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  1. This is just this year and just for the Atari VCS/2600.............
    2017
    Homebrews released
    Jan. 4, 2017 - Toledo Atomchess (AtariAge forum)
    Jan. 7, 2017 - Pixels (AtariAge forum)
    Jan. 23, 2017 - Dungeon II: Solstice (AtariAge forum)
    Feb. 6, 2017 - Eagle One (AtariAge forum)
    Feb. 21, 2017 - Reders UFO (AtariAge forum)
    Mar. 2, 2017 - Sharknado - NeoGames (Atari 2600 Homebrew FB group)
    Mar. 4, 2017 - Cellar-y Celery (Chris Read & Tim Duarte of 2600connection.com)
    Apr. 11, 2017 - Twist'r Shark (Scott Dayton "NEOGames" thru Atari 2600 Homebrew FB group) {3 cart versions}
    Apr. 17, 2017 - Catharsis Theory - a new 4k demo
    July 16, 2017 - Scramble, Anguna, Drive!, Assembloids 2600, L.E.M., Panky the Panda, The Gizzle Wap and The Strange Red Tree - AtariAge
    July 19, 2017 - Kar Kombat (AtariAge forum)
    July 27, 2017 - The Ultimate Cyclist (AtariAge forum)
    Aug. 21, 2017 - Meteor Shower (AtariAge forum)
    Sept. 19, 2017 - Spies in the Night (Scott Dayton "NEOGames" thru Atari 2600 Homebrew FB group) {2 cart versions}
    Oct. 20-22, 2017 - At 2017 PRGE: Draconian (Spiceware/AtariAge), Space Cactus Canyon (bjbest60/AtariAge), & Super Cobra Arcade (Champ Games/AtariAge)- final ROM released 11/30/17
    Oct. 27, 2017 - At 2017 Eurocon: Give Me My Pancake! (Sijmen Schouten "Mr. Atari")
    Nov. 2, 2017 - Bitquest, Fishy, Nanowing and Pothole (AtariAge forum)
    Nov. 26, 2017 - Sand Castles (AtariAge forum)
    Dec. 29, 2017 - Gene Medic (GitHub)

     

