Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Massively online through the ages… or not.

I’ve seen it all

Well, if I haven’t actually seen it all, I’ve at the very least mostly heard about it. And more-or-less at the time it was happening. 

What am I on about this time? 
Multi User On-Line gaming of course, what else?


  The very first exposure I had to on-line gaming wasn’t actually on-line at all. It wasn’t even on a computer. It was whilst reading an article about CompuServe’s MUD, the Multi-User Dungeon, in a very early edition of Computer and Video Games, and the article immediately caught my imagination...

If you don’t know already, MUD on CompuServe was probably the very first time an on-line multi-user computer game was available to the general public. Sure, the boffins with their mainframe and mini computer access had been hacking and slashing their way through reams of text for a fair while by this point. And there were some rather obscure BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) running versions of it, but finally this strange new concept for an adventure game was available to the rest of us.
Looking at the simple text-screens of MUD toady it’s hard to believe just how important a milestone this really was. At the time it was viewed by most as a bit of an elitist novelty. Then again, they say hindsight always comes with 20/20 vision…

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Is retro-piracy a legitimate way to see old games?

So you’ve got a bunch of old machines....
But they don’t make new games for these machines anymore, so who are you hurting by downloading some old ROM and disk images?

Well, the short answer is quite possibly nobody would, but, and of course there’s a ‘but’ … not all manufacturers want you to have those old games. Why? You ask. Well there are the fairly lucrative mobile-phone, hand-held, and on-line markets. Not to mention the various compilations that always seem to be amongst the first things to appear for every new console or other gaming platform. Quite a few older games have been re-released with a fair degree of monitory gain for little effort. Always a good thing if you are doing the selling. And the copyright holder do have the legal write to ‘just say no’ without giving, or having, any reason at all.
Having said that, and although there is no such legal thing as ‘Abandon Ware’ (the copyright always reverts to somebody), much of the software houses responsible for developing 8 and 16bit games have released these programs to the public domain, or otherwise given permission for them to be freely used and distributed. Ultimate – Play the Game, being a notable exception to this.