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Retro Gaming Technologies Released Before Their Time

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the who-remembers-when-game-companies-took-risks dept.

Classic Games (Games) 120

Barence writes "Motion-sensing golf game controllers that appeared 20 years before the Nintendo Wii and the 1980s handheld console that operated on solar power are just two of the gems unearthed in this article about retro gaming secrets. Davey Winder has delved into his extensive personal collection of retro hardware to unveil the first handheld console to play '3D games' from 1983, 'the most realistic "gun" game controller ever produced' from way back in 1972, and the device that offered multiplayer computerized Scrabble almost 30 years before the iPad."

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Analog joysticks (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33771758)

On the Atari 5200/SuperSystem (really A400 computers without keyboards). In an era when everything was digital (like Pac-man and Dig Dug) having analog sucked.

Re:Analog joysticks (2, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33771864)

I hate to do it...wait, no I don't...we used to build our own joysticks and wheel controllers, a few pots and pulleys. I think it was Byte magazine that ran an article that showed how to build a light pen for the Sinclair ZX81. Analog was nice.

Re:Analog joysticks (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33772352)

So how did you play Pac-Man, which is basically impossible to play with analog sticks (you miss turns)?

Commodore did later develop an analog mouse for use with GEOS 64 and 128 and Amiga. And you're right it was nice for flight sims and such but the D-stick or D-pad was best for arcade games

Re:Analog joysticks (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | about 4 years ago | (#33772484)

What difference would analog make? As long as the stick is in the position before the corner is reach, you can't miss the turn.

((x > 0.75) 0.75) 1) | ((y 0.25) 1)

That would be the analog equivalent of an Atari or Commodore digital joystick bitfield (invert for Atari). Tweak the thresholds to adjust the response speed.

Of course, the Apple ][ had an analog joystick/paddles before any of those machines.

Re:Analog joysticks (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | about 4 years ago | (#33772506)

Cripes. Blasted HTML did me in. That's what I get for not previewing.

((x > 0.75) << 1) | ((x < 0.25) << 1) | ((y > 0.75) << 1) | ((y < 0.25) << 1)

Re:Analog joysticks (2, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 4 years ago | (#33775634)

Speaking from experience of 286 years, sometimes the analog would not calibrate right. And even when you calibrated, if you didn't push the stick the full degree to its range of motion, it would not know you moved there. Red Baron was a great game to play though with analog. Speaking of Red Baron, why haven't they came out with a modern version of it for Internet play? That could be a great game.

Oh later, another good game was Stunt Island. Remember how you could make your own movies? How cool would it be if Disney made Stunt Island 2? Then you make your own maps, share them with others to play. Then they can rate and play them? Also, sometimes the movies are funny. If there was an automatic feature to post them to youtube, that could be cool to share your movies. And in game, there could be a rating system to see which ones are the funniest by user vote.

Re:Analog joysticks (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33776400)

>>>What difference would analog make?

Try playing PacMan on your PS2 or Gamecube using the analog stick, and after missing a few turns or running directly into ghosts, then you'll understand. It's fucked up. You need a digital stick.

Re:Analog joysticks (2, Interesting)

veganboyjosh (896761) | about 4 years ago | (#33772666)

We got our first 2600 in about 1987. My parents got it used. I was young enough to still think it pretty cool at the time. Whoever we bought it from had hacked two buttons onto one of the joysticks, for use in video pinball. One button was the same as "left joystick", while the other was the same as "right joystick." The joystick functioned as normal.
I remember seeing an episode of Mr. Wizard where he took apart an Atari Joystick and had the girl play the game by manually touching the contacts on the circuit board, instead of using the joystick. I was able to figure out what the previous owner had done from memory of that episode.
Even at that age, it didn't take long for me to realize that I could do something with the hacked buttons that I couldn't do with the joystick alone. Namely, "move" to the right and the left at the same time. I don't remember the result in any other game but pacman. I'd play agains my sister, and midway throuy turn, i'd hit bottht once. Pacman would turn all of a sudden into one of the walls, and go through it, all the way across the screen, until he froze, all the power pellets dissappeared, and I moved on to the next round.
My sister would cry "cheater!" but I'd just shrug my shoulders and say "i dunno. the game just messed up."

