Quick TFB News Update!

After realizing that my RSS reader PHP script stopped working, I went to toysforbob.com and read a quick news update on July 12.  It is a statement confirming that “Above and Beyond” is not the game they are working on and that it has nothing to do with Star Control:

Latest Project

It's been a while! We're still working on a game that we think is really awesome and fun, but we can't talk about it just yet. We would, however, like to clear‐up some rumors that have been circulating about a new Star Control game we're supposedly making called "Above and Beyond": they aren't true! The game we're currently developing has nothing to do with Star Control, but it's still really exciting and we can't wait until we can talk about it officially. Stay tuned!

I can’t wait to see what kind of awesome and fun things they have put together in their new video game. Glad to see that it’s not Above and Beyond. I always assumed it was a rumor and at least it threw TFB in the spotlight for a brief moment.  We still have another TFB mystery in our hands and it’s great to hear TFB reiterate that it is awesome, fun and exciting.  It’s so awesome, fun and exciting, that they were given extra time to polish it and make more changes.

I know a few weeks ago, Lukipela wrote about his face-to-face conversation with Paul Reiche over a cup of coffee about what he can tell us about his super secret project.  Some of the many talents of TFB include keeping secrets and plugging leaks:

"...we were so close to announcing that word did break accidentally on a few sites. We yanked the news as fast as we could, but then it started to spread (seemingly automatically) like the zombie virus. It took us a number of days to stamp it out and I still have a number of Google Alerts set‐up in case we missed its brain admit comes back to life."

"I can't say anything concrete and I must mix in some outright lies. While not in any universe we've worked within, the new game is perhaps exactly what one would expect from our studio. If you like Melee or Mayhem, there will definitely be a part of the new game you enjoy."

‐ Paul Reiche

Needless to say, Lukipela wrote a very engaging article about his chat with Paul. It’s a must-read for everyone! Nicely done, Lukipela.

With regards to the RSS parser I made, I’ll have to add some extra exception handling to deal with some things I didn’t expect.

Whatever they are working on, I hope it leads them on a path to creating more awesome, exciting and fun games that they have control over.

Toys for Bob
Coffee with Paul Reiche

Just One Space Combat Mission in Halo: Reach

"Give fans things they had never seen or experienced before. Space combat is one of those things."
‐ Lars Bakken, Multiplayer Design Lead at Bungie

Halo: Reach will be Bungie’s last game with Microsoft before they join Activision on a 10-year contract.  Although this is Bungie’s last Halo game, this is not necessarily the last Halo game in the series.  Any future Halo games will be made by an internal team at Microsoft called 343 Industries.

Lars Bakken from Bungie plays through the single-player campaign and reveals the one and only space combat mission that will be in the final game.  Lars has stated that space combat has been considered in previous Halo games.  In addition, there will be other surprises that haven’t been done in previous games.  Needless to say, they want to end with a bang.

The saber ship has energy shields, machine guns and missiles.  It also has afterburners and capable of performing barrel rolls.

Not only did it remind me of Star Control, it also reminded me of Nintendo’s Star Fox series.  Nintendo will be recreating Star Fox 64 for their new handheld console, dubbed the “3DS”.

From what I’ve seen in the above video, it feels like an entirely different game.  My prediction is that this mission will be well-received.  They haven’t stated whether or not multiplayer space combat will be included in the final release.  I’m sure there will be split-screen local multiplayer.

I highly doubt it will feel close to what we have experienced from Star Control.  For example, if the player dies, I highly doubt that he or she will be able to choose another ship with different strengths and weaknesses and try another strategy.  Star Control also contains more races, not all of them wanting to wage war.  This part of the game will at least show that space combat is something that is worth exploring, even for big-budget titles that haven’t done it before.

I hope that players and reviewers enjoy the space combat mission in Halo: Reach and show desire for more diverse ships and deeper combat in future games.  It can become a positive point towards future space combat games and even become leverage for the creation of a new Star Control game.

Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond classification
Above and Beyond's rating on Australian Classification Board

There has been some news that has popped up today regarding an unannounced game from Activision-Blizzard.  It is called “Above and Beyond”.  As of this writing, the only information about this game is from an Australian classification board.  The information given is that it has been given a mature rating and listed as “computer games (multi-platform)”.  Superannuation was the first site to post this discovery.

Please keep in mind that the ESRB does not have “Above and Beyond” listed as of this writing.  The criteria between Australia and North America ratings can be different.  The words “mature” and “violence” does not necessarily mean it will be a bloody game with excessive profanity.  The Australian Classification board has a separate MA 15+ rating for “Strong coarse language”, “strong violence”, “blood and gore” and “strong horror violence”.

Some blogs have even linked back to an article I wrote back in October about Shaba Games closing down.  I wrote to Alex Ness about it because a few years ago, he told me that some employees at Shaba supported the idea of a new Star Control game.  With the announcement of Shaba closing, Alex said that some of the people they hired previously worked at Shaba and their team is starting to grow.  Alex also gave another small hint that their unannounced game will “feel more classic Toys for Bob”.

I have no idea if Above and Beyond is TFB’s new game.  There really isn’t much information given other than the Australian Classification board rated it “mature”, author and publisher is Activision-Blizzard and it wasn’t in this year’s E3 convention.   If more details emerge about this game, I’m not quite sure how the ESRB will evaluate it.  From the above image alone, there is nothing to suggest that it has ties to Star Control or Toys for Bob.  It’s a game title nobody knows about from a giant third-party publisher.  Overall, I’m glad that speculation towards TFB’s secret project and Star Control is spreading quickly through different video game sites.  Sooner or later, there will be more news about this game and hopefully things will be clearer.  After seeing so many E3 videos, it’s obvious this year will be another interesting one for video games.  Just because it wasn’t in E3, doesn’t mean that we won’t hear more about this game in the future.

Farewell Shaba Games
Above and Beyond - Australian Classification Board
1UP.com’s article about Above and Beyond
Superannuation’s article about Above and Beyond
ComputerAndVideoGames.com’s article about Death Ride and Above and Beyond

E3 2010

(Video removed)
Playing the first level in the Light campaign.

It’s that time again.  E3 is coming up in less than a week and all of the sources of video game news and media will be there to see what developers and publishers have planned in the future.  Some websites have early access to E3 and are already uploading E3 videos.

I haven’t seen every single E3 video out there.  So far, the only E3 video that reminded me about Star Control is a game called Jumpgate Evolution which is a sequel to their first game, Jumpgate.  It is being developed by NetDevil.  The have plenty of experience with MMOs prior to Jumpgate Evolution.  I looked at some older gameplay footage, which showed a player controlling a ship directly in 3D space and firing lasers at various targets.  The E3 trailers also reminded me of EVE Online.

I e-mailed Alex asking if there were any plans for Toys for Bob to attend E3.  He replied that they “probably won’t be attending E3 or showing anything.  Probably next year’s E3 though.”  Darn!  I was hoping that we could see a glimpse of what the are working on.  We’ll just have to wait a little bit longer.

I started to wonder.  Are there any developers who will be at E3 that have some kind of connection to TFB?  After skimming my Google Reader I realized that React! Games will be attending E3.

We’re getting ready for E3 now…we’ll be going and showing our latest version of the game to press and portals…so hopefully we’ll have many more sites that will distribute our little game.
‐ React! Games DEVblog

They have finished Archon Classic for the PC a long time ago.  I’ve been meaning to write about it for some time and I’ve just been occupied with other stuff.  I recorded myself playing the first level in the campaign.  I used  a keyboard and mouse to play and it is also compatible with the Xbox 360 controller.  They have recently added their game to Impulse, a digital distribution service made by Stardock.

