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  1. I picked up Tau Ceti on a budget release in Australia and the instruction manual wasn't great. Fortunately at the time I'd read several magazine guides so I felt like I had an idea of how to play the game going in. I wrote about this here back when I had this weird idea of going through issues of Commodore Format from issue 1 and playing through the Powerpack games and writing about them. Obviously an idea with no legs There was also a short thread here on Tau Ceti and the sequel. Let's talk about the plot. As touched on in the podcast there's a lot going on. So here's the cliff notes. -A colony was set up on Tau Ceti III. -A pandemic killed all the colonists. -Decades later a cure was found. -The automated defence system for the colony is damaged and is attacking anything that comes close. -A single pilot in a Gal-Corp Skimmer (a small hovercraft) may be able to slip through defences undetected. -Your task is to travel from city to city, finding the cooling rods for the central reactor. -Once you have the rods you can take them to the central reactor in the city capital Centralis and power down the defence grid. Easy! Well sort of. You have 8 missiles. 8 anti missile missiles. 8 flares. A laser. And infra-red for night vision. Here's a few tips on what not to do. -Don't rush to Centralis. It's the most dangerous place in the game and you really want to leave it until later. -Don't rush ahead. It's a good way to draw the attention of flying drones and mines. -Don't destroy every building. For one you'll need the civilian buildings to work your way around. Most maps group their main buildings in the centre. Some are weird though. I've come across one city where the buildings were laid out in a spiral. One where a string of buildings led to a reactor in the distance. The other reason is you might hit one of the tine defence sphere buildings. These will fire out lasers at a high right at every angle and will kill you within seconds if hit. This is a game about flying low and carefully and taking out only the buildings and craft that you have to. It's all about learning the difference between What you want to dock with What you want to destroy and what you want to use as landmarks. By day Tau Ceti is a stunner. Super smooth with shadows. And by night it's pitch black. Unless you use a flare or use the blurry infrared. The GUI was intuitive to use as well with a mixture of text commands and icons. (Just don't type a rude word.) It's easy to see some of the tricks now. The amazing 3D images with real time shadows were in reality flat shapes (since all the buildings were "round" they would look the same at every angle. The 3D shapes are actually just flat lines being extended or shrunk making for a fast and smooth illusion.) The multitude of instruments and map meant that the main view screen was smaller than other games. The skimmer being auto-stabilised meant that the game didn't need to deal with banking left or right. But it's full of so many amazing features for a 48/64k game from 1986. A built in GUI. A note pad. Day night cycles. And so many little touches. Like how you'd bounce if you hit the ground at speed (especially if you ran out of fuel.) The sun moving across the sky. The odd shooting star or star winking out as it went nova. Blinking lights on some of the buildings. The blur of the infra-red. The way the landscape would bleach out at night when a missile hit something illuminating the area. It's a very quiet game. The hum of your engines, the occasional laser beam. The swooshing launch of a missile. The grinding and hissing of a bulkhead door on docking. This is a port of the Spectrum game but it's a rare port where John Twiddy has taken Paul Cooke's original and improved it. Here's some Spectrum shots for comparison. There's an excellent guide here https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Tau_Ceti You'll need a blank cassette or disk (or freeze option) to finish this. It's worth at least exploring as one of the most atmospheric games on the C64. @squirtle, it's worth having another try at this one, even if you don't finish it (seriously the ending is underwhelming.) I was sorely disappointed and jealous that the sequel / prequel Academy never made it to the C64. A stone cold classic, one of my favourite games on the C64 and my favourite of this episode. Edit: The C64 missed out on two followups. https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/attack-on-centralis/ https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/academy/
  2. New episode is up! https://zappedtothepast.com/ Games covered -Tau Ceti -ICUPS -Ollo 1 & Ollo 2 -Legend of the Amazon Women -Infiltrator -Nexus -Time Trax -Saboteur -Murder on the Mississippi
  3. There's a few things that have kept me away from poker and fruit machines. Rev Stu's article was a big one but it was the icing on the cake. Really. But it was proof that the punters were being tricked and it's one of the best things he's ever done. There was the hollowing out of the live music scene in my home city, pubs ditched stages and put in pokies. I once at a pub lunch watched a women with blank eyes feed in at least three 50 dollar notes into the machine. It was clear she'd been there most of the day. It became such a plague that an episode of local drama series Love is a Four Letter Word had the publican drag out a pokie machine out of his bar and smash it with a baseball bat. This song was pretty popular at the time. From the notes attached to the video But what really put me off playing them was this great piece. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-04-13/grogs---dont-bet-on-joys-of-pokies/56496 I'm not sure it's the same in the UK but in Oz these machines have destroyed so many lives. Do the UK machines take large notes? When they got rid of restrictions on what the machines would accept it removed one of the big circuit breakers for players who would play these machines until their wages were eaten up.