Re:Analog joysticks (2, Interesting)

jesset77 (759149) | about 4 years ago | (#33772990)

I'm sad they didn't mention the TI-99/4a speech synthesizer. I mean every computer in early 80's movies and television could talk (Kit, WOPR, Hawking) but try getting that tech into your personal video game system, right? Even today Microsoft Sam on a quad core 3.3Ghz machine with 4gb of RAM hasn't really gained a lot of ground past Parsec's onboard computer 29 years ago on a single core 300khz machine with 16kb of (usable) RAM. Yeah speech synth was a hardware add-on, might have had it's own processor and ram but they sure as hell weren't any denser than what the chassis had.

Re:Analog joysticks (1)

complete loony (663508) | about 4 years ago | (#33774408)

Microsoft's internal voices are pretty crap, but there are some really nice commercial synthesised voices out there.

Re:Analog joysticks (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33776446)

>>>video game system, right?

The 1977 Atari could talk, although it took programmers a few years to learn how to do it. First there was Pitfall 2 with music and then speech came soon after.

The 1982 C64 could talk out of the box (the SID chip could imitate a CD-style PCM recording).

Re:Analog joysticks (2, Insightful)

Inner_Child (946194) | about 4 years ago | (#33772880)

The 5200 joystick wouldn't have been so bad if it would have just auto-centered! No, wait, it still would have been terrible...

Re:Analog joysticks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33772992)

The 5200 sticks suffered from a plastic contact sheet that self-destructed just sitting in the box (oxidation). Repairing 5200 sticks remains a mini-industry in itself.

Leo Laporte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33771762)

Is he just a tool or what? The guy is an expert on everything yet knows nothing really about anything. Other than how to do a google search... What a TOOL.

Re:Leo Laporte (2, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33771820)

Yeah, and he puts his byline on his writing, too. Yeah, what a tool.

Re:Leo Laporte (1)

macraig (621737) | about 4 years ago | (#33772142)

Ummm, there's no Leo Laporte connection here, unless you think it's a "connection" that he's old enough to have potentially tried and reviewed most of these.

Re:Leo Laporte (1)

gearloos (816828) | about 4 years ago | (#33776568)

No connection at all - but, interestingly enough I agree to a point. Leo Laporte is definitely a tool (E.G. Moron, idiot, Mr. "Me Too!" etc... , Just not in this particular stories case.

The ULTIMATE tech that's ahead of it's time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33771766)

muh dick [slashdot.org]

Beef (-1, Troll)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 4 years ago | (#33771774)

You like cows? You like cow-themed games? Then click here! [goo.gl]

DON"T CLICK THAT LINK!!!! (2, Informative)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | about 4 years ago | (#33771832)

I should know better than clicking on a link in a /. comment.

Thanks for saving me money on food for the next few days till that image fades from my mind.

Where the hell is my bottle of eye/brain bleach. The one labeled "Everclear"

Re:DON"T CLICK THAT LINK!!!! (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33771948)

That was self inflicted, you know. It's not "any link on Slashdot". You really should have just paid attention to the urlshortenertrap. It's kind of like the guys who fall for the police bait car [goo.gl] even after the old lady walks by and says it's a police trap.

Re:DON"T CLICK THAT LINK!!!! (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | about 4 years ago | (#33772060)

That was self inflicted, you know.

Yeah, I know. Most of the time the links are safe, I've Dl'd some really cool stuff and read some very informative or interesting articles over the years. Hence the automatic click on the link. Just one of the dangers of the web that I have to live with. Better than the alternatives that folks like Conroy would have us endure.

At least now I know what the goatse image looks like.

Still can't find the Everclear, I may have to improvise and use some JD instead.

Re:DON"T CLICK THAT LINK!!!! (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33772076)

I may have to improvise and use some JD instead.

2 litres, stat.

Like the saying goes ... (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | about 4 years ago | (#33771786)

Everything old is new again.

Car chase on interstate 797 (-1, Troll)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 4 years ago | (#33771790)

An amazing remake of GTA, and all free [goo.gl] !

Re:Car chase on interstate 797 (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 4 years ago | (#33771792)

Looks like a Canuck just crashed into the Californian wall... Oopsie :-(

Re:Car chase on interstate 797 (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 4 years ago | (#33771802)

Can we hear from Denmark please?

