Game savin’

Videogames, especially on home consoles, have had a massive impact on our culture for decades. If you’re old enough, you remember when they suddenly came onto the scene and forever changed how we use our T.V.s. If you’re young enough, you’ve never known a time when videogames didn’t exist. Knowing all this, why wouldn’t we want to preserve older games for future generations to enjoy, as well as appreciate for their historical value? Predictably, two of the main obstacles to this are rights-holders and money. But gaming geeks have been finding workarounds for quite a while, and they’re finally getting some support from one of today’s biggest gaming companies. It’s about damn time!

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A facepalm 30 years late

In my late teens I wrote some dumb freeware games for the Atari ST computer. They were just silly fluff, but fun to make and somewhat educational programming-wise. One in particular was a bit on the tacky side and is best left forgotten (though it had a decent number of downloads). Aside from that, I played a ton of games on that thing and had a blast.

Cut to today. I’m able to emulate the old Atari ST on my modern PC and run all those games I used to play. So I downloaded a ridiculously large collection of games and started digging thru and playing my old favorites.

And then I spotted it: that tacky game I made in 1990, the Gulf War one that would be borderline offensive it wasn’t so completely dumb. Right in there with far more respectable titles. They even included screenshots and the original doc file I wrote for it…both of which include my full name and address in AZ where I used to live with my parents. OMG. 🤦

Naturally I did some searching to see if the game surfaced anywhere else, and behold: some French guy actually “reviewed” it on YouTube a few years ago. He thought it was as dumb and pointless as it was meant to be. It’s also pretty difficult, and I have to admit feeling a little smug watching him try to play it. (No, I’m not linking to the video!)

Why couldn’t it have been one of my other games, like “Zit Blaster”? Or its inevitable sequel “Zit Blaster II: Revenge of the Whiteheads”?

Digital ghosts

This is a re-worked and updated 2016 post from my other blog.

In November 2014 I got on Facebook and there were all these messages posted to a friend’s profile saying things like: “Steve, why??” “What happened?”  “i miss you my best friend.”  I thought “WTF?”, with a sinking feeling.  Many more messages followed, referring to him in the past tense, and finally it hit me that he had taken his own life.  For weeks afterward, people posted messages on there as more and more people found out about it.

Coming to terms with his death and that horrible sense of loss was one thing — but this business of someone’s Facebook profile staying active after their death, and people posting messages to it (and each other), was something new for me.

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