Lemmings Celebrate 25 Years of Cliffs and Explosions

There are few games which bring out the child in me, with fond memories and late nights of laughs and jokes. One of the few games that will forever stick in my memory was Lemmings. A game based on solving puzzles by leading the silly creatures to their final destination, avoiding the fire, pitfalls and of course, the players malice. What many don’t realise is that this game came out a whole 25 years ago, on the 14th February 1991.

By marching your little green haired lemmings to the objective you had a sense of accomplishment, with skills meaning your lemmings could climb, dig, block paths, build stairs or even explode in order to open up paths for their fellow groups.

If you don’t recall it was also one of the earliest games to feature a challenging multiplayer, with it using the Amiga’s support for two mice/joysticks to challenge players to the last lemming standing challenge. Either team green lemming or blue lemming, each player had 20 levels to try to get as many of their followers to the safe point, the maps looping until one person finally lost their final lemming.

If that wasn’t enough for you, or you just want to re-live some old memories then feel free to check out the online version of lemmings here, where you can play away watching your childhood explode onto the screen in full pixelated glory.

1980s Commodore Amiga Still Working Day & Night at School

I’ve heard the phrase “they don’t make them like they used to” before, but this is still pretty damn impressive. A computer that’s as old as I am is still working day and night to control the heating and AC systems at 19 Grand Rapids Public Schools in the US. The Commodore Amiga was installed there in the early 1980s, where it was no doubt hailed as innovative, given that it replaced a much older computer system that was the size of a refrigerator.

The system has a fairly simple task of turning on heat and air conditioners for 19 school buildings, but it has been doing this around the clock since its installation. In that time, it has had two new monitors and a new mouse, but that’s all! I couldn’t imagine even half the stuff currently inside my desktop system would still be working after that amount of time, could you?

“The system controls the start/stop of boilers, the start/stop of fans, pumps, [it] monitors space temperatures, and so on,” GRPS Maintenance Supervisor Tim Hopkins said.

Amazingly, the system was programmed by one of the schools students when it was installed. Since he still lives in the area, the district calls him out whenever they have an issue with the system, no doubt because he’s one of the few still around that remembers how to operate the decades-old system.

“It’s a very unique product. It operates on a 1200-bit modem,” said Hopkins. “How it runs, the software that it’s running, is unique to Commodore.” explained Hopkins.

The system may still be working, but it’s time is almost up as voters passed a $175 million bond proposal last November and the Amiga is on the list for one of the items that needs replacing. The system that will replace it is likely to cost $1.5 and 2 million.

Thank you woodtv for providing us with this information.

Amiga Classic Shadow of the Beast Reborn for PlayStation 4

1989’s Shadow of the Beast, along with its two sequels, was one of the most beautiful games ever designed; the game, developed by Reflections, is set in a harrowing fantasy world and famed for its revolutionary graphics, crippling difficulty, and tinged with Cronenbergian body horror. Now, Heavy Spectrum is bringing the game to PlayStation 4, headed by childhood Shadow of the Beast superfan Matt Birch.

“I remember, when I was about 16 years old, going round to a friend’s house who’d just got an Amiga, and he wanted to show me Shadow of the Beast,” Birch told Eurogamer. “It was one of my first experiences of 16-bit games, I played it and was completely amazed by the graphics, the music. I remember walking away and carrying on thinking about it. It really hit me at the time – it was probably the first game I thought about after I’d walked away, like you would with a book or a movie.”

Birch added, “It was a real moment of thinking games could do something incredible, and are going somewhere incredible. It’s something that’s stuck with me ever since, and that’s one of the things that makes Shadow of the Beast so special to me.”

Though the Shadow of the Beast remake was announced two years ago by Sony, but only now do we have our first glimpse of the alpha builds gameplay. Birch insists that while he and his team have been faithful to the source material, modern gaming has meant that some revisions were necessary.

“With the combat loop, we tried to do something a bit different,” Birch said. “I wanted to create that sense of getting through hundreds of baddies, which is what you got from those older games, but it has to be done in a new way. There’s no point just redoing a game from 25 years ago. It’s already been done and that ground’s been well trodden.”

Though the PlayStation 4 version of Shadow of the Beast is still some way from being finished, Birch reassured fans that Heavy Spectrum is working hard to make the game as great as it can be. “From our point of view,” Birch says, “literally since Gamescom – we’re not a big team – we’ve been slogging away and it’s a 24/7 responsibility for us. We’ve been given a chance to make something we dream about and believe in. And that’s what we’ve been doing.”

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

25-Year-Old Commodore 65 Computer Sells for $23,000 on eBay

No, that headline is not a typo: though anyone alive during the Eighties will be familiar with popular home computer the Commodore 64, its lesser-known younger cousin the Commodore 65 was released in 1990 as a bridge between the 8-bit C64 and Commodore’s 16-bit machine, the Amiga.

Though the C65 (or Commodore 64DX, as it was also known) was also 8-bit, and backwards-compatible with the C64, it offered similar functionality to the more advanced Amiga, with upgradeable RAM and a 3.5-inch integrated floppy disk drive.

Only between 50 and 200 C65s still exist – the project was cancelled not long after it went into production – so when this particular model popped up on eBay, there was a fervent rush of bids, finally culminating in a $23,000 sale.

Source: Gizmodo

Cloanto Releases Amiga Forever and C64 Forever 2013

Cloanto released today Amiga Forever 2013 and C64 Forever 2013, the latest versions of the award-winning Commodore-Amiga preservation, emulation and support suites for Windows.

The 2013 editions for Windows had a focus on making the software easier to use, while providing new and more powerful features for advanced users and content creators. For example, the packages are easier to download and install, and emulated systems can be “repaired” with one click after unintended changes. Power users can now build ISO images and portable USB drive environments, use the visual Screen Clip Editor to better blend old screen modes into modern systems, or experiment with the new WinFellow emulation plugin or with a fresh build of the AROS Research OS. Outside the player, the RP9 thumbnail handler adds a new level of eye candy to File Explorer.

“One of the most fascinating challenges of user interface design has to be how to please both novice and sophisticated users. The attempt to keep things as simple as possible often limits learning and can be perceived as a ‘dumbing down’ by a more demanding audience,” noted Cloanto’s Mike Battilana.

“Even looking at recent versions of Windows, Mac OS and Linux, you can feel the pain of some choices. In today’s search engines, queries that used to work reliably have become less precise. Word processors won’t let you select the exact characters you want. Lacking perfect artificial intelligence, we are increasingly being ‘autocorrected’ beyond recognition.

C64 Forever brings us back to an era in which users knew that they were, or could be, in complete control of the machine, rather than vice versa. Tens of millions of home computers came with a powerful reminder of this, as they included a programming manual. Even today, the Amiga continues to inspire for how it elegantly met the needs of different audiences, leaving a feeling of freedom rather than one of artificial limitations. In addition to preserving access to a digital culture of tens of thousands of games, demoscene creations and other titles, we are trying to introduce new generations to these different angles, as we are convinced that this deeper perspective can help achieve a better view of the future.”

In Amiga Forever and C64 Forever 2013, the same interface transparently connects to three different emulation engines, giving consistent access to more than 25 computer models, all with fully licensed operating systems. The shared RP9 file format makes titles easily portable across computers and software versions. While novice users only need to press Play, advanced users can Edit titles and browse through options that are designed to also help understand how the software works.

Amiga Forever Home Page

C64 Forever Home Page