Re:Car chase on interstate 797 (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 4 years ago | (#33771828)

... I guess the queen will not be amused when her subjects keep looking at this smut! Be ashamed!

Re:Car chase on interstate 797 (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 4 years ago | (#33771882)

Wow Estonian junk heaps plowing down on I797. Careful, this one lost his left hind wheel!

Re:Car chase on interstate 797 (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 4 years ago | (#33771894)

And what's that kangooroo doing there on the innerstate?

Re:Car chase on interstate 797 (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 4 years ago | (#33771902)

You there. In that overpriced german Mercedes tank.Speed limit is 55mph. You're not on the Autobahn here!

Re:Car chase on interstate 797 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33772212)

Allemagne - nul points.

is that a self portriat? (0, Flamebait)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | about 4 years ago | (#33771872)

see title.

Worst Console: (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33771798)

The Coleco ADAM was probably the worst platform prior to 1985 with possible runner up being the Mattel system (which probably still holds the record for worst controller ever).

Re:Worst Console: (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 years ago | (#33771920)

I don't know about that as I actually had the Microvision in TFA. The screen was notorious for getting stuck pixels, good luck finding games for it, and the "controller" was a flat giant touchpad that if you used a particular "cartridge" in it for too long would get the equivalent of burn in and would be hell to control. And finally the 'graphics' were just squares. That's it, it couldn't even do round, just squares. At least the Coleco could play Colecovision games, and since I owned a Colecovision too (yes I'm that damned old, get off my lawn!) I can say it had awesome games with kick ass graphics for the time. I remember playing Zaxxon and Time Pilot for so long I'd see those images in my sleep. Good times. That is of course when I could get my mom off the thing, as she became hooked on DK JR for Coleco and Yar's Revenge thanks to the Atari add-on. Man it sucks you can't get add-ons like that anymore. It was cool as hell to be able to play ALL the Atari PLUS all the Coleco games.

Re:Worst Console: (2, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33771994)

Are you my old neighbor that used to haul his Atari or Coleco over to my apartment to show me all the cool games? Did you ever get a color TV over 12"?

I'm old enough, too. I have a big lawn, and I've owned a Gran Torino and watched the movie. Oh, and that little strip between the sidewalk and the street? I don't care what the city says, that's mine, too.

Re:Worst Console: (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33772374)

>>>Man it sucks you can't get add-ons like that anymore.

PS3 does better than that. It plays all the PS1 and PS2 plus PS3 games. And no expensive addons - it's just builtin, or as a software download. Coleco's Atari addon wasn't really that great anyway, since it cost almost as much as the full Atari console.

Re:Worst Console: (4, Informative)

RESPAWN (153636) | about 4 years ago | (#33772490)

Actually, no. The PS3 fails because it was only the early model PS3's that had that ability. Furthermore, it wasn't really clear which models of PS3 had the compatibility or didn't have it. So, what ended up happening was that people like me who bought the PS3 later in it's life found out the hard way that it wouldn't play their old PS2 games. Thanks Sony for confusing your customers.

Re:Worst Console: (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 years ago | (#33772512)

I thought you had to rebuy all the games through PSN. You're telling me I can take a brand new PS3 and slap in ANY PS2 or PS1 game and it'll work? According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] you're wrong, as you'll have to get an old out of warranty one to actually play PS2. Meh, consoles suck now IMHO. Sony keeps taking things away from you AFTER the sale, while my friends that have the x360 like it lack of XBMC pisses me off there, and frankly a $400 PC has better graphics than any of the above PLUS lets me play anything from the 2600 up to the PS2 as well as every game made for PC since the dawn of time.

Oh and Good Old Games [gog.com] is having a 50% off sale on community favorites for those like me that just want to "click and run" with tons of great stuff like Duke Nukem (complete with link to all the best mods, which work great with the GoG version) and I76 and Arcanum! I picked up a half a dozen so if y'all will excuse me I got some cool gaming to enjoy. And for those into horror it isn't on sale but you might want to check out Blood [gog.com] (excellent Build engine game by Monolith) as I just waltzed through the mortuary from Phantasm complete with the pylons humming and the little evil midgets while chucking dynamite and spouting one liners. Cool and funny as well as fun. Peace.

