LEST WE FORGET
- May 13, 2009
Retro Gamer #122, page 48. They don't mention which earthquake specifically, but I recall reading about that somewhere else.
A studio rep said Powerslave is being given "the full Kex treatment," a reference to the Kex Engine that's also used in other Nightdive updates including Blood: Fresh Supply, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, and Forsaken Remastered. A release date hasn't been set yet, but the rep also teased other projects in the works, saying, "This is not the only project that we are working on with Throwback, [but] this is the only one that we are ready to discuss."
Canadian-based Throwback Entertainment Inc. develops, creates, and publishes immersive and interactive gaming titles. Throwback Entertainment owns the rights, title and interest in over 300 titles and brands from Acclaim Entertainment, Crave Games, Ocean, Infogrames, LJN, Mirrorsoft, Probe Entertainment, Iguana Entertainment, Sculptured Software, Software Creations, PSS, Image Works, Mirror Image, Arena Entertainment, Flying Edge and others.
Bleem! Making Return as a Digital Games Marketplace
The Bleem Powered Marketplace simplifies retro gaming – download, open, play.
January 4th 2021, San Antonio Texas, United States – Piko Interactive has acquired the Bleem! brand name from David Herpolsheimer, former president of the Bleem company. Continuing their intent of keeping the past alive, Piko is launching an online digital marketplace called Bleem!.
Bleem Powered represents commercial preservation of older titles from now defunct platforms. Releases made available through the store front will come as complete downloads. Each release will include the necessary software to make the game run as intended.
“We will be making available titles on the Bleem Marketplace that we would never release on Steam or Good Old Games [GoG]. Some of these releases will be available exclusively on our new storefront. We are also excited to work with independent and homebrew developers in monetizing their releases and reaching new fans.” Stated Eli Galindo, owner of Piko Interactive and Bleem Powered.
The intent of the Bleem Powered store front is to be the go-to location for gamers wanting that console feel on PC. Nintendo Entertainment System, SNES, Sega Genesis, the Game Boy line, TurboGrafx-16, PS One, and more will be supported. Additional platforms will be supported on an as needed basis.
Third party publishers will be able to use the custom wrapper through publisher partnerships. This will allow them to use the wrapper on their own Bleem Powered releases or when publishing on Steam or GoG. This wrapper is not required for publishers to publish game of the Bleem Marketplace
“Making things easier for gamers is our goal. The Bleem Powered storefront is just an extension of that intent. It really is as simple as download, open, and play. Working with outside companies to publish their games on the storefront will give gamers even more choices.” Stated Eli describing the scope of the retro gaming marketplace. He continued with, “We will also be acquiring licenses for catalogs of games to be released on the Bleem store.”
Piko Interactive is well known in the retro gaming community for preserving classic titles. They have also developed a reputation for completing many titles as well as creating brand new releases. The Bleem Powered store front will not be a software download, it will only be a website. This saves gamers from having to deal with additional software they do not want, or need, to play their favorite games.
Forward thinking actions with the Bleem Powered marketplace includes offering commercial licenses. This will allow arcade machine manufacturers, emulation boxes producers, etc. to launch with legal full libraries of games ready to play out of the box. Intellectual property owners will see an extremely competitive revenue split when publishing on the Bleem Powered marketplace. In an unprecedented move, Piko Interactive games will be made available in a manner that gamers can use the ROM file with their flashcarts or emulators of their choice. Additionally, Piko Interactive is working on making the digital games compatible with GOG Galaxy launcher.
Media contact: Eli Galindo
company name: Piko Interactive LLC
How a Local Company Is Saving Forgotten Video Games From the Dustbin of History
Vancouver, Wash.-based Nightdive Studios has procured the rights to restore abandoned games including "System Shock," "Turok: Dinosaur Hunter" and "Doom 64."
It was a dark night in Guatemala, and Stephen Kick just wanted to play an old video game.
Specifically, System Shock 2, the 1999 first-person shooter lauded as one of the most influential PC games of its time. It was 2008, and Kick, who had recently left his job as a character artist for Sony Online Entertainment, was traveling South America with his girlfriend in search of inspiration for what to do next. He was holed up in a hostel, and a tropical thunderstorm was raging outside. The atmosphere was perfect.
"I went to GOG.com [an online storefront known for classic games] thinking, 'Well, it's one of the greatest games of all time, it has to be available on there,'" says Kick, now 35, "and I discovered it wasn't."
