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pg 4 ptd magazine june

table of contents

Features
08
Why Retro?
Special guest editor
Peter Berger
introduces our annual
retro edition
34
the case for
abandonware
where do games go
when they die, and is
it legal to ressurect
them again?

10 our favorite pirate


plugs readers into 38 one man's fondest
memories hidden in
news read by events on the digital 10 rem lines of code
a pirate high seas werewolves
& wanderers
12 what's happening this
month, including
42 saving video game
the ptd our weekly online history one rom at a
calendar meetups
the ptd guide time
to emulation
14 we pay our respects to
a novelty of gaming 46 multiplayer delight
intellivision history in an era before
overlays spaceward ethernet
ho!
18 our executive editor
sets off in search of 50 in a generation of
a quarter in adventure, excitement, million dollar
denver give me marketing hype, is
and a video arcade more, give more really better?
20 a ballad of the cracks,
hisses and clicks of
me less
listening to
programs
yesteryear 54 can one man
overcome his fear of
night of the the letter x to win the
load killer x's game?
24 A story of one woman's
love for video games 58 a rebuttal
love's coming full circle
labour's lost retro sucks
... and found
62
30 of dreams,
realizations and the
next month
in PTD
waltzing for video game culture
dreamers
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BORING

Lorien Faulkner
Executive Editor

PK Hufford
Managing Editor

Damian Allen
Contributing Editor

Peter Berger
Contributing Editor

William Everett
Contributing Editor

Troy Goodfellow
Contributing Editor

Thord Hedengren
Contributing Editor

Jesse Merritt
Contributing Editor

Chris Pickering
Contributing Editor

Jennifer Reed
Contributing Editor

Lesley Smith
Contributing Editor

You
Contributing Editor

pg 6 ptd magazine june


ptd biographics

Executive Editor: Contributors: Advertising Inquires:


Lorien Faulkner Nat Lanza 1 (970) 672-4008
Managing Editor: Meredyth Didier advertise.PTD@
PK Hufford Dmitri Salcedo empireconsolidated.com
Copy Editor: David Craddock
Salmon Muffin Scott Krol
News Editor: Paul Mazaitis
PK Hufford

PTD MAGAZINE VOLUME 3, ISSUE 6 copyright 2005-2007, PTD Magazine.


PTD Magazine, or its parent company Empire All rights reserved; reproduction in whole
Consolidated, llc., does not claim any copy- or part without permission is prohib-
right in the screenshots found in this issue. ited. PTD Magazine is a trademark of Em-
Copyright in all screenshots contained in this pire Consolidated, llc. Products named
publication are owned by their respective com- in these pages are trade names, or trade-
panies or copyright holders. Entire contents marks, of their respective companies.

Tagged:
boring
FEATURE

“We need to do an issue focusing on Speaking for myself, there are two
retrogaming.” reasons that I read game magazines. The
That was me, in a Dave and Busters’ first is purely functional. “I’m thinking
in Bethesda, Maryland, at PTD’s annual about buying this new game, and I want
staff meeting. I had come prepared, to know if it’s any good.” The second,
with a 10 minute Keynote presentation more nebulous, reason is that I love
explaining who the target market was games and love reading about games. In
for such an issue, why it made sense practice, the great majority of my game
from an editorial perspective, and how reading is for this second reason. Sure,
retrogaming (seemingly a non sequitur) I occasionally want to know if I should
actually tapped into the underlying shell out $50 for Bladehunt: Deathspank
reason that people read about games. 2: The Revenge, but more often than not,
“You’re right!” said Lorien, our Executive I just read game magazines, web sites,
Editor. “Let’s do it.” and weblogs recreational.
“Don’t dismiss the idea so quickly, I believe this is true for most people.
Lorien. I really think this could be...wait, To take just one obvious example, every
what?” And that was that. time I give a game a bad review, I get
This left me with at least two problems. innumerable comments from fans of
The first was actually putting the issue the game about how I am a “talentless
together, but the second was that I had homosexual toad-licker” or some similar
put all this effort into this awesome insult. In most cases, these people have
Keynote, and now I had no reason to already bought the game, and they
give it. Luckily, there is still someone certainly have already decided they liked
to whom the Retro issue needs to be it. They’re reading articles about it not for
explained... you, the PTD reader. advice but as pure recreation. Yet when

