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Thoughts of Games – My Brief History #1

I just made my first game Steam purchase purchase in 2019. For mid-August that is quite unusual, because ever since joining Steam in 2012 (Skyrim was first), I have accumulated games at a steady pace, in particular during the various sales events up to a point close to the GAMBLE state (i.e., Games AMassed Beyond Life Expectancy). Now it seems that I have stopped buying. Partly, I am sure, because I realized that spending money on games I will never play is sort of silly, and whatever game I am interested in, it will always come on sale again, and buying one game that I play at full price is a better deal than buying 4 games at 50% of that I won’t play. However, to fair to myself, I have been aware of this fact for a while, but maybe I just couldn’t stop just kept collecting stuff, like all the Beamdog remakes of Infinity engine games (which I probably won’t play anyway, but I already own them on CD/DVD and played through them and AD&D 2nd Edition hasn’t aged that well, but I still bought them once more). But partly also – I believe – because now I am actually playing something specific, instead of thinking about all the games that I might play if only I had/took the time to do it. And that is great!

And there is always another Steam/GOG/Epic/Ubi/Origin/Humble Store sale coming…

And whatever I do, there will never be a complete collection of remastered infinity engine games, because the Icewind Dale II source code seems to be lost forever

Now, speaking of games, why not share my story of gaming?

My brief history of gaming #1 – It began with the C64

Well, it actually began with the few arcade machines that stood around the town where I grew up. One in the hallway of the sports center had games like Scramble, Bomb Jack and Buzzard; from the grillbar I remember Ladybug, Xevious, Xain’d Sleena, Silk Worm and Flying Shark. All very exiting and very expensive for a pre-teen (sadly, I never excelled in any of those games). After seeing a friend’s Commodore 64 I quickly calculated what an excellent return I would have on that investment and started saving up (Sunday newspapers..). In March 1986 I got the machine and Press[ed] Play on Tape for the first time. I had the C64 until 1990.

I learned BASIC (yes : ) programming on the C64 and briefly saw the desktop future in GEOS, but it was mostly playing games and sharing that excitement with friends that I did. It was a great time and it is fun to think back on the friends and the games we used to play and which, it turns out, formed me as a gamer.

The RPGs

  • Wasteland, many times over and over until I found Base Corchise and could finish what I started.
  • Ultima V, though a broken floppy disk stopped my progress. I handed the game back to the store and got the Gold Box Champions of Krynn instead. I eventually finished Ultima V on Amiga.
  • Bards Tale 3 (maps, maps and maps on checkered paper) and Dragon Wars (built-in discovable maps, pretty cool

The Shoot’m’ups

These games that originally drew me to home computers. Many enhanced the shooting gameplay with excellent music. Xevious was underwhelming, but several games I rememeber fondly:

Other games

Stuff I missed

I never played an Infocom text adventure game; I briefly tried one of the Magnetic Scrolls adventures (probably The Guild of Thieves), but I don’t think I had the necessary language skills or patience at the time to dive in.

Apart from listing games I didn’t play I might also do a section of computers I didn’t own or even try. Being older and wiser now, I would love having had both a ZX81 and a ZX Spectrum (whether I would have loved having them at the time is another matter). I am not so sure about the Amstrad CPC (which I thought would be my first computer for a while, before ending with the C64), whereas the Apple II would have been a natural first step, had I been older. And then there were all the other home computers of the day, many of which that are mostly forgotten now, like Microsoft’s MSX, the Enterprise etc… I’d love to see those in action or at least in a museum.

Afterthoughts

Those were great years of games and computer fun, and I often miss that old machine. Of course, the odds that it would still work after 30+ years are slim, with its datassette and 5¼ floppy drive. And judging how long time I linger whenever I load up a C64 emulator (not long), it is probably fine like that,

Featured image

Dark clouds and a newly harvested field close to home; picture taken on a recent afternoon walk.

New Look on the Blog

Here I go again. 

This blog has been a small but persistent frustration for a while, with me not getting as much written as I believe I should to keep the site fresh and alive.

Given that I have some use for a vCard site and none in particular for a blog, one of the points on my 19-for-2019 list (inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s 18-for-2018) was to close down this blog. It took all the time till now to get started on this point, while I tried out a TV series already and got my new jacket in time for the spring (etc).

So, the site has been given a new look, a new home directory (since there is little point in calling it “blog” when it isn’t”and it now opens with a simple “Hi, I am Allan” page. I almost killed the blog as planned, but then I thought it over once more. There are a few posts in here that I refer to myself and a few might be of interest to others as well. It doesn’t cost my anything to have it and I do like the idea of owning my own content – at least the substantial pieces. 

So here I go again. The blog almost abandoned, then given a new lease on life. Until next time and the cycle shall repeat itself.

Featured image

A view of Copenhagen seen from the entrance of the National Gallery of Denmark (=Statens Museum for Kunst – SMK). One of these late summer afternoons where the sky is beautiful and exciting to look at, as long as you are not directly underneath the darkest clouds.