    Hacks released
    1/6/17 - Tapper - Portable (AtariAge forums) - Thomas Jentzsch
    1/6/17 - Budweiser Tapper hack - Portable (AtariAge forums) - Thomas Jentzsch
    1/6/17 - Missile Control TB (AtariAge forums) - Thomas Jentzsch
    1/15/17 - Popeye hack (AtariAge forums) - ILA2600
    1/20/17 - Gee Bee Barnstorming (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/20/17 - Zeppelin Barnstorming (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/20/17 - Copter Barnstorming (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/20/17 - Powered Glider Barnstorming (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/20/17 - Activision Dragster Hot Wheels Hack (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/21/17 - Astromech Soccer (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/21/17 - Berzerk Robot Soccer (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/21/17 - Dalek Soccer (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/21/17 - Lost in Space Soccer (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/21/17 - Astromech Tennis (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/21/17 - Dalek Tennis (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/21/17 - Lost in Space Tennis (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/22/17 - Star Wars Salvage Run Hack of Jr Pac Man (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/22/17 - Zerk-Man (Ms. Pac-Man Hack) (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/22/17 - Zeppelin Attack (Commando Raid Hack) (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/22/17 - Star Wars Targ (Universal Chaos Hack) (AtariAge forums) - Jamcat
    1/27/17 - Vector Vaders (Megamania hack) (Atari 2600 homebrew FB group) - Scott Dayton
    2/3/17 - Lunar Outpost Defense (M.A.D. Hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/4/17 - Zombie Soccer (RealSports Soccer Hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/6/17 - Mouse Soccer (RealSports Soccer Hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/8/17 - Grave Robber (Gopher Hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/17/17 - Marble Craze TB (trak-ball hack) - Thomas Jentzsch
    2/18/17 - The Passion of Jesus (Red Sea Crossing hack) - Atari Dogs
    2/19/17 - Fonz Enduro (hack) - Out_of_Gas
    2/22/17 - Adventure Kingdoms (hack) - ZenBiped
    2/26/17 - Flying Monkey Joust (hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/26/17 - Gyrocopter Joust (hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/26/17 - Jetpack Joust (hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/26/17 - Mario Bros. Joust (Joust hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/26/17 - Rocket Joust (hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/26/17 - Sea Monster Joust (hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/26/17 - Space Invader Joust (Joust hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    2/26/17 - Zeppelin Joust (hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    3/4/17 - When Pigs Fly (Joust hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    3/14/17 - Star Wars Episode 1 Droidship Battle (Star Wars: Death Star Battle hack) - ILA2600
    3/19/17 - Robot Panic (Jawbreaker hack) - The Mr. Video
    3/25/17 - Coily's Quest (The Rescue Of Q*Bert) Kangaroo hack - Jamcat Reloaded
    4/7/17 - Easter Bunny Boom (Kaboom! hack) - Scott Dayton
    4/7/17 - Easter Bunny Boom Black (Kaboom! hack) - Scott Dayton
    4/19/17 - Moo - F - O (Ms. Pac-Man hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    4/19/17 - Golf Color Hack - atari2600land
    4/23/17 - Kitten Cannonball (Human Cannonball hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    4/24/17 - Battlestar Galactica (Galaxian hack) - ILA2600
    4/26/17 - Pac Ghost Circus (Circus Atari hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    4/26/17 - Kitten Circus (Circus Atari hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    4/27/17 - Alien Egg Checkers (Video Checkers hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    4/27/17 - Pac-Man Checkers (Video Checkers hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    5/3/17 - Martian Checkers (Video Checkers hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    5/3/17 - Ms. HERO/H.E.R.O.I.N.E. (H.E.R.O. hack) - Scott Dayton
    5/5/17 - Cat & Mouse (Flag Capture hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    5/6/17 - Return To Base (Flag Capture hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    5/9/17 - Kitten Drop (Sky Diver hack) - Jamcat Reloaded
    6/29/17 - Slot Racers Wheel hack - accousticguitar
    7/4/17 - Dig Dug 35th Anniversary Edition (Dig Dug Arcade hack) - NostAlgae37 (WIP)
    7/4/17 - Astro Blast NEO (Astroblast hack) - neotokeo2001
    7/24/17 - Laser Sharks (Laser Blast hack) - neotokeo2001
    8/3/17 - cleaning up Sneak n' Peek - Out_of_Gas
    8/10/17 - Solar Fox Remix Custom Initials version - neotokeo2001
    8/12/17 - TRON Saves Atari (Fast Eddie hack) - neotokeo2001
    8/13/17 - TRON Saves Atari No Trackers (TRON Saves Atari hack) - neotokeo2001
    8/20/17 - Dog Patch (Skeet Shoot hack) - Out_of_Gas

    Sept. 16, 2017 - Dark Cavern "Black Edition" (hack of Dark Cavern) (Scott Dayton "NEOGames" thru Atari 2600 Homebrew FB group)
    10/5/17 - River Raid (Fantasy Mode) - Nukey Shay
    11/23/17 - Bad Elf 2017 (Keystone Kapers hack) - Otis Driftwood (sold thru Atari 2600 Homebrew FB Group)
    11/25/17 - Moon Patrol Arcade (Moon Patrol+ hack) - doctorclu
    11/27/17 - Santa Falls 2017 (Pitfall! hack) - neotokeo2001 (sold thru etsy)
    12/6/17 - Santa's Workshop (Cake Walk hack) - neotokeo2001 (sold thru etsy)
    12/6/17 - The Last Starfighter (Buck Rogers hack) - Shawn Darrin
    12/17/17 - Star Trek (Starmaster hack) - GhostGuy

     