As he'd come to learn, System Shock 2 was one of many pieces of "abandonware"—games not supported or distributed by the copyright holder. Sometimes that means a game has been largely ignored or forgotten by its creators. In other cases, those creators are defunct. Abandonware games are at high risk of disappearing forever since, unlike other media, video games require proprietary hardware to play. That means the ability to play them is contingent on the availability of often-aging, out-of-print equipment and peripherals. Even on PC, where a multitude of online distributors exist, bringing classic games into the modern day can require a lot of reworking and restoration that copyright holders have little incentive to do.
Kick was amazed to find that a game less than a decade old could end up just vanishing like that. So he did some digging. He discovered the rights to the game had, somehow, ended up with an insurance company in Michigan. He sent an inquiring email, not expecting an answer.
A day later, the company's lawyer confirmed the rights were still in its possession —and asked Kick if he wanted to make the third game in the series. Kick had a different idea: Let him get System Shock 2 back into the world. He got in touch with old co-workers from Sony to help with the technical side of things. He christened the new team Nightdive Studios, setting up an office in Portland and later moving across the river to Vancouver, Wash.
"I went to GOG and said, 'Hey, I've got the rights. Let's sell it,'" Kick says. "At first, they didn't believe me. But I showed them the paperwork and they set the schedule."
The re-release launched in February 2013 and it was an instant success. Since then, Nightdive Studios has gone on to procure the rights to restore similarly abandoned games, including including the Turok games, Doom 64, The 7th Guest, and the Harlan Ellison adaptation I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. The company is even developing a complete, from-the-ground-up remake of the first System Shock game.
The process isn't always as simple as Kick's first acquisition. Often, the games are old enough that the legal particulars can be hard to untangle. "We've had times where we've licensed the rights for a game from one party, announced that we're working on it, then had people just come out of the woodwork and say, 'Hey I own the rights, what are you doing?'" Kick says. "Then we have to go back to our original partner and pull these contracts from the '90s. It just gets really messy."
Once the games are acquired, the Nightdive team uses an in-house engine to make them fully compatible with modern computers and consoles. The process involves reverse engineering, sprucing up old source code, and sometimes even making alterations to the game to fix loose ends. The goal is not necessarily to remake a game but to make it available in its original form, minus its original defects.
"When we remember video games from our past, they ran smooth, the controls were flawless, and it's this great experience," Kick says. "But then you go back and you play it, and it's like, this thing is running at 15 [frames per second], and I can't use the N64 controller anymore because you've got this one analog stick. It's just kind of a rude wake-up call."
Bringing older works into widescreen and higher-resolution formats also requires taking artistic liberties from time to time. Video games are careful constructs, and changing the field of view or increasing the resolution on older titles can be like pulling back the curtain. While remaking 1997's Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, for example, Kick discovered that the weapons the player uses are "literally just a floating barrel and nothing else. We had to model and texture the rest of it and make it match the style so that essentially you could see something that didn't even exist."
In practice, though, the effect is invisible: The games are essentially identical while simultaneously meeting modern standards of playability.
As old computers and consoles fall out of use, physical media deteriorates and software fades quietly away over time, many games stand to be lost. Sometimes, publishers cash in on old intellectual property in the form of remakes and re-releases, but for every triumphant franchise return there are a dozen forgotten works.
Groups like the International Center for the History of Electronic Games and the Museum of Modern Art work to preserve old software, but catching everything is not guaranteed. In 1996, Atari went so far as to throw the source code for several historically notable games, including Asteroids, literally in the dumpster behind its office in California. A total loss was averted only by a few fans recovering the diskettes at 3 am.
For Kick and the rest of Nightdive, contributing to that effort of restoration is a worthwhile pursuit.
"Famous directors grew up watching old movies and have gone on to create new things that we enjoy. We need that in the video game industry as well," Kick says. "Being a part of that and being able to maintain the idea that video games are art is probably the highest honor."
Ziggurat Interactive brings a bunch of Data East arcade games to Steam.
CAN YOU BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO A DESPERATE CITY THAT"S GASPING FOR AND AND GRASPING FOR HELP?
San Francisco in the 21st Century. The City by the Bay's famous fog has become and infamous lethal shroud. A permanent toxic mist that's choked half the population, and now cloaks the sinister doings of a fanatical crime syndicate, The Black Angels. You, you're the grittiest hard nosed cop ever to wear an SFPD uniform. Your assignment: descend into the poisonous mist in your XB500 hoverbike, capture the villainous ringleaders, and solve the mystery of the Cloud that kills. Hurry, before San Francisco gasps its last breath.