Re:Worst Console: (2, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 4 years ago | (#33772556)

PS3 does better than that. It plays all the PS1 and PS2 plus PS3 games.

This may apply to your PS3 (and mine... 60GB), but plenty of folks can't play PS2 games on their PS3.

Re:Worst Console: (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 4 years ago | (#33772996)

yea if you consider re buying ps1 games that you already own backwards compatible

Re:Worst Console: (1)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | about 4 years ago | (#33773462)

Tell that to the drawer full of PS1 discs I play regularly on my 40GB PS3, shithead.

Re:Worst Console: (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 4 years ago | (#33774034)

If you already own them, put the disc in. All PS3's can play PS1 discs, that's entirely software compatibility that all PS3's have.

Re:Worst Console: (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | about 4 years ago | (#33776022)

PS3 does better than that. It plays all the PS1 and PS2 plus PS3 games.

But does it run Linux? Any other OS or software? Oh it *used* to, but they decided after initial adopters paid $700 for those features and more, to disable that very feature. No thanks. I will stick with platforms that are not built by and controlled by asshats. Of course, that also rules out 360.

Re:Worst Console: (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33776464)

>>>But does it run Linux?

Who cares? A couple geeks maybe but not 99.9% of the other PS3 owners.

Re:Worst Console: (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 4 years ago | (#33772976)

welllll

the coleco vision was awesome, and that was the console, the ADAM was a badly rushed piss poor engineered PC based around the CV's hardware (why not TMS video z80 etc, arcade games in a set top box)

if ADAM didnt require the fragile printer, and erase your storage media, catch fire and fall apart it would have been a decent contender in the early "everyone has one" pc days riding the coat tails of a already moderately successful console with a library of high quality 3rd party (sega nintendo etc) arcade games

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33771824)

It's like every article MUST mention iPad, otherwise it's not worth reading. wtf.

Re:WTF? (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33771892)

It's like everyone in Seattle has to own an iPad, otherwise they aren't hip. wtf.

It's like everyone in Seattle has to own an iPod, otherwise they aren't hip. wtf.

It's like everyone in Seattle has to own an iPhone, otherwise they aren't hip. wtf.

It's like everyone on Slashdot has to dis iOwners, otherwise they lose cred. wtf.

It's like ACs on Slashdot...oh wait, you're just here to flame.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33772140)

Well, the GP has a point, and he's not dissing the iPad. In fact, the original article is the dissing one, calling the iPad an expensive scrabble board and such.

Re:WTF? (1)

daveime (1253762) | about 4 years ago | (#33774596)

Its as if a million gold-plated turds cried out, and were suddenly silent.

Scrabble boards indeed, what kind of a metaphor is THAT ?

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33771926)

ProgressQuest [progressquest.com] now runs on the iPad, it is the first iPad game which includes a Windows XP emulator. Trans-kobold Inner Masons for the win!

Re:WTF? (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33772018)

XP emulator on an iPad? Well, Marjorie, it's time to cash in, I've seen enough stupidity for a lifetime, now.

Meh. (0)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 4 years ago | (#33771990)

Just because someone had the idea and actually made a product doesn't mean that it was successful. The article makes a number of specious claims that some early product did something like motion control or dual screen means that later stuff that did it well and successfully are therefore not "innovations". These claims might have more merit if the earlier invention had actually caught on. As with most things, there are many failed attempts before someone gets it right. Usually, whatever it was about "getting it right" is a true innovation.

Re:Meh. (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 4 years ago | (#33772040)

Watch out. By using your argument, that the second or third comer to the party that actually "does it more successfully" is the innovator, you are coming very close to saying that Microsoft innovates. Just thought you'd like to know. You don't want to fall into any self set traps now, would you?

Re:Meh. (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 4 years ago | (#33772254)

Good point, but I think my use of the word "usually" covers that.

To clarify my point a bit, I'm not actually saying that "doing it more successfully" is what defines who the innovator is. I'm saying that figuring out how to do it well enough to be a success requires additional advances and refinements of a concept which are themselves innovations.

