Retro Gamer [UK] Issue 155, 2016

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The official Facebook page of Retro Gamer - the only magazine Retro Gamer Coverdisc - 6 pages The Retro Gamer coverdisc contains over PC retro games, making it the biggest and best retro collection available! Plus, we've also crammed on 75 top emulators, so you can relive unforgettable gaming moments on dozens of classic computers and consoles.

All the content we provide is not hosted on our servers. Retro Gamer is the only magazine in the UK thats fully dedicated to the halcyon days of classic gaming. Retro Gamer is a British magazine, published worldwide, covering retro video games. Retrogamer is a great place to play the most popular and FREE retro online games! Play all your favorite games for free, including Classic Arcade games like PacMan. Uplevel BACK Retro CDN also endorses donations to Retromags to allow magazine preservation to continue.

Nude womens models and Naked boys models in this issue Retro Gamer - No. Full list of content for Retro Gamer magazine:. We upload to Uploaded. Retro Gamer UK - Issue Launched in January as a quarterly publication, Retro Gamer soon became a monthly. Stats Edit Reviews Edit. About Us; Terms and conditions Retro Gamers' aim is to provide its readership with highly interesting, passionately written subject matter that covers all aspects of the retro gaming scene.

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Classic Video Gamer Magazine Revue au format digital qui traite de presque toutes les machines. Listing all available Game Magazines: Scans. All issues are in excellent condition! This is a reprint of issue 1 one , this reprint was released by retro gamer magazine and paire Gadgets, Gaming, Magazine download pdf file opener free tagged Retro. Retro Gamer. Please see here for a list of writers who are credited with writing articles or reviews in Retro Gamer. The Hobbit is an unusual text adventure in that it is the only one to feature a persistent world.

There was, however, no established critical precedent for discussing these features as no other game of the era replicated its open- world system. It casts doubt on the reliability of key historical resources that historians have traditionally privileged.

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He only credits Megler with the design Ibid. The unspoken subtext is that within the male dominated industry and hobby it was easy to assume that a woman would play a supporting rather than lead role on design. Beam was very focused on making tools before there were established industry protocols for pipelines and utilities. Whilst in some cases the lead programmer would develop the tools they needed, Milgrom decided it was worth dedicating staff to the challenges of creating tools.

Fan sites for retro games rarely document them. Thlewis is described by Milgrom as a highly skilled software engineer. This reference has been sourced from the Hits of the 80s essay originally published online at the ACMI web site.

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Accessed 11 July 3. It is beginning to be addressed by the recent scholarship in Platform Studies with its focus on the hardware and software systems that are the foundation of computational expression. Regular book publishers were now moving into the territory, dominating the limited shelf space. Where previously the distribution channels for both software and books were the same, they had now diverged. In addition, unlike traditional publishing, there was no profit in a back catalogue of computer books.

As hardware was superseded the old books became redundant. There was also extreme pressure to rush out new books for each new system, gambling the costs of print runs on the popularity of each emerging platform. In the mids new UK companies entered the market driven by commercial ambitions. They reshaped the market from its hobbyist origins into a major Andrew Davie recalls the NES reverse engineering team as Adrian Thlewis and Lee Piraq, with a bit help from him and others in the studio. Personal Correspondence 13 July Transcript 1 March The London marketing office for Melbourne House had twelve staff in and a new manager was appointed to run it.

The appointment was not a success. Milgrom recounts that their relationship with their UK management and the business both rapidly went into decline. A decision was made to sell Melbourne House and allow resources to be dedicated to game development back in Australia. Melbourne House was sold to UK budget games company Mastertronic, who intended to use its back catalogue for their budget range Figure 5 , but agreed to publish new games created by Beam Software as a range of premium titles.

The purchase of the company was to be made in instalments, with an initial payment made to Melbourne House on the sale and with further payment owing for the additional sum. Personal Correspondence Anthony Guter Janaury Guter recalls his frustration with the purchase which meant that Mastertronic were now responsible for all the liabilities of Melbourne House UK. The Melbourne House deal committed Mastertronic not just to the games under development at Beam, but others by third parties commissioned by Melbourne House.