- Unique adventure combined with exhilarating flight simulation.
- Authentically scaled reproduction of San Francisco including major landmarks and over 240 buildings.
- Comprehensive hoverbike simulation features flight and hover modes, forward and reverse thrust, refueling, radar detection, weaponry, and internal and multiple external views.
- Fly ten daring assignments, tracking down crime's kingpin and the source if the deadly cloud.
- Use a variety of gameplay techniques including, piloting skills, mapping strategies, investigative know-how, interrogation and sleuthing.
SOLVE A HAIR RAISING ROLLER COASTER RIDE OF SUSPENSE!
What shocking evil lurks in your uncle's Magic Canyon Theme Park? What drove the fun seekers away and your uncle insane? Only you can find the answer during your fright-filled trip through this playground of peril.
Creep aboard the Monorail of Fear and journey through four wicked worlds:
- Dragonland, with it's horrible gremlins, sinister creatures, and armed apes.
- Dreamland, where you become a pawn in a nightmarish chess game and you're haunted by your own imagination
- Futureland, with its floating ghouls and spine tingling, enemy infested, coaster.
- Yesterdayland, where Zoltan the mysterious fortune telling wizard dispenses valuable clues, essential tickets and life saving magic. All at a Price. So play the Spirit Slot Machines and press your luck. You may even win enough to buy back your life.
But no amount of money can spare you the unearthly evils of Magic Canyon. Your only hopes are strategy and courage as you hunt for secret items like hidden keys, fiery torches and supernatural potions. So step through the creaking turnstiles and begin. Remember, you must avenge your uncle's death. Just don't forget, the theme of this park is terror.
- 4 distinct levels each with their own unique gameplay style and themes:
- Perform perilous platforming in Dragonland as you dodge attacks and try to reach your goal.
- Test your wits in a game of chess in Dreamland, where you are one of the pieces.
- Hop aboard a rollercoaster in Futureland. Blast oncoming enemies before you get derailed.
- Explore the park in Yesterdayland, the central hub of the park where you can play games to earn coins.
- Uncover mysteries about the park by visiting the fortune teller Zoltan.
- Defeat 8 demons scattered around the park. Each posing a unique challenge.
Just outside the gates of Avalon, a 12 years war realizes its climax, the uneasy alliance of seven western kingdoms created the Citadel of Avalon as a mighty fortress. But in the last eight months, the Citadel has become a city of refugees, a city under siege. The Sha'ahoul, under the banner of the Shaman Warlord Mithras, are waging a genocidal war against the Citadel. Take on the role of the Hero in a richly detailed world filled with hundreds of unique NPC`s, monsters ripped from ancient lore, and invading nomadic hordes.
BUILD YOUR OWN CHARACTER
Play as a fighter, scout, or mage, and choose from hundreds of pieces of weaponry and armor to customize your character's appearance and abilities. Learn different skills and spells to try various play styles. Add members to your Party or drop them as you advance through the game.
PLAYED ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY?
Dive into the story of deception, treachery, and heroism through rich dialogues and in-game tomes. The game was designed with the idea of being a new type of book that gives a feeling of full immersion into its fantasy world.
Get immediate access to the full game. Chapters one, two, and six lead you through the main story, while third, fourth and fifth chapters present the expansions that allow you to delve even further into the lore and adventures.
IT'S BEEN 20 YEARS. WILL IT RUN?
We are happy to bring back to life the "Siege of Avalon: Anthology". The game received its portion of technical care and now runs on modern operating systems without any extra shenanigans. The story, visuals, and gameplay are untouched - with all its charm and flaws. Enjoy playing the game on Windows 7 or later, improved stability and widescreen support.
You said bottom of the barrels. Ziggurat goes deep seas and sands to find old games!
You said bottom of the barrels. Ziggurat goes deep seas and sands to find old games!
On GOG also:
Its not going to be that bad, I doubt they're going to pay to the licenses for their licensed crap, so they're not going to have the truly horrendous garbage. Which I realize is akin to saying getting decapitated is better than getting hit with a rocket.Two Capstone games... can't wait for more their "gems" to come
Wot, Piko got Softdisk catalog?:
Slordax: The Unknown Enemy (1991), vertical scrolling shooter by Tom Hall: