8-Bit Weapon new album

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I’ve just be listening to a few tracks from 8-Bit Weapons latest album ‘Bits with Byte’ and so far I’m blown away.

Inspired by classic videogame soundtracks and electronic music from the 70s and 80s, 8 Bit Weapon delivers a sound that is as unique as it is original. Clever melodies, nostalgic atmosphere, and energetic beats create a decidedly modern sound while maintaining a fun, lo-tech aesthetic

Great for playing in the background during your next retro gaming session.

Litening to this made me smile as I can almost pick out some of the sounds that remind me of various computers like the metallic ring of the Amiga bass, blips from the Nintendo Gameboy and NES, SID chip noise and something that makes me think of Robotic Liberation on the VIC-20.

Here’s the track list

1. Bits with Byte 03:01
2. Galactic Invasion 03:03
3. Apple Core II 01:57
4. The Art of Video Games Anthem 03:12
5. Miami Dub Bounce 02:39
6. We Fight for the Users 03:05
7. Drive Grinder 03:11
8. Escape from Xenon 03:08
9. Goodbye Cochise 01:36
10. Closer 2.00 2:45
11. Micro Boogie 2.0 03:45
12. Chip On Your Shoulder (Electric High Mix) 03:20
13. Closer (8 Bit Bandit Remix) 06:02
14. Chip On Your Shoulder (Sanxion7 Remix) 03:30
15. Bits with Byte Demo 02:54
16. The Art Of Video Games Anthem Demo 03:16
17. Galactic Invasion Demo 02:54

You can preview or purchase the album here -

http://8bitweapon.bandcamp.com/album/bits-with-byte

Incoming…Commodore 16.

Although I’ve used them so many many times before I’ve never actually owned a Commodore 16 that i can call my own. Well hopefully in a few days I’ll be adding one to my collection as I just managed to bag one very cheaply on eBay this evening. I’ve been looking out for one for a couple of month now and prices always seem to be a little too high so this Monday evening finisher It complete with Datasette, C16 joystick, PSU and software and manuals.

I’ve always wondered why Commodore opted for beige coloured casings on their early c64′s models instead of the much cooler looking darker tones of the Plus/4 and C16?….certainly all these years later they’d be less RetroBrite to apply :)

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Would be great if it arrives for the weekend.

Pixel run and jump recommendation?

It seems that retro styled indie pixel gaming is fast becoming a very popular amongst gamers not only for their look and sound but also for their pick up and ‘re’-play appeal for both seasoned and casual gamers. It’s a game style I’m really becoming to love, especially the ones involving unstoppable side scrolling speed runs like Canabalt, Gravity Jump, Bit Trip runner and Pixel Jump.

So far, my best score on the c64 port – c64anabalt running via emulation on my iPad. When I reach 500 points I wanted 600, then a 1000, then 2000, it’s Soooo addictive!

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Currently I’m enjoying pixel skate too and offers similar gameplay to Canabalts continuous scrolling mechanics as well as a single screen levels. It’s got great pixel styled backdrops, a very funky chip tune that really does sound like a game from the 8 bit day and comedy pixel gore when you mess up a jump.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_CARYHNC2A&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I’m sure there are dozens more out there wether its iOS, Flash, computer or consoles, homebrew or commercial, i’d love to hear about them. Does anyone have any recommendation?

Using ones imagination – Atari 2600 game box art.

Considering the limited resources of most home computers and consoles of the 70′s and early 80′s box art played a very important role sparking  the imagination of a potential purchasers rather than having rely on iffy looking block pixel screenshots – which, in the case of the Atari 2600, didn’t look to hot.

Video game collectors will seek out a games based purely on the box art itself rather than the game and although I don’t consider myself to be an actual collector have many that I’ve brought or would like  purely for this reason. For the majority though I’m happy to peruse the internet on a wide choice of online resources or lose myself in the extensive games library when visiting/working at the Retro Computer Museum. Some of my favourites are from Atari’s inhouse 2600 vcs titles which  feature such wonderfully rich covers  and looking back now, are chock full of retro gaming eye candy.