I still notice the same trend many of us have been talking about for years: old games are coming back in a new shape or form.  2K Games is working on a FPS version of XCOM and it interests me.  I’m curious to see how they will translate the turn-based strategy to a first-person perspective.  They previously worked on both BioShock games and I have faith that they can pull it off.  3D Realms has announced that Duke Nukem Manhattan Project will be coming to Xbox Live Arcade.  A new 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game is also being made.  Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge will have a high-definition remake.  With this growing trend, it should be easy to add Star Control to the list of HD remakes.

In summary, there is a very incredible amount of trailers and articles available for an event that is officially starting in a few days.  Even though TFB is not on the list, we may see something that may have a striking similarity to Star Control or anything else related to TFB.  React! Games will be there to show off their new Archon game and I hope they get a fair share of the spotlight.  With Microsoft and Sony showing off their new motion controls, the video game industry is starting to change in many ways.

Jumpgate Evolution - PAX 2008 Gameplay
List of Exhibitors in E3

Wenlock and Mandeville

I’ve been watching Twitter for anyone tweeting about Star Control and I’m starting to notice that people are starting to see a resemblance between the 2012 Olympic mascots and a beloved race from Star Control II:

Wenlock and Mandeville
Wenlock and Mandeville

Do you see it?  They resemble the Spathi.  Although one could argue that any alien with a giant eye can look like the Spathi.  In fact, the player doesn’t see much of them in the game, other than an eye and purple arms:


From what I’ve read about previous mascots, these mascots seem to be designed with a family friendly image and usually ignored and criticized for their quirky appearance.  Their names are based on the town and village Much Wenlock and Stoke Mandeville.  Each character has their own Facebook and Twitter page.  There is even a background story claiming that they have been formed from the last 2 drops of steel used for building the Olympic stadium in London.  It even goes as far to say that their shiny metal surfaces is a metaphor that they reflect the people.

To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to the Olympics.  I think it’s a very epic international event and it’s amazing to see how far fans will go to support their favorite countries.

It’s interesting that there are people who notice the similarity and are willing to tweet about it.  I’m not exactly sure if this can be used to promote a new Star Control game.  It does show that the Spathi are highly memorable, just like the Prinny (Diagaea), Chocobo (Final Fantasy) and even the Companion Cube (Portal).  I’m still dreaming of the mass-production of a Spathi plushy.

I remember a long time ago, there was an announcement that Pluto is no longer considered a planet.   A thread on the UQM forums called “Pluto is no longer a planet.  Poor Fwiffo” was made.  Fwiffo represented the humorous side of Star Control and was more complicated than just plain “comic relief”.  I remember when I first encountered Fwiffo, I felt a bit of tension while convincing him to join my side.  He didn’t simply switch sides; I had to convince him that he was alone and that I was powerful; I felt unsure that I would be successful and felt a sense of joy when I finally succeeded.  He even gave a clue about the location of the Syreen that some people may have missed.

In conclusion, I do see a similarity between the Spathi and 2012 Olympic mascots.  Maybe this is a sign that we’ll start seeing more things that remind us of Star Control.  If it is, I wonder what could happen next.

Fun with UQM-Debug

In every release of The Ur-Quan Masters, there is another executable file called uqm-debug, used for debugging the game and used for testing the game functionality itself.  I haven’t used it extensively but I do remember a time when someone told me about a debug key.

There is a key that can be mapped to have the player’s ship instantly upgraded, cargo filled and ships added.  The main purpose isn’t for cheating through the campaign.  It is for traversing through specific areas and testing code updates and modifications without limitations from the game itself.

I remember a few years ago when 0.5.0 was the latest version, I discovered a mod that allows players to view the spinning ship videos that were in the original 3DO version of Star Control II. The original UQM builds do not support these ship spin videos due to additional legal issues.  This modification allows a key to be designated as the info button which plays a video of the ship in the Super Melee and Shipyard screens.  The mod even allowed the Crystal Dynamics promo to be played at the menu.

