Warp Drive

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 8: Pros and Cons)

Nintendo Rhapsody is an ongoing story about how Nintendo, and video games in general, helped me through some of the harder times in my life. Each chapter, known as a 'world' in Nintendo Rhapsody, is rather self contained with introductions and conclusions.

World 8-1: Home Sweet Home Again

With my unceremonious departure from Cerritos College, and the apparent end of my school career, I fell back on that which I loved. My ongoing endeavors with Goalsoft. In January of 2001, I launched my first ever online magazine dedicated to Goalsoft. It was no doubt inspired in part by Nintendo Power. The Goalsoft MAG featured monthly interviews administered by Marlon with the various Goalsoft web staff, release dates for upcoming game projects, short stories, poems and one very controversial comedy column. The latter of which was hosted by Dave Smith. Goalsoft's resident comedy writer and beta tester. In the span of time between January and April of that year, I released Sword Quest III: Dimensional Drift, Super Israel World 2 and Swashblood Isle. I had originally intended to develop Swashblood Isle in Glumol, but the tools were unfortunately not made available until much later. I would instead use Clickteam's The Games Factory. Much like Klik & Play, it left something to be desired when developing traditional adventure games. Everything, as usual, had to be created from scratch. That included an inventory screen and dialogue prompt for every possible scenario in the game. Timers were used to tell the game whether or not an event could be triggered, and when and where to display an item. As a result of these limitations and improvisations, Swashblood Isle was more than a little rough around the edges. Clearly, I had an awful lot of free time on my hands. It certainly felt strange being out of school, but I still had a teacher or two in my life. I became rather hooked on TechTV, a cable network focused primarily on the computer industry. Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton hosted a late afternoon show known as The Screen Savers. They covered every computer topic one could imagine, but my favorite segments were the ones where they built custom machines for gaming and whatnot. It would be several years before I attempted such a thing of my own. With 2001 rapidly drawing to a close, I had just one thing on my mind. Nintendo's brand new disc-based console. For the longest time, it was known simply by a codename. Project Dolphin. A name that left quite a bit to the imagination.

Monday, October 10, 2022

The Computer Files Draft Post

The Computer Files
A Nintendo Rhapsody Spin-Off

The Computer Files, Folder 1: ExoDOS (MS-DOS and Windows 3.1)
The Computer Files, Folder 2: CD BDEC (Windows 3.1)
The Computer Files, Folder 3: HIGH Memory (Windows 95 and MS-DOS Mode)
The Computer Files, Folder 4: You've Got Mail (AOL and the World Wide Web)

Memories of Doom/IBM 486 (for Folder 1: ExoDOS)

My grandmother and aunt picked up my first computer from a business, to the best of my recollection, known as NET Computers. It was a custom IBM 486/66 with four megabytes of RAM. I knew next to nothing about computers in 1994. So little so that when I began playing SimCity 2000 and noticed the landscape had edges, I thought I needed more RAM to build bigger cities. I quickly upgraded to eight megabytes of RAM. SimCity 2000 remained, of course, unaffected. My aunt gave me a copy of the original SimCity and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. The computer itself came with Doom and Epic Pinball pre-installed in MS-DOS. Doom transported players to the one place nobody wants to go, but it was truly something else in 1994.

That computer was plagued with its fair share of problems. It often suffered from disk read errors, and there were even times in which it would fail to boot at all. I eventually had no choice but to take the computer in to be serviced, and in the process, Doom was completely wiped from the drive. It was not long before I became eager to get my hands on the game again. While browsing a small computer shop with dad, I happened to eye a copy of Doom sitting on one of the software shelves. I was curious as to what exactly the term "Shareware" meant on the game's disc and proceeded to ask a clerk about it before making my purchase. I was told that the label was no big deal; that the complete game should be on the disc. Well, imagine my surprise when I came home and found that only Knee-Deep in the Dead was playable from the episode selection screen.