operating systems

From: Ward Donald Griffiths III <gram_at_cnct.com>
Date: Sat Jan 3 02:07:13 1998

John Higginbotham wrote:
> At 01:11 AM 1/3/98 -0500, you wrote:
> >And none of those ganes were ever as good as the "Big-5" series on
> >the old TRS-80's with their monochrome 128x48 "graphics". The Linux
> >fight is over, it's time for an arcade-game dicksize war. (And I've
> >never been good at arcade games).
> The best to me back then weren't the arcade games. I mean you have to admit
> it's a little hard to conceptualize something in a 128x48 grid. Nope, the
> games that did it for me back then were the text parsing adventure games
> (infocom, etc.) Although there were some games that never die, and I still
> play (Anyone remember Space War?) and of course Combat on the Atari 2600.
> I've got a CD full of abandonware games that I have slowly put together from
> websites that seem to go down as fast as they come up. There are ancient
> games on that CD that I have never played.

That 128x48 monochrome grid let stuff move like a bat out of Chicago.
Amazing how smoothly low-res graphics animates when you're distracted
and trying not to get killed.

Spacewar was my favorite game ever (though Missile Command came
close a year or two later). My running partner and me used to hog
that machine at the Saint James Infirmary in Sunnyvale for hours
back in '78-'79, sending somebody over to grab us a fresh pitcher
every once in a while.

And yes, I love the old text adventures. Brains, not reflexes.
These days, the closest you can get is when Altavista changes its
search engine syntax _again_ and you've got to find out how to
track down some actual information. So of _course_ my Linux box
has the interpreters for Infocom and Scott Adams adventures at
full power. Plus Rogue, Nethack, old Hack, Omega, and a gagload
of other old "travel to strange lands, meet strange creatures, and
kill or be killed by them". I'll admit I enjoy the first level of
Doom (the only level I've been on -- no reflexes, I dies easy),
especially since the novels came out co-written by my old friend
Brad Lineaweaver.

> <rant>
> Which brings up an interesting point: Why do the self appointed software
> cops go after software archives of "abandonware" that most of today's
> computers usually run too fast anyway? Do these ancient games really hurt
> todays software market? Anything 10 years old or older should be
> freeware/public domain as far as games are concerned. They don't increase
> productivity, and the collectors of these old games aren't doing any harm
> are they?
> </rant>

Activision was selling the Infocom library within the last year --
they might still be doing so. A CD with all of the old clues (like
the postcards from "Planetfall" and the comic book from "Leather
Goddesses of Phobos") as graphics, except for the scratch'n'sniff
bits. I'll admit that the Big-5 arcade stuff was never ported by
the boys in Van Nuys -- but they do run well through the emulators
on WinDoze and Unix systems.

And unless the author (or corporate copyright holder) actually
releases the product, there's nothing we can ethically do to hurry
the process. I'm that weird sort of libertarian who considers
intellectual property rights to be even more sacred than geographic
property rights. Accept what is freely given -- but don't get
pushy. You are always free to write your own version. And then
sell it.
Ward Griffiths
Two thousand yeare since Bethlehem and still we hear the lie,
that after years of hopes and fears the best part's when we die.
Received on Sat Jan 03 1998 - 02:07:13 GMT

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