    Releasing Soon (actual software)
    Demo'd At 2016 PRGE/releasing soon? - The Stacks, Golden Legends (Gauntlet 2600) - AtariAge
    Soon - Dark Cavern Black (hack) {cart only} - Scott Dayton "NeoGames"
    Soon - Fire Ants - ComiSoft Inc.
    Soon - Balloon Girl - Jason Santuci
    Soon - Legends - Scott Dayton
    ??? - Alien Greed: Return of Charles - NeoGames
    ??? - RAM-Pong - Packrat Games
    ??? (carts signed Feb 2015) - Demons (based on the 1985 movie) - NeoGames
    On Hold - Tunnels & Trolls - Jason Santuci
    ??? - The Barn, Zombie Road Kill - Scott Dayton
    ??? - Aaron the Aant - Chris Read/2600Connection
    previewed at 2015 Portland Retro Gaming Expo - The Stacks - AtariAge
    WIP - Laughing Boy - Jason Santuci/AtariAge
    WIP - D.K. VCS, DK Arcade 2600, Pac Man 8k, Wizard of Wor 2: The Arena - AtariAge
    Future project - Colony 7 TB (Trak-Ball version) - Thomas Jentzsch

     

    WIP (work in progress during 2017)
    Dec. 31, 2016 - PArsec - hloberg
    Jan. 5, 2017 - 1K Atomchess - nanochess
    Jan. 11, 2017 - Avalanche Invaders (hack of Avalanche) - Scott Dayton
    Jan. 22, 2017 - Dungeon II: Solstice - s0c7
    Jan. 23, 2017 - Danny - The Maxx
    Feb. 3, 2017 - Air Taxi - Kylearan
    Feb. 6, 2017 - Space Cactus Canyon beta - bjbest
    Feb. 28, 2017 - Francis Ichabod Cranium 8 - atari2600land
    Mar. 4, 2017 - Chaotic Grill (better Burgertime) - splendidnut - back working on it
    Mar. 5, 2017 - Hunt the Wumpus - The Maxx
    Mar. 25, 2017 - Guau! - Fdx
    Apr. 1, 2017 - Robin's Roundabouts - boski
    Apr. 17, 2017 - My Knee Hurts - atari2600land
    May 2, 2017 - Battlezonetron - ILA2600
    June 9, 2017 - Caves of Zargon - VGAGuy
    June 26, 2017 - T.r.a.s.h. - WizardBone
    July 1, 2017 - Hacker Face
    July 3, 2017 - Melvin, el extraterrestre - Fdx
    July 4, 2017 - Dig Dug 35th Anniversary Edition - NostAlgae37
    July 20, 2017 - Brics - VGAGuy
    July 24, 2017 - Space Game - kdgarris
    July 25, 2017 - Air Hockey - 8-bit_d-boy
    Aug. 16, 2017 - Zybort Is Bad - atari2600land
    Aug. 20, 2017 - The Horde - greywest
    Aug. 21, 2017 - Blinky (screensaver) - JeremiahK
    Aug. 24, 2017 - Avenger Road Rage 2050 - arcade_lights
    Sept. 5, 2017 - French Fries - atari2600land
    Sept. 5, 2017 - Winter Fortess - Phano
    Sept. 6, 2017 - Bombs Away! - OneSwitch.org.uk
    Sept. 7, 2017 - Nyan Cat - JeremiahK
    Sept. 8, 2017 - Sierra Maestra - vidak
    Sept. 21, 2017 - Dinosaur! - atari2600land
    Sept. 24, 2017 - Astronomer - Coolcrab
    Oct. 5, 2017 - River Raid (Fantasy Mode) {hack} - Nukey Shay .....aka "River Raid 3" now
    Oct. 20, 2017 - Baby - Robsome
    Oct. 20, 2017 - Bubsy - doctorclu
    Oct. 26, 2017 - Yatba - chavert
    Oct. 27, 2017 - Invisible Maze Demo - VGAGuy
    Nov. 8, 2017 - My History Teacher Ate Lemons - atari2600land
    Nov. 19, 2017 - Robot Zed - Sprybug
    Nov. 20, 2017 - My History Teacher Ate 2,600 Lemons - atari2600land
    Nov. 22, 2017 - Driving Demo - Tony The 2600
    Nov. 25, 2017 - Whitney's Music Box - Buckaroo
    Nov. 26, 2017 - Sand Castles - metalbabble
    Dec. 1, 2017 - Mappy - Champ Games "johnnywc"
    Dec. 2, 2017 - King of Mersia - gfvh (back working on it)
    Dec. 6, 2017 - Hell Escape - amoss
    Dec. 7, 2017 - Quidditch - flickertail
    Dec. 14, 2017 - High Score Screen Burn Slow Burn - bjbest60
    Dec. 15, 2017 - Back to the Future (demo) - ZackAttack
    Dec. 17, 2017 - Robo Mechanic - Sikor
    Dec. 19, 2017 - FeargalQuest - AtariboxWorld - KaeruYojimbo
    Dec. 23, 2017 - Donkey Kong 3 (port) - started by atari2600land (2010), picked up by ILA2600
    Dec. 24, 2017 - Wet Paint - mojofltr
    Dec. 25, 2017 - Deimos Lander - jbanes (back working on it - now 32k)
    Dec. 25, 2017 - Snow Flakes - Lolkiu64
    Dec. 31, 2017 - Atari 3D Tennis - Trip2018