Chaps doing interesting things with huge futuristic computer consoles are simply awesomel..period. If I could have any computer it would have to be the one from the cover ofAtari’s Basic Programming cartridge. Look at it, it’s so cool and futuristic with all those funky looking buttons. I bet it’s a bugger to find the USB ports. I’d even wear the space age jumpsuit :)

Continuing with the computer theme, here’s the popular cover from Missile Command and  is one  I regularly use as a wallpaper on my iPad. Whilst the missile commander is busy defending is home turf and  enjoying wearing that  head gear, I’ve always wondered what the girl next to him might be saying. Probably something like ‘Hon, I know you’re a tad busy but the cat’s just been sick on the kitchen floor and it needs cleaning up’…well, she might be.

More super cool giant console stations with Atari’s ‘Surround’. Not a game i’m familiar with  but loving the 70′s style block pixels  in the background and around the two players which brings this picture alive. I can just hear the random ‘computer beeps’ when I look at this one.

 

..and ending the console desk theme with Space War. Space invader shooter games on the Atari had some great covers and this one prevails a great sense of excitement as the advancing enemy begin their attack whilst outside, spacemen run for cover (or probably bounce around flapping wildly) and the staff at mission control prepare to fire their defences at the request of the rather dapper fellow in the jumpsuit with flared shoulder pads…or was called into the office at short notice and was moments ago having a wild time at the local space-roller disco..probably.

 

 

Everyone has played Defender either at the arcades or on any number of consoles and computers but despite a rather good ‘Buck Rogers’ style box art  for Atari’s first attempt at a  Defender port, the game simple sucked. So, with Defender II, the box art had to be something special in an attempt to entice gamers to take another look. For me, they pulled it off really well and it certainly pulled me in with  depiction of those those simple green alien pixels abducting pixel stick figures replaced with something straight out a Sci-Fi movie blockbuster. Thankfully, this time around  the game rocked too!

More space theatre favorites -

 

 

Early Atari cover art for popular board games and sports titles had this unique style of their own and if anyone could shed any light on the artist(s) who created them would be greatly appreciated.

 

There just isn’t enough Cannonball’ing in the Olympic games for my liking and think it would make an excellent addition to this years event…maybe with bonus points for making it across the Thames river? If they do decide to go for it then they should do so on the proviso that they use Atari’s cover art for their promotional material. Great cover, great moustache!

This cover and the one for Blackjack are two of my favourite examples of crap games with great covers. Don’t you just want to order a Martini…shaken, but not stirred of course.

Here’s another great style that Atari opted to use with  game covers and see’s a whole host of scenes crammed together to stir the imagination, intrigue and excitement.

My favorite will always be Missile Command, but Codebreaker isn’t far behind…wooo, the suspense!

 

Got a favorite you’d like to share?

For an extensive look at many more Atari covers, head on over to Atari Age.

http://www.atariage.com/

What?…..more game tapes?

Another fun filled day working with the chaps at the Retro Computer Museum. Today we were erecting new shelving and moving the software library to their new homes.

I was on Commodore tape, disk and cartridge duty, sorting, stacking and generally reminiscing with the others every-time we came across another classic game.

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The boxes kept on a coming as the shelves began to fill three deep.

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Zx spectrum tapes.

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Always nice to see and photograph some of the Ultimate games together. Most of our collections for other platforms are complete but our BBC micro collection is missing a few.

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We’ve also started to add a few items to the new display cabinets.

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I just love this, such a daft item for a portable gaming console and always makes me smile.

Ultimate pimped Gameboy :)

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After lunch and a little later into the afternoon we had a chap arrive with a rather large boot full of Atari goodies including a fully boxed Mega ST with external harddrive units. They might need a bit of tweaking but they’ll make a great addition to the museum. I must admit, always being an Amiga user I’m not overly familiar with the Atari 16 bit computers, especially the Mega variants. I only have a lone Atari ST520 myself. Maybe at the beginning of February when we host our members gaming day, I’ll spend a little bit more time getting to know these pro models a bit better.

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All work and no fun so we spent the next few hours doing what we love the most – Retro Gaming. I was found lurking on the C64, Tangerine Oric, TI99a and MSX (I have a soft spot for Penguin Adventure) as multiple vs. bouts of Soul Caliber on the Dreamcast.

Jim, after upteen attempts to get it to load, was determined to show us that he Amstrad CPC464 version of Outrun is actually quite good….and it certainly did look promising until it started to move…..at approx one frame per second. Nice try Jim :)

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