Space I – We DO Need an…Education…

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Space I Review
The Space I title tcreen

Space, the...Apple game...

Since I had to skip a few games on my list due to not getting them running — or being able to find them — the next game I came across on my list was Space I, a 1978 Apple game made by Edu-Ware Services, Inc. Thanks to an awesome Apple IIe emulator for Windows called AppleWin, I was able to get the game up and running. Hopefully now that I’ll be getting away from BASIC games, I should have more luck getting these things to run.

Since this game is a bit more complex than the previous games, I’m gonna split this up into multiple articles, and likely do that from now on if I feel the game requires it. In this first installment, we’ll look at the building blocks of Space I, creating a character and taking ‘em to school.

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Winter IS Coming: Sword of the Stars II Blasts Off

Funky looking spaceship...

Funky looking spaceship...

News came in over the wire that Sword of the Stars: Lords of Winter has been released, and you can buy it at a bevy of retailers! Word is also coming in that the Steam version of the game is not the final version, but a beta that was accidentally uploaded, and that the final is apparently being uploaded, FYI. Regardless, I’d TOTALLY be playing this game if my PC were up to it, which it totally isn’t, sadly. I’ll play it eventually…just not today. Sigh.

Annnnyway, click below to see the launch trailer and more screenshots.

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Spacey Snippets – 10/28/11

A boss fight in Huespace

Go "pew pew" like you did in the 80's!

There’s a buncha little spacey news bits that have cropped up lately, so let’s get to it:

  • The Star Supremacy folks have a boatload of stuff going on, such as a Halloween event and a massive update as they prepare to go into open beta soon.
  • The folks at EVE Online have been plenty busy, with a new power of 2 special offer, a return of the Community Communication Liaisons, and a new Gallente starship, the Talos, which looks pretty sweet. They also just emailed me about returning for five days, so I might give it a whirl.
  • Beat Hazard Ultra is now available in the Mac App Store, and is on sale for $1 until November 1st.
  • There’s a new space shooter called Huespace from Nonsuch Games that looks lovingly retro, and is only $4.95. You can also download a demo to try out, which I totally plan to do.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, and if you have any spacey news to share, feel free to contact me. Have a great day!

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An Ode to iMUSE (or Missing Contextually-Based Music in Space Games)

IMUSE Logo

Oh iMUSE, how I miss thee...

After I published the story of my most memorable dogfight the other day, we got into a discussion about TIE Fighter and its ilk on one of my favorite gaming forums, Quarter to Three. During that discussion, someone brought up the amazing interactive and contextual music system that LucasArts was using back at the time, iMUSE (which you can also read about here). No, Apple fans, it’s not a Mac-based product, it’s a specific piece of music software. :P Anyway, this got me to thinking about contextual music, how it added so much to this and other games, and why we don’t see (or hear) it much anymore.

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Spacey Snippets – 10/26/11

All those little dots are news stories...

All those little dots are news stories... :)

Hey y’all, since I’ve been working hard to try and pound out the original content on this site, a bunch of spacey news pieces have slipped by me. Since I wanna make sure y’all get the latest spacey news, I’ve decided to consolitate ‘em all into a new regular segment called “Spacey Snippets”. These will be news pieces that I might not have the time or energy to do a full post on, that sort of thing. In today’s snippets…

  • Space Sector has a preview of Distant Worlds Legends, the expansion pack to the original Distant Worlds that looks to be shaping up nicely. You can also see some new screenshots at the Matrix Games website.
  • The official Star Conflict website has launched with a bevy of news and new screenshots for the upcoming spacey MMO.
  • Brent of Beyond Beyaan wrote a blog post letting us know he’s still working on the game. :)
  • Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a little piece about Blue Libra, a Galcon looking game I’m gonna have to look into.
  • Gamasutra has a great article entitled, Challenges of Designing a Space Sim, in which the developer of Salvation Prophecy looks at the challenges they’re facing.
  • Miner Wars has a new build out, and the devs have increased the price to $19.99 for the beta.
  • RTS Guru has a list of the pre-order bonuses for Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter.
  • Space Sim Central has put up a Review of Star Ruler, taking a look at the latest release of this successful indie 4X space game.