  2. A common sentiment found among retro-computing enthusiasts is that there's nothing quite like the real thing. It's understandable, computers and game consoles (i.e., computers disguised as toys and appliances) are physical items and our happy nostalgic memories are complimented by recollections of touch and heft: the feedback of button clicks, shunting cartridges into slots, and so on. However, there's a particular aficionado - we've all met him, he's a member of every fan group and forum - whose affection for real hardware gives way to an unpleasant snobbery. A "true fan" would never emulate, he says, implying that a gaming community is only a place for those with disposable income, space, and a nihilistic acceptance that the platform will die with the original hardware.

     

    I'm certainly not arguing against the value of hardware and experiences which come with it, we're all in agreement of its importance, but I do insist that emulation is also a first class citizen without which a platform has no future.

     

    Ashes to hardware ashes

     

    Take the Atari Jaguar; fewer than 250,000 are known to have been produced, with even fewer numbers of accessories such as CD-ROM drives. Of that number a great deal will have been owned by people with no interest in preservation. Many Jaguars have likely been dumped in the trash along with an avalanche of VCRs. Of the survivors many will suffer electrical faults due to old-age (the dreaded open-circuit capacitor problem). Many more will simply be damaged in accidents.

     

    This is already a serious problem for CD-ROM units which were produced in much smaller numbers than the console itself and are notoriously failure prone - although, arguably, no more so than other CD-ROM drives from the time.

     

    Taking the long view there will be a time when, for most people, original hardware will no longer be a viable way to access the content produced for the platform!

     

    New developments

     

    This is perhaps the strongest argument in favour of emulation. New content is vital for a platform and emulation is key to lowering the barrier in producing new content. In the late 70s it took highly skilled programmers with excellent design sense (a very select cross-section of personality) months to produce new games for the Atari 2600 using mainframe computers costing thousands of dollars. Today, a cheap PC with the Stella emulator, which includes an excellent debugger and the ability to step through program execution and inspect the emulated Atari's emulated state. Imagine what those original Atari and Activision programmers could have achieved in an afternoon with such capabilities! Imagine what today's programmers, of all kinds of skill levels, can achieve!