pg 8 ptd magazine june


Why retro?
you look at the game writing available on “Don’t just tell me about this old game
the Internet and on the newsstand, with you loved,” was the message, “tell me
a few notable exceptions, nearly all of why you loved it. Make me understand
it is purely functional. “The new Mario why it matters.”
game is out! 5 out of 5 stars.” This is our goal: to use retrogaming as
I think we can do better, and I hope a lens through which we can explore the
this issue is proof. question of why games matter. Despite
I chose retrogaming as a focus for several Lorien’s enthusiastic embrace of the
reasons. First, I believe that the gamer concept, there is no avoiding the fact that
who reads about games is truly literate. this issue is an experiment and a risk. I
This means that they can understand the think the risk has been worth it, because
idea of games as a medium rather than I’m proud of the writing that has gone
as a product. into this issue. Which brings me to a
I also believe that gamers who read simple pitch to you: if you like the writing
about games are, generally, older than in this issue, if you want to see more of it,
gamers who don’t. This means they are if you like the idea of exploring our past
interested in the history of the medium. to enlighten our present, then this would
Lastly, I believe that gamers who read be a great time to subscribe to PTD
about games believe that games matter Magazine. Let us know you subscribed
and are an integral part of their life. because of the Retro issue. If you like
The marching order for our writers in what you read, let us know that you want
this issue was to avoid “review-style” more.pb
articles. Instead of writing about games
Tagged:
&5

per se, we wanted to capture that elusive retro, experiment


3

element that makes us love games.


FEATURE

pg 10 ptd magazine june


FEATURE
listening to programs load
On a desk in my house is a cassette tape. Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any
On one side of the tape is the first half of sufficiently advanced technology is
Frank Zappa’s album Joe’s Garage. On indistinguishable from magic.” As a 10
the other side of the tape is screeching, year old boy, that’s how I viewed these
metallic static that sounds not unlike machines. It was much different than
Lou Reed’s album Metal Machine Music. using a modern game console. To load a
It’s a computer program, specifically a program on a computer was not simply
game called Madness and the Minotaur to put in a cartridge and press a button.
for the TRS-80 Color Computer. It was It was to perform ritual magic, and this
a text adventure game that used words ritual magic had its own sound.
to describe an alluring and dangerous First, I cleared the screen of all
labyrinth. It was a game of the mind. distracting influences. I placed my
There is a dissonance between offering and incantation, in the form of
what computers are and how we talk a cassette tape, in the tape drive. Then,
about them. Programmers talk of the I spoke the word of power: CLOADM,
abstractions underlying the devices, mysterious and gnostic (flashback to 8th
the symbolic logic, the “ones and grade when I, brandishing a copy of the
zeros”. Users, however, talk about the Apple Disc II Reference Manual, asked
functions of the device. Today, when my poor English teacher to explain what
more than ever we are using computers “aexpr” meant). Pressing play on the
as communication devices, many of us tape player, the sound began: first, the
think of them as a portal to someplace crow-like call of the tape leader, krrrrrr-
else. A computer functions as a hole on REEEE, krrrrrr-REEEE, followed by the
your desk through which you can see a rusty iron static of the program data,
different world. a hurdygurdy droning continuing for
We see this new world through a minutes. All the time, I sat silent, almost
physical device made of plastic, sand, meditative, anticipating the load screen
and sheet metal. Its fan quietly hums. of the game (or the cursed I/O ERROR,
Like a new car, it smells of plastic wrap indicative of a failure to have performed
and ozone. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, the ritual properly, requiring a return to
when the idea of a store-bought personal the beginning).
computer was new, manufacturers After the game was successfully
indulged designers’ fancies, creating a loaded, I was in the world of the game.
plethora of designs that would look at However, no matter how good the game
home in a wood-paneled room. The Atari was, it was less electric to me than the
800, for example, looked like a station anticipation of loading it. I’ve played
wagon for the Star Trek set. However, it Madness and the Minotaur on modern
is the non-visual attributes, the sounds, of PCs, via emulation. It lacks something. I
these old consumer electronics that loom miss those opening sounds.
largest in my memory.
pg 12 ptd magazine june
The sounds of old home computers are ones: invitations to consume or,
not merely from the cassette. The Apple if we’re ambitious, to create. I
II disk drive, for example, had such fear that the invitation to explore
a distinctive sound that sometimes it the guts of the machine, to dive
seemed alive. It would synchronize itself into the inner world of an elegant
by trying to seek under track 0, which mechanical device, is no longer
made the heads clatter and buzz like the extended. There will always be
entryway of an old apartment building. some who will hear the call and
When a disk went bad, you’d hear an will respond. For me, though, it
ominous periodic click. That was the was easier to hear that call in the
sound of losing days of effort. beautiful and strange screeching
Nostalgia for its own sake is poison. that began each descent into
At least some of the fondness I have for the labyrinth of the mind.pb
these sounds is simply the regressive
&5 Tagged:
urge to return to a seemingly simpler retro, tape deck
3

