Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Video Welcome

I bought a Playstation Vita upon release, and it can also serve as a camcorder, which can be very handy.  I uploaded a video to Youtube just last night, which was a video of me playing a ZX Spectrum game called Thru' The Wall, which is a Breakout clone.  I just made another video earlier, which features myself this time.  It doubles as a video welcome, and as an introduction to the Oregon Trail game.  Let me explain.  The first game in the "1,001 Video Games to Play Before You Die" book is 'The Oregon Trail', listed as 1971.  While the first known version was released in 1971, the earliest copy which can be accessed was released in 1975.    This can be accessed via Windows, by using "Command Prompt" and the Teletype feature.  I try to explain this in the video.  I will upload a video of myself explaining how to use Teltype and how to play the 1975 version of the Oregon Trail as soon as I can.  I had some technical malfunction with my Vita, but anyway, here is my video.  Enjoy.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thru' The Wall

The last Breakout clone I play (for now, until Arkanoid) is this one from 1982, called Thru' The Wall.  What is somewhat historical about this is that it was included on a software compilation that was packed in with the ZX Spectrum computer system.  The ZX Spectrum was a computer system designed for the British market; at that time, it was common for particular kinds of computers to be developed primarily for a specific market.  It wasn't global like it is today.  As far as I can gather, the Spectrum was to the Brits what the Commodore 64 was to us.  From what I have seen on Youtube videos, though, the Spectrum appeared to be a significantly less powerful machine than the Commodore.  It was able to garner a significant following, nonetheless, one that persists to this day.

So, when you bought a Spectrum in 1982 or in the following years, you would also get a compilation called "Horizons".  Horizons had a series of tutorials on how to use and program for the system, and also had several simple BASIC programs, of which Thru the Wall was one.  Thru The Wall is a really simple game of Breakout.  Probably too simple considering the year that it was developed in, as gaming had already taken a step or two forward since the release of Atari's original game.  On the other hand, back in those days, the arcade was always significantly ahead when it came to graphics, as opposed to systems like the 2600 and the Spectrum.

But as it's Breakout, I still had fun playing it.  It is entirely keyboard controlled, and a nice touch was that pressing the shift key would speed up your paddle, making it easier to catch up to a far-away ball.

I had a lot of problems finding a Spectrum emulator that was simple and wouldn't kick up a fuss as I was loading a file.  I was finally able to find one called ZX Spin.  I cannot speak for how well it may run other games, but I was able to boot this one right up.  The game did not play sound, but from what I have seen of other games on Youtube, the Spectrum's sound capability is really sparse and all I was able to hear were a few blips.  It has nothing on the Commodore 64 and its famous SID chip.

And, I am happy to report that the following video is my first Youtube upload, ever.  I was not able to find a video of this on Youtube, so with the help of my Playstation Vita, I was able to record a few minutes of myself playing this game and then upload it to Youtube.  I had to play it with one hand, as I had to hold the Vita up with the other, so I wasn't able to utilize the shift button and its "boost" feature, but I still did alright.  Anyway, enjoy!