     

    A more thoughtful perspective

     

    I highly recommend that anybody with an interest in retro-gaming listen to Frank Cifaldi's GDC talk on the subject of emulation. It's witty, thought-provoking and quite brilliant. There's a lot to unpack, but in under an hour he touches on numerous relevant subjects such as preservation, the ethics of piracy, and how emulation can be leveraged in the most positive (and commercial!) ways:

     

  3. blog-0987013001508707073.jpeg

    Ultra Vortek
    Published: 1995 by Atari
    Developed: Beyond Games

     

    2D arcade fighting games were incredibly popular in the mid-90s and console gamers wanted that experience at home. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of Primal Rage for the Jaguar CD, Atari's 64-bit console lacked conversions of well known arcade titles like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2. Instead, Jaguar 2D fighter fans were treated to questionable ports of 16-bit console titles like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Double Dragon V and two Jaguar exclusives: Kasumi Ninja and Ultra Vortek.

     

    Developed by Beyond Games of Lynx Battlewheels fame and released for the Jaguar by Atari in 1995, Ultra Vortek is a 2D fighter firmly in the mold of the Mortal Kombat series. The game is crammed with 90s fighter tropes, complete with all of the special moves, fatalities and attitude of the era. Ultra Vortek is considered by many Jaguar enthusiasts to be the system's best fighter.

     

    Is Ultra Vortek the killer 2D fighter that the Jagauar sorely needed? Let's plug this totally extreme game in the big cat to find out. It's Annihilation Time!

     

    Gameplay: Ultra Vortek offers two main game modes: Vs. and Tournament. There are four difficulty levels that range from "Training" to "Killer". This write-up will focus on the single-player game.

     

    At its core, the single-player mode of Ultra Vortek is a rather generic tournament fighter with a standard best of 3 set-up. The player selects one of 7 playable characters, each representing one of three factions. Once selected, the player sets out to fight the others in a life or death contest to challenge "the Guardian" and take control of "the Ultra Vortek" - "the wellspring from which mankind draws its eternal energy." If you lose, the life force of your faction will be subsumed by the Ultra Vortek. Heavy stakes, indeed. The tournament itself is called "the Time of Testing" and there is a bit about a Vortek Tablet that is frankly lost on me.

     

    Backstory aside, Ultra Vortek offers control using the standard Jaguar gamepad's three action buttons and d-pad. Special moves and fatalities - here called Annihilations - are pulled off through various combinations of the directional and action buttons. While the special moves are easier to pull than in other Jaguar fighters, I still found it difficult. It's strange that there is not a Pro Controller option for Ultra Vortek, as it was a relatively late release. While the 3 button control scheme is adequate, the game would have clearly benefited from the 6 button design of the Pro Controller.

     

    In-game action is mostly fluid. The button response and hit detection are decent and the characters are fairly well balanced. That said, it is far too easy to beat the game in Normal mode by simply using a leg swipe. The difficulty ramps up tremendously in Hard mode, making for a much more enjoyable single-player game. Importantly, the game lacks a combo system which may put off some fighter fans.

     

    blogentry-65-0-34048700-1508706547_thumb.jpeg

     

    Graphics: Graphically, Ultra Vortek shows off the Jaguar's 2D capabilities quite nicely. The stage levels are rather detailed, featuring a blend of post-apocalyptic and hellscape imagery that suits the theme of the game. From digitized onlookers, to subway trains, to roving eyeballs, to mirrored floor surfaces, it's clear that a lot of thought went into the presentation of each stage. That being said, the stages feel disconnected from the characters themselves. By that, I mean that the stages do not necessarily reflect the attributes or biography of the selected opponent. Instead, you'll find yourself fighting on any of the stages, regardless of the opponent/player character selected. This isn't a deal breaker by any means. It's just a bit odd considering all of the time the developers spent on the game's lore.

     

    Character sprites are decent sized, though not as large or detailed as in Kasumi Ninja. The characters themselves are derived from a mix of digitized photos for the human faction and Buzzsaw, and stop motion and hand animation for the more fantastical characters. Character design is pretty generic cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic fare. They fit the game but are not terribly memorable. My favorite characters to play were the human Lucius and the robot Buzzsaw.

