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The Secret History of Mac Gaming


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#1 Matt Diamond

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 08:23 PM

https://unbound.co.u...rm_being_funded

You'd better believe I backed this project.

(Let's not all call out the games that are featured in the video; it's more fun to let people "discover" them.)
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#2 Cougar

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 10:12 PM

Damn, I thought you got access to a real shed. Oh well, still backed.

#3 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 04:19 AM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 26 April 2016 - 08:23 PM, said:

(Let's not all call out the games that are featured in the video; it's more fun to let people "discover" them.)

I played all except a couple I didn't recognise. I feel old suddenly.

#4 Matt Diamond

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 04:46 AM

I expect reading this book will make me feel old too. But it doesn't take much these days. :-)

I've had personal correspondence with at least 3 of the people mentioned in the book, so there's that. Heck, some of them are on twitter.

Also fun that some of these old games have come back in one form or another. Cap'n Magneto is playable again, and there have been sequels to and remakes of old games like Fools Errand, Cap'n Magneto, Shadowgate, Dark Castle.
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#5 Frost

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 09:03 AM

For some reason, my Morning Brain read this topic + who posted it and melded them into "The Secret History of Matt Diamond."

Totally clicked just for that.
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#6 the Battle Cat

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 09:15 AM

Oh hell yeah, I played most of those games.  It's been so long since I thought of some of them that it almost felt like memory surgery was being performed on my brain.  Hard to describe the feeling, sort of like the "Ah HA" brain wave only it was more of an "Oh yeaaaaah".  And hell yeah Frost I'd click to read the Secret History of Matt Diamond too.
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#7 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:42 AM

There were actually a few games I hadn't tried.

I still want to play Cosmic Osmo again. That was awesome. I even have the soundtrack. ^_^
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#8 MichalM.Mac

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 12:48 PM

EV Nova, Glider, Shufflepuck Cafe, Spectre, Stuntcopter.... SOLD!

#9 macdude22

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 01:02 PM

Anyone remember that Trek game on like OS 6? I remember playing it on old SE's in school. Like there was a top down grid and you fought klingons.
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#10 Cougar

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 01:32 PM

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 27 April 2016 - 10:42 AM, said:

There were actually a few games I hadn't tried.

I still want to play Cosmic Osmo again. That was awesome. I even have the soundtrack. ^_^


Cyan is my favorite game company, so I should really play Osmo. It was before my time. I noticed that it's on steam, but only for Windows. There's something really wrong about that.

#11 Tacohead

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 02:28 PM

It's funny what surprises await sometimes when logging onto the Internets. I first heard about this one last night on Twitter and was both pleasantly surprised and shocked that somebody would be writing about this type of thing. It was such a special, very unique, time in Mac gaming that I have many fond memories of. Now somebody is writing a book about it. Wow. I'm in!

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#12 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 05:02 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 27 April 2016 - 01:02 PM, said:

Anyone remember that Trek game on like OS 6? I remember playing it on old SE's in school. Like there was a top down grid and you fought klingons.

NetTrek maybe?

#13 macdude22

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 05:11 PM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 27 April 2016 - 05:02 PM, said:

NetTrek maybe?

I found it after much googling of trek+mac terms

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#14 Matt Diamond

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 08:08 AM

Interesting- that looks like the old mainframe (text-based) Trek game, but with a GUI added on. (Photon torpedos could target a specific square, phasers you had to estimate what angle to fire.)

Quote


I'd click to read the Secret History of Matt Diamond

If I had an interesting secret I'm sure I would have blabbed it by now. Then it would just be The History of Matt Diamond.

More fun with the book: click on the list of people supporting the book and see if you recognize any names from Mac gaming history. (I recognized 6.)
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#15 mossy_11

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 08:54 AM

Book author here. Hit me up if you have any questions, requests, demands, tips, or whatever.

View PostCougar, on 26 April 2016 - 10:12 PM, said:

Damn, I thought you got access to a real shed. Oh well, still backed.
Would it help if I took photos of the little shed in my backyard?
Author of The Secret History of Mac Gaming - https://unbound.co.uk/books/macgaming - publishing (northern hemisphere) Spring 2018

#16 macdude22

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 08:55 AM

View Postmossy_11, on 28 April 2016 - 08:54 AM, said:

Book author here. Hit me up if you have any questions, requests, demands, tips, or whatever.

Would it help if I took photos of the little shed in my backyard?

Is it full of old mac games?
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#17 Matt Diamond

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 09:10 AM

Edit: author Richard Moss appeared in the thread before I finished posting this! But the question still stands...

Gentlemen,

It's clear that Mr. Richard Moss has done his homework. He's got Delta Tao, Ambrosia, Cyan, Freeverse, Bungie, John Calhoun (Glider Pro) and Glenda Adams in there. Many others whose names I don't know but whose games I'd probably recognize in a heartbeat. I think I saw The Colony flash by in the video..

Are there any games or creators that you didn't see, and are afraid he might miss?

My thoughts:

Cap'n Magneto by Al Evans: Possibly not the first Mac shareware game I saw, but its the first one I remember. Sadly I was a poor college student at the time and never sent him money. One of the inspirations for me to work on my own shareware game, though I didn't release it until years later.

