Old School Gaming

Fight For Supremacy

Recently I came across an early 1990s advertisement  for a game I had never heard of: Supremacy: The Game of the Superpowers. This game is a political, economical, and military strategic board wargame published in 1984 by Supremacy Games, and designed by Robert J. Simpson. According to the website Board Game Geek:

“Supremacy pits conventional superpowers against one another for control of the earth. Along the lines of modern warfare Risk, only with an integrated supply/demand economic system. Warfare comes in all forms from conventional, biological, chemical and all the way to nuclear. Neat little plastic mushroom clouds are included to show where regions of the earth have been blasted, and if nuclear winter occurs, all players lose. The game also spawned a great many supplements to expand the game further.”

You can fight conventionally, hoard resources, and your country can develop nukes, then deploy them tactically, and if you use too many, you can plunge the world into nuclear winter and everyone loses!

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Old School Gaming

Games That Should Have Been

Bill Watterson was not one to embrace the culture of commercialism, as most of you have probably read. So there never was a chance for Nintendo to work their magic on the tales of victory and tragedy contained within Calvin and Hobbes. So Mr. Jeff Wysaski undertook an effort to craft a sample of what might have been. Calvin’s duplicates are wreaking havoc, and only you can stop them!

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Old School Gaming

Retro Games: Jetfighter II

Back in the early days of the home computing boom, just before the Pentium P5 chip set the world on it’s ear, the 66Mhz – 486DX2 processor was king of the MS-DOS gaming era. Paired with a VESA Local Bus card for “mind-blowing” graphic bandwidths, these early home computers represented a huge leap forward in the gaming world at the time.

While primitive by today’s standards, this marked a transition from earlier 2-d games such as Wheel of Fortune, Oregon Trail and Lemmings into the fledgling world of 3-Dimensional gamelay we now take for granted.

Always a popular segment were the flight simulator games, allowing us the curious sensation of flying like the birds without ever leaving the living room, office or den. The most popular flight games have always included some sort of fighting ability, and Jetfighter II represents a hugely popular (and one of my all-time favorite) flight simulators of the day. Continue reading Retro Games: Jetfighter II

Neutrinos with Syrup, Old School Gaming

Scrabble, re-imagined.

Scrabble is not exactly a hot property in college dorms and hipsters’ lofts nowadays because: 1) kidz 2day r bad at da rite n spell thang [thx 2 txtng]; 2) some researchers claim that the effective written vocabulary of literate native English speakers is actually shrinking [these findings are hotly debated, even though […]

Moments in History, Old School Gaming

Plasma: Not Just For TVs

Plasma is some freaky stuff. It’s a state of matter (like solid, liquid or gas) that results when a substance is superheated to the point where it breaks down into ionized particles — positive ions and negative electrons.

It’s also freaking useful.
Continue reading Plasma: Not Just For TVs

Airborne Awesomosity, Old School Gaming, Technostalgia

Air Warrior 3

For more than a century, the pace of technological advancement has hardly faltered. Had you been born in 1900 you would have watched horse-drawn carriages give way to city-block sized Buicks, and ocean liners succumb to the power of the jet airliner. If you’re a child of the sixties, like yours truly, you’ve seen city-block-sized mainframe computers reduced to a tiny sliver of silicon, and you offer faceless websites your personal details in hopes that they send you a book or a plane ticket or a foreign “bride”.

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Airborne Awesomosity, Military-Grade Awesome, Old School Gaming

Honest, Sergeant — It’s OPFOR Training!

If you actually want to read the names and specs, click for a hi-res image.

Being one of the nerdier, more bookish and generally less useful guys in my Army unit, I was assigned to be a member of my battalion’s OPFOR Recognition Team. About once every month or two, I’d be sent to a training room somewhere on post to spend a half-hour or so looking at fuzzy pictures of armor and airplanes, flashed onto a screen from a carousel slide projector. For each one, I’d hurriedly scribble down its model number or NATO code-name, and the country of origin. It wasn’t terribly exciting competition, but it got me out of the hanger for a few hours, and we won a lot, which made my superiors happy. To help me learn all those vehicular data points, I was given two sets of playing cards Graphic Training Aids, one featuring armored vehicles, the other aircraft.
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A-T Exclusive, Old School Gaming, Prototypes and Experiments

Embassy: Not quite “Atomic Toasters: The Game”

A mock game during alpha testing. Yellow, at the top of the photo (actually playing the smaller, light brown pieces) is leading, 4-2-2-1 going clockwise.

“The crowed streets of Alpsylvania’s capital are thick with spies and intrigue. Four foreign embassies struggle to thwart threats to their security and gain the upper hand over their adversaries through superior intelligence-gathering operations…and perhaps even dare to send a secret agent to assassinate a foreign Ambassador?

Last Friday, I asked everyone about the relevancy of low-tech board games. In a moment of self-indulgence, I used a diagram of a home-made game I’d created as the lead-in photo. I told myself at the time that I didn’t want to feature any particular game people might know well, which might lead the comments in one direction or another. But I must admit that I was also hopeful that it might pique somebody’s interest in my stillborn endeavor. Skitter and Mr. [alphabet soup] took the bait, so I hereby present to you the public debut of Embassy.
Continue reading Embassy: Not quite “Atomic Toasters: The Game”

Old School Gaming, User Input

User Input: Are Board Games Still Relevant?

The initial board layout for EMBASSY, a rather complex counter-espionage-themed game I invented some time back, but never successfully coerced anyone into actually playing.

Board games, from the centuries-old parlor games of chess, backgammon, go and pachisi, to well-known modern classics like Monopoly and Scrabble, and even offbeat, obscure cult favorites, have provided most of us with vivid memories of hours spent with family or friends, even if only as kids. They don’t even require Internet access, electricity or complex equipment, can be played just about anywhere (including camp sites and station wagons), and have kept people around the world entertained for thousands of years. But are they too slow-paced and unexciting for today’s caffeine-fueled, quick-cut-addicted attention spans?
Continue reading User Input: Are Board Games Still Relevant?

Old School Gaming, User Input

User Input: Remembering How I Blew My Allowance

I’ll keep it short and sweet today. No jump.

Due to the sheer number of ads I’ve seen on this site alone for the X-Arcade, I have decided to build myself a MAME cabinet. I’ll pick up Twizzlers and corn dogs later. I’ve already got Bubble Bobble, and of course Pac Man has to […]