This meant Mastertronic had to dedicate thousands of pounds to risky games development rather than just purchasing budget games directly. And, whilst the back catalogue boasted some good sellers like Way of the Exploding Fist, many older titles were now moribund and old stock was being returned by retailers at further cost to 3. Virgin wanted Mastertronic, in part, for their wholesale business network. Virgin was not interested in Melbourne House.

With the sale of Mastertronic to Virgin, Melbourne House not only failed to receive the rest of their payment owed by Mastertronic, they also no longer had a UK publisher for their new games. Some games, such as Aussie Games, in development at the time of the Mastertronic sale to Virgin, languished without a publisher. Three years is a long time in the Mastertronic.

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How much of this was actually paid has not been shared by either party. Personal Correspondence Anthony Guter Janaury Guter does not credit the sale to Virgin as the reason for the non-payment of the outstanding instalments. He recalls that Mastertronic felt cheated by the deal for Melbourne House and that CEO Frank Herman, a canny businessman, on discovering he was lumbered with multiple returns and games under development that never materialised or whose development dragged on expensively, became determined not to pay.

The sale of Mastertronic to a global behemoth Virgin made it too difficult for Beam to try get the monies owed them. At the end of the s the North American market for games was looking more attractive to Beam Software. The Way of the Exploding Fist was very successful on the Commodore 64 there. This lush presentation had a purpose. The North American market had experienced its infamous crash around and was cautious about budget games. Fewer home computer games were being published in the US and players were happy to pay more for what they felt were quality games.

When the Famicom was first released in Japan in , Milgrom had travelled to Japan to acquire some machines and Adrian Thlewis, who was still a student at the time, was tasked with disassembling them. Whereas Milgrom accredits the Famicom reverse engineering to Thlewis. Andrew Davie does not recall Thlewis working for Beam at the time. This may be explained by Thlewis a student only being there for a short period of his holiday. Beam reverse engineered the NES, building on their previous research of the Famicom.

Beam planned to sell their development system to other developers and then take a small royalty on games developed, using it as a revenue model. At the meeting it was agreed that Beam would take its development kit off the market and in return they would be signed up as a Nintendo-accredited developer. This made Beam Software one of the first western development companies directly accredited by Nintendo. They controlled release dates and had rigorous ideas about quality control. Now zero defects was an unheard of concept on any other software or on any other gaming platform. Nintendo knew if they were going to sell it in supermarkets and sell it to mums and dads it had to work off the shelf and had to be flawless.

We Ibid. At the beginning of the s Milgrom liked to employ people straight out of university. Not just for their energy, but because they had not yet acquired a fixed mind-set around programming. Bill McIntosh, who was employed by Beam in , recounts his continuous sense of amazement that he was being paid to make games.

Something he enjoyed so much, he joked, he would have done for free, as he had been for many years at home. Office hours were quite flexible, and the lead programmer on a game was responsible for managing the production process of their own work. Computer games were a fringe market, so no one had brain-throbbing visions of world conquest. The boss wore bare feet and a caftan. My immediate neighbours were hairy, scarecrow-like things with combat boots, or shaven-headed maniacs in bovver boots… This all suited me fine.

A lot of good thinking came out of that environment. The lack of schedules, libraries and clear processes led to a ludicrous amount of overtime. Long hours of overtime led to errors. Beam was now in the business of developing for American publishers. Publishers expected there to be a producer to talk directly to. Previously games would not necessarily be completed. Some, like the arcade game Space Invaders, just kept throwing enemies at you. Nintendo also had strict control over what could be shown in a game. This was a surprise to Melbourne House marketing, who only discovered the existence of this inappropriately shaped foliage when one young player enthusiastically wrote to a magazine about it.

Andrew Carter joined Beam in Hired as a programmer, McIntosh recalls that Carter was influential in enforcing coding standards, revolutionising the graphics and animation systems and instituting a more structured work flow. Andrew Bailey also hailed from the UK and arrived at Beam in It welcomed inventive start-ups and cultivated an audience who, in their fascination for the hardware and software, were not that far removed from the game designers themselves.

