The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... available now from Golem Books!

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neuromancer
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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by neuromancer » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:39 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:
neuromancer wrote:Vintage Games - just off to Amazon to look this one up
You could just read Bill's thread here:
http://www.retrogamer.net/forum/viewtop ... =2&t=13883

:lol:

I've got it. Quality book.
Excellent, looks like that'll be going on the list then, cheers :D

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by Atari Frog » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:06 am

Why do you state Alley Cat wasn't released by Synapse Software? It certainly was... I think you mixed up Synapse Software - the original company from the US - and SynSoft - the US Gold label for imported Synapse Software games.

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by jerellis1 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:40 pm

I'll double-check the Alley Cat entry for accuracy - thanks for pointing that out (as you're an atarimania man I'm more than happy to bow to your superior knowledge)! :wink:

I should point out we're still at the proof-reading stage, so there are bound to be one or two changes still to make - we'll make sure we catch any inaccuracies before we go to print though. As far as Alley Cat goes, I actually consulted atarimania.com when I was writing the entry, and on the SynSoft version page there's the following statement:
Although never officially released on the SynSoft label, the game was sold on the budget Americana line and appeared on the Atari Smash Hits - Volume 7 compilation.
So it doesn't actually state that the Synapse version was released (i.e. made available commercially), and there's no Synapse version cover artwork or disk/tape images either (only screen shots, which didn't actually prove the pysical existence of the Synapse release - after all, there are screen shots of the Utopia version of Montezuma's Revenge on the website, but it seems that version was never officially released either). Hence the confusion! :?

Tell you what - how would you like to proof-read all of the Atari 400/800 entries for accuracy? There are a couple of dozen Atari entries altogether, each roughly 400 words in length... I guess if it's okay with Andrew Rollings (can't see why it wouldn't be) then we could see about getting an acknowledgement into the book for you for your efforts... let me know if you'd like to help out! :)

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by Atari Frog » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:00 pm

jerellis1 wrote:So it doesn't actually state that the Synapse version was released (i.e. made available commercially), and there's no Synapse version cover artwork or disk/tape images either (only screen shots, which didn't actually prove the pysical existence of the Synapse release - after all, there are screen shots of the Utopia version of Montezuma's Revenge on the website, but it seems that version was never officially released either).
The game is pretty hard to find in original Synapse Software packaging but it definitely exists, though we don't have scans for it yet. This release also sports a specific "Synapse Software" loading screen and a 1983 copyright as shown below...

ImageImage

Though US Gold secured the rights to distribute Alley Cat on its SynSoft label, the game, for some reason, only appeared on the Americana label (which was created later). It has a specific Americana loading screen and a "1985 SynSoft" copyright. I believe the version on the Atari Smash Hits - Volume 7 compilation, OTOH, is the unreleased version - on its own that is - by SynSoft with typical loader.
Tell you what - how would you like to proof-read all of the Atari 400/800 entries for accuracy? There are a couple of dozen Atari entries altogether, each roughly 400 words in length... I guess if it's okay with Andrew Rollings (can't see why it wouldn't be) then we could see about getting an acknowledgement into the book for you for your efforts... let me know if you'd like to help out! :)
I'd be very honored :)

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by jerellis1 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:19 pm

Great stuff Mr. Frog! I'll e-mail Andrew and let him know we have a willing expert on board. Might need your real name for the credit by the way! :wink:

While I'm in a query-addressing mood...
Havantgottaclue wrote:Two very minor points: firstly, the Atari 8-bit version of Gauntlet isn't the most highly thought of conversion. In fact, it's a bog-standard C64 conversion, isn't it? Secondly, in the review of Boffin, you mention that there's a Mode 5 version and a Mode 1 version. The latter of these has fewer colours but has higher resolution, but in fact both modes are capable of supporting 4 colours. I've seen a Youtube video of Boffin and that appears to be a Mode 1 video in hires with 4 colours. So presumably if the blockier version has more colours, presumably it's in Mode 2?
Thanks for raising these points - all comments and suggestions are welcome! I guess I could have chosen any one of a number of perfectly adequate Gauntlet conversions for the book, but - if I remember correctly - I settled on the Atari version primarily on account of the fact that I simply didn't want to write about either of the Commodore 64 or ZX Spectrum versions. I've tried to avoid including too many Commodore 64 or ZX Spectrum games in the book; we've already published dedicated books for both formats, so I didn't want their presence in The 8-Bit Book to be overly intrusive (as it is, there are still around sixty entries out of the total of 231 that are either ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64 titles).

