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Videogames highlights - June 2017

September 23, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances June, a month traditionally devoted to that gaming madness known as Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). A show that this year achieved record numbers thanks to admissions from the public plus the press and professionals, and that saw the PC triumph as the most complete gaming platform - and of course the most powerful one - where in the upcoming months the finest gaming software will land. But June 2017 also saw other mad stuff related to video games, like the cassettes baked in the oven (at 45°) in the effort to recover the source code of old textual adventures by Magnetic Scrolls, or like the very expensive on-line auction by John Romero, id Software co-founder that sold one of his Doom 2 copies for more than $3,000 on eBay. Rather than madness, in this last case, we can safely talk about a theft.

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Videogames highlights - May 2017

September 6, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances Lately there is a lot of chit chat about Nintendo, and not just for the commercial performance of the new Switch console (about which I hope to write a post soon). After all the Japanese company boasts a history like very few other players of the gaming business can match, and let’s not forget the missed opportunity of the Nintendostation and the potential parallel universe without a Sony PlayStation that could have stemmed from the machine. Nintendo’s censoring behaviour against unofficial “tributes” and fan games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2D is also the same, just like the corporation ability to treat its most passionate fans - at least the ones paying for the software and not using emulators - in a much more human and sensitive way than many other companies.

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Videogames highlights - April 2017

August 12, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances Evolution of PC gaming hardware never stops, dedicated GPUs are reaching new performance records every few months and VRAM chip standards are running fast to try and keep the pace with all this endless improvements. And yet there is a significant amount of players still spending their time on an MS-DOS racing game released 27 years ago, or that goes purchasing a title like Bayonetta when it gets finally released on PC 8 years after the original version. Why, someone will ask? For Bayonetta the fact that the game runs wonderfully well even on old hardware surely helps, while for the rest reaching xkcd can be helpful in finding a possible answer to the riddle.

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Videogames highlights - March 2017, Mega Drive edition

August 4, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances I will never get tired of praising that wonderful cultural movement generally defined with the term “emulation”, a world where technical barriers are regularly knocked down and where rare - or even unfinished - digital artifacts are preserved in favor of the present players and the future scholars. Emulation is the technology wonder that let the most resolute among us to go hunt for the earliest easter egg put into an arcade game, or to try new combos in a game (Street Fighter 2: World Warrior) we though everything was seen and said about. Little matters that some parasite would like to turn every gaming bit of the past into an endless source of profit: pure emulation is not a business, it never was and it will never be.

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Videogames highlights - February 2017

July 29, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearancesPessimists believed that Denuvo should have killed piracy on PC once and for all. Obviously that goal failed spectacularly, and the saga of the anti-tampering system turned into a ludicrous soap opera: release time of a working crack for a triple-A game like Resident Evil 7 shrank to less than a week, while the developer’s official Website proved to be full of holes from where e-mails, data and executable files came out. Of course Denuvo defeat didn’t stop Capcom shipping 3 million copies of its new survival horror and quickly recovering development costs, and the latest data about the entire gaming industry are anything but negative. So much for Denuvo, DRM and the parasites profiting from them.

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Anti-piracy’s great achievements

July 15, 2017 · Filed Under Civil & Digital Rights, In Depth · Comment 
This entry is part of the series The industry vs. P2P

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearancesIf there is one thing that we must rightfully concede to the contents industry, surely it’s the ability to reach concrete results in its fight against unauthorized file sharing. The copyright corporations are experiencing a happy time, and it little matters that practically nothing seems to change for the aforementioned file sharing: beggars can’t be choosers, they say, and no one like the majors can be satisfied with the results achieved by their relentless anti-piracy effort.

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Videogames highlights - January 2017

June 23, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances The first time I played Half-Life 2 I was twelve, maybe thirteen years younger, and like many folks in the same condition (a not particularly powerful PC, a not exactly fast ADSL) I welcomed the package prepared by Valve with conflicting emotions: Steam was and still is an unbearable shit, HL2 is one of the most important gaming experiences of my life. We’re in 2017 now and they are still talking about a possible sequel to that experience, with Valve wasting all this time in unnatural experiments and Gabe Newell continuing to troll the entire world with his worthless “Yep”. I’m actually fed up, with all this talking about Half-Life 3. And now excuse me while I go and install HL2 again for the fifteenth time…

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Prince of Persia’s timeless platforms

April 20, 2017 · Filed Under News, Videogaming · Comment 

News - A succession of fresh, quality news, from inside and outside of the Web28 years after the original release, Prince of Persia continues to be the obsession of a community made up by enthusiasts that never forgot their first, stunning encounter with Jordan Mechner’s platform game. And they are not just freaks like yours truly, who considers PoP his first computer love and that is still trying to beat his own personal record by playing the game every now and then under DOSBox. Nope: here we are talking about developers that are capable, determined and willing to dig the secrets hidden in the code of an ancient software to keep alive a myth that doesn’t fear the effects of obsolescence.

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Videogames highlights - December 2016

April 14, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances One of the craziest things I have ever heard is that SEGA would like to make films and TV series based on Streets of Rage and Altered Beast. The truth is that video games are just video games and certain titles of the past don’t work well if used for different kinds of entertainment, even though publishers still pretend they don’t understand after all these years of nasty stuff and box office flops. A classic video game can afford getting a mod where objects and bullets grow legs, just to say, but a film about Altered Beast’s beastly transformations will always be a very bad idea.

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Videogames highlights - November 2016

February 22, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances I already said it in the past and I’m saying here again: on-line video games sicken me, maybe it’s the computing thing I hate the most after cloud, because playing on-line means being at the mercy of digital platforms that can fail miserably in reaching the popularity needed to start a game session. Otherwise, if you are unlucky enough, you download some “free” gaming crap but then you have to pay hard cash even to play a fucking solitaire card game without advertising. The fact that there are sympathetic and interesting communities like the Eve Online one as well doesn’t change much: playing on the Internet is a waste of time, and time is the only true resource that must never be wasted. Ever.

