Like many 30-somethings, the Commodore 64 provided me with my first glimpse into the world of PC gaming. I remember giggling when enemies would kill themselves out of shame if I managed to hop past them in The Last Ninja, and being delightfully frustrated with the puzzles in Maniac Mansion. Karnov, WWF WrestleMania, and Jordon vs Bird: One on One were three other titles that were frequently loaded. As primitive as each of those games are compared to today, it's still hard to believe that the Commodore 64 platform is 30 years old. What's even more mind boggling is that it's still the greatest selling single PC model ever.
Long before there was Battlefield 3, there was Call of Duty, and before that, there was Quake and Doom. All those games can trace their lineage back even further, to Wolfenstein 3D, iD's awesomely innovative Nazi-hunting FPS adventure. Today marks a milestone for the classic franchise: B.J. Blazkowicz has been blasting SS guards and chaingun-wielding robo-Hitlers for a whopping 20 years. Even better, rather than just tooting its own horn, iD's showering gamers with freebie gifts to celebrate the anniversary.
If Cooler Master was a person rather than a company that provides PC supplies, it'd almost be old enough to drink: this year marks its 20th anniversary of existence. And rather than just patting itself on its imaginary back and sending out press releases touting its own awesomeness, Cooler Master's tossing a little something back to the community. The company just announced that for a short time, it's shaving nearly a quarter off the price of LAN-friendly CM Storm Trooper full-tower case, bringing it down from $190 to $150.
As of Thursday this week, it's been 15 years since the original PlayStation console showed up on store shelves in North America, setting gamers back $299. That bought you a chunky console (though somewhat slim at the time) with a 32-bit RISC chip clocked at 33.9MHz, 2MB of RAM (1MB of video RAM), 16-bit sound, and a 3D engine capable of driving a 640x480 resolution, plus bragging rights over your friends who spent their allowance on the Sega Saturn.
By comparison, today's PlayStation 3 console comes with a Cell processor running at 3.2GHz, a GPU clocked at 550MHz, Full HD support, 256MB of main memory, another 256MB of video memory, up to 250GB of hard drive storage, Blu-ray support, and stereoscopic 3D support.
What will Sony's hardware look like in another 15 years? Who really knows, but in the meantime, Sony has put together a barebones PlayStation retrospective of the past decade and a half. You won't find a whole lot of details on the items mentioned, but hey, we're always down a for a quick stroll through memory lane.
Location-based social network Foursquare has run into the Great Firewall of China. The censors in China blocked access to the popular geosocial networking service after users began using it to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Here we go again! In honor of devnull's yearly tournament for the still-popular ASCII dungeon romp NetHack, we're taking a look at the five greatest modifications to this ancient classic. But in case you've never even heard of NetHack before, here's the deal: it started out as an ASCII-based dungeon exploration game that, in many ways, has become a precursor to all sorts of genre-busters. Even to this day, games like Fable II have borrowed from some of NetHack's better features (a travelling animal companion, in this case).
The game's dungeons are randomly generated each time you play. You can master the nuances and inventory management skills of NetHack, but there's always that little chance that the next step you take could spell you death in any number of creative ways--in fact, finding all the possible ways to die is a near-impossible task in itself, a fun little challenge for yourself in case you get tired of trying to "ascend," the term used for beating the game.
Strap on your adventuring sword and join us after the jump for the top 5 NetHack... hacks!
So you’ve got this great idea that will change the world, but you just don’t have the cash to get it off the ground. Well, luckily for you Google has your back! Google recently announced a new venture called Project 10 to the 100, a contest that allows anyone to submit a world-changing idea to Google, and they will potentially commit $10 million to implementing it.
These world-changing ideas will be submitted to Google in one of eight categories; community, opportunity, energy, environment, health, education, shelter and everything else. Once initial bulk of ideas have been sifted through, 100 ideas will be voted on publicly to determine 20 semi-finalists, and from there five ideas will be chosen for the $10 million prizes. But know that that $10 million isn’t going directly to you (should you win)! What you win is “the satisfaction of knowing that your idea might truly help a lot of people.” The deadline for submitting your idea is October 20th, and videos are allowed to supplement your proposal.
Google’s reason for offering the project is pretty noble, and I like it. On the project’s official site they say: “Never in history have so many people had so much information, so many tools at their disposal, so many ways of making good ideas come to life. Yet at the same time, so many people, of all walks of life, could use so much help, in both little ways and big. In the midst of this, new studies are reinforcing the simple wisdom that beyond a certain very basic level of material wealth, the only thing that increases individual happiness over time is helping other people.”
We just finished producing our September 2008 issue, which marks the 10-year anniversary of our magazine. The very first issue of Maximum PC was the September 1998 edition, which featured the Dream Machine ’98 on its cover. To celebrate the occasion (and the successful launch of the new website), the staff took a break from building rigs and benchmarking to enjoy some devilishly delicious cake and champagne.
The September issue will also feature a nostalgic retrospective of the past 10 years of Maximum PC, highlighting predictions we got right (and wrong), the amazing tech trends we witnessed develop, and first-hand recollections from past staff members. Gordon shares his favorite lab memories, and ex-intern Brian Lam (of Gizmodo) reveals what he learned from his tenure.
Here’s to the next 10 years!
Hit the jump for another look at the cake -- it's not a lie!