     

    The standard hits, special moves and fatalities are well animated and many are humorous in their over-the-top nature. For example, the shape-shifting Mercury has a fatality where he turns into a meat grinder and subsequently grinds the body of his foe. Other moves send severed heads hurtling toward the screen. There is also a "poopality" which is everything you would imagine it to be. Oh and there are buckets of blood, acid and ... "mercury"...to be had on screen depending on the characters in play. Ah, the 90s - so extreme!

     

    Other notes on graphics: 1) I really like the spiked swipe screen. It looks fantastic and is a nice added touch. 2) The player select screen is really cool with one small quibble: character names do not show onscreen until you're in the level. This is a really strange design choice. 3) I really love the eye in the center of the health meter. It follows the action and is so otherworldly.

     

    blogentry-65-0-20697400-1508706574_thumb.jpeg

     

    Sound/Music: I generally like the near CD quality rock and metal tunes that serve as the soundtrack to the game. It's cheesy but it fits the tone of the game. The hit sounds, digitized voices and other sound effects are all admirably accomplished. I really enjoy some of the character specific sounds, like the short circuiting of defeated robot characters and the squishy noises made by Mercury.

     

    blogentry-65-0-26714500-1508706607_thumb.jpeg

     

    Final Thoughts: Ultra Vortek is a competent 2D fighter that gets more right than it does wrong. The story is interesting, the gameplay works and the music is jamming. While it isn't quite up to the standards of contemporaries like MK3, it is a solid entry in the Jaguar's lackluster fighter line-up. Is it the best fighter on the Jaguar? For me, that honor goes to Primal Rage. That said, if you're a fan of this style of fighter, give it a try. If not, pass.

     

    blogentry-65-0-17364900-1508706623_thumb.jpeg

     

    Thanks for reading and please share your memories and thoughts on Ultra Vortek in the comments below! Do you think it is the best fighter on the Jaguar?

     

    Also, a special thank you to The Professor who recommended this game in the Readers' Choice post! I'll do another readers choice selection for Post 020. The next game comes courtesy of the randomizer. That game is: World Tour Racing!

     

    blogentry-65-0-11009300-1508706798_thumb.jpeg

  4. Seeing as how fast it is to create photo realistic renders in about 30 seconds per frame, I figured it would be interesting to attempt a very short animation of a female character, meant for possibly a sidescroller:

     

    blogentry-181-0-24004500-1480838047_thumb.pngblogentry-181-0-03664700-1480838065_thumb.pngblogentry-181-0-09519600-1480838076_thumb.pngblogentry-181-0-24781700-1480838083_thumb.png

     

    ... things like this make me think of Donkey Kong Country and just how incredible it was for the SNES. I've always felt that something similar could have been done on the Jaguar, just not at the time due to the rendering requirements involved. Things have changed... and with TRF being in the light again and realizing how easy fighting games could be with rendered scenes, making up a slew of characters with various animations could be done very quickly and easily. Take this scene for example in a jungle like setting:

     

    blogentry-181-0-74530000-1480838595_thumb.png

     

    Then I feel characters like this could fill the scene (the red area is panning space left and right)

     

    blogentry-181-0-35406600-1480838707_thumb.jpg

     

    Not really sure what you could do with a 6MB ROM with this sort of thing, but I imagine it would have to be an extremely limited amount of characters and/or scenes if that were the case. Going the JagCD route would almost be mandatory in a sense or maybe a combination thereof utilizing both 6MB cart for character data/assets and Jaguar CD to load backdrops and other scenes that aren't required to be loaded so much in realtime.

     

    and just to show what the original character I started out with looks like in hi-res:

     

    blogentry-181-0-21486100-1480838926_thumb.png

  5. My apologies in advance for this post. You may think this is a strange place for this but I can't think of another outlet for it and I can make an Atari connection. ;)

     

    My stepfather is dying. Quickly. I'm not even sure if he's technically my stepfather, but he might as well be.

     

    Growing up, I hated him. I realize hate is a strong word but I HATED him.

     

    Now, I'm pretty devastated by this.