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Videogames highlights - October 2016

February 8, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances Being a fan of video games of every age and for every platform, yours truly is always open to the idea of buying disks, cartridges or hardware units which have spent more than a season in the houses of strangers. Unlike many of those experiencing the same sickness as me, however, the idea of spending a lot of money for something that someone else treated with no care, cleaning or attention to personal hygiene is rather disgusting to me. In an ideal world retro-new hardware would be always available and affordable, and maybe its sale would be managed by companies a little less rotten to the core than your regular GameStop.

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New software for old machines

February 1, 2017 · Filed Under News, Retrocomputing · Comment 

News - A succession of fresh, quality news, from inside and outside of the WebThat particular computer passion known as retrocomputing requires to use ancient hardware components unable to support the most recent programs, but this doesn’t mean fans have to feel obliged to exclusively run software dating back to 10, 15 or even 20 years ago. On the contrary: the “scene” of the new releases designed to keep the retro hardware alive with recently produced code provides non-stop announcements - some of them stealing the spotlight, for a bit at least, next to the latest version of Windows 10 or Google Chrome.

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Videogames highlights - September 2016

January 11, 2017 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances The gaming assets of the studios previously known as Interplay are on sale, and that’s a sad news for two reasons: during the Nineties the publisher founded by Brian Fargo put on the market fundamental games like Descent, MDK and Earthworm Jim, and now some malicious actor could take advantage of the sale to get valuable intellectual properties exploiting them in the most cynical way. After all we live in a world where not even Super Mario is exempt from joining the “app” fraud for touch phones, while the most awaited games often turn out to be true scams that are pretty far from the original expectations.

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Videogames highlights - August 2016

December 30, 2016 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances As I had predicted already, piracy is thriving and fighting with us: Denuvo, the anti-tampering technology used together with the worst DRM by the worst gaming corporations, was swallowed by the best code pirates during a Summer that felt bitter for the eponymous Australian company. First came the exploit-based bypasses of DOOM and Tomb Raider, then the CONSPIR4CY super-crew (a partnership between CPY and CODEX) showed the world that the king is naked and that Denuvo got cracked as well. Piracy will live forever, and DRM will still be good for nothing.

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Videogames highlights - July 2016

November 22, 2016 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances Emulation allowed us to preserve a substantial part of the mainstream gaming past, but beyond software replication of known components there still is a gulf full of strange devices shrouded by mysterious fogs. Devices like the proprietary magnetic disk drive for Nintendo 64, for instance, or the prototype of a CD-based SNES console co-developed by Nintendo with Sony. The mists of an unclear past still cloak the copy protection of Sega Saturn CDs, while sometimes they let samples of historically remarkable gaming code or unfinished games emerge.

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Videogames highlights - June 2016

October 27, 2016 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances June 2016 was the month of E3, the Los Angeles fair where the new games soon to arrive are traditionally shown. A place where a lot of good stuff usually comes out, but also (mostly?) guilty for a series of dumb trends for an industry that always succeeds in fooling itself. But this past June was rather important for the Brexit, an event that will substantially affect video games development in the United Kingdom too, and for the celebration of the 11th anniversary of the Nintendo 64 arrival. An historic event as well, all things considered.

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Videogames highlights - May 2016

September 15, 2016 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances Every time I come across a new remake/sequel which includes the original game thanks to some form of emulation, right away I feel the urge to think about what “tricks” lurk within the source code to adapt a retro experience to a modern gaming environment, what open source (or proprietary maybe) emulator has been “assimilated” in the C++ code and more generally what complex “sorcery” brought to a result that’s always extraordinary. After all these years emulation still has many surprises in store, and publishers have started to massively exploit the classics’ commercial appeal on PC and elsewhere.

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Videogames highlights - April 2016

September 8, 2016 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances The kind of news you would like to read more often: Nosgoth, the umpteenth worthless free multiplayer game which dirtied the memory of the Blood Omen/Legacy of Kain saga with its mere existence, finally died this past April. No fan with a sane mind will miss it. News you always enjoy reading: an arcade prototype starring Beavis and Butt-Head was reanimated, hoping that sooner or later it will end up on MAME’s supported games list. News you would never want to read: GameFront servers went off-line, bringing 20 years of mods, patches, utilities and much more with them. Enough with this server death toll!

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Videogames highlights - March 2016

August 31, 2016 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances It’s 2016 and yours truly still likes to purchase his computer games on disc, a habit luckily still alive thanks to new releases of recent titles like SUPERHOT and the classics re-releases like the Revolution Software anniversary box. For me digital delivery services (excluding GOG.com) are the absolute evil, a lair of fake reviews and bits aimlessly gathered together with no “ownership” given to the buyer. Obviously I understand, the big shots of the gaming business would like to sell only digital files because they make more money. They can all go to hell anyway.

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Videogames highlights - February 2016

August 25, 2016 · Filed Under In Depth, Videogaming · Comment 
This entry is part of the series Videogames Highlights

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances In the bizzarre world of video games there are very, very different kinds of developers. If you are lucky you end up dealing with a product made by someone that doesn’t fuck with you with over-discounted prices, or with an independent team that worked passionately and hopes to at least recover the money spent on development. If you are not so lucky, you are forced to waste money, time and mental energies on some obscene shit like the latest manifestation of Godus - the most recent digital dung defecated by Peter Molyneux which doesn’t spare new bad surprises every now and then. Luckily we have the indies, the honest ones at least.

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