This industry model was now replaced with the big business of console design, with its onerous barriers of entry and strict protocols. Nintendo was a big player and Nintendo accreditation was a big deal. Personal email correspondence Andrew Davie 8 August Then, you know there was all these… weird things. And I remember these weird things which nothing ever happened from.

Ultimately we were one of the few studios who had a good knowledge of developing for the Nintendo systems. But it was hard to get the really profitable work. If a game was important, or not too technically challenging then the US companies preferred to work with a local studio — easier on communications, and much easier to send someone to check on progress if something went wrong.

But in the end we ended up getting the hard work — projects where the local studios did not have an engine or where the game was technically difficult, or maybe it was not so financially critical to the publisher. Communication was by fax and phone and the Australian studio was too far away from the centre for publishers to risk the big money.

Beam became less focused on creating their own games, accepting more licenced title work from publishers. The work-for-hire model that Beam now found itself part of had few advantages for the developer. The studio was vulnerable to publisher whims. Milestones missed resulted in financial penalties and the threat of a cancelled project could mean bankruptcy. All their hard work did not result in any intellectual property for the company, meaning that even if a game was a big success it did not translate into a significant return for the developer.

This model came to define the Australian game industry from the start of the s till the late s, when it imploded due to economic factors including the GFC and changes to how games were made and consumed. The work-for-hire model of game development made it virtually impossible to generate sufficient funds to invest in developing original intellectual property IP. The dream of creative control and owning your own IP, however, was still alive at Beam through the late s and into the s. In all the time I was there, not one of those designs was ever made. Licenses came down from on high, and the company preferred to take that money rather than risk developing its own projects.

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In , Beam published its most ambitious projects, The Dame Was Loaded, an interactive live action detective noir, an impressive work that, sadly, failed to find an audience. The studio grew in size, hiring more people and attracting talent from overseas. Bill McIntosh founded Torus Games in the nineties, quickly scoring contracts to develop for Nintendo systems. Beam Software was a training ground for the Australian industry.

Milgrom recounts this legacy as one he is most proud of: … one of the things that really pleases me is how many people who started at Beam went on to found their own companies or develop things in other places to do with games. So obviously we developed a culture where people learnt their skills, learnt how to stand on their own two feet and create a whole industry in Australia.

It was an era infatuated with the intoxicating promise of virtual reality, with the techno-hipster magazine Mondo hyping a cyberpunk future. The game peripheral, based on a robotic glove created in an experimental laboratory by virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, had the potential to be state-of-the-art game technology. Designing a game for the glove was a revolutionary adventure and it could have placed Beam at the forefront of a new era of game design.

Sadly, Bad Street Brawler did not fulfil this promise. As Davie designed Street Hassle Thwelis created a version for the NES, working out all the parts like scrolling, how to do big sprites etc. It was a nightmare job according to Davie working with the incomplete manuals and system. The game was going to act principally as a conduit for allowing you to play other games using the Power Glove.

Most usage was with the gesture mode, which was inaccurate and lagged a lot. So it made it feel awful and non-responsive. I think the raw-mode power glove would hold up OK even today as a workable peripheral. It became one of the most pilloried peripherals in videogame history. It was not until that motion control on videogame consoles was popularised by the Nintendo Wii.

It demonstrated how the story of Melbourne House and Beam Software provides new perspectives on the larger narratives of game history, yet is deeply interwoven into the cultural, geographic, and political conditions of the local. I have eschewed the normal tropes of videogame history to look at Personal email correspondence Andrew Davie 16 July Andrew Davie personal correspondence 8 August I proposed one reading of the cultural change at Beam Software at the end of the s in terms of the end of an era of creative freedom and innovation.

While this is recent history, the lack of archives and other resources present a challenge to historians. The different titles, platforms and publishers, and the variation in titles from country to country make it problematic to create an accurate and complete list of works. Retro gamer sites offer a wealth of useful data, but this information is most often shaped around hardware platforms, challenging any readings that do not fit the model. Information across differing retro game sites is uneven and there are no established conventions for videogame taxonomy.

