back to article Play Elite, Pitfall right now: Web TIME PORTAL opens to vintage games, apps

The Internet Archive has unveiled a new Historical Software Collection that enables visitors to experiment with vintage software from the era of 8-bit computing right within their browser windows. The collection includes such prototypal productivity software as VisiCalc running on an emulated Apple //c and WordStar 2.26 running …

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David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

I know he sued EMAP — and won — over the inclusion of the Spectrum Elite plus an emulator on a PC Review cover disc in 1995. I doubt either he's going to take this as good news, especially as the brand is about to go back into use. Activision might have a thing or two to say about Pitfall, too.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

I guess that in this day and age, anyone who had wanted to download Elite illegally would have done so by now... in 1995 games were pirated by swapping them with your mates, often on half a dozen floppy disks!

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

Well, Frontier is available as shareware - http://www.sharoma.com/frontierverse/game.htm and Ian Bell has just about every version of Elite on his website.

Emulators required, natch.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

All are disks are hard now :)

Seriously though, I was at a friends house the other day and his kid was messing with some software and she asked what the 'disk' icon for save was supposed to be. She had never seen a real diskette so couldn't make the connection between the picture on the screen and saving a file.

My friend and I then started to discuss other 'legacy' icons. Lots of software still has a rotary phone icon, or a traditional studio type mic, or even an SLR camera icon.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

>or even an SLR camera icon

What's legacy about that? SLR's are more popular now than ever. Walk along South Bank in London on any afternoon and you'll find that most tourists have one. They're not difficult to use like they used to be. In fact they're easier than phone cameras. And despite the bollocks you get from Nokia et al about megapixels, SLRs have what matters: a decent size lump of glass at the front to let the light in.

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Holmes

Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

If anyone wants to feed the lawyer's fat for shite like that, feel free.

Really, these are all of interest only for the nostalgic value to those who played them back then.

Running them in the emulator makes you realize that memories are cheating and they are all horrid crud.

It's like "ancient gnostic manuscripts". They don't reveal hidden knowledge or anything.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

leave them in the past.... I watched Big Trouble In Little China recently, dreadfull

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

They are more popular than ever among a fairly small (for consumer electronics) market of people who always enjoyed photography beyond point and shoot. Camera body & lens pricing is the same as for film cameras but the lack of need for film and processing makes it more affordable; but I digress.

The average home doesn't have an SLR camera in it. Sales numbers prove it. Point an Shoot camera sales have absolutely tanked since 2010 as well as the majority of people are satisfied with the cameras in their phones. Dedicated cameras are quickly becoming a specialty device used by higher level hobbyists and professionals, there's a very good possibility that a child born in the last five(ish) years may never have actually seen a real camera and not understand what the icon means. It is becoming less intuitive as an icon in a UI.

That being said, they'll have to pry my SLR from my cold dead hands :)

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

Big Trouble In Little China is a great movie! The character of Jack Burton would be an absolute badass were it not for the very peculiar John Carpenter take on badass... The story itself is really cool, you just have to overlook the cheesy parts and the gratuitous use of neon lighting; it was made in the most '80's part of the '80's, when everything was smothered in cheese. It is a testament to John Carpenter's individuality that Kurt Russell wasn't dressed in a pink suit with neon green shoes, that was the going thing back then.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

Excuse me, but I'm a weekend pro photographer who has five DSLRs in my possession. My 6 year old daughter has a DSLR. They are a legacy in the same way a truck is a legacy, in that they are not as common as cars but are still need by people who do "real" work.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

erm... not that my 6 year old daughter gets any work done with hers of course..

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

/me has a quick look around:

1 off DSLR

2 off SLR 35mm

1 off SLR 6 * 6cm

2 off 35mm rangefinder

2 off 4 *5 inch

1 off viewfinder 6 * 9 cm

1 off quarter plate

Not the average household, then. Still a big silver halide fan after nearly fifty years pushing the little button... bright sunshine, ASA 125, 125th at F16.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

I know you didn't mean that and you're only saying it to forestall a possible remake

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

That's right! Have you noticed the only bit that goes right for him is where he shots that guy accidentally in front of the other main characters, but every other bit of daring do, he's alone, and it all goes wrong?

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Big Trouble

That's part of the greatness of the film - the all-American 'hero' is an idiot and it's the Chinese Amercian sidekick who actually gets stuff done.

The picture's main problem is that it was made a decade too early, before the West got Jackie Chan. Hollywood has now got the Hong Kong 'heroic gunplay' genre - even giving the inferior remake of Infernal Affairs the best picture Academy Award - but it still hasn't 'got' the magical genre.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

> Really, these are all of interest only for the nostalgic value to those who played them back then.

Running them in the emulator makes you realize that memories are cheating and they are all horrid crud.