The other reason I opted for the Atari version was simply that Gauntlet is one of those games that epitomises Atari in the mid-'80s - arguably a tenuous link, but it was good enough for me at the time! All I was really concerned about was making sure Gauntlet made it into the book one way or another - it was one of my three favourite coin-ops of the '80s (the other two being Out Run and Space Harrier) and I couldn't believe my luck when I discovered that neither of the Andrews had featured the game in either of their books. :)

As for Boffin - that's a good spot, and thanks for pointing it out. It was programmed in Mode 5 and Mode 1 as I've mentioned in the entry, but I shouldn't have suggested that it was a less colourful experience in Mode 1 as both Mode 1 and Mode 5 supported exactly the same number of colours (Mode 2 was the colourful, chunky one, of course). I've tweaked the entry slightly to rectify this. :)

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by Mayhem » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:36 am

Speaking of Gauntlet, is it listed as 1985 because that's when the arcade machine came out? The conversions weren't around until Xmas 1986.
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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by jerellis1 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:22 am

Correct. Although funnily enough, all of the conversions released by U.S. Gold are clearly dated 1985 (on their inlays). I think if I asked Andrew to move it to 1986 now though, he would kill me. Twice. :wink:

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by jerellis1 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:51 pm

Quick update - Gauntlet is moving to 1986 after all, which is where it really ought to be. It's going to take a bit of juggling, but Andrew Rollings is happy to make the necessary changes in the spirit of ensuring 100% accuracy.

What a guy!! :D

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... SAMPLE CHAPTER NOW ONLINE!

Post by jerellis1 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:20 pm

Time for a Great News double-whammy, methinks... First of all, I can now reveal that we have secured the services of none other than David Braben, co-creator of the legendary Acornsoft classic, Elite, to write the foreword to The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x!! I only received his completed foreword this morning, and I'm thrilled to bits about it as I really never had anyone other than David Braben in my mind for this particular contribution, and I've been worrying for the past few months that he wouldn't be able to find time in his busy schedule to submit anything. But it's here at last and everything's looking good.

Incidentally, we're into the final few weeks of the book's production now, and we're on course to have the books printed and dispatched by some time around the middle of June. The more observant among you may have noticed that's a couple of weeks later than we'd originally planned, but there's a very good reason for the slight delay, and I'm happy to take the blame (well, half of it at least)... I'm delighted to be able to announce that I'm going to be a dad!!

So, as I'm sure you'll appreciate, just recently I've had to devote at least a small amount of my time to the lovely Em, who has been extremely understanding over the past year-and-a-half while I've been slaving away writing the book and neglecting her completely (god knows how I managed to fit in making a baby while I've been painstakingly piecing the book together). But there's also another very practical reason for the extra couple-of-weeks hold-up... I want to dedicate the book to Em and the little 'un, but I'd really like to include its name - which I won't know until we've had the 21-week scan in May which should tell us whether it's a boy or a girl!!

What am I hoping for? As long as it's healthy - and develops a healthy obsession for 8-bit games when it grows up - I really don't mind.

:D

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... FOREWORD BY DAVID BRABEN!!

Post by Mayhem » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:22 am

Congrats on both fronts there mate ;)
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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... FOREWORD BY DAVID BRABEN!!

Post by neuromancer » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:46 am

Congratulations also from myself - well done on your impending fatherhood, and on securing the foreword from one of Elite's fathers...

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... FOREWORD BY DAVID BRABEN!!

Post by jerellis1 » Fri May 29, 2009 6:40 pm

Quick update folks. We are now just days away from going to print, and it's all getting very exciting indeed. Andrew and I have been so busy during the past few weeks making this book as brilliant as it can be, and hopefully all of our efforts will pay off (we're quietly confident that they will)! Without giving away too many details, there are one or two neat surprises in store for readers, including a couple of late additions to the final chapter (taking the total number of games covered to 233 - officially the highest tally for a Golden Years tome yet), some fun visual enhancements and even a few revelations about forthcoming Hiive Books offerings...

Pre-orders are going well too, which is very encouraging given the state of, well, everything in the world at the moment.

:)

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... FOREWORD BY DAVID BRABEN!!

Post by neuromancer » Sat May 30, 2009 2:31 pm

Many thanks for the update - I'm really looking forward to receiving my copy (it's been a shocking month and I need a lift!)

Well done on all your efforts :D

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... FOREWORD BY DAVID BRABEN!!

Post by andrew_rollings » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:17 pm

Indeed. And in case there is any danger of Jerry understating it, I think this is the best one yet!

And thanks* ** to RG for putting a news item in issue 64 related to the new book!

Andrew

* apart from the wrong cover.
** and the wrong web address :)

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Re: The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... FOREWORD BY DAVID BRABEN!!

Post by andrew_rollings » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:06 pm

And now, a news-flash:

Similar to the ZX Spectrum Book hard-back, we're printing 100 copies of The 8-Bit Book in hard-back!

I'll be emailing everyone who has pre-ordered to give each of them a shot at 'upgrading' their initial pre-order to a hard-back.
Any that remain after the pre-order people have had their chance will be put on sale on the website.

If you like the idea of getting a hard-back copy of The 8-Bit Book, then I'd recommend that you pre-order the soft-back now... That way, you'll be one of the first in line to be offered the hard-back upgrade option!

Pre-orderers will get first dibs. I don't intend putting the hardback one up on the site until the actual book is in my hands.

Like the Spectrum book, there will be only be 100 hardbacks available, so it'll be first come first served...

Andrew

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