It was around this time I discovered the debug key.  All I had to do was press a key and my ship would be instantly upgraded with a full crew complement and cargo.  The escape pod isn’t instantly added and is given to the player at the beginning of the game anyways.

The captain’s ship has numerous upgrades and includes cargo such as the Talking Pet and Utwig Bomb.  It has powerful blasters but no point defense laser.

I did have some fun cheating through the beginning of the game.  I left space and was attacked by various Slylandro.  I blasted each of them effortlessly.  I even took on the Thraddash and the Ur-Quan and Kohr-Ah surrounding the Sa-Matra.  Unfortunately, it was surrounded by infinite Ur-Quan.  Since I didn’t have the escape pod first time around, I was stuck at this point.  I still had to free the Chmmr, enhance the bomb and tell the Talking Pet to get rid of most of the Ur-Quan and Kohr-Ah surrounding the Sa-Matra.

Another perk from the debug key is that any star selected in the starmap on Auto-Pilot, the flagship instantly teleport to that location.

This is a good place to mention that the starmap is searchable; in the starmap, press the / key, and type the first few letters of the star name; it will try to find a match and tab can be pressed to scroll through different names with the same starting letters.  It’s an amazing convenience to remember the names and not the numbers.  Unfortunately, I discovered this fact after I finished the game; I used to write down coordinates and refer to the UQM Wiki frequently.

So, how can this debug key be enabled?  Here’s what I did, thanks to the advice from the UQM forums.  Keep in mind that this is geared towards the Windows version of UQM.

  1. Go to http://uqm.stack.nl/files/snapshots/ and download the latest content update.  Do not extract the file!  Simply place the zip file in the content/packages directory where UQM is installed.
  2. Download the latest Windows release binary.  Extract uqm.exe to the installation directory and overwrite the original uqm.exe.
  3. Download the latest Windows debug binary.  Extract uqm-debug.exe to the installation directory and overwrite the original uqm-debug.exe.
  4. Create a file called override.cfg in the config directory containing the line: debug.1 = STRING:key F4. On my Windows XP laptop, it was located in C:\Documents and Settings\anthony\Application Data\uqm.  It should be the same directory as keys.cfg
  5. Launch uqm-debug.exe and either start a new game or load a saved game.  Press F4 and the ship will be instantly upgraded.

So, that’s some info about what can be done with uqm-debugging.  I wouldn’t recommend using it to play through the entire campaign; there’s a lot to experience and the game has a great design with great dialog to experience.  It’s better to consult a walkthrough to know more about what to do next in the game; it helped me progress through the game more smoothly and I still experienced the entire adventure without feeling too confused.

I’d like to thank everyone on the UQM forums and everyone else who helped me out with getting the debug key working.

I wonder what else UQM-Debug can do…

UQM Forum: Debug Key in UQM
UQM Subversion Snapshots

Did you know? Tony Hawk

Many of us remember Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam.  It is a launch title developed by Toys for Bob for the Nintendo Wii.  This is the game TFB was working on when Alex Ness announced they would like to make a Star Control game someday.

The idea for this game came from a discussion from Activision from a list of gameplay styles fans would like to see from the Tony Hawk franchise.  The idea of a racing game was one of the most popular and Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam was born.

While the game was in development, one of the things that TFB tried was gluing a Wii remote to the bottom of a skateboard to see what leaning on it would be like as a controller.  This is interesting because Nintendo eventually released the balance board a few years later.  A game called Skate It used this peripheral in a similar manner that TFB experimented with.

Originally, there were plans for online multiplayer for THDJ.  Unfortunately, due to a tight schedule for getting the game out on the Wii’s launch date, it was removed and only local multiplayer was removed.  It would have been the Wii’s first Nintendo Wi-Fi game.  Pokémon Battle Revolution was released a few months later and became the first Wi-Fi game.

