If you’ve listened to the show for any length of time you’ll know that the software development company BROS is directly responsible for Pop Tech Jam making its way through the Intertubes and into our preferred listening devices. Founder and lead bro Christian Serron joins Pedro to discuss the burgeoning tech sector in Uruguay and to finally reveal why he helped unleash J.D. and El Kaiser on the podcast world… again. If the Polar Vortex is keeping you indoors (or if you just enjoy playing classic video games) J.D. tells us where we can find some venerable titles for our mobile devices. In the news South Korea still has the need for speed when it comes to connection speed; Android continues to dominate in Europe; Blackberry rolls out a new version of their Blackberry 10 OS; Google buys artificial intelligence research company Deep Mind; and Facebook turns 10.
January 2014 brought several winter blasts to the Midwest, South and Northeast — and a lot more indoor time for many people. But winter’s not over yet and if you’re running out of new games to play while you’re stuck inside during the next blizzard, consider taking a stroll through your app store for some old favorites in new formats.
For example, remember Myst, the ground-breaking interactive adventure puzzle game with the lovely graphics that first appeared on the Mac in 1993 and went on to conquer just about every other platform in the years to come? There is now an official version of Myst for the iPhone and it costs a mere $5. You can also get the game’s sequel, Riven, for $4 in the App Store. And while there’s no official version of Myst for Android, developers for that platform have created similar puzzle games for the touchscreen. And fans of Myst, be sure to check out The Room, a tactile 3D puzzler from Fireproof Games for iOS, Kindle Fire and Android that costs just a few bucks. (A sequel, The Room 2, is also out for iOS now and headed to Android soon.)
Want a little something from the FPS Department? Going old school, you can find Castle Wolfenstein and Doom for iOS as well as the various Android versions and ports of the game, like AnDoom and DoomGLES. More recently, there’s also Call of Duty: Strike Team for iOS and Android.
Seeking adventure? There’s Baldur’s Gate for iPad as well as Balder’s Gate II or Final Fantasy V for Android and iOS. Ravensword: Shadowlands (which has been described as an equivalent to The Elder Scrolls) awaits on Android and iOS.
Now, if you have fond memories of a particular game but don’t see a version of it in your app store, check out the Games Finder site, which offers reviews and information on games that are sort of like other games. The Games Like Directory page can point you to an alphabetical list of games like RuneScape, Age of Empires, Harvest Moon, Diablo, World of Warcraft and more. Some games may be for mobile devices and some may be for the computer, console or a web browser, but it’s a great place to start your quest. (And for fans of Gears of War, Shadowgun for Android and iOS, has often been mentioned as a viable substitute.)
And remember, if you want to go way back, you can find many iconic arcade games available as mobile apps now, like Midway Arcade for iOS, NAMCO Arcade for iOS and Atari’s Greatest Hits for Android. If you’re browser bound, don’t forget the Console Living Room section of the Internet Archive (which also virtually houses the Classic PC Games collection), where you can really rock your Atari 2600 memories with dozens of old cartridge classics running in emulation. There’s nothing like warm memories of 8-bit glory to make you forget about Mother Nature pitching a hissy outside.
This week J.D. takes us for a ride on the video game way-back machine with a look at the new Historical Software Collection at the Internet Archive. Also in this episode Kaiser Pedro has some hopefully helpful hints about improving your battery life and protecting your privacy on an Apple device running their iOS 7 mobile operating system. In the news Google unveils its long-rumored Nexus 5 smartphone; Apple looks to expand its manufacturing presence in the United States; hackers target a limousine service; Twitter makes its stock market debut; gamers lineup for the release of “Call of Duty: Ghosts”; and British supermarket chain Tesco wants to scan the faces of customers for advertisers.
Video-based games have been around since the middle of the 20th century. Consider Tennis for Two, created in 1958 and played on an oscilloscope at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Or Spacewar, thought by many to be the first shooter game, created in 1961 at MIT and played on a Digital PDP-1 mainframe computer. (And you thought the early Game Boys were bulky.)
But it was the next couple of decades when videogames really blasted off, with Computer Space and Pong fueling the arcade boom in the early 1970s. This lead into the microcomputer craze and the home videogame wave, Remember The Hobbit, Mystery House, Adventureland or Choplifter? If you played these in the early 1980s, you have some serious old-school gaming cred, emphasis on the old.
So what’s in the collection? You can revisit Lemonade Stand, an economics game popular on the Apple II in 1979, or the 1981 version of Castle Wolfenstein. From 1982, you can find the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man and KC Munchkin for the Odyssey2. How about 1983’s Chuckie Egg for the ZX Spectrum? There’s plenty more where those came from.
The Internet Archive Software Collection itself is a vast trove of CD-ROM images, Linux distributions, shareware mirrors and more. You could spend an afternoon trawling the virtual exhibits in this online repository. A sub-collection called Classic PC Games lets you relive those old DOS and early Windows favorites as well. But it’s not just fun and games. The archive has other ancient artifacts like VisiCalc and even WordStar to download or try out in emulation.
Yes, you can even grab a bag of Reese’s Pieces and run a version of that horrible E.T. game from 1983, just to see how bad it was. You are, after all, a student of history and history is not always pretty.