Just because some company tried a mobile gaming platform with two screens over a decade before the DS doesn't meant much. "Hey let's put two screens in it!" isn't a brilliant innovation; it's a gimmick. It's how you use those elements to create a compelling, engaging, high quality gaming experience that is the non-obvious, innovative advance.

Had 2-screen mobile games caught on after that long-ago, forgotten attempt, then it would be legitimate to say that the DS wasn't innovative. But since the 2-screen games didn't establish a market for 2-screen gaming, I'd say coming back to the concept and doing it well enough to succeed was innovative.

Re:Meh. (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 4 years ago | (#33772442)

I'd say that 2 screens ISN'T innovative, and probably wasn't even for the first company that did it. It's a good idea, yes. And the DS is an excellent console in an awful lot of ways. But is adding an extra screen actually an innovation, or just a logical extension of existing technology?

Innovation usually implies doing something non-obvious, or doing something which may have been obvious but was very very tricky. Outputting to multiple displays has been possible for pretty much as long as there have been displays. And using two screens with a hinge in the middle (so it can fold) instead of one large unfoldable screen seems like a good enough idea that it isn't surprising that handheld manufacturers have been doing it since the '70s.

Making CPUs with higher clock speed isn't innovative, it's just a (clever, high tech, applaudable) improvement on what already exists. Making single CPUs with multiple cores on one die- that was an innovation.

Re:Meh. (3, Interesting)

ksemlerK (610016) | about 4 years ago | (#33773722)

Watch out. By using your argument, that the second or third comer to the party that actually "does it more successfully" is the innovator, you are coming very close to saying that Apple innovates. Just thought you'd like to know. You don't want to fall into any self set traps now, would you?

Fixed it for you.

Apple is not an innovator. They are a marketing and design company, dedicated to the prettying up of existing technology. Did apple create the MP3 player? No. (Saehan's MPMan, 1998) The first smatphone? No. Simon; it was designed by IBM in 1992, released to the general market in 1993. It had no buttons, it was touchscreen only. First PC? No. It was the IBM 5100, (1975). Did they have the first GUI OS? No. Xerox PARC, 1973). Apple didn't ever invent anything, nor are they innovative. They just take existing technology and wrap it up in a fancy package so the public thinks they are a new-tech company.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33772130)

Do you know what it means to be, "before your time"?

Re:Meh. (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 4 years ago | (#33772288)

Do you know what it means to be, "before your time"?

It means that the technology or social conditions needed for your idea to be successful didn't exist at the time.

However, to the GP's point, it also means that either you didn't scale your idea to the existing technology, or you didn't invent the technology needed, or you didn't time its release correctly, or you didn't do the social engineering necessary to make it a hit. All of those are things you could do, and which various inventors at various times HAVE done to be successful.

When people say "you were before your time" they usually mean, "you did everything right and still failed." That does happen too, but it's not necessarily the case, is all.

Re:Meh. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 4 years ago | (#33772162)

The word 'innovate' has pretty much lost all meaning. Saying that something is innovative because it was successful is simply not what the word meant just a dozen years ago.

By the current definition, This [calottery.com] is a gallery of 'innovators'.

Re:Meh. (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 4 years ago | (#33772294)

But I wasn't saying that success == innovation. I'm saying that doing something later than something similar doesn't mean that there's no innovation.

Re:Meh. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 4 years ago | (#33772884)

That may be so, but I didn't accuse you of that. I accused you of claiming that being successful WAS being innovative. This was based off your statement of

These claims might have more merit if the earlier invention had actually caught on.

Claiming that motion control is innovative because Nintendo was successful at it is a misuse of the word innovation. If there is some aspect of the motion control that is actually innovative, then that should be what is discussed. Claiming that the larger idea is innovative because of some small detail is just incorrect.

Re:Meh. (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 4 years ago | (#33774004)

That's not quite what I was trying to say, although I can see how you interpreted it that way.

What I meant was, if the first time that innovation was tested in the marketplace, and it had caught on, and there'd been a steady progression of development in the technology, then it'd be clearly non-innovative for Nintendo to come up with the DS. But if an idea gets floated 20+ years ago, and leads to nothing, and then a similar idea is tried again, the fact that the idea was used 20+ years ago doesn't automatically mean that the more recent invention isn't innovative.