The DS version of THDJ had online multiplayer.  However, it is no longer functioning since it was hosted by a third-party who is no longer supporting it.

THDJ was advertised as having much longer and faster levels than in other Tony Hawk games.  The level design is amazing; there were multiple paths, shortcuts and plenty of obstacles that can help or hinder certain characters based on their stats.  I never once felt like I was moving in a straight line and the closer I get to the last level, I feel more tense that at any second I could lose my position.  It’s very entertaining to watch a pro move through the tough levels.  This could be an example of creative control that TFB had over a project overseen by Activision.

Did you know that this isn’t the first time they have used the Tony Hawk engine?  The other game they used it in was Disney’s Extreme Skate Adventure. shudder  This is actually the first game TFB made with Activision after signing their contract.  This game shares the same engine as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.

DESA is geared towards a younger audience.  The balance meter is more lenient and the tricks available depend on the character chosen.  There is also an option to create a custom skater.  I first played DESA when I played a demo of it from a demo disc that came with an issue of Official Xbox Magazine.  The only playable level is “Andy’s Room” from Toy Story.  It is a fun game which made me immediately think of Tony Hawk.  Unfortunately, the demo disc is not compatible with the Xbox 360.  Despite the child demographic, it is fun to play.  I feel the same Tony Hawk experience when I played it.

Speaking of Tony Hawk, Neversoft is no longer working on it.  The video game rights have been passed on to Robomodo who has recently made Tony Hawk: Ride.  EA’s Skate franchise is still in the competition.  I’m not sure how the Tony Hawk franchise will evolve in the future.  I haven’t played many of the new Tony Hawk or Skate games; mostly demos.  I remember spending a lot of time playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the Game Boy Advance and N64 back in the day.

I remember playing a game on the old Xbox called Toxic Grind; it has nothing to do with Tony Hawk.  It’s a BMX game that takes place in the future, where the player is a contestant in a reality TV show on a stage is filled with death traps and must compete with other players to stay alive.  It is one of the most bizarre extreme sports games I have ever played.

In any case, I hope this post about TFB’s experience with the Tony Hawk engine has been informative.  No matter what they have on their plate, TFB can make it fun and get it finished, even if it’s from a licensed IP.

What do you think about the Tony Hawk franchise?

GameTrailers: THDJ Interview with Paul Reiche
GameSpot: THDJ Interview with Alex Ness

My Thoughts On Activision

After the stellar success of Modern Warfare 2, many were shocked at the dispute between Infinity Ward and Activision over unpaid royalty fees.  As a result, some employees were terminated, including Jason West and Vince Zampella.  They have formed a new studio called Respawn Entertainment with Electronic Arts.  From what I’ve read, not many details were given as to who else was terminated or what Respawn will work on.  In situations like this, there are usually non-disclosure agreements.  Therefore, I usually consider any news about video game politics rumor until I hear it’s confirmed from a noteworthy source.

So, why am I writing about this?  Anti-Activision groups have been quoted in video game news sites more than once, and someone has mentioned Toys for Bob.

Since Bobby Kotick took over as the CEO of Activision, the publisher became notorious for pushing sequels every year.  When Activision has a high-selling franchise, they assign as many developers as it takes to release it on as many platforms as possible.  This also includes Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, Tony Hawk, Crash Bandicoot, Spider-Man, James Bond and many movie-licensed games.  Did you know that Toys for Bob worked with other developers on the Wii and PS2 versions of Guitar Hero: Van Halen?  Some of the things they did include building the environments based on the PS3/360 versions and animating the Miis for the Wii version.

Dan Amrich has joined a Facebook group called “Gamers Against Bobby Kotick & Activision”.  Dan is currently working as a blogger at Activision.  He has worked previously as a reviewer for video game magazines such as Official Xbox Magazine, GamesRadar and GamePro.  He is also a guitarist.  There is currently a very active discussion about Activision on the Facebook page where Dan has started to discuss his views on Activision.