See? A lot happened, and I’ll be doing this every so often to keep y’all updated on the latest space game happenings.

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What’s Your Most Memorable Dogfight?

Assault Gunboat cockpit

Freaking Gunboats...

Anyone who’s played space combat games for a long time probably has several tales of brilliant success or failure that have been seared into their brains over the years. A brilliant victory, a crushing defeat, a desperate battle against incredible odds, that sort of thing. If you’re a veteran of as many space battles as I am, you know you have one or two that will be with you for all time.

Mine was in Star Wars: Tie Fighter, in a mission entitled, “Destroy the Lulsla” (which you can read about here, here and here). As the sixth mission in the first “battle” (or short campaign, 13 in all with several missions apiece) of the game, I didn’t think it would be much of a challenge…read on to see how completely wrong I was.

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Game Finding Fail :(

The Failship...

The pic says it all...

So for the last several days, I’ve tried to track down a copy of 1973′s Star Trek (Script Game), which is different from the 1971 version I’ve already reviewed. I’ve contacted the author, but he’s not replied yet, so until he does…if he does, I have to skip that game and move onto the next one.

I then found two copies of the BASIC game, Star Trader – upon which later games like Trade Wars are based — and tried to get that game to run. Sadly, neither of them worked in multiple BASIC emulators and compilers after the last couple of evenings of trying various methods. I don’t want to spend TOO much time trying to get a game to work, so sadly, I’m going to move on and skip THAT game as well.

Thankfully, these good folks have made an excellent Apple IIe emulator for Windows, so I’m able to get Edu-Ware’s 1978 space game simply titled, Space I, to work just fine on my machine. Therefore, that will be the next game on my list that I review. I want to thank y’all for your patience, and I should have my first installment soon.

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The Best and Worst Space Game Manuals…That I Know of ;)

Read the Freaking Manual!

Sage Wisdom of the Ages...

Ahhh manuals. One of the few joys I miss about buying most computer games in boxes is the smell of a new manual. Good manuals were perfect for reading on the can or in bed when you’re about to go to sleep, or in between class or lunch breaks. Bad manuals, on the other hand, leave you ill-prepared for what the game would throw at you.

I still have many of my old computer game manuals, and I went through all of them to choose the best and worst of them, as well as those that were pretty decent and rise above average. Bear in mind, these are only the manuals of the games I’ve owned or played, so while I’ve missed some — like the amazing Megatraveller manuals — this list will cover those manuals I’m familiar with. Now, let’s get to it, shall we (Sorry for the blurriness of the manual pics)?

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WTF EVE Online?!

EVE Online Incarna captain's quarters.

I Watch the News with Skepticism...

So yeah, a little late to the party on this one…I had an INSANELY busy week, sue me. ;)

Over the previous week, TONS of wacky crap has happened with CCP and their MMO, EVE Online. First, this past Wednesday, they announced that they were downsizing. Um…yay? Is this a good thing? Well, a couple of days later, they tried to tell us…yes, it is a good thing. That second blog post stated that we’d see even more communication from CCP and even a stronger focus on EVE Online. Now, I know most of the staff laid off was for their World of Darkness MMO, but really, you wanna have more focus with less people? I’m not so sure about that…

THEN, the folks at Eurogamer had an interview with Hilmar Pétursson, the CEO of CCP (try saying that six times fast…I couldn’t). While taking responsibility for their recent snafus, he reflected on the recent state of the game by saying:

These were very much the decisions that I as CEO made and supported, and I think everyone now agrees that we need to do these adjustments. That’s a hard thing to realise, especially because people are hurt in the process.

Part of my is trying to see this all as a good thing. Renewed focus on the game, its lingering problems, bringing in true content-based expansions rather than crap like microtransactions and so on. However…I’m not fully convinced. I left EVE Online over sheer boredom and burnout, and it’ll take a lot to get me to come back. However, I’ve kept up with the happenings, as well as the history of the game, and it’ll take actions more than words to get me back into the game, and I’m guessing a lot of others too. I’ll be keeping a close eye on EVE in the coming months. Hopefully, they’ll stick to their promises and make the game more engaging and useful after all.

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