They were good for their time, but times have changed. A lot. After some bad experiences replaying old games like Lords of Midnight, I now avoid replaying my old favorites because I know I'll just be disappointed.

They have nostalgic and cultural value and were in their time great games, but they're not good games if judged by their own merit against todays games.

(But since they at least were good once, they're still firmly ahead of ancient gnostic manuscripts!)

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

SLR equipped households are very nearly fringe cases. As I said, for those who are extremely avid and/or professional about it. You're comparing personal experience with statistics from a global market and you can't really do that.

Global sales figures for SLR's have never been very high and are, and always have been, severely skewed by extremely photographically inclined countries like Japan, Germany and Brazil. If you eliminate those three countries from sales data the actual existence of SLR's in consumer households is on par with those households that own a dump truck: There are a few everywhere, but when you see one you notice it. That's without counting people who own multiple cameras.

I'm not downing SLR's, I love them almost as much as my Mamiya 4x5, I'm just saying that sales numbers don't lie and compared to the number of actual people in the target range, they aren't common outside those with an above average interest in photography.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

> she asked what the 'disk' icon for save was supposed to be.

You should have then told her that computers in your day had actual waste bins in them...

My 2010 laptop has a light above the keyboard to indicate HDD activity... the shape of this light? A drum!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drum_memory

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

>Lots of software still has a rotary phone icon, or a traditional studio type mic, or even an SLR camera icon.

That's nothing- UK road-signs still have an icon of a bellows camera, a design popular before WWII!

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

>SLRs have what matters: a decent size lump of glass at the front to let the light in.

Not just that - SLRs also have a sensor worthy of the name. I'd rather have 10-15 megapixels on an APS-C or full frame sensor where each of those pixels is big enough to get a reasonable amount of light than 42 megapixels on a sensor the size of a gnat's fingernail.

On the new Nokia, those sensors must be sharing, like 5 to a photon.

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

>Not just that - SLRs also have a sensor worthy of the name.

Fair enough, but it's a sliding scale of image quality vs portability. That sweet spot on the scale will depend on the individual user, and some people will get more from either a larger or a smaller camera.

It's worth noting that much of the bulk of a DSLR isn't to do with image quality per se, but with enabling phase-shift auto-focus and enabling an optical view finder. You can get an APS-C sensor in pocket-friendly (okay, a jacket pocket) cameras such as the Sony RX100, (The trade-offs are not being able to swap the lens, no optical viewfinder, no phase-shift AF, possibly compromised manual controls...).

A nature photographer, walking for day in the wilderness, might choose a micro 4/3rds camera, since its 200mm-equivalent zoom lens won't be as big and heavy as its equivalent for an APS-C DSLR.

Some people will even benefit from using a medium-format camera, which can make a DSLR look positively compact by comparison! Again, its a sliding scale; a studio-based photographer won't benefit from having a more portable camera.

The images I've seen independent reviewers produce from the Nokia PureView are damned impressive for its size. Each pixel might be small, but the thing is designed to interpolate the small pixels together, unless you're using the 'zoom' (read: crop). Since a lot of zoom photography takes place in daylight (holiday snaps of landmarks etc) each tiny pixel receive plenty of photons. The '42 mega-pixel' claim might be technically accurate, but is missing the point. Refreshingly, the last few generations of 'premium compacts' largely settled on around 10 mega-pixel sensors - their target market understood why.

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"I watched Big Trouble In Little China recently, dreadfull"

You leave Jack Burton alone!

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Re: David Braben's supposed to be quite litigious, isn't he?

My 2010 laptop has a light above the keyboard to indicate HDD activity... the shape of this light? A drum!

Mine has one too. Of course they use the drum symbol because it's the standard flowchart symbol for online storage, and everyone knows flowcharts.

I also appreciate the "RCA radio tower with radiating arcs" symbol for WiFi connectivity on this machine. 'Cause that's what WiFi antennae look like. "Yeah, I boosted my 802.11n signal to 5KW so I can get some decent range on my home broadband."

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Pint

Hmm

Super mario in a browser is a much better game but ET brings back more memories (showing my age here) so grats on that pick. ET lol the game that nearly killed video games.

http://www.fullscreenmario.com/index.html

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Re: Hmm

ET did not almost kill video gaming. ET just happens to be used as a poster-child of the problems with games at the time. Shovelware almost killed video-games in the 80s, and the saving grace what nintendo's draconian productions limits on studios (they set limits on how many titles any company could release in a year. better choose your best ones!), as well as their censorship rules. We may laugh now that you can't kill anything on a nintendo game, and a lot of it was overboard, but setting a baseline quality standard ment that gold seal gave you a good idea what you where getting.

Incidentally, ET's only problem was about 5 bugs. It was never anything systemic in the game. With the games I've see that the premise was awful to began with, ET hardly ranks as the worst with just a handful of bugs.

