This month in... The Games Machine '88
- "Computers and Art" was a new travelling exhibition that had just opened at the IBM Gallery of Science and Art in NYC. It was an attempt to bring "computer art" into the mainstream - not just graphics, but works using fabric etc. Elsewhere, Carnegie Mellon began a course on writing "interactive fiction."
- CRL's "Wolfman" was in the news for failing to be slapped with a British Board of Censors rating certificate, unlike their previous adventures. This was apparently due to the game having "less animated" questionable material (animated being the key thing).
- Palace Software announced a sequel to "Barbarian" - "Barbarian - The Dungeon of Drax". Also in the article was a mention that "Vixen" from Martech was about to be released (if you're wondering what the connection was, it was the covers.
- Hewson announced their first foray onto the 16bits - a port of "Zynaps". They also had a couple of 8bit games on the way: "Marauder" and "Netherworld". There was mention of two other games - "Roadstar XRi" and "Azimodious - Angel of Death" - but I don't think they ever saw the light of day. Meanwhile there was speculation as to what Raffaele Cecco had up his sleeve for Christmas.
- "The Last Ninja II" was nearing release, after a reported "8,000 man-hours of development and planning".
- Ocean had a couple of new coin-op conversions: "Operation Wolf" and "Typhoon".
- Hard to believe it took so long to get a sequel, but "Football Manager II" by Addictive was about to be released. Speaking of which, Kevin Toms has been beavering away on a spanking brand new version for iOS.
- The infamous "Great Giana Sisters" had its release date set for July. This rather excellent game was soon pulled from the shelves after legal action by Nintendo.
- Magnetic Scrolls' latest - "Corruption" - was due to hit shelves in June. I have very fond memories playing this.
- The game that was the poster child for the Archimedes, "Zarch", was finally coming to the Amiga and ST (under the name "Virus").
- Mel Croucher interviewed several industry folk on what things (specifically Big Brother related) would be like in 2001. Some quite amusing, slightly bonkers responses about government surveillance but, well, they weren't too far off, were they?
- To accompany Croucher's look at the dark side of technology, there was a look at what games and game development might resemble in 2001. Lots of talk of RISC, parallel processing, transputers, realistic AI and so on. These articles always seem quaintly naive in retrospect, but it makes you appreciate how far you've come - and who knows what awaits in the near future. Remember that back then there was no publicly accessible Internet, and even laptops that you could use on your lap seemed like science fiction. Perhaps the most interesting theme of the piece for me was: technology isn't entertainment.
- Continuing the whole "The Future!" theme, TGM went to the Ideal Home Exhibition to see the "Vision 2020 Home of the Future." It was all rather silly.
- To round off this peek into the future, Mel Croucher went over the history of sound in games, and had some thoughts on what was in store.
- The MSX-II had recently launched and the options (one from Sony and one from Philips) were examined. Promising, but never went anywhere in the West.
- There was a "hard hitting" investigation into the alleged practice of software houses deliberately supplying pirates of games before they were released. Somewhat bizarrely, apart from the introduction, there was absolutely no further mention of this deliberate supply, but just that some developers were getting access to leaks from other companies to see what the competition was up to.
- "Carrier Command" Realtime/Rainbird - ST 98% "Carrier Command is a seminal game destined to change the state of software and, as such, ranks alongside programs as Elite, Knight Lore, Flight Simulator 2 and The Hobbit... In short, Rainbird have done it again, bringing us masterpiece of coding which will almost certainly be THE game of the year."
- "Target Renegade" Imagine - Spectrum 85% "A distinct improvement over the original, the Spectrum game is a very good sequel - and tough - indeed."
- "Karnov" Electric Dreams - Spectrum 88% "Should prove popular, with stacks of lasting appeal in nine tortuous levels and addictive action."
- "Wizball" Ocean - ST 87% Amiga 84% "Although the games' structures remains identical to their 8-bit cousin, the ST and Amiga conversions have lost the fun element." Too true - easily one of my biggest gaming disappointments.