Chapter 6 will offer a more comprehensive discussion of retro game sites and what may be learnt from their practices regarding the collection and display of games. In conclusion, I suggest that game histories should include diverse readings epitomised by the conflicting narratives of Beam Software finishing up the decade as both triumphant and diminished.

The magazine featured articles on their games, new scenarios to play, and thorough historical information on the featured battles. They encouraged players to personalise their scenarios to reflect their historical interests and individual approaches to wargaming. The legacy of manual wargames and the early computer wargames inspired by them are a mostly forgotten part of the story of videogames. The question of when, on the computer, a game system becomes a game engine is an interesting one. Servicing an international player community, SSG were swift to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Internet.

In , SSG went online, using Compuserve and Applelink forums to provide product support to their community and host community discussion on playing their games and designing in their game systems. No trace of these digital resources and community activity has survived. The important crossover from the very material hobby of traditional strategic wargames to early home computing is an important, yet overlooked, part of the history of videogames.

In , SSG was one of only three surviving Australian companies whose practice stretched back to the s, and yet the timeline produced by the recently formed Game Developers Association of Australia failed to include SSG. Trout, an ex-school teacher, was at the time managing a military history bookshop and had been co-opted by Keating to test his computer game designs. Not a computer fan, Trout was originally dismissive of the microcomputer games but, when Keating came back a week later, Trout had made an effort to play all the American-designed computer wargames he had access to.

Seeing a market opportunity, Trout persuaded Keating that they should start a business together. He enjoyed their company, met many pioneers of the computer games industry and learnt a lot about the business of making computer games. SSI published his games and he taught them a bit about AI programming. It sold about 50 copies in Australia. Keating sent copies of the game to various American publishers and reviewers. Tempted, but concerned about working in the fledgling computer game industry in a foreign country, he opted for the security of staying in Australia.

Meeting Trout with Keating however, at an early US Origins games convention, the resulting bonhomie of the three passionate wargamers quickly smoothed over the issues. Trout knew a bit about publishing through his bookshop work, and Keating, from his relationship with SSI, knew designers did not make the real money. Trout was an avid amateur military historian with a passion and skill for manual game design board games and wargame miniatures. Their first game, Reach for the Stars , a space exploration game, is credited with launching the 4X genre of computer space games eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate.

Not keen to get in bed with Avalon Hill, they reworked the game to become its own concept, creating Reach for the Stars. Its sales statistics reinforced for SSG the importance of the American market, as the Australian audience for computer games was very small. Before they published their next game, Carriers of War , they hired an American to give the company a local American presence. As a company organ. The scenarios were often modelled on historic battles of a related nature to the original game but required the terrain, weather and all the units to be reconfigured.

For their second game, the air and sea battle game Carriers of War Fleet Carrier Operations in the Pacific , Apple II , Keating built a design kit to enable designer Ian Trout to craft the historical battle scenarios. Trout was not a programmer and did not possess a deep knowledge of computing. Keating designed a system whose interface allowed Trout to input his precise military knowledge as data into the system.

This data sat separately from the routines that Keating created to run the game modules. Carriers of War came packaged with six distinct scenarios to play and instructions on how to design your own. More than just a game, with Carriers of War, players were purchasing a customisable game system. It was followed by Europe Ablaze It simulated the challenges of real command, including those of managing supply and troop fatigue. In response to player requests and fresh design enhancements, SSG released new iterations of their systems adding additional features.

Battlefront update Battle of Normandy added climate types, so scenarios could be created for regions beyond Europe. The Decisive Battles System addressed the challenges of battles of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There were always at least two scenarios in each issue. Each scenario featured an engaging narrative introduction that established the historical facts of the conflict and set the scene.

If they were speculative history, a The additional features for the Battlefront System update for Battle of Normandy were requested by users.

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These included the ability to select climate types, the movement of divisional HQs, river forging, and the interrelationships between battalion types. Issues of compatibility were addressed by SSG, so all games made in original Battlefront system worked in Battles of Normandy. This was done to address the scale and capacity and expense of the new scenario editor.

