FIVE DECADES OF GAMING
- Jaz Rignall: Playing video games since 1977. Writing about them since 1983 -

Back in the day, we’d hunch over our trusty old rubbery ZX Spectrums, praying to the Great Gods of Loading to bless our tape head azimuths and ensure our cassettes were free of drop-outs and spool errors so we could enjoy whatever game we’d just bought. Loading was a long and painful process… and often fraught with frustration. These days, it takes just a couple of clicks and a few nanoseconds to load an entire ZX Spectrum and superb range of games into a browser for instant retro enjoyment. Better still, this emu will play .tap, .tzx, .sna, .z80 files if you have them!
I guess the Great Gods of Loading did listen to us…

Back in the day, we’d hunch over our trusty old rubbery ZX Spectrums, praying to the Great Gods of Loading to bless our tape head azimuths and ensure our cassettes were free of drop-outs and spool errors so we could enjoy whatever game we’d just bought. Loading was a long and painful process… and often fraught with frustration. These days, it takes just a couple of clicks and a few nanoseconds to load an entire ZX Spectrum and superb range of games into a browser for instant retro enjoyment. Better still, this emu will play .tap, .tzx, .sna, .z80 files if you have them!

I guess the Great Gods of Loading did listen to us…

At the risk of eliciting Sega fanboy backlash along the lines of, “OMG U SO BIAS 4 NINTENDOE”, I’m posting a third-in-a-row Nintendo browser emu. This time it’s for the 8-bit generation king of the hill, the trusty old Famicom, aka Nintendo Entertainment System. Click on the link… select your game and play away. Just the way enjoying a retro-ride down gaming’s memory lane should be. Awesome.

At the risk of eliciting Sega fanboy backlash along the lines of, “OMG U SO BIAS 4 NINTENDOE”, I’m posting a third-in-a-row Nintendo browser emu. This time it’s for the 8-bit generation king of the hill, the trusty old Famicom, aka Nintendo Entertainment System. Click on the link… select your game and play away. Just the way enjoying a retro-ride down gaming’s memory lane should be. Awesome.

I seem to be developing a habit of posting browser-based emus. But then again - it’s route one for gaming’s history to become what it should be: ubiquitous and open for all to enjoy. Not something that only works on certain things with certain hacks. Anyway, the latest point of interest is this SNES Java emu, which is still early, but you can see where it’s going. Keep on watching this space!

I seem to be developing a habit of posting browser-based emus. But then again - it’s route one for gaming’s history to become what it should be: ubiquitous and open for all to enjoy. Not something that only works on certain things with certain hacks. Anyway, the latest point of interest is this SNES Java emu, which is still early, but you can see where it’s going. Keep on watching this space!

I believe that a large portion of gaming’s future will be driven by web browsers. And judging by what’s going on here - gaming’s past too. I’ve already posted several browser emus on this blog - and here’s a new one. It’s very, very early days yet, and it obviously needs a lot of work - but this upcoming N64 emu is making all the right noises. It’s created by Paul Holden, author of the rather good Daedalus N64 emu, who also happens to have a day job as Media Molecule’s Lead Architect. It needs ROMs to run, which you’ll have to find yourself, and don’t be surprised if things don’t always work. But like I said - this is early days. Let’s hope development continues - web browser emus are a perfect way of enabling everyone to enjoy gaming’s past.

I believe that a large portion of gaming’s future will be driven by web browsers. And judging by what’s going on here - gaming’s past too. I’ve already posted several browser emus on this blog - and here’s a new one. It’s very, very early days yet, and it obviously needs a lot of work - but this upcoming N64 emu is making all the right noises. It’s created by Paul Holden, author of the rather good Daedalus N64 emu, who also happens to have a day job as Media Molecule’s Lead Architect. It needs ROMs to run, which you’ll have to find yourself, and don’t be surprised if things don’t always work. But like I said - this is early days. Let’s hope development continues - web browser emus are a perfect way of enabling everyone to enjoy gaming’s past.