time. Despite this there are, I think,


some real losses beyond the inevitability
of aging that can be mourned. In
losing the clatters and buzzes and
clicks and clucks of the old computers,
we’ve lost a certain insight. For all
their complexity, it is easy to forget that
although computers are like magic, they
are not magic. They are machines, just
as surely as an inclined plane or a screw
is a machine. A cassette deck, if not
exactly trivial, is at least understandable.
The mechanical melodies of the early
computers were an invitation. “If you
can figure out how we work”, they
seemed to promise, “then surely you can
figure out how the rest of the computer
works as well.”
The sounds – the mechanical sounds –
of the old computers are rapidly fading
from our consciousness, replaced by
nothing more than the subtle hiss of a
cooling fan, and the sounds of music
and movies blaring from the machine’s
speakers. The invitations now are different
FEATURE

pg 14 ptd magazine june


FEATURE

The day we brought home the Atari


2600 was a day of many firsts for me.
It was, for example, the first time my
parents told me to lie. As we piled out
of our brick-red AMC, Mom mentioned
casually, “So if someone asks, we got
it as a gift. We’re behind on the rent,
and if the landlord found out we spent
money on this, well…” Once Dad
gave the landlord-all-clear signal, Mom
yanked the giant black and orange box
out of the trunk and sprinted across our
apartment complex courtyard with Dad
leading the way. Keeping pace behind
them, my sister and I found this behavior
glamorous, as if we were a family of
international spies.
For years before the Atari arrived, I
simply stared at the grocery’s arcade
games, watching attract sequences while
Mom shopped. Quarterless and too
short to reach anything, I’d stand there
imagining what it would be like to man
the controls. I thought that I would be
pretty good if I would ever get the chance
to play.
Despite all my expectations, Missile
Command proved that I was terrible
at video games. This was intensely
frustrating. Perhaps it was because of the
feeling that lives were at stake. Watching
the last of my cities explode in nuclear
holocaust filled me with a righteous
anger so strong I actually let out a blood-
curdling yell. My parents were visibly
taken aback at my reaction; they had
never seen me so angry. For hours I kept
playing, kept failing, and kept getting
more frustrated.

pg 16 ptd magazine june


Waltzing's For Dreamers
“Maybe you should take a break,” said but video games allow you to find fast
Mom. I glared back at her red-faced with friends at any school. It didn’t matter
teary, bleary eyes. I had waited so long if you were rich or poor if you were a
for this. I was supposed to be good at gamer. You had Pitfall II, and they had
this. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t stop playing, Star Raiders. If neither of you had played
and Mom didn’t stop me. the other’s game, you were probably
There wasn’t much glitz in growing up going to be pals soon.
poor, but when our parents occasionally Thinking back, having games helped
splurged there was an exhilarating joy soothe a lot of problems, even if those
to the irresponsibility, a rare feeling problems were caused by the lack of
of freedom. Fortunately, the spree of money to afford things like game systems
buying an Atari opened a future path to in the first place. There’s a snake eating
cheap entertainment. For a modest sum, its tail in that logic somewhere, but after
a single game occupied us for weeks at years of not understanding why my
a time. Missile Command and Super parents recklessly spent money on us at
Breakout alone entertained my sister times, I finally figured it out.
and me for an entire summer. After the One frosty morning I was standing in
video game crash, my parents raided line for the Wii idly chatting with the guy
the bargain bin at Sears and bought up next to me. He had already lined up eight
a bunch of games for five bucks each. times elsewhere to find the system for his
Over the next year, they smartly rationed young nephews with no luck so far, and
them out of a hidden box in the hall I commended him on being a dedicated
closet for birthdays and Christmas. uncle. “Well, I know it’s just a toy, a
Times got tougher for us later. We had material thing,” he admitted, “but they
more trouble making rent, got kicked need fun in life, fun and imagination. It’s
out, and ended up across town at another where their dreams come from.”
apartment building. The whole process It seemed overly-dramatic to me at the
inevitably repeated itself every year and time, but now I know the man was right.
a half or so. There were no allowances We needed dreams. Maybe we even
for long stretches of time, but lucky for us needed them just a little bit more than the
we had the dependable Atari. You might other kids. So I’d like to say something
be forced to leave all your friends and here that I’m not sure I ever actually
attend a different school in a few months, said: Thanks, Mom and Dad. Thanks for
but your old buddy Yars’ Revenge would risking half the rent on a dream machine
make the trip with you. Maybe you had all those years ago. It was worth it.ds
played it a hundred times by then, but at
Tagged:
&5