Fools Errand by Cliff Johnson: Aside from being a good puzzle game, you can see Cliff playing with this new user interface and being inspired by it. There's a puzzle requiring dragging along a narrow path; another requires rapid precision clicking. A couple clues are hidden until you mouse over them. And one particularly devious puzzle which was only solvable by exploiting the way early Mac programs processed events: if you clicked on the menubar the game was effectively frozen until you finished selecting a menu item.

Duane Blehm: I saw his name flash by in the video but I'd like to know more about him. His name appeared on several pieces of 80's shareware including Stuntcopter, but he died young ("suddenly", which might be a euphemism for suicide). The story I heard was that at first his grieving mother didn't know why so many checks were coming in for him; she didn't know about his hobby. That's all I know but I've never forgotten him; I'd love to learn more.

--
As a footnote it might be interesting for the book to mention that some of the old games live on in some form or another. Examples include Return to Dark Castle; Cliff Johnson's sequel to Fools Errand; the kickstarted Shadowgate remake. Even Cap'n Magneto is apparently playable again, still shareware.

Which reminds me: I believe I owe Al Evans $20.
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#18 Cougar

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 12:24 PM

View Postmossy_11, on 28 April 2016 - 08:54 AM, said:

Book author here. Hit me up if you have any questions, requests, demands, tips, or whatever.


As a Cyan fanatic, I'd be awesome if you could interview Rand and Robyn Miller. And there really isn't a whole lot out there about the early days of Cyan. Most interviews are about Myst and onwards.

I was a mere babe when most of these games were in vogue, so I will be reading this book primarily to be edumacated. So I will cede the games that you should cover to old people like Matt. But I'd add Prince of Persia to his list, and Ferazel's Wand (my favorite platformer.) Also, Pangea Software, since most of their games were bundled with iMacs.

Aside from that, it would be great if you could devote part of the book (maybe the ending?) to the question of archiving. Your book is a way in itself of preserving the heritage of Mac games, but what of the games themselves? i.e I stated above that the only way for me to play Cosmic Osmo today is to play it in Windows, and that sucks. Many Mac-only games are very difficult if not impossible to play nowadays. Recently with iOS, we've seen a bit of a resurgence in old games getting ported to the platform, but touch controls are often not ideal, and oftentimes there are legal issues preventing games from being ported. (Ferazel's Wand will forever be stuck in Sheepshaver because the developer had a falling out with Ambrosia. Sigh.)

Archiving is an especially pertinent issue for Mac software because Apple doesn't give a crap about backwards compatibility; Microsoft has the opposite problem because they are beholden to slow-moving businesses.

(As a side note, if anyone is interested in a cool science fiction story about philosophical problems of AI under the guise of porting/archiving issues, I recommend The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang. And Chiang in general; he's amazing.)

#19 Matt Diamond

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 02:57 PM

View PostCougar, on 28 April 2016 - 12:24 PM, said:

As a Cyan fanatic, I'd be awesome if you could interview Rand and Robyn Miller.
Good news; they are already listed as people who will be interviewed and/or featured. (Also, Robyn shows up in the list of pledges!)
UPDATE: Richard Moss just posted this on the book's site about them:
"Keep an eye (or should I say ear?) out for an audio story I'm preparing about how they got into game dev and made The Manhole. That'll hopefully be ready late next week."
:w00t:

View PostCougar, on 28 April 2016 - 12:24 PM, said:

I'd add Prince of Persia to his list, and Ferazel's Wand (my favorite platformer.) Also, Pangea Software, since most of their games were bundled with iMacs.
PoP was originally developed for the Apple ][ though.. But if there was some other angle that put Mechner in the book, I'd be all for it.

Ferazel's Wand: good idea! Happily, Ben Spees is already listed by the author.
Pangea Software: Man, I can't believe I didn't think of them immediately. (Doffs hat to Cougar) But again, Moss is way ahead of us. Brian Greenstone is already listed.
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#20 Matt Diamond

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 04:27 PM

More suggestions:

Chris Crawford is a highly influential game designer, cofounder of GDC, but controversial and outspoken. He had a huge hit with Balance of Power. Trust and Betrayal was a very innovative game that sold poorly (kicking myself for selling my copy of that.) He wrote other innovative games, some for Mac. (He includes post-mortems of most or all of his games in one of his computer game design books.)

3 in Three: Another Cliff Johnson classic. Never got ported from Mac.

Inline Design published a bunch of Mac games that also appeared on other platforms, and its not clear to me which ones were Mac-first. Mutant Beach was Mac only (unfortunately my copy was unplayable on any Mac except my first because it didn't cap the frame rate.) Inline also published Darwin's Dilemma, which I loved but again I don't know if it was Mac first.

Maxis? Mac and Amiga were the launch platforms for SimCity. Maxis was not a Mac-first or Mac-only developer, but they released almost every games for Mac, until they got bought by EA. So I don't think they quite fit the theme of the book, but maybe they're illustrative of the market.

=
Okay, I'm spending way too much time on this. Sorry for the flood, everyone!
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