Edited by Paul Monopoli & Marcus Schmerl
In the 90s if you managed to play Rock n’ Roll Racing, The Lost Vikings or Blackthorne (Blackhawk depending where in the world you live) you may be familiar with the name ‘Silicon and Synapse’. Today this company is known at ‘Blizzard’ and the still continue to release hit after hit, including the up and coming campaign StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.
Gamespot (via NeoGaf) have reported an interesting piece of news regarding a new division that the company is forming. The ‘Classic Games Division’, as it is to be known, will be a new group designed to assist in the revival of classic franchises and Blizzard are currently looking for staff to join the team. The following extract is taken from the post over at NeoGaf regarding the new position:
SENIOR SOFTWARE ENGINEER, CLASSIC GAMES
Compelling stories. Intense multiplayer. Endless replayability. Qualities that made StarCraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo II the titans of their day. Evolving operating systems, hardware, and online services have made them more difficult to be experienced by their loyal followers or reaching a new generation.
We’re restoring them to glory, and we need your engineering talents, your passion, and your ability to get tough jobs done.
So if you like wearing many hats, know small teams are the most effective, and look forward to challenges that will create millions of new adventures for our players: we would love to hear from you.
-Make gameplay first again on modern operating systems.
-Create conditions for experiences that look as good as they play.
-Own implementation and curation of features new and old.
-Combat hacking to improve multiplayer.
-Diagnose and fix all the things: crashes, deadlocks, overflows, heap corruptions, etc.
Interestingly, there are specific mentions of the games StarCraft, WarCraft III and Diablo II in the advertisement, so these may be the first titles they intend to focus on. Whether this will extend to the likes of the original WarCraft, WarCraft II and the other titles I mentioned earlier, well I guess time will tell. Personally I’d be keen to play WarCraft II on a computer again rather than rely on the PlayStation version, which isn’t a bad port considering you have to use a controller.
I should also add that Blackthorne, The Lost Vikings and Rock n’ Roll Racing are available to download for Windows (Blackthone is available on both Windows and OSX).
In 1998, DreamForge released a creepy and eccentric point and click Windows 98 adventure game called Sanitarium . The game is not very well known, but those that do know of and/or have played it gave it much praise due to the atmosphere and how genuinely scary the game was. To briefly summarise the storyline, your character wakes up from a coma to find out he is in an asylum in the middle of nowhere. You play as ‘Max’, or at least that’s what the residents of the asylum call you, and you explore the facility as well as other nearby locations. However, something just doesn’t sit right, mainly with the locations like a circus in the middle of an ocean, as well as the NPCs themselves.
It sounds creepy yet interesting doesn’t it? I suppose most (not all) point and click adventures do have interesting stories after all. DotEmu has recently rereleased Sanitarium with new control systems (replacing mouse and keyboard) for touch screen devices. The game allows swapping between touch or pad mode for controls, features an automated save system, plus you can play the game in French or German as well as English. It’s available now on both Google Play for Android and the iOS App Store, as well as for Windows on both Good old Games and Steam.
With the release of Fallout 4 right around the corner, this is a perfect opportunity to share something much more retro yet topical. The video above is a demo of Fallout ’84, which is designed as a demake of Fallout 4, for the Apple IIc computer. But that’s not all that’s interesting; this demo was developed by a crack team of talented people including renowned Chiptune musicians 8 Bit Weapon using a Java based program called Outlaw Editor. This program is worth checking out if you’re into classic 8bit PC role playing and adventure games. (Source: web link via technabob)
We all remember the SNES CD / Sony prototype from earlier this year, and despite the recent radio silence, many questions remained. Was it real? Was it an elaborate hack or hoax? If it was real, would it indeed work? A recent article at Retrocollect indicates that, in their words, “this is without a doubt the real deal”. The owner took the prototype to the Retro.HK Expo, played some cartridge based games, took it apart to show off its internal circuitry, and even managed to get an ‘insert disc’ screen up (despite the lack of a functional CD ROM BIOS). Check the link to see more pictures and description of the original PlayStation in action.
Finally for the week is this short film created by Melanie Swalwell in conjunction with various academics right around the world. Melanie is the co-convenor of the Digital Heritage research group at Flinders University. The film focuses on the research of Creative Microcomputing in Australia and features some of the people in the research group and projects that they have underway. The video also features some footage inside their new lab. Check out the Flinders University page for more extensive information on this research.