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Re: Hmm

Granted ET is no Big Rigs Over the Road Racing (the true worst game ever which looks more like a failing undergrad student project than a real game) but Big Rigs didn't fill up a landfill in the New Mexico desert. I agree its a symptom instead of the disease but even at the time me and my 10yo friends were like W T F?! when ET came out.

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Re: Hmm

Incidentally, ET's only problem was about 5 bugs. It was never anything systemic in the game. With the games I've see that the premise was awful to began with, ET hardly ranks as the worst with just a handful of bugs.

I spent several hours playing ET (on a Colecovision with the 2600 emulator adapter), and I have to disagree. The design of the game was also poor, with a dull premise and gameplay. Yes, there were some innovative ideas at the bottom of it, about games that involve exploration and completing tasks rather than just killing stuff or avoiding traps; and those ideas would later be the basis for much better games, such as Oddworld. But the 2600 didn't offer the scope for a game like that, and ET was just a mess.

Certainly it wasn't the worst game ever, as others have pointed out. But it's not some unfairly-maligned gem, either.

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There are worse games than ET

At least that one worked. The speccy version on sqij on the other hand....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6Dc-Ek5CB4

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Happy

Re: There are worse games than ET

I challenge your definition of 'worked'. ET occasionally did things which seemed inline with furthering your mission, but I will never be convinced any of those things were by design. I firmly believe every positive seeming action was in fact a glitch.

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Re: There are worse games than ET

I would rather bury myself in the New Mexico desert, than play ET again!

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Coat

9000?!

All your base are belong to us!

Well somebody had to say it.

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P.S.

Great find El Reg.

Bookmarked and shared.

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Boffin

This is my title; there are many like it, but this one is mine

No mention for E.T. for Atari 2600 is complete without an explanation of how to fix the issues:

http://www.neocomputer.org/projects/et/

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Alien

ET Game

Is there a technique for getting out of the hole?

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Re: ET Game

On the console version the only reliable way to get ET out of the hole was to remove the cartridge... In a browser version I suppose you could simply redirect your browser.

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elite

oolite is very current - a clone of Elite

http://www.oolite.org/

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Ah, to be a kid again. I remember mapping Pitfall by storyboarding each screen on index cards (I think there were 256) and laying the whole game out on the floor. That let me play a perfect game.

I still miss the dial controller. My favorite arcade game at the time was Tempest, and ports using a mouse or joystick just don't work.

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Could be wrong (and can't be bothered to look it up), but wasn't the solution to simple run left instead of right? Then you could fall down every hole and climb up the ladder

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Happy

Sargon

Hmm. They have Sargon Chess. I remember when it was famous, and I even have the book with the source code in it (yes, a published book with Z80 source code listings). They specify 1981 in the listings, so presumably it has some improvements over the 1978 version.

(For those who want to look it up [good luck], it's Sargon: A Computer Chess Program by Dan and Kathe Spracklen, ISBN 0-8104-5155-7.)

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Re: Sargon

Yup, still got that on the shelf.

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Facepalm

I think I blew money on the Atari console version of E.T.

Seemed like a good idea at the time!!

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Re: I think I blew money on the Atari console version of E.T.

Everyone I know who had money for an Atari also bought ET. If nothing else it proved that movie/game tie-in's would generate revenue, even if the products were absolute crap.

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Todays games companies are very litigious taoday...

simply because they cant match the game play anymore. Today..nice graphics with games that have zero replayability. Yesterdays games...naff graphics (unless you were around at the time to appreciate how advanced they were) but replayability factor 10!

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Re: Todays games companies are very litigious taoday...

@Bladeforce - oh, so true.

... and kind of ironic that you chose the handle "Bladeforce": Last year I released a series of mobile retro-games hoping to get the feel of these sort of "gameplay-over-graphics" games - including one called "Blade Force Rescue", which was based on Choplifter...

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New Elite in the works!

In case someone hasn't heard I have happy news for fellow Elite fans: there was a kickstarter project earlier this year for a new game in the Elite series named Elite: Dangerous, and it met its funding goal with a wide margin. It should be released in a year or two.

That funding campaign is closed now, but there's plenty of other interesting games to back. I'm a STALKER & FallOut fan, so personally I find Raindrop very interesting, but there's something for pretty much every taste!

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Re : Big trouble...

My fav quote:

Gracie: "I'd go with you but...."

Jack: "I know. There's a problem with your face. You people sit tight, hold the fort, and keep the home fires burning. If we're not back by dawn... call the President."

Cracking movie.

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Only just read this. There goes my Monday afternoon, better book a meeting room!

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been done before

One of the very first computer games, Spacewar on a PDP-1 from MIT, has been available for years on the web, implemented as the original PDP-1 code running on a full PDP-1 emulator written in Java.

http://www.masswerk.at/spacewar/

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