To put it another way, no one would say that the Wright brothers weren't innovative simply because Da Vinci had ideas for flying machines hundreds of years earlier.

Re:Meh. (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 4 years ago | (#33774040)

Also, with respect to the motion control, I do think that Nintendo innovated. Sure, there was a golf game that used accelerometers. I'm certain that accelerometers predate the development of the golf game.

If the golf game can be said to be innovative, because it used accelerometers for input in a game, can we not say that the Wii is innovative for creating a generalized input solution for motion?

Isn't integrating the IR cameras on the Wii sensor bar, and using it to precisely control the aimpoint of the wiimote on the screen an innovation?

I hope that clears up what I meant.

Re:Meh. (1)

maestroX (1061960) | about 4 years ago | (#33772198)

Usually, whatever it was about "getting it right" is a true innovation.

Getting it right may be an innovation, but is not a prerequisite for innovation.

Not "retro" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33772052)

"retro
  (rtr)
adj.
1. Retroactive: retro pay.
2. Involving, relating to, or reminiscent of things past; retrospective: "As is often the case in retro fashion, historical accuracy is somewhat beside the point" (New York Times).
n. pl. retros
A fashion, decor, design, or style reminiscent of things past."

Old gaming technologies != "Retro gaming technologies".

Also, old games are not "retro". Old-styled new games like Mega Man 9 are.

Re:Not "retro" (1)

julesh (229690) | about 4 years ago | (#33775368)

"retro
    (rtr)
adj.
1. Retroactive: retro pay.
2. Involving, relating to, or reminiscent of things past; retrospective: "As is often the case in retro fashion, historical accuracy is somewhat beside the point" (New York Times).
n. pl. retros
A fashion, decor, design, or style reminiscent of things past."

Old gaming technologies != "Retro gaming technologies".

Gaming with old technologies == gaming involving things past == retro(2) gaming.
Therefore technologies used in gaming with old technologies are, using brackets to show how the words should be grouped when you parse them: ((retro gaming) technologies).

Blip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33772070)

A friend of my parents gave me a Blip when I was a kid, it was either B'day or Christmas, don't recall. What I do recall, was it was a very sucky little game. It was more interesting to take apart than play.

Hey Halo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33772078)

Did you know your famous innovative shield recharge system was Starsiege Tribes' shield pack? How about those grenades from Terminator Future Shock? Your vehicles were done before too, and your revolutionary analog aiming system was done on the PS2 with Timesplitters!

Does it mention... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | about 4 years ago | (#33772150)

The Sega Activator?

It did everything Kinect does, worked about as reliably, was 20 years earlier and didn't cost $200.

Re:Does it mention... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 years ago | (#33773556)

it simulated 12 buttons(4 directions and 6 buttons) and was horrible for regular purpose gaming.

the activator was shit.

The Kinect actually is pretty innovative.

Re:Does it mention... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#33775954)

The Sega Activator?

It did everything Kinect does,

So it could track four players simultaneously and determine the position of occluded limbs? You're a troll, and not a good one. Go back to digg, son.

Re:Does it mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776342)

That's not fair. The Activator didn't go haywire whenever someone walked behind the player. Or if the floor of one's room was cluttered. Or if the lighting wasn't quite right.

Title of story is fucked up (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33772186)

The title given to this slashdot story is weird on a couple of levels. Firstly, these devices weren't released "before their time," they were released at precisely their time. Moreover, "retro" refers to exactly the opposite of something that is ahead of its time, it refers to something that is a throwback to an earlier time.

Re:Title of story is fucked up (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 4 years ago | (#33772582)

Your expectation that /. stories should have meaningful titles is retro. :)

Re:Title of story is fucked up (2, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#33773528)

Man were in fact released "before their time", namely they were released with technology that wasn't really mature enough to actually work correctly(such as the power glove which essentially uses the same motion tracking technology as the wii but said technology simply wasn't ready until recently)

Re:Title of story is fucked up (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33774372)

Man were in fact released "before their time", namely they were released with technology that wasn't really mature enough to actually work correctly(such as the power glove which essentially uses the same motion tracking technology as the wii but said technology simply wasn't ready until recently)

But they weren't ahead of their time in any way. They were exactly of their time. Your example is untrue - the power glove does not use the "same motion technology as the Wii," it uses a much earlier incarnation.