     

    My parents divorced in 1979, when I was six. My mother remarried a true a-hole a year or two later. I'm not certain of the exact date but it was in my 2600 heyday. Those were not good times for me but that's not even worth sharing. They would be divorced by 1983. That's when she met the subject of this post.

     

    She was working for the local newspaper in the classified department and he was the local dog warden. He would place ads for dogs they rounded up and they hit it off.

     

    The summer before I started sixth grade (1984), they moved in together. (This would be my fifth different elementary school since kindergarten.) My disdain for him was immediate.

     

    He had a son and daughter from a previous marriage. The daughter lived with her mom & would visit every other weekend. The son was a year older than me but we didn't get along that great.

     

    He was ridiculously strict. It honestly felt like I was in prison. No candy, no soda, being sent to bed super-early, etc. There was one TV in the house & we had to watch whatever he wanted. (A vivid memory is me coming home from school, finding a cartoon to watch or even an afternoon playoff baseball game (Cubs/Padres), him driving in the driveway, eventually sitting down in his chair in front of the TV & snapping his fingers, demanding the cable box. He would promptly change the channel & eventually settle on some horrible kung fu movie.) My Atari, which I used to shuttle back & forth between my father's house & my mother's was no longer to be connected to the TV.

     

    I remember him arguing with my Mom about my father. Things like the child support check, or him calling to talk to me, etc. Stuff that made me super uncomfortable.

     

    The best times would come from when he would go play cards with his friends. I'd have a few hours with him not in the house but he would come home drunk. If everything would work out, I would be asleep before he came home.

     

    My mom never married him but I'm not sure how the common-law marriage thing works in my state. Regardless, they never split up. He was present in my life until I graduated high school.

     

    I learned quickly to keep my mouth shut & do whatever he ordered me to do. Chores, eating every last bite of foods I despised (I haven't eaten a pea in 25 years and I never will again.) He never hit me, although there were times I wish he did so I could find a way to leave. I used to fantasize about walking the 85 miles to my father's house, while not being exactly sure how to get there.

     

    I do remember blowing up during my senior year of high school. I had a girlfriend (SHOCKING!) and he would limit my time on the phone with her. I don't remember exactly what happened but I remember being in my bedroom with the door shut and hearing him outside complaining about something. I threw a Trapper Keeper (or something similar, it was a notebook/folder) at my dresser, which left a mark. The details are hazy now, but I remember just finally yelling back at him. I knew my days of being under his thumb were almost over.

     

    My escape from him was visiting my Dad every other weekend, vacations & summer. I can't even begin to describe how amazing it felt to be picked up on a Friday after school or Saturday morning. And the feeling of dread I had when I had to return...

     

    Once I graduated high school, I went to a college close to where my Dad lived and I never looked back. To this day, I hate visiting the town where my Mom lives and I'm pretty certain it all stems from these experiences.

     

    Since I left, I would visit my Mom & him on holidays, etc. He would always give me $100 for Christmas and our relationship became amicable. He seemed to love my daughter and she had no problems with him. Things were fine.

     

    This past February, my Mom called me during the middle of the day, which was bizarre. I assumed it was bad news about her Mom, my amazing grandmother, who has Alzheimers and isn't in good shape. It wasn't that. Howard has cancer, it's aggressive and the doctors give him six months to live.

     

    I was shocked & saddened but I wasn't sure how to respond to that news. As much as I hated him, I certainly didn't want this to happen. And I was heartbroken for my poor Mom, as now she has to deal with this.

     

    Since the diagnosis, I've only seen them one time, around my birthday in May. I kept saying that we'd do some things during the summer but it never worked out. :(

     

    Just this past weekend, the pain of chemotherapy and everything else became too much for him. He decided to stop fighting and is now in hospice care.
    I'm going to visit him tomorrow. I'm not sure if my daughter or wife (not my daughter's mom, that will be a WHOLE other series of blogs :info: ) will join me but I'm going.