It heralded a split between those users who just wanted to pay for the playable game and those who wished to get their hands on the toolkit to create their own scenarios. What if the allied ships arrived sooner? What if they landed at a less exposed bay? The scenario information in the form of maps and tabulated data were published in the magazine covering all the information for terrain, weather, ships and squadrons, scenario lengths, and all the task group activities associated with the various forces.

This data had to be entered into the game system manually by the player. In their second issue, Trout announced that scenarios would also be available on disk, a response to numerous requests for versions of playable scenarios that did not require the endless data entry. But these disk offerings were not the end of Run5. The magazine played a bigger role than just handing over data for new scenarios. It acted as a valuable conduit between the game players and designers. His work presents a close reading of the Finnish magazine MikroBitti.

The magazine provided players with material that helped shape their gaming skills. Run5, however, does not simply sit within the trajectory of game magazines of the s mapped by these earlier analyses. For whilst Run5 was engaged with defining what a computer game was, it was not only part of the recent cultural construction of games, gamers and gaming associated with the microcomputer and console, it also belonged to the established tradition of wargames and, in particular, wargame magazines.

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In the s and early s, magazines played a central role in wargaming as a hobby. A survey, published in Moves: Conflict Simulation Theory and Technique magazine in , reviews over fifty individual publications Figure The games themselves were apparatuses for investigation and experimentation.

Many articles even included a call-out for reader feedback regarding factual errors, game system performance, specialist knowledge and recommended game play strategies. Rather than just a continuation of the tradition of wargame magazine culture in a new medium, Run5 also brought something particular to its readership. The magazine taught manual wargamers how to play computer games.

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Run5 facilitated a transition from manual game play to digital game play. It is easy to assume that there would be some natural evolution from the Mission statement printed in the front piece of each issue of The General during the s. The initial column was written by Bill Perchel, John Huff took over in subsequent issues.

Strategy and Tactics magazine were very keen on a player survey and some years ran thirteen voluntary surveys of their readers. In Chris Crawford, a US developer known for his early critical engagement with computer game design, warns gamers against this misperception: …wargames on personal computers will not be just like board- games… A computer wargame must be optimized to take advantage of all the strengths of the computer. At the same time, it must avoid the weaknesses of the technology. They will necessarily be very different from board-games. Another issue he suggested was the lack of skilled programmers capable of crafting worthy AI from a microcomputer.

These include: instantaneous set-up; no maps and counters to keep track off; simpler rules as the computer does all the calculations and bookkeeping for movement, combat results, terrain, weather effects etc. His other anxiety was that computer games did not reveal their internal workings in the manner of board games, reducing the kinds of engagement that gamers could have.

The advantage of manual wargaming, he argues, is that it allows the player complete access to the game system. Dunnigan explains that to play a board game requires a detailed study of the manual, the rules and the assets, exposing all its workings to the player. They buy them, but never play them. This does not mean that they are not used. Quite often, the hobbyist will spend several hours with the game.

The usual procedure is to lay out the map, examine the pieces, read the rules and scenarios and perhaps place the pieces on the map, but that is generally as far as it goes. The player has been satisfied with experiencing the dynamic potential. Playing the game tends to be a bit more intensive even if you're only playing against yourself.

He also remarks on the powerful impulse of narrative as another pleasure of wargaming; the procedural nature of the wargame supported narrative agency. Compared to their Dunnigan. Run5 offer an important record of the transition of the manual wargame to the computer supporting the agency of players to continue to adapt game systems for their own pleasure. The original games themselves came packaged with design manuals. For example, Carriers of War, in addition to its fifteen page Player Manual featuring data for six scenarios, came with a twenty five-page Design Manual featuring a tutorial on how to build a scenario.

Roger Keating penned a series of articles for the magazine explaining to readers how the hidden systems within the computer operate. In issue 1, he explained his approach to designing in machine language. He introduces players to the limitations of the computer, sharing how designer, Ian Trout, had to "learn about computers and come to terms with the endless stream of memory constraints, design restrictions, interface problems and last, but not least, at the end of all this a computer opponent had to be there to provide a worthwhile contest".