Re:Title of story is fucked up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775790)

I knew someone else would be disturbed by the title. I came in here for reassurance I was not the only one.

Wii Fit (2, Informative)

lmnfrs (829146) | about 4 years ago | (#33772214)

Cool stuff, but he left out the Amiga Joyboard [google.com] .

Re:Wii Fit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33773024)

Yeah, but it doesn't have this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v31qxrXsxv0 [youtube.com]

LED panels lit from external light? (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#33772270)

LED panels lit from external light? LCD, maybe. LED panels are light-emitting, not light-transmitting (although most indeed will do both, they don't control light passing through them, only add to it.)

It's the brightness wars (1)

Jay L (74152) | about 4 years ago | (#33773270)

If you think last year's LEDs are too dim, you should see LEDs from the 1980s. They were so dark - (how dark were they?) - they were so dark, you had to shine a laser on 'em to see if they were on!

Don't ask me what they made the lasers out of.

But will it blend? (1)

reeno49 (1558221) | about 4 years ago | (#33772604)

You'd think an article posted about retro gaming would spark conversation about gaming, as opposed to arguments about grammer and replies to trolls.

Me likey /.

Re:But will it blend? (0)

daveime (1253762) | about 4 years ago | (#33774608)

Why would anyone argue about your Grandmother ?

Oh, you meant grammAr ???

Arcade Vector Graphics (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 4 years ago | (#33772728)

The 1980s arcade games with vector graphics (not raster/bitmap) displays were ahead of their time. Now that we have Flash and SVG that can specify graphics in vector format, we could use display HW that can render with vectors instead of pixels, for even smoother and better looking displays.

The old tech really offered only black and white, but now 30-40 years later we might have figured out how to offer full color. Perhaps even fuller color than with pixels, since pixels are really not fully colored, but a mosaic of color components at varying intensity that blur together to simulate a colored pixel, as in LCD, or a DLP's rotating colored wheel synced to different color frames of the display's grid of mirrors filtering the light. Perhaps if the vector had also been alternated synced to a color wheel like DLP it might have worked. Or perhaps some electromagnetic adjustment of the screen's color emission when the vector moved across it. With the decades of relentless research that has given us today's high performance displays, we might have something vector based that looks better, and maybe requires lighter graphics processing of vector formats into vector display without the rasterization necessary for today's pixel displays.

Re:Arcade Vector Graphics (1)

fishbowl (7759) | about 4 years ago | (#33774624)

>The 1980s arcade games with vector graphics (not raster/bitmap) displays were ahead of their time. Now that we have Flash and SVG that can specify graphics in vector format,
>we could use display HW that can render with vectors instead of pixels, for even smoother and better looking displays.

It's still extremely hard to get a convincing "Tempest", "Lander" or "Asteroids" on a PC display. There is some real subtlety to the vector system.

I played Lunar Lander a lot, but I always kind of had a grudge because I knew they stole the idea -- I really enjoyed playing this: http://atariarchives.org/basicgames/showpage.php?page=106 [atariarchives.org]

Re:Arcade Vector Graphics (2, Informative)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | about 4 years ago | (#33775528)

Vector graphics displays are essentially unworkable and that is why they were abandoned.

Amongst their many drawbacks is a true killer: they require a CRT tube, complete with an electron beam that can be deflected in arbitrary directions. They are utterly incompatible with any other modern display technology such as LCD displays for example (if you want to use vector graphics on an LCD you have to rasterize your vectors first - which neatly defeats the whole idea).

Then there is a of course the problem with variable brightness, where vector graphics displays lose brightness when new vectors are added, to the point that when enough vectors are drawn the display becomes too dim for viewing. And then there is the deteriorating update frequency (which is behind the brightness problem) which causes increased flicker with an increase of the number of vectors displayed... and on and on and on.

The only last holdout for vector graphics displays is in some large scale party/concert laser shows where a single beam is deflected via galvanometer and mirror setups and where only carefully pre-selected for a given brightness/flicker ratios sets of images are drawn.