Elite’s continuing series of classic 8-bit micro iOS re-releases turns up trumps again - this time around, it’s the brilliant isometric action adventure Head over Heels getting a new lease of life. I’ve just been playing it, and it’s a great trip down memory lane. Of course, it’s rock hard like most games of the era, but Elite has put in an insta-save option that makes the game’s challenging jumps and harsh deaths much easier to deal with. Save early! Save often.
If you don’t have an iPad or iPhone, you can play the game for free on Mac, PC and Linux thanks to this absolutely fantastic free remake available here.

Elite’s continuing series of classic 8-bit micro iOS re-releases turns up trumps again - this time around, it’s the brilliant isometric action adventure Head over Heels getting a new lease of life. I’ve just been playing it, and it’s a great trip down memory lane. Of course, it’s rock hard like most games of the era, but Elite has put in an insta-save option that makes the game’s challenging jumps and harsh deaths much easier to deal with. Save early! Save often.

If you don’t have an iPad or iPhone, you can play the game for free on Mac, PC and Linux thanks to this absolutely fantastic free remake available here.

Wondering what this rather strange-looking screenshot is? It’s an ultra bare-bones, super-minimalist take on the RPG genre. It has no graphics or sound to speak of, and gameplay basically involves clicking stuff - but somehow Japanese developer Nekogames has captured the pure essence of RPG gaming in this stripped-down browser game. Work your way through the dungeon collecting “treasure”, looting “chests”, and leveling up your weapons and stats so you can kill the increasingly challenging “boss monsters.” It’s short, but I found it fun - and a really fascinating exercise in the essence of gaming. It might not be your cup of tea, but give it a go - and don’t forget to choose the English language option! Check it out here.

Wondering what this rather strange-looking screenshot is? It’s an ultra bare-bones, super-minimalist take on the RPG genre. It has no graphics or sound to speak of, and gameplay basically involves clicking stuff - but somehow Japanese developer Nekogames has captured the pure essence of RPG gaming in this stripped-down browser game. Work your way through the dungeon collecting “treasure”, looting “chests”, and leveling up your weapons and stats so you can kill the increasingly challenging “boss monsters.” It’s short, but I found it fun - and a really fascinating exercise in the essence of gaming. It might not be your cup of tea, but give it a go - and don’t forget to choose the English language option! Check it out here.

The Amstrad CPC was one of the also-ran home micros of the mid-‘80’s, achieving only moderate success compared to its massive-selling peers, the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. Despite that, it still had more than a few good games available for it. Some of those - including a minimal early version of Tetris, and one of my all-time favorites, Head over Heels - are available to play in this excellent in-browser Java emulator of the machine. It occasionally runs a little slowly, but considering it’s still Beta, it’s very impressive - and excellent fun! Check it out here.

The Amstrad CPC was one of the also-ran home micros of the mid-‘80’s, achieving only moderate success compared to its massive-selling peers, the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. Despite that, it still had more than a few good games available for it. Some of those - including a minimal early version of Tetris, and one of my all-time favorites, Head over Heels - are available to play in this excellent in-browser Java emulator of the machine. It occasionally runs a little slowly, but considering it’s still Beta, it’s very impressive - and excellent fun! Check it out here.

Wow! A brand new C64 game. On cartridge!

If you’d told me 25 years ago that in 2012, I’d be excitedly unwrapping a brand new Commodore 64 game, I’d have thought you were completely nuts. Yet here I am doing exactly that.

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Ever wanted to be a Commodore 64 artist, but didn’t have the time or talent? Now you can fulfill your dreams with just a few clicks of the mouse thanks to this fantastic website, which lets you convert any picture into an authentic C64 screen. Check it out here.

Ever wanted to be a Commodore 64 artist, but didn’t have the time or talent? Now you can fulfill your dreams with just a few clicks of the mouse thanks to this fantastic website, which lets you convert any picture into an authentic C64 screen. Check it out here.

Classic design: early Atari computer games box art

Atari’s computer software and games box art from the early 80’s set design standards many companies still aspire to achieve today.

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