June 29, 2017

Arcade - Xevious

A staple of the arcade was the game Xevious. In the game, you piloted a futuristic space-plane outfitted with guns and bombs. Your plane is on an ever rolling forward mission, but you can move it side to side and up and down, evading enemy craft, gunfire, and flying sky parallelograms. All manner of enemy craft would continually try and destroy you, with aerial fire, ground fire, and perhaps a mid-air collision. There were bosses at the end of the rolling stage, and after defeating the boss, your plane would casually fly onward, transitioning immediately to the next level.

One of the most distinct parts of this game was the somewhat-trilling, rather intense background music. The slightly obnoxious music created suspense as careened your futuristic dog-fighting space-plane left around the screen, evading gunfire and obstacles.


June 22, 2017

Apple ][GS - Pool of Radiance

I grew up with computers, when I was very young, we had an Apple ][, and I would watch my brothers play games on it. As Personal Computers expanded beyond Apple, so did the games. We had an Apple ][gs, and there was a blight of retail games available for that computer. On visiting the local software store, they had a game for the ][gs, Pool of Radiance. It looked intriguing, and though I was eleven or twelve, I bought it. I didn't end up playing it much initially, but eventually when I figured it out, I spent many long hours cleaning the streets of Phlan and beyond, listening to 'alternative music.'

This game was the first stand alone, retail, boxed game that I remember buying for the Apple ][gs. It was the first outing of the D&D ruleset to a computer game, and was set in an somewhat paned 3D city, with top view isometic battlefields, and also a rarely used map screen.

The most important thing I remember about the game itself was getting silver weapons, and how they made a considerable difference in fighting the nasties early in the game. The game also featured a paper decoder wheel ring to unlock the copy protection.

June 11, 2017

Apple ][GS - Music Construction Set

I detested piano lessons. I was enrolled (somewhat involuntarily) into lessons for several years growing up. At one point, I was making remote control airplanes, and glued some of my fingers together with superglue. That did not deter my piano teacher from having our lesson. I was not a fan of piano. I once printed off the music from our IIGS and demanded that my piano teacher play some of the following music; proving she was piano worthy. The following year, I was under a different piano teacher, but my enthusiasm had already waned.

I remember  my piano teacher playing some of Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu in C Sharp Minor, Op 66. This was the versions from Will Harvey's Music Construction Set. It's much easier for a computer to rip through some proto-midi than for a human being to learn some Chopin. She deserved much credit for a ornery pupil.

I spent much time playing with the Music Construction Set: not really composing music, as that was beyond a untrainable ten year old. Rather, soaking in the synthesized notes and early electronica.

non-midi version

June 10, 2017

Arcade - Pac-man

The great videogame craze of the 1980's was perhaps started by Space Invaders, but Pac-man was the avalanche that brought arcade games and arcades to pizza restaurants, grocery stores, and t-shirt shops everywhere.

The player drove Pac-man, navigating through a maze, being chased by ghosts. The purpose of the game was to clear the maze of pacs (pellets). When the ghosts were closing in, Pac-man could eat the power-up pac, and then turn the tables on the ghosts temporarily. Occasionally, fruit would float through the maze, and if gobbled by Pac-man, it would give extra points toward your high score. My favorite part of the game was the 'tunnel,' which would allow Pac-man (and the ghosts), from one side of the screen to the other.

waka waka waka

June 7, 2017

Summer Reading

I've been reading many, many books.  Most for the two courses I've been taking this summer.  This is the reading on the docket for my Judaism course: Introducing Judaism, by Segal, Eliezer. Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith, by Marvin R. Wilson. Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice, by Mark Washofsky.

For my Isaiah course, these are the required texts: A commentary on Isaiah, by John Goldingay, Robert Hubbard, Robert Johnston. An Introduction to the Study of Isaiah, by Jacob Stromberg. And The Book of Isaiah and God's Kingdom: A Thematic-Theological Approach, by Andrew Abernethy.

I also picked up One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss, for some variety.