‘ARCADE ART: exploring the space between chaos and control’ – RETROSPECTIVE SPECIAL

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Back in 2015, when I started ‘Retrollection.net’ one of the first articles I wrote was a review of possibly my favourite arcade game, ‘Gyruss’. When researching and looking for ideas for images to use, I came across the fantastic work of Rosemarie Fiore.

Rosemarie is an artist working out of New York, who has created some fantastic artwork based on time-lapse photography of arcade games in action. They are fascinating and really convey the movement of the games in a way I had never seen before.. ..her work captures both the movement, frantic nature and fluidity of the games really well.

I really wanted to include one of Rosemarie’s images when I originally wrote the ‘Gyruss’ article, but as I had only just started the blog, I don’t think I had the confidence to ask.

However, now that the blog is growing, with just under 15K hits, I have gained a bit more confidence and contacted Rosemarie to see if I could include one of her images in an amended version of my original article. She was not only more than happy to oblige, she was really friendly and approachable.

Looking through Rosemarie’s portfolio her work on ‘Gyruss’ represents just a ‘snapshot’ of her talents and she has many other works that are related to retro gaming. As such, I am delighted to be able to share with you some more of Rosemaries images and also asked her a series of questions about her artwork.

So in this special retrospective we will be taking a look at some of Rosemaries work, finding out about how she creates her art and exploring the connection between arcade art and the space that exists between chaos and control.

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In pursuit of the ‘Golden Hare’ – RETROSPECTIVE

In pursuit of the Golden Hare Alternative

In 2016 I wrote a retrospective on the wonderful ‘Masquerade’ book by Kit Williams, which sparked an ‘armchair’ treasure hunt phenomena and presents a story that goes well beyond the book itself. However, one thing I really wanted to do was go into the exact detail of the solution to the book.. ..but within the confines of my original blog, I thought it would have be too distracting to the main context of the story and would have made the blog simply too long.

So, in this follow-up retrospective we are going to have a detailed look at the complete solution to ‘Masquerade’, which celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year.

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Masquerade (Jonathan Cape, 1979) – RETROSPECTIVE

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‘Masquerade’ is an illustrated story book written by Kit Williams and published by Jonathan Cape in August 1979. It went on to become an international best seller with hundreds of thousands of copies being sold in the UK alone. The book sparked an ‘armchair’ treasure hunt craze, which survives to this day.

Somewhat ironically, the story of the book is far more interesting than the story contained within the book.. ..it brought the author/illustrator unwelcome fame and a little controversy at the time, contributing to him shying away from the public gaze for 20 years before being reunited with his ‘prize’.

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Dark Seed II (Cyberdreams, 1995) – RETROSPECTIVE

Dark Seed II Title

Dark Seed II’ is a 1995 psychological horror game and sequel to the point-and-click adventure game ‘Dark Seed’, which was itself released in 1992. It continues the story of the protagonist ‘Mike Dawson’ and his adventures in the H.R. Giger inspired ‘Dark World’.

Unlike the original game the main character is no longer portrayed by the real ‘Mike Dawson’ (the designer and producer of the original game), who had by this time left Cyberdreams.. ..instead being portrayed by an actor named Chris Gilbert.

Dark Seed II’ was written by the novelist Raymond Benson, who would later go on to write James Bond stories.

Dark Seed II’ was released for Microsoft Windows 3.1x, Apple Macintosh (both in a similar box to the original game) the SEGA Saturn and the Sony PlayStation.. ..although the latter two, as with the original game, were only released in Japan. Again, it is largely based around the fantastic biomechanical artwork of H. R. Giger.

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Dark Seed (Cyberdreams, 1992) – RETROSPECTIVE

Dark Seed Title

For my first article of the New Year I wanted to do a retrospective about something that combines my two favourite genres/hobbies – horror and video gaming.

So today we will be taking a fairly in depth look at a both divisive and largely forgotten video game.. ..‘Dark Seed’ was a psychological horror point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Cyberdreams in 1992. It was one of the first adventure games to use high resolution graphics and was largely based on the artwork of H. R. Giger.

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Imagine Software (1982-84) – RETROSPECTIVE

Imagine Logo

In today’s retrospective we are going to be taking a look at the original incarnation of Imagine Software, particularly focusing on the fabled ‘Mega Games’.

Imagine Software was a UK video games developer based in Liverpool which although existing only for a brief period of time (in the early 1980s), had a major impact on the UK games industry. Imagine initially produced software for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Commodore VIC 20 and quickly rose to prominence. Imagine was noted, and respected at the time, for its ‘polished’, high-budget approach to both packaging and advertising (not then common in the UK). As we shall see in this retrospective, it was also known for its often exuberant self-promotion and over ambition.

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The Microdrive (Sinclair Research, 1983) – RETROSPECTIVE

Sinclair logo

As was usual for a Sinclair release there was great initial fanfare about their ‘revolutionary’ new storage media. Clive Sinclair claimed, upon release of the ZX Spectrum (23rd April, 1982) that their new ‘drives’ would ‘change the face of personal computing’ and ‘be cheaper than floppy disc drives’ (including the then emerging 3.5 inch format from Sony). Even the early ZX Spectrum adverts (1,2) mentioned the drives as ‘coming soon’. However, it was to be over a year and half before the drives eventually came to market; in what would prove to be the start of the end for Sinclair Research.. ..Microdrives became a byword for delay and disappointment.

In this retrospective were going to take an in depth look at Sinclair’s typically, atypical take on mass storage.. ..the controversial Microdrive.

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