Digital distribution - The Sega Channel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33772816)

I remember a friend had the sega channel. It was amazing. Maybe someone knows, but I think it might be the 1st 'console' to have digital distribution / subscription models.

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

Re:Digital distribution - The Sega Channel (1)

LocalH (28506) | about 4 years ago | (#33774324)

Why'd you put console in quotes? The Genesis absolutely was a console, and you had to have one to use Sega Channel, just like you have to have a 360 to use Live.

3D Monster Maze Myth (2, Interesting)

Ambient Sheep (458624) | about 4 years ago | (#33772946)

From the article:

> The first game to simulate 3D was 3D Monster Maze for the Sinclair ZX81...

That's the second time recently I've seen that myth trotted out. It's not true. Although a good game, it was actually a copy of a similar game for the Commodore PET that I played at least a year before the ZX81 even came out.

I know this for sure as I used to play the PET version at school (they got a 3016 in March 1980), and then when I got my own ZX81 (which came out Spring 1981), I was thrilled to be able to play a version of the same game at home when it was released a few months after that.

Re:3D Monster Maze Myth (1)

Ambient Sheep (458624) | about 4 years ago | (#33772956)

By the way, that's not to say that it might not have been on other platforms (e.g. Apple II, TRS-80) as well as, or even before, the Commodore PET, I just know that I played it on the PET first, before the ZX81 even came out.

Re:3D Monster Maze Myth (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | about 4 years ago | (#33773916)

You may be thinking of Labryinth. Absolutely before the Sinclair.

Re:3D Monster Maze Myth (2, Informative)

julesh (229690) | about 4 years ago | (#33775344)

"The first game to simulate 3D was 3D Monster Maze for the Sinclair ZX81..."

That's the second time recently I've seen that myth trotted out. It's not true. Although a good game, it was actually a copy of a similar game for the Commodore PET that I played at least a year before the ZX81 even came out.

Uh-huh. And on more powerful workstation/minicomputer platforms, such games go back further. "Maze War", which also is sometimes claimed to be the first online multiplayer game, ran on the PDS-1 (a minicomputer with vector graphics) in 1974, according to the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] . Admittedly it didn't see a lot of distribution -- there weren't many PDS-1s outside of MIT, from all I gather -- but it existed. If you want widely-distributed, Battlezone [wikipedia.org] was released about a year before the ZX81, although it may or may not have predated the game you remember.

Some of the other stuff is dubious; for instance I'm pretty sure there was a steering wheel controller available for the Atari 2600, which predates the console described as the first to have one in the article.

Re:3D Monster Maze Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775794)

Oh, we are playing 'earlier than thou'?. Lets play.
'Maze War' for the Xerox Alto was written in 1976.
It was a 3d, networked multi-player game.
This was pre-dated by 'SOLAR', a 3D multi-user space warfare game for the Burroughs B6700, released around 1973.
Before that, there *may* have been a 3D space game for the AN/FSQ-7 SAGE, but details are hard to find.

Uhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33774038)

Technology is not always about what is the best thing around the corner. It is what is accessible to the masses.

Blip! (1)

fishbowl (7759) | about 4 years ago | (#33774570)

I had a Blip, a larger similar mechanical pong, and a Mattel Football, all around the same time. I loved these games - they were my favorite games until I got my first computer (TRS-80 the following year.)

Download Intellivision games over cable in 1981 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775158)

Forget WiiWare and XBox Live Marketplace, try going back back almost 30 years and you could have had games delivered over cable right on to your game console.

Intellivision PlayCable
http://www.intvfunhouse.com/hardware/playcable/ [intvfunhouse.com]

"Talk about innovation! In 1981, Mattel finalized a deal to deliver Intellivision games to homes across the nation via existing cable TV networks. Just call your local cable provider and request PlayCable!"

CDTV was a great machine! (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 4 years ago | (#33775164)

You just needed to add a keyboard and a floppy disk drive and you had an Amiga!

I've got one of those... (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about 4 years ago | (#33776550)

..and one of those, and those.

I have that exact golf club LCD game, the full set of 7 different Tomytronic 3D games (as well as the clone fom Tandy), a few Atary Lynx's, that game&watch Mario game plus a pile more, Blip and Barcode Battler.

He who dies with the most games must've had the most fun in life - at least that's how I see it :)
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