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Atari Launches Linux Gaming Box Starting at $199

Atari Launches Linux Gaming Box Starting at $199

An anonymous reader quotes Linux.com:
Attempts to establish Linux as a gaming platform have failed time and time again, with Valve’s SteamOS being the latest high-profile casualty. Yet, Linux has emerged as a significant platform in the much smaller niche of retro gaming, especially on the Raspberry Pi. Atari has now re-emerged from the fog of gaming history with an Ubuntu-based Atari VCS gaming and media streaming console aimed at retro gamers. In addition to games, the Atari VCS will also offer Internet access and optional voice control. With a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, the system can be used as a standard Linux computer.
The catch is that the already delayed systems won’t ship until July 2019… By the launch date, Atari plans to have “new and exclusive” games for download or streaming, including “reimagined classic titles from Atari and other top developers,” as well as multi-player games. The Atari VCS Store will also offer video, music and other content… The hardware is not open source, and the games will be protected with HDCP. However, the Ubuntu Linux stack based on Linux kernel 4.10 is open source, and includes a “customizable Linux UX.” A Linux “sandbox” will be available for developing or porting games and apps. Developers can build games using any Linux compatible gaming engine, including Unity, Unreal Engine, and Gamemaker. Atari also says that “Linux-based games from Steam and other platforms that meet Atari VCS hardware specifications should work.”
Atari boasts this will be their first device offering online multi-player experiences, and the device will also come pre-loaded with over 100 classic Atari games.
An Indiegogo campaign this week seeking $100,000 in pre-orders has already raised over $2.2 million from 8808 backers.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, classicgames
Atari Co-Founder Ted Dabney Dies at Age 81

Atari Co-Founder Ted Dabney Dies at Age 81

An anonymous reader quotes Eurogamer:
Atari co-founder Ted Dabney has died, according to a close friend. Historian Leonard Herman, who told Dabney’s story in an article for Edge magazine published in 2009, announced Dabney’s death in a post on Facebook… Dabney, who was born in San Francisco in 1937, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late 2017, and, according to friends, decided against treatment after being told he had eight months to live.
In 1971 Dabney co-founded Atari predecessor Syzygy with Nolan Bushnell and developed Computer Space, the world’s first commercially available arcade video game. In 1972 the pair co-founded Atari, and Computer Space was used for the basis of Pong, the video game that made the company its early-days millions. Dabney later left the company after a falling out with Bushnell.
“Nolan was not being the kind of person that I enjoyed being around any more…” Dabney remembered in a 2012 interview with the Computer History Museum. He added with a laugh that “Nolan had told me that if I didn’t sell out he would transfer all the assets to another corporation and leave me with nothing anyway. So, you know, might as well sell out.”
After the falling out Dabney still helped Bushnell launch Pizza Time Theater (the predecessor of Chuck E. Cheese’s), later working at major tech companies like Raytheon, Fujitsu, and Teledyne, before finally buying a grocery store in California’s Sierra mountains (where “my wife did all the work”). He eventually retired to northern Washington at the age of 69.
“Ted Dabney was an integral part of the early video game industry, and he literally assembled some of the hardware from which this industry was built with his own two hands,” remembers Kotaku, adding “Not many people can lay claim to that kind of legacy.”
Share your own favorite memories of Atari and Ted Dabney in the comments.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, classicgames
Original 'System Shock' Code Open Sourced, More Updates Promised

Original 'System Shock' Code Open Sourced, More Updates Promised

“The folks at Nightdive Studios this week released the source code for a Mac version of Looking Glass Studios’ 1994 classic System Shock,” reports Gamasutra. Friday the game’s new owners unveiled on GitHub “the original, unaltered source code that was discovered by OtherSide Entertainment and graciously shared with us a few months ago… We have been hard at work updating this code and plan to release a new version of System Shock: Enhanced Edition as well as the code in the near future.”
We’ve gone back to the original vision we shared with you at the start of our Kickstarter campaign — this time with more reliable performance and higher fidelity visuals thanks to the Unreal Engine… We have been able to re-use the majority of work we’ve done over the past year and we’re making significant progress in a very short amount of time. With that said we’ll be inviting our highest tier backers to privately test the game beginning in September at which point we estimate that the game will be fully playable, from start to finish. The majority of the art won’t be finished, but we’ll be ready to start high-level testing.