I'm Dan. I used to be in the games media. I now blog for Activision. I work inside the building. I don't agree with everything the company does, yet I don't agree with a lot of the insults and criticisms the company gets either. So the only way around that is to have a discussion.
‐ Dan Amrich

There are a handful of studios under the Activision umbrella (Raven, IW, Neversoft, Bizarre, Toys For Bob, etc) and they each have creative freedom. PLEASE read that again -- they have creative freedom. Activision works with the devs, says "here's what we'd like" or "can you change this" -- but the game vision, the way it unfolds, comes from the developers.

- Dan Amrich

With regards to creative freedom, it’s nice to hear that they have control over what they can do within the publisher’s expectations.  I remember reading some posts written by various developers including Paul Reiche and Greg Johnson (ToeJam & Earl); when developers describe the developer-publisher relationship; they generally agree that they are told to work on a certain project and since the publisher is paying for it, the devs are obligated to perform any changes requested by the publishers; there are hundreds of people working on these games, and each person has to pay bills, buy food, continue learning new skills, upgrade technology and even support a family.  It’s better to work on a project that isn’t a “fresh IP” then to do nothing and not get paid.

It’s difficult for me to discuss my feelings towards Activision because I want this blog to support all of Toys for Bob’s interests and at the same time, I want to stay neutral towards other issues.  I’m not affiliated with any media groups, agencies, publications or any other organizations with ties to the video game industry.  Everything I know is based on publicized information such as blogs.

I agree that Activision’s notorious strategy to pump sequels into the market had made it difficult for other developers to achieve good sales of their games.  Even though many people complain of the many Guitar Hero/movie-license games out there.  At the same time, I have to think about the people who are buying these games; Activision found a demographic who will spend money for these games repeatedly.

I remember that Activision was once struggling financially until Kotick took over.  I can’t argue that he is successful.  This actually makes me remember what type of gamer I was before I discovered the name “Toys for Bob”.  I used to play games without knowing anything the developer.   When Alex wrote on the TFB news site that he wanted to collect e-mails to convince Activision to show that a new Star Control game can be successful, I was shocked that they couldn’t just do it anyways.  By learning more about Star Control and Toys for Bob, it gave me a better understand of the video game industry that many people don’t see.

In summary, I don’t agree with Activision’s strategy of pushing sequels and giving more developers the chance to try something new.  However, I know that they continue to do it because it’s making money.  I wish that Activision would give more developers a chance work on one of their own ideas.  There is so much to talk about when it comes to how Activision works.  I wish the Infinity Ward and Respawn Entertainment the best of luck in the future.  Making money is important for any business and Activision is no exception.  I would love to see developers have more creative control with their work.  Activision isn’t the only publisher receiving this kind of criticism; just take a look at the mediocre Sonic games that Sega has published; there are a lot of fans hoping that Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (codenamed Project Needlemouse) will bring Sonic back to its roots and break the cycle of bad Sonic games.

Most of all, I am glad that Toys for Bob is still active to this day; they have countless years of experience, they work hard, they know what it takes to satisfy their publishers and they can take a moment of their precious time to make an announcement or write to the fans whenever they can.

Speaking of creative control, when TFB announces their game, we may have some insight of where the game came from and how much control they had with it.

What do you think about Activision and Dan’s statement that Activision really does give developers creative freedom?

Facebook: Gamers Against Bobby Kotick & Activision
GameSpy:Activision Rep Kicks off Discussion with Gamers Against Bobby Kotick
Dan’s Blog: One of Swords

Edit: Made a revision.  Dan did not create the Facebook group.

StarCon in Space Quest

(Video removed)

On March 25, there was a news post on PONAF about games from Atari being added to GOG.com and how this could affect Star Control since Atari owns the rights to the name.  GOG.com is a video game digital distribution service that sells classic PC games without digital rights management.  In addition, they will continue to provide support for any game they sell.  This service was created CD Projekt, a developer that has also made The Witcher, which is similar to Neverwinter Nights, a game made by BioWare.  In fact, they even share the same engine code, which they heavily modified.

