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Tag: Cuttings

Snip Snip: Artificial Intelligence (And Why You Might Not Recognise It)

Snip Snip is an occasional look at a magazine cutting from computer games past. Where necessary, names and addresses have been removed to protect the innocent.

A cutting from Amiga Power, I'll try and get round to transcribing it in a bit. In the meantime, sorry.
A passage from issue 1 of Amiga Power’s Gods review

I’ve been playing a bit of Gods (courtesy of the PS4 remake which is fine providing you stick to the original game art) in-between other things recently.

I can’t say I got on with a lot of Amiga era arcade adventures, as pretty as a lot of them are there’s a tendency towards showboating sprites and, well, slowness. Given I’m as ADHD up to the eyeballs as can be, this really can rub me the wrong way. So, you know, I tend to avoid them.

However, given I’m more at peace with myself these days I’ve been finding a fair bit of joy in the slowness of Gods. It is an achingly slow game, ponderous even, but that’s precisely why I’m enjoying it. That slowness gives it a curiously satisfying rhythm, one where it encourages you to be meticulous in examining the level around you in order to progress.

Anyway, I went to root out some reviews from the time and in any excuse to read some magazines, ended up browsing through the Amiga Power review. Nothing too exciting there but I did end up thinking about the box out describing what we’d now call “dynamic difficulty” or, in a post Left4Dead world, attribute it to a game director.

It’s not so much that Gods does this stuff but that videogames still find themselves in a position of explaining the exact same stuff in 2021.

Don’t misunderstand me here, I don’t think this is a problem! The audience for games is always going to consist of new people or folks who only normally tinker with one genre but they just couldn’t resist a particular game.

If anything I want us to keep getting better at explaining stuff. There’s a time and a place for videogames being for an incredibly specific, incredibly niche, audience. There’s a time and a place for them being absolutely opaque too.

Videogames can be remarkably insular and obtuse and there’s genre traits which seem mystifying to me still, never mind. Sometimes that’s an important part of what a videogame is!

For those moments where it’s not, I hope we’ll keep explaining stuff and making this stuff easier to grasp even if we’ve been doing it for 30 years.

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Snip Snip: Anti-Piracy Device Seized, 1984

Snip Snip is an occasional look at a magazine cutting from computer games past. Where necessary, names and addresses have been removed to protect the innocent.

I stumbled into this particular letter pretty much by accident whilst looking something else up and gosh, the eighties.

I’m not entirely convinced this was written by a 15 year old, I mean “shindig” is not a word that would have passed most 15 year old’s lips and it suspiciously references the same documentary and quote used in a couple of letters across different magazines about the issue. I know there wasn’t much on the TV and that but still.

Mind, stranger things have happened and as the existence of Reddit ably proves, it’s not exactly unknown for teenagers to try and sound like they’re aged 69 or something. It could well be a libertarian, you know what they’re like.

It's a rather too enormous to transcribe cutting from the letters of Home Computing Weekly, end of March 1984

The context here is an incident in 1984 when the government, much to the disgust of industry anti-piracy bodies (yeah, it was ever thus), put an untimely end to a Barnsley data duplication firm’s grand idea for an anti-piracy device, citing that it would endanger national security. Questions were made in parliament about the government’s actions, such was the concern.

There was a bit of a do in the home computer press about it at the time too, though how much of the correspondence came from within, rather than outside, the industry is debatable. I can’t imagine many teens or what have you stanning for copy protection.

To prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same – one spokesperson for the industry insisted that it was only right that the government compensated the industry for the millions in lost revenue caused by their intervention, an intervention that obviously sided with the pirates because of course it did.

Nothing that wouldn’t be out of place on a Torrentfreak article in 2021 there.

For those curious, you’ll be glad to know the videogame industry survived this incident and you can still buy some videogames if you like that sort of thing.

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