2013 in gaming is finished and the new year promises to be as much full of ideas, decent games and maybe some unforgettable gem here and there. 2014 will surely bring a great number of titles worthy of being taken into consideration, indie games capable of selling millions of copies or collecting millions of dollars in funds, mega hits of tens of millions of copies sold and extremely interesting graphic technologies (AMD’s Mantle). The list of what I personally would like to see never again includes the silliness of “cloud” games that must be reprogrammed to work off-line afterward, the rubbish (or the downright frauds) on the Kickstarter slot machine and the fucking remakes of everything.
DICE is a small emulator dedicated to recreating on a modern computer the arcade games based on discrete circuits, ancient and bizarre entertainment machines where the electronic components required for the game experience were soldered individually on the circuit board and where there was no trace of a CPU. It’s an obscure and fascinating kind of emulation, the one served by DICE, and the offering of emulated games grows richer and richer with every new version of the software.
Sir Arthur has always played on PC, and he will continue to do so until he will collapse in front of the screen. Hence I always feel annoyed when I read the “apocalyptic” news about the collapse in PC sales, a market that even when it’s depressed is capable of shipping something like 300 million new machines in a year. These are numbers that actually say little about the real market of hardcore players (who build their own PCs, as it’s the right thing to do), and that must be coupled with meaningful statistics like the 7 million concurrent users logged on December by Steam and the billions of dollars earned by historical MMOs like the Lineage series. But you know, MMOs are full of spies and Steam is the evil that wants to conquer the world, so I side with the competition and always buy my games on DVD. Ave atque vale.
The month of February 2014 marks the 32nd anniversary of the debut of the Intel 80286 CPU, a historical processor of changing fortunes which helped to build what would have later become the market domination of the x86 instruction set. As Computer Hope reminds, the 286 processor (also known as “iAPX 286″) was introduced on February 1st in 1982 bringing important technology innovations a bit too ahead of the times.
A year and half after its first major release, in the last days PCSX2 got updates again with the release of two new versions in a short timeframe: the only existing (open source) emulator capable of replicating in software the complex hardware of Sony’s PlayStation 2 console reached release 1.2.0 at the beginning of February, followed the day after by release 1.2.1 aimed at correcting some last-hour bugs. PCSX2 is now able to run 2130 games in playable state, a remarkable result considering the about 3900 games making up the total PS2 titles library.
On the long, long road that leads to its final target, ReactOS continues to grow and evolve thanks to the hard work made by developers contributing to the project. The latest, important changes help the system to actually advance toward the aforementioned final target, ie to reach full compatibility with software and drivers made for Windows operating systems based on the NT architecture.
In an age where malicious code has turned into cyber-crime and ransomware is asking for lot of money to unlock the access to user’s files, a particular class of malware with ancient origins is still able to survive - even though it’s forced to serve the needs of the aforementioned crime. The class I am talking about is the virus or file virus one, a type of digital pathogen that raged in the MS-DOS times and then began to slowly wane when Windows appeared and Internet worms brought their worldwide epidemics.
The increasing fight against “illegal” downloads on file sharing networks I was talking about the last time is speeding up to a feverish rate, and the new lords of digital steam go to any lengths to prove than on-line copyright is worth more than everything - even more than open Internet access. The industry’s most used tool against unauthorized P2P continues to be censorship, and if that wasn’t enough the MAFIAA (MPAA+RIAA) collective and similar organizations are quick to switch to threats and power abuse.