When this was posted on PONAF, I made a post that if Star Control 1 was added to GOG.com, it would be nice to be able to legally obtain a digital copy of it and I hope that TFB gets their share of the sales.

I have been a member of GOG.com for a while and I have a fair collection of games.  One of the games I purchased is the Space Quest collection (Space Quest IV, V & VI).  Space Quest is an adventure game made during the “Golden Age of Adventure Games” by Sierra.  It is a parody of various science fiction universes, mainly Star Trek and Star Wars.

To me, “starcon” is the command I used to enter in DOS when I played Star Control back in the day.  I remember entering “cd starcon” then entering “starcon” to start the game.  My dad used to refer to the game as “starcon” because of this.  It is also the name of the canceled game by StarSphere Interactive.

In Space Quest, StarCon refers to the Star Confederation, which can be seen as a parody of The United Federation of Planets from Star Trek and other inter-planetary alliances.  It’s just something that surprised me when I played Space Quest V for the first time.  This is the first time I ever seen the word starcon used in another game.  Space Quest is a funny game with well-writen humor and makes good use of the color pallet available at the time just like Star Control.  However, I wouldn’t recommend these games to anyone who doesn’t like trial-and-error and trying every combination of actions to get through to the next chapter; it does not give much guidance on what needs to be done and I referred to walkthroughs very often to get through these games.  I understand that it’s an adventure game with puzzle elements and it’s not something  newcomers would enjoy; however, it’s fun to watch someone else play who knows what to do.

Did you know that title “Star Control” refers to the military and diplomatic group formed by the United Nations after the Androsynth rebelled and left Earth.  They were contacted by the Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm and alerted about the Ur-Quan Hierarchy.  Star Control became part of the Alliance of Free Stars.  In Star Control II, the captain returns from Earth from a secret Star Control science mission on Unzarvalt (Vela I), which discovered a Precursor factory for building starships.

I hope you find this interesting.  Has anyone out there ever played Space Quest?

Star Confederation - Space Quest Omnipedia
Star Control (organization) - Untronomicon
Let’s Play Space Quest V: The Next Mutation - Part 2 StarCon Aptitude Test

Minor Correction - 3DO

I would like to quickly write about something I mentioned in previous articles.  On some occasions, I have discussed the 3DO and referred to it as the “Panasonic 3DO”.  There have been times when I have tried to explain the 3DO to friends and I say “It was made by Panasonic”, which is wrong.

I am aware that this is not the official name of the console which is “3DO Interactive Multiplayer Console”.  Many people prefer calling it the “3DO” for obvious reasons.

Until I discovered that Star Control II was ported to this console, I was not aware that this console even existed.

Here is some trivia if anyone is interested:

  • Panasonic does not own the 3DO console.  It is a set of technical specifications created by The 3DO Company, who are now bankrupt.  Panasonic, GoldStar and Sanyo have used these specifications to create their own console.  Some people have used this as an example of how it's not possible to have a "one console generation" in the future.
  • There is no player 2 port on these consoles; any additional controllers must be daisy-chained into the first controller, which has a secondary port.
  • The 3DO company profited from royalty-fees from video game and console sales.
  • The 3DO was released before PlayStation.  Not only was the PlayStation more powerful, it was much cheaper.  The fact that the 3DO was still expensive and had less games made the PlayStation even more appealing.

Creating technical specifications and collecting fees is fairly common today; this is how companies such as the DVD Consortium and the Blu-Ray Disc Association continue to make money to this day.

Hopefully, these facts will be interesting and I am sorry for the 3DO confusion.  It’s hard to find accurate information about video games and consoles, especially if it’s about something old!

If any games deserves an HD remake…
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