least they couldn’t take that away. retro, dreams


3

The frequent moves meant leaving old


playmates and trying to get new ones,
FEATURE

pg 18 ptd magazine june


FEATURE
The case for abandonware
1993 was an important year in my career I sat down at my computer, my heart
as a PC gamer. Sure, Doom was released, trying to thump its way right out of my
and it was great and all, but for me, the chest as I activated my dial-up Internet
year 1993 will always be synonymous connection and nervously typed in
with one of the best computer games I’ve ‘abandonware’ in Yahoo!’s search engine.
ever played, Event Horizon Software’s “This is okay, right?“ I thought to myself.
Veil of Darkness. Using an isometric “After all, I bought the game. I’ve got the
view similar to Blizzard’s Diablo games, box and the instructions sitting right next
Veil of Darkness was an adventure game to me. Yeah, this is fine. Perfectly legal.”
that had the player’s avatar fulfilling Right?
a prophecy in order to escape from a That’s quite a tricky question.
valley ruled by a vampire named Kairn. Abandonware, defined by most as
The combat was in real-time, and solving software no longer available for purchase,
the prophecy required puzzle solving is as sticky a legal area as that of
skills that had me tracking down a emulation. There are those--mostly game
werewolf, solving murder mysteries, publishers--who feel that downloading
and returning beloved items to souls any abandonware is illegal. Law states
still trapped on the mortal plane. It was that a game is under copyright for 95
a great game and remains a personal years after its release, and since no video
favorite to this day. game has existed for anything close to 95
Then, in 1996, my family moved. years yet, downloading abandonware is
Being a true gamer, when we arrived at illegal, plain and simple. However,
our new home, I opted to leave all other another argument states that there are
belongings in complete disarray while I those who download old games not
worked tirelessly to get my PC up and because they don’t want to pay for them;
running. As I rooted through boxes of they see abandonware as a great way to
games, I came across the Veil of Darkness uphold the rich history of video gaming.
box and got a hankering to reinstall it and I find truth in both arguments, and
give Kairn another run for his money. The while I find myself leaning toward the
problem was, I couldn’t find the disks. I latter belief, let’s be honest. I didn’t give
searched through every box, dumping a darn about gaming history while I was
clothes, school supplies, photo albums, downloading Veil of Darkness. All I
and of course, video game paraphernalia wanted was to be able to play a game I
all over the floor. The instruction manual had already bought.
turned up but no diskettes.

pg 20 ptd magazine june


The preservation of gaming history means seminal to anyone who knows
is a compelling argument, though. I the history of the first-person-shooter
understand reticence from developers genre. Titles such as Catacombs 3D
and publishers. After all, just because deserve respect, especially for budding
something is hard to find doesn’t mean game designers who should strive to
it can’t be purchased. There are many know as much about the history of their
gamers out there who cry “abandonware” field as possible. Also what about lesser
simply because they’ve found a product known titles, such as Veil of Darkness?
they don’t want to pay for. I believe The game wasn’t popular by any stretch
game developers should be paid for the of the imagination, but I didn’t care. I
entertainment they provide. Services bought it on a whim because it was
such as GameTap offer subscription- relatively cheap, and I fell in love with
based services that allow gamers to the game. Shouldn’t other gamers have
play hundreds of games from a wide a chance to play lesser known games
range of systems for small monthly or that happened to be overwhelmed by
yearly fees. The Nintendo Wii’s Virtual other, bigger name titles?
Console, Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade, I personally think so. If not for
and compilations from companies such abandonware, I might never have been
as Capcom allow popular series such able to find a copy of Veil of Darkness.
as Street Fighter II, Sonic the Hedgehog, I didn’t feel I should have to pay for it
and Mega Man to be experienced by again as I had honestly already paid the
those who fondly remember them and publisher the price they asked once.
want to share them with others. More importantly, it was a piece of
While there are plenty of old games gaming history that was and is important
still for sale, however, there are hundreds to me as a gamer. Video and computer
more that are not. Should genre-defining game history should be preserved. If
titles such as Day of the Tentacle or Dune more companies would realize that their
2 be forgotten just because newer, more past works will one day all but disappear,
advanced games have sprung up in their maybe most--not all, but most--would
place? No. There is an entire generation realize that their work is better suited as
of gamers that have grown up thinking a piece of history instead of as a forgotten
that video gaming began and ended relic.dc
with Halo. Nothing against Bungie or Tagged:
&5

the success they’ve enjoyed, but while retro, abandonware


3

the Halo series is very good, it’s by no


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