Procyon blog header photo
Procyon's c-blog


Posts 0Blogs 33Following 0Followers 16



It's not quite RetroforceGO, but...

The latest issue of Retrogaming Times Monthly is now online. I have been the chief editor of this 10 year old tradition for about a year and a half. It's seen its share of ups and downs, but it's still kicking.

I thought I'd bring it to the community's attention for a couple of reasons. I know that RetroforceGO is extremely popular, but to be honest, it harnesses a different notion of Retro than the one that I'm used to. In the 90s, retro fans used to eschew anyone who considered the NES/TG-16/Genesis/SNES retro. Retro used to mean "everything before the crash." [controversial]If you don't know what that means, you're not a hardcore gamer.[/controversal]

So the Retro community that I grew up with pined over the long gone days of playing with their Atari 2600s, Intellivisions or Colecovisions, or loading floppy disks that were actually floppy on their Commodore 64s, Apple ][s, or Atari 800s. Anyone who wanted to discuss Super Mario Bros. or the Legend of Zelda was summarily kicked out.

Today, I see gamers who not only consider the NES retro (which is very understandable) and the SNES and Genesis retro (also understandable, but less so), some consider the PSX and Dreamcast to be retro. The Dreamcast isn't even 10 years old! Retrogaming Times Monthly is actually older than the Dreamcast.

I don't have any illusions that people are going to read this and all of a sudden find an appreciation, or even an affinity for, games that were created before they were born. I'm well aware that the majority of Atari 2600 games are fairly unenjoyable by today's standards. But I never hear "Yars' Revenge" or "Keystone Kapers" brought up in retro conversations anymore.

What concerns me is that as Retro expands to encompass more periods of time, as it naturally ought to, the origins of Retro start getting lost to the more appealing aspects of Retro. I'd never argue that any Atari system was better than the NES. I love the NES. I just find it sad that the name Atari doesn't make it into many Retro conversation anymore beyond a footnote. I'm all for Retro, I just don't want to see the pre-crash time period lost. Maybe we need a new term for it. Maybe it's Retro-retro? I dunno. But check out the issue. And the archives. I think you'll like it.

P.S. If you've been reading my blogs, then yes, it should be no surprised that reading my column entitled "Game Archaeologist" will give you Deja Vu. My blog entries will be the source of my content for that column from now on.
Login to vote this up!



Please login (or) make a quick account (free)
to view and post comments.

 Login with Twitter

 Login with Dtoid

Three day old threads are only visible to verified humans - this helps our small community management team stay on top of spam

Sorry for the extra step!


About Procyonone of us since 10:16 AM on 12.08.2006

My name is Scott. I've been playing video games since my hands were big enough to hold a joystick. I started with the Atari 2600, and graduated to the Atari 800 computer where I taught myself how to program in BASIC. I eventually got a NES, and later a Game Boy. The first summer I ever worked, I was a CIT at the day camp I attended. I worked all summer long to save up enough money to buy the SNES the very day it came out.

I attended college at the University of Pennsylvania. I was introduced to the internet my freshman year in 1993, and I fast became a console pirate, purchasing a copier and downloading ROMs off of IRC channels. Good times. In my senior year, I purchased the N64 as soon as the street date was broken, and skipped classes for the next three days to play Mario 64. I also bought a used PSX the same year.

After I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and a degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Digipen. I was part of the very last class that attended the school in Vancouver, before they moved the campus to Nintendo of America's HQ in Redmond Washington (across the street from Microsoft). After completing the program, I got my very first job as a programmer at Ubisoft.

I lucked out with Ubisoft because they were actually opening a studio near my hometown in NYC, so I actually landed my dream job and got to live on the east coast near my family. I worked on Batman: Vengence. I met a number of cool people, but the only one I still keep in touch with happens to be a buddy of mine who was the lead designer on "Army of Two." He is without a doubt, the greatest game designer I have ever had the privilege of working with.

The studio in NYC didn't pan out for Ubisoft, and they decided to fold the team up to Montreal. After living in Vancouver for a year and a half, I decided I had enough of Canada, so I stayed in the NYC office, which transformed into GameLoft. I stayed there until me and the buddy I mentioned landed a job at 3DO. We both moved out to Redwood City and started working there.

3DO wasn't a great company, but it wasn't terrible, and I met a crew of people who became some of the greatest friends that I have ever had. I worked on Dragon Rage, which was being led by Kudo Tsunoda. He told the execs that it was going to be an Army Men game with an art asset swap, and it would take 6 months to complete. The truth was we were building a new engine from scratch, and it would really take a year to get it done right. When the six months were up, the execs asked for the game, and we weren't even close to finished, so we had to do 12 hours days, 6 days a week until the game was finished. 3 months later, nobody cared about it anymore, and it went straight to the budget bin.

3DO closed down very shortly after. While I was at 3DO, I got to know two people who amazed me: Howard Scott Warshaw and Tod Frye, two of the original Atari 2600 programmers. Getting to meet them and talk with them about "the good old days" at Atari was an amazing thing to me. (I totally recommend visiting Howard's site, Once Upon Atari and ordering his DVD about what those days were like.) I still run in to Howard infrequently at retrogaming conventions and it's always a delight.

After 3DO, I worked for a THQ studio that used to be called (oddly enough) Pacific Coast Power & Light. It's known as Locomotive games today. I was put on the WWE Crush Hour game, the game that was designed to mix the WWE up with Twisted Metal. I created the game's shell and character selection screen. It was actually a pretty cool game, but THQ's love for WWE had cooled down when the game was close to finishing (right after WWF became WWE, the ratings started to tank), so they rushed it and laid off the whole team.

Wishing to return to the east coast, I applied for jobs that I could find there, and actually lucked out with a job opening at Firaxis Games in Hunt Valley, Maryland, home to Sid Meier. When I got there, they were toying with the idea of remaking Pirates, and were prototyping a lot. The results were mixed, and Sid decided to get involved with the development personally. They knew they wanted to make a console version, and they put me on the small team responsible for porting the game to the Xbox. I had doubts about the game, and I wasn't enjoying the tasks I was being given (such as working on the in-game glossary), and things didn't work out. I made a lot of good friends there who I miss working with.

By this time, I had been with four companies in six years, and my girlfriend at the time was in the middle of going to school to get her degree, so I did something drastic: I grew up. I ended up looking for any available programming job, and accepted a position with a UPS owned software company as an algorithm designer. I've been there since 2005, I get paid more money, and work fewer hours than I ever did as a game programmer. But I really miss the creative environment and working with people that I have a lot in common with, i.e. a love and passion for video games.

I am currently own and operate StrategyWiki, which strives to become the best online source of video game guides and walkthroughs anywhere in the world. I am now living in northern Maryland. Welcome to my blog.
Xbox LIVE:ProcyonSJJ


Around the Community