Gaming

I hate to admit it outside of the workplace, but I'm actually pretty massive on games. Ever since a child, I've always loved video games, and especially arcade games. That first flush of excitement that hit me in the first arcade that I ever visited as a small boy has never really subsided. Even as I find myself heading into my forties it is still there burning brightly throughout the annals of my mind. Thought I'd write a little about that here, to try and explain why, and show people that games are not just games, but sometimes really important social phenomena and often incredible works of art. Many people think of them as mere toys, until they understand the often super-human effort that is behind their production ...

Rollcage, Rebus

The combat racer. Today, and seemingly for the longest time, an archaic concept consigned to history. Where simulation and the sandbox dominate the motoring scene, where have those heavy weapon racers gone? Where are the guns? Where are the missiles? Where those glorious, refulgent explosions? In the mists of your memories, golden days spent at the pad of the arcing, mellifluous Wipeout, majestic sessions in battle through the frenetic, hardcore classic that is Rollcage. All that is left, fleeting vistas sweeping through your mindscape of a bygone age. The combat racer, in all its grizzled glory, gone. Achingly absent. Lost. Perhaps, forever? Not if we have anything to do with it.
[read more]

Rollcage, Redux

A little while back, I was having a conversation with an old friend of mine. We turned to reminiscing about the past, to a time when we used to work together, in an old converted stable somewhere in deepest, darkest Warwickshire. Rollcage, a game we had both worked on, became the conversation's focus. "You said something pretty profound, way back in 1999" he said, "it's something I've never forgotten. Can you remember what that was?" I thought about it for a moment, but of course, I couldn't recall what it might have been. It was so long ago, I hadn't a hope of guessing what it was he was referring to.
[read more]

Nemesis, and it was, mine

Known as Gradius to the rest of the world, and the game that started the whole 'shmup genre. For me, Nemesis was a real turning point in the development of arcade games. Sure, we had had some scrolling shoot-em-ups (or shmups) before then, but they had no complexity and certainly no real heart. I remember seeing Nemesis for the first time in 1985 in an arcade in a Welsh holiday town. The sort of games that we had seen before then were quite rudimentary (although great at the time) - Space Invaders, Pacman, Asteroids, Tron, Gorf, Defender, Galaxians - you know the sort of thing.
[read more]

MAME, Making it real

What you will need So, you want to make that childhood dream come true and you want to know what you need in order to do that. You will need to be PC literate, used to messing around inside of PCs and also used to working "behind-the-scenes" with command prompts and the like. In addition, you will need to know how to install an operating system such as Windows 98 from scratch. If all goes well, you will only need a day of your time. The hardware that you need is as follows: JAMMA compatible arcade cabinet PC, 512MB+ RAM, 1GHz+ processor, 40GB+ hard disk, 120MB+ floppy drive, DVD ROM drive 15KHz compatible video card Old-school sound card JPAC interface PC speaker system The software that you need is as follows: Windows 98 or MSDOS 7 Memory manager AdvanceMAME AdvanceMENU MAME roms The hardware Setting up the hardware is relatively easy, once you've got the right equipment.
[read more]

MAME, Multi Arcade Machine Emulator

For those people that have lived outside of the Solar System for the past decade, MAME is all about playing old arcade games on modern consumer equipment; equipment such as PCs, Macs or even XBOXs. MAME been developed from its early days back in 1997, and those eight years of heritage clearly show in the complexity and completeness of this miracle in software engineering. As a games programmer myself, I fully understand the difficulties and challenges that those on the MAME team have faced - and I totally salute their achievement knowing full-well the monumental effort that has gone into its production.
[read more]