Going forward there’s even a Twitch component. “In an effort to remain transparent throughout development we’re going to begin streaming on a regular basis and inviting the backers to join us.” And the audio department has also revealed some of the music from the medical deck.
After their Kickstarter was funded, Nightdive had explored making a “bigger, better game” after receiving a verbal commitment from a game publisher, but then “were left high and dry after making crucial, consequential changes in staff and scope… We still have the funds necessary to complete the game, but the timeline will inevitably move back with our shift in direction…”
“This will be closer to a 1:1 remake with updates to the weapon/character designs but without altering the core gameplay of the original.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, classicgames
'King of Kong' Billy Mitchell Stripped Of Donkey Kong Record For Emulator Cheating

'King of Kong' Billy Mitchell Stripped Of Donkey Kong Record For Emulator Cheating

MojoKid writes:

More drama is unfolding in the ultra-competitive retro arcade gaming scene… Billy Mitchell, the arcade legend who appeared as a central character opposite Steve Wiebe in the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, has been accused of cheating his way into the record books for high scores in Donkey Kong. As a result, he’s now been stripped of his 1.062 million score on the Donkey Kong Forums…
The legitimacy of his score was called into question by Donkey Kong high score judge Jeremy “Xelnia” Young laid out a body of evidence that seems to prove Mitchell recorded several of his high scores on the open source arcade emulator MAME, though he claimed his scores were obtained on an original arcade cabinet, and therefore were not subject to same strict authentication requirements. “It’s possible they were recorded in one shot,” Young says, but “Given the play style in Billy’s videos, it’s more likely that vanilla MAME’s INP recording feature was abused.”
Twin Galaxies recently threw out the 35-year-old record for the Atari 2600 game Dragster, and has now said they’re “in the process of fully reviewing the compelling evidence provided by Jeremy Young.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, classicgames
Celebrating '21 Things We Miss About Old Computers'

Celebrating '21 Things We Miss About Old Computers'

“Today, we look back at the classic era of home computing that existed alongside the dreariness of business computing and the heart-pounding noise and colour of the arcades,” writes the site Den of Geek. An anonymous reader reports:

The article remembers the days of dial-up modems, obscure computer magazines, and the forgotten phenomenon of computer clubs. (“There was a time when if you wanted to ask a question about something computer related, or see something in action, you’d have to venture outside and into another building to go and see it.”) Gamers grappled with old school controllers, games distributed on cassette tapes, low-resolution graphics and the “playground piracy” of warez boards — when they weren’t playing the original side-scrolling platformers like Mario Bros and Donkey Kong at video arcades.

In a world where people published fanzines on 16-bit computers, shared demo programs, and even played text adventures, primitive hardware may have inspired future coders, since “Old computers typically presented you with a command prompt as soon as you switched them on, meaning that they were practically begging to be programmed on.” Home computers “mesmerised us, educated us, and in many cases, bankrupted us,” the article remembers — until they were replaced by more powerful hardware. “You move on, but you never fully get over your first love,” it concludes — while also adding that “what came next was pretty amazing.”

Does this bring back any memories for anybody — or provoke any wistful nostalgic for a bygone era? Either way, I really liked the way that the article ended. “The most exciting chapter of all, my geeky friends? The future!”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, classicgames
Google Maps Adds 'Ms. Pac-Man' Feature

Google Maps Adds 'Ms. Pac-Man' Feature

An anonymous reader quotes a blog post by Google Maps:
Starting now until April 4, you can chomp fruit, avoid ghosts, and collect PAC-Dots along city streets in Google Maps worldwide — all as Ms. PAC-Maps. Just tap on the Ms. PAC-Maps icon on iOS and Android, or click the Ms. PAC-Maps button at the bottom left on desktop, to enter the maze and start chompin’. Sign in to save your top score on the leaderboard and share with friends.
A playable Google doodle commemorated Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary in 2010 — and was estimated to have cost the IT sector (and other workplaces) 4.8 million hours in lost productivity.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, classicgames
New Release Of StarCraft In 4K Ultra High Definition Annouonced

New Release Of StarCraft In 4K Ultra High Definition Annouonced

The classic 90s-era videogames StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War will be re-released this summer — remastered in 4K Ultra High Definition. An anonymous reader quotes The Verge:

It will also include a number of updates, such as remastered sound, new additional illustrations for the campaign missions, new matchmaking capabilities, the ability to connect to Blizzard App, the ability to save to the cloud, and more… Blizzard also announced that it was issuing a new update to StarCraft: Brood War this week, which will include some bug fixes and anti-cheat measures, but will also make StarCraft Anthology (which includes StarCraft and Brood War) available to download for free.

Kotaku reports that the news was announced at this weekend’s I <3 StarCraft event in South Korea, “a mini-tournament between some of the game’s best players being held to honor the game’s legacy.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, classicgames