  4. I think I'm going to have to dig through the emulator I'm using and see if there's a way to assign space to a button for port 2 games. Because I found trying to use space as a secondary replaying Green Beret to be tough.
  5. I wouldn't hold your breath. From 2017 https://gamingbolt.com/the-artful-escape-dev-on-exclusivity-cant-go-back-after-seeing-4k-on-xbox-one-x-dev-kit
  6. You know that bit in the game Journey? The bit where you're sliding down a slope of sand and the music kicks in and it feels just joyous? It's like the creators of The Artful Escape thought about it and decided "You know what this needs? A guitar to totally shred while you're doing that!" And that's a lot of the "game" here. And I loved it. Head over heels in love with it. Sure, it's not Dark Souls. It's not Mario. It's not Gitaroo Man. They've designed this to be as frictionless as possible because the challenge here isn't can I make that jump or can I keep in time. They've kept the platforming simple so you can concentrate on the joy of sliding along while looking as cool as possible. They've made it so when freestyling you always sound good. Downsides? Playing on PC on the first night it wasn't as smooth as I'd like (I think they may have patched it because it was great today.) And the opening feels very very hipster. I was giving it some major side eye with what I thought was going to be a manic pixie girl side plot. Best way to describe the opening hour. Garden State: The Game. But then it takes a hard left turn into...I don't know, Bill and Ted meets Douglas Adams crossed with The Yellow Submarine? Loved it. One of the games of the year for me. Also, not sure if I'm reading too much into this but there does seem to be a bit of a trans acceptance narrative in the game. Spoilers for those not far in. Anyway it's on gamepass. It's the best four hours of concentrated joy you'll have this year.
  7. Counterpoint, while playing this and enjoying it 40 years ago the adults watching on in confusion were talking about how what we were playing was rubbish and how it would be loads better if we watched this instead.
  8. This post has changed my mind about games like Roblox (although I'm still giving side eye to some of the exploitative tactics used in regards content creators on that platform.) Imagine anyone being annoyed at their kids spending time on digital playgrounds during a pandemic! Mind you as a parent I'd be constantly worried about adults posing as kids but that's a whole other side topic. As for making kids play the games we used to as kids so that they could get a better appreciation of the artform? That would have led to me having to listen to Perry Como or Pat Boone before listening to the music I wanted to. My grandfather loved watching Bonanza when I was a kid but he didn't force me to watch it before I got to watch Buck Rogers or Doctor Who. I mean imagine telling a kid that before they played the newest superhero game they had to play through and appreciate this first because we did when we were kids?
  9. I suspect this is going to have a large impact on the industry succeeding where a certain movement did not. https://www.pcgamer.com/china-slows-new-game-approvals-calls-for-less-effeminate-men-in-videogames/?
  10. Well this is a bit of a surprise. https://www.pcgamer.com/outcast-is-finally-getting-a-proper-sequel/?
  11. So which version do you prefer playing now? The arcade or C64 port?
  12. Green Beret is a classic retro game that could just not be remade today. Imagine a modern game involving stabbing hundreds of soldiers in the chest or roasting them alive with flamethrowers. The theme is pretty gross and it's telling that when graphic fidelity rose the most popular games in this genre leant more towards the comical Metal Slug. I remember my reaction when I borrowed a copy from a friend. "Hang on, I'm only armed with a knife? Is this some sort of joke?" It isn't, Green Beret is the Dark Souls of eight bit games. Rock hard but satisfying when you master it. And it's an incredibly faithful conversion from the arcade game. (C64 top, arcade bottom) I played this for a good two weeks until I mastered it. And despite having to use my big toe to activate the secondary weapon I managed to finish it. There's not much more to say, if you can get over the grim 80's theme of the game and are up for a challenge this is one of the best arcade conversions on the C64. The graphics are as close as you can get. The music is possibly better on the C64. The controls and the levels? 20 years later I was able to use the skills gained from mastering the C64 version on the arcade and GBA/DS ports. (Edit 30 years later? Forget about it, I'm too slow to complete any of the good versions now.) Easily best game from this episode and to this day one of the hardest games I've ever completed
  13. It runs better with a BIOS but otherwise it works out of the box. Just not as well. I'm surprised Sony haven't seen this and flipped out.
  14. So I played around with this and used one of my old demo discs to test it out. Questions. How is this even allowed on Steam? I mean I'm glad it's there but surely Sony is going to have it removed. Why doesn't Sony allow me to do this with the old discs I own on their consoles? It just beggars belief that Microsoft is doing this so much better than Sony,
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