only be a limited number of colors (typically 2 or 4) depending on the resolution and computer. And finally, among this list of tricks to achieve color are systems that took advantage of artifacting in NTSC composite video. This oddball technique turned a flaw into an advantage to achieve more colors on the screen with the disadvantage being a loss of resolution and clarity...
Happy Holidays 2021!
The PixelatedArcade 2021 End of Year Roundup
Silpheed: The Arcade Game (Sort Of!)
Re-Imagining a Classic in a New Format and Behind the Scenes
Have you ever wondered what Silpheed might have looked like had there been an arcade version of it? Most likely the answer is no; Still, I thought why not find out? It seemed to me like a natural candidate; the gameplay is arcade-like, the controls are simple enough to be picked up quickly, unless you're good a game only takes a few minutes, and the game even has a demo resembling an arcade game's “attract mode”; not at all unlike many arcade shooters! So, I embarked on a project to not only imagine what such a beast might look like but to actually build a complete, actual size, playable cabinet. Here are some photos and an overview of the final results...
Authentic, or Fake?
Identifying Big Box Computer Game Shrink-Wrap
Dragon Con 2021 Photoset
Cosplay Photos from This Year's Dragon Con and Interesting Stuff
It's been a busy summer here, and now heading into the fall we're keeping equally occupied. Not really a gaming related update this month, however for those interested this past week we returned from Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA and my photoset from the event is now up at PixelatedImages. Dragon Con is always a wonderful time, and after last year being cancelled due the pandemic it was truly great to be out and photographing again. In the meantime, a stack of games has been piling up here that needs to be scanned and uploaded...
Welcome to Xenon
The Sounds of an Early Solid State Pinball Game
Released in 1980, Bally's Xenon broke new ground for pinball. Electro Mechanical machines were on the way out with the last EM game having been released just a year prior; Solid State became the new normal for pinball with hardware that allowed for more complex games, synthesized and/or digitized sounds, and an array of other features. Xenon was not the first solid state machine or the first with digitized voices, however it was the first to feature female voices. All of the music, sounds, and voices in the game were developed and recorded by synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani, and now you can hear her original recordings! A mini-album was recently released on Suzanne Ciani's Bandcamp page featuring all of the vocals, music, and sound effects she recorded during development of the game in their isolated form. This is a rare and fascinating look behind the scenes of a classic pinball game and is worth checking out...