Showing posts with label games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label games. Show all posts

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Trip Hawkins and Electronic Arts

Trip Hawkins at a 1985 episode of The Computer ChroniclesWilliam Murray Hawkins III, better known as Trip Hawkins, is an American entrepreneur. He founded the company Electronic Arts in 1982, as well as The 3DO Company and the Digital Chocolate company in later years. He was added to The Hall Of Fame in 2005.

Hawkins was fan of Strat-O-Matic Football started as teenager to produce a knock-off version of it, lending $5000 from his father to finance it. But his business failed. When he received his first computer he created a digital football game. He later designed his undergraduate major at Harvard University in Applied Game Theory and Strategy.

1982 Hawkins was Director of Strategy and Marketing at Apple and left the company to found the video game publisher Electronic Arts, which is successful to this day. The company enjoyed may years as a leader in video game publishing ad produced iconic games like the Madden NFL series of football games after signing with John Madden as consultant and spokesman for Electronic Arts.

When SEGA release the Genesis he saw his opportunity. He didn't want to sign with Nintendo due to its strict licensing policy. He instead hired reverse engineers to create unofficial games for the SEGA Genesis console. Hawkins eventually revealed his intentions to sell his research to SEGA's competitors unless they made him an official partner. SEGA agreed.

Watch a young Trip Hawkins in a segment of the 1985 Computer Chronicles TV show's double feature episode Slowdown Part II

Although remaining chair of EA's board Hawkins made a transition in 1991 to form 3DO, a video game company. When the 3DO console was released in 1993 it was the most powerful gaming device of its day. He eventually resigned from EA's board of directors in 1994. But sales were poor, probably due to the high price. Hopes were further damaged a year later with the arrival of the SONY PlayStation and SEGA Saturn, which were more powerful and still retailed cheaper. 1996 3DO stopped the production of the console and transitioned to be a pure game developer. The company went bust 2003.

2003 Hawkins founded the Digital Chocolate company but stepped down as CEO in 2012. Hawkins lives in Santa Barbara, CA, and was a professor of entrepreneurship and leadership at the University of California from 2016 to 2019.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The M.A.M.E. emulator

M.A.M.E. (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), or short MAME, is a software emulator, allowing to play original video games from the arcades, starting from 1975 to today and tomorrow. Its main purpose though is to preserve decades of software history. Besides the emulator itself you also need roms from the game you want to play.

An emulator in general is creating a hardware environment (called "driver" in MAME), like chips in a video game (CPU, RAM, I/O and other support chips) by software. Thus you can "have" what ever video game hardware you want in your PC or smartphone. Then you can load up the original code, usually dumped from the original chips of a video game, into the emulator, and play them. Since it's all original you can even experience bugs and glitches which came with the original game. But you also have the option to activate cheats, speed up or slow down the game and more.

Since 2015 MAME's sister project M.E.S.S. (Multi Emulator Super System), or short MESS, was merged into MAME. MESS allows to also emulate any computer, if somebody wrote a driver for it and the BIOS rom was dumped. You could run an Atari 2600, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, (Super) Nintendo Entertainment System, SONY Playstation, XBOX, SEGA... Well anything existing. In theory you could play on a Playstation or other which would only exist in say three years - if someone would get hold of it specification. But that's just theoretically. And even if, no actual of today's PC hardware is powerful enough to run it in a decent speed. Even on older systems or video games modern PCs cannot run the emulation in a speed to match the original speed of the emulated machine. There are also prototypes or hard to come by systems you can emulate. Like the Apple I or Commodore 65 you can run.

If you want to bring back some fond memories you had when you had your first game console, first home computer or video games you played as kid in the arcade back in the day, the MAME emulator brings back nostalgia.

Legal mention: Obey the ROMs copyright!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How to keep vintage game consoles alive

In November of 2017 The 8-Bit Guy on YouTube created a video featuring new (2016 or 2017) games for vintage consoles, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. Although he isn't a big fan of beat-em-ups he tried to give an objective view. He concluded that buying new games will keep these consoles alive. Although I agree one should support new games if one is fan of vintage consoles I don't agree that these new games are the (only) way to keep them alive. In my opinion only the love of folks who owned and used them back in the day already will do just that. That said, some things can kept alive without spending a dime. If you still own a working machine and (old) games, play them, to bring back memories from decades ago. If you don't own one, there are emulators and fan pages in the internet dedicated to a certain machine. Lot of documentation, tips, questions and answers, as well as discussion forums. One might as well find some game code dumps to use with these consoles.