     

    Again, the feelings I have are so conflicted. How can I be so upset about someone who caused me so much pain? Yet, here I am, extremely upset. Part of it is pain for my Mom, imagining how she must be feeling. When the calendar turned to 2016, everything was fine in her world. Now, before Thanksgiving, completely turned upside down.
    As I spend time thinking and reflecting, I'm continuing to remember things that weren't so bad. How he attended my Student of the Month ceremony in seventh grade when no one else could. How he coached my Babe Ruth teams. How he took me fishing & camping.

     

    It's so strange, so bizarre and so painful. I apologize if this isn't the proper use of the blog but I consider myself amongst friends here and I don't feel like going back to a therapist. I have no interest sharing something like this on Facebook, so here I am.

     

    Thanks for listening to me ramble. :atari_2600_joystick:

  6. I'm stealing the bit from Retrogaming Times. "The Many Faces of" was one of my favorite articles. Comparisons of the same game for various systems. Ordered from worst to first. Here are the various versions of Pac Man for classic systems. No homebrews or hacks allowed. These are the versions I've played...please let me know if I missed any.

     

    Last Place:
    Atari 2600 - People like this version for nostalgia's sake...but it's not a good game. Main sins: Pac Man doesn't face up or down. No fruits. Weird colors. No intermissions. Sounds aren't even close to arcade.

     

    The "also rans":
    VIC-20: They tried. But it's too choppy to be fun. And the maze is way too small.

     

    TI 99/4A - Looks GREAT. But way too slow and easy. And the lack of multi-channel sound hurts it.

     

    Atari 8-Bit: The game is good. Great graphics, great sounds. But no intermissions. Game is easy.

     

    Commodore 64: Almost identical to the Atari 8-bit version. No intermissions. Too slow and easy.

     

    NES: It's really good. But Pac Man and the ghosts are way too big. Plus the game is slow.

     

    5200: They took the 8-bit version, added intermissions, and ramped up the difficulty. It's great. But those controllers will cause you to die sometimes.

     

     

     

    Medal Winners:
    Bronze:
    Intellivision: I'm giving this version a medal for technical achievement. it's amazing how good this version is, given the hardware. Control is no issue. Tight and fun. It has intermissions. The sounds and graphics are great. I love this version so much.

     

    Silver:
    Sega Game Gear - It's just about perfect. The screen scrolls, but that's ok.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKzZyAFqUNM

     

    Gold:
    Colecovision: It's a prototype. It should have been released because it is AWESOME. It's so fast. There are intermissions. Ghosts have eyes. Amazing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-3OOdjnTq4

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    I've been playing the Atari a lot lately. I got some games from a comic store that sells used games. My favorite so far has to be Robot Tank. The reason being, it is amazing in the aspect that it is 3Dish. I can't wait to get more games for the 2600. What's a game you guys recommend?

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    greenween
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    So, this little bit of paradise will be dedicated for my love of Dead Kennedys and mostly Jello Biafra.

  7.  

     

    The next episode of Discovery Channel's MythBusters — the show in which rumors, urban legends and myths are tested with a scientific approach — will explore an aspect of video games that most first-person shooter fans take for granted. The question the show will attempt to answer is: "Is it possible for someone to lug around a half-dozen guns, grenades, a chainsaw and a bunch of health packs, while also fending off demons from Hell (or their closest equivalent)?

     

    "Using id Software's Doom games — specifically Doom 3 BFG Edition — as a template, MythBusters' Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman will do their best to bust myths about first-person shooters. In a video posted to Bethesda Softworks' YouTube channel, the publisher says that id Software creative director Tim Willits will aid Savage and Hyneman in their Doom experiment. Bethesda says Willits will help their research team "recreate a Doom level in real life."

     

    The Doom episode of MythBusters airs this Saturday, Jan. 31 at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery. Perhaps Bethesda will use the show to give us an update on Doom 4, which we last heard about at QuakeCon this past July, or at least the latest on the promised Doom 4 beta.

     

    SOURCE: Bethesda Blog

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