He gives example such as how division had to be in powers of two and decimal points were banished. The article is one of a number by Keating featuring discussion of actual assembly code. SSG assumed that their players wanted to understand the logic of how the game systems work. The magazine provided players with information and ways of understanding how the operations of the computer impacted on gameplay. In its mission to educate readers on the potential of the game systems, Run5 can be characterized primarily as a design magazine.

Each issue had at least two new scenarios see Figure Other features included: the publication of design notes and tutorials; technical data on ships and planes; plus orders of battle. These resources were designed to facilitate deeper engagement with the game systems and assist gamers to build their own scenarios. These utilised a set of manual game systems. Gregor Whiley's design notes for Russia in Issue 6 take the player through the allocation of memory, informing them how Keating had to scrounge memory to complete the programming of the game displays.

Whiley's article is dedicated to explaining what the computer is doing, including why wargaming on the computer is more restricted than manual game play. Without naming names, he reflects 4. To address this issue, he explains, SSG creates its movement routines so that both human and computer use the same mechanics, and how this equitable environment creates better competition.

He then describes how decisions are made and orders issued in Russia. The result is that each routine then becomes part of the data accessed by any interrelated routines. Many of these address the computer as black-box; for example, factors affecting combat that are not transparent to the player. Sometimes questions address constraints on player actions, of which a number, it was revealed, were created by SSG due to their commitment to historical accuracy. On the computer these conditions could be hard coded in, so had to be obeyed by players.

If a player reached a score of , the highest integer addressable by the Commodore 64 and Apple II their score was dropped to zero! To squeeze as much as possible out the memory, Carriers of War used memory-saving tricks. One of these determined that when the number of planes in the scenario reached over the system then handled planes as multiples of two, suddenly preventing players from creating any odd numbered squadrons.

This made it impossible to create scenarios protecting transports. Players, however, found a way around this, tricking the computer by creating a carrier surrogate. They would willingly provide detailed explanations of how weather and time of day affected gameplay and the effect resulting from the presence of a randomizing element in each decision made by the computer.

This also enables us to remove information that an equivalent board game would have to present. We see this as a bonus. Players should have to make decisions based on the same sort of information as the commanders that they are emulating. Using the computer also allows the mechanisms to be quite complex and detailed. Since all combats are treated individually, working out the figures for even one mission would be quite a job, as well as a waste of time in terms of getting an advantage in the game.

That sort of stuff is best left in the computer, where it belongs. The early issues of Run5 teach manual wargamers how to be computer wargamers. In later issues, this focus on the functioning of the computer disappears as it becomes unnecessary. The much desired title never sees the light of day, originally too ambitious for the early microcomputer it becomes a causality of the changing nature of computer games.

See Breakout, 4, 1, , 28; 5, 1, ; 8, 1, Newman champions the need to record the played game, ideally in its historical moment. He proposes that these records are more significant for preserving game history than keeping games playable as software. Run5 also chronicles changing commercial realities that the company and industry faced.

As more games entered the market, a struggle ensued over retail shelf space. In , SSG makes an appeal to its players in the editorial of Run5 Issue It seems that a number of the large software distribution chains in the US have decided to dramatically reduce the number of titles that they carry. In this process, Historical Wargames are slated for massive reductions or even elimination as a category. Obviously, this will mean a reduced supply. We will find it harder to sell games, and you will find it harder to buy them… Historical wargames were particularly struck by the crowding of the market as computer games became increasingly mainstream and were identified more with accessible fun, childhood, and the plug-and-play ease of console games.

They also describe the rise of the fantasy genre, plus the proliferation of driving and flight simulators, as the market for games changed from early adopters of technology including wargamers trying out the new medium to a more diverse audience for games. The many other responses, however, indicate SSG was right to be concerned, for whilst the military is taking care of wargamers, the landscape for computer game sales was changing.

Unsurprisingly, there is a heavy American focus, but gamers come from all over the world. Its market success and that of its sequels brought a healthy injection of funds to the company. Roger Keating recalls that one of their subscribers was the Italian Ambassador based in Moscow. The big surprise is their next largest market was Japan. Strategic Studies Group, Press Release. Tested and playing smooth and clear.

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