 

Berry Week, 2019 Edition

This year the berry week, where all berry bushes in the garden are ready for harvest, fell inconveniently between two vacation trips, so between unpacking, washing and repacking I went picking in the garden and spent a night cleaning berries. A portion of gooseberry was gifted away, everything else frozen (we still have gooseberry jam left from last year).

  • Redcurrant: 1287 g
  • Whitecurrant: 1200 g
  • Blackcurrant 634 g
  • Gooseberry: 9130 g

The currants will make for nice jellies and some marmalade, as will some of the gooseberry. I will also try out gooseberry juice and see how it works as drinks mixer.

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This featured image for this post shows some of the cleaned berries, ready to be frozen.

Related posts

Bæruge (2017)

Bæruge 2018

 

Kvæder og Chili, årets sidste syltning

2018 har været et flot frugtår. Temmelig overraskende, i hvert fald for mig, givet hvor tørt og varmt det har været. Men nu er det ved at være endegyldigt slut. Det er snart november og alt hvad der skal plukkes er plukket og det der skal tørres og syltes er tørret og syltet.

Chilitørring

Der bliver forsyninger til det kommende års madlavning og mere til. Jeg har allerede tørret alle Jamaican Hot (og “alle” er mange flere end jeg kan forestille mig at bruge, men så igen, I år mangler jeg Lemon Drop). Tilbage er nu Habanero og Cayenne Long Slim. De er renset og skåret op, og skal nu bare ligger til tørre oven på akvariet i et par uger.

Kvædemarmelade

Der er mange flotte frugter på træet i år og de udvalgte blev til marmelade.
Med udgangspunkt I 14 frugter på hver ca. 300g er ingredienserne som følger:

  • 1800g kvæder skrællet og kernehuset fjerne, skåret i tern på ca. 2 cm
  • 30 g revet ingefær
  • Revet citronskal fra to citroner
  • Saft af en citron
  • 1 kg syltesukker (og så bruger jeg ikke kernehusene til at give stivelse)
  • 1 habanero kogt med i 5 minutter

Kvæderne skåret i tern tilsat lidt vand, så kogt i en time sammen med ingefær, citronskal og citronsaft. Derefter rørte jeg gryden igennem med et piskeris for helt at findele kvædeternene. Sukkeret blev tilsat og massen kogt op. Habaneroen fik lov at koge med ca. 5 minutter (næste gang lader jeg den koge med i længere tid). Herefter blev det hele hældt på glad. Det blev ca. 2¼ L

Chilisyltning

Goathorn er en sort jeg ikke har prøvet i lang tid og den var ikke så stærk som jeg huskede den. Til madlavning holder jeg mig mere til Cayenne, så her er en plantefuld og flotte frugter der mangler et formål. Hvorfor så ikke sylte? (især når jeg ikke har Jalapeño).
Til opskriften hentede jeg inspiration hos rigeligtsmor.dk og her er mængderne:

  • Lage: 1 L eddike, 200g sukker kogt op
  • Chili: 600 g skåret i skiver og top fjernet

Klargjorte chili lægges i glas med et par laurbærblade, kogende lage hældes over og låget lukkes. Mængden ovenfor blev til 1½ L.

Goathorn chili klar til syltning. Sammen medlage hylder mængden her 1½ L.

Goathorn chili klar til syltning. Sammen medlage hylder mængden her 1½ L.

Jeg vil følge rådet fra rigeligtsmor.dk og nu lade de syltede chili trække I et par uger før jeg smager dem.

Måneden i haven

Tidligere på måneden fik vi plantet en ekstra syren og forsythia ud mod sidevejen vi bor ved. Ellers er det nu mest oprydning. Græsset skal nok slås en sidste gang og havegangen renses når havemøblerne stilles ind.

Indenfor kæmper jeg med diatomer i akvariet – det er frustrerende at se et smukt nyindrettet akvarium bliver til brunt snask, men så kan jeg vel nyde udfordringen med at få tanken på fode igen. Fiskene lader ikke til at være generet af det – for eksempel er der stabilt nye Severum æg ca. hver 3-4 uge

Microsoft, Linux, Love

Yesterday it hit the news that how Microsoft is joining the Open Invention Network so that Microsoft’s collection of patents can now be used defend (instead of attacking) Linux. Poss and comments about embrace/extend/extinguish and flying pigs. I guess we are still getting used to this behavior from Microsoft, but really, when you think about it, it is probably just Microsoft being good at business – as is usually the case. Also, the warming relationship between Microsoft and Linux isn’t exactly news. Back in 2016 Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation and similar stuff was posted and googling a bit led back to a 2014 press conference. But is still feels unusual.

Back in my early computing days (1990ish), it wasn’t obvious (to me at least) that Microsoft would become the monopolistic giant it was 10 years later. Sure, the IBM compatible PCs were running MS-DOS, but there were other platforms, and I happily did whatever I needed to do on a Commodore Amiga, with KindWords being my text editor of choice. We also had an Apple Macintosh in the house, which to me worked pretty well too. In the PC World there was still WordPerfect and Lotus 123 around, and the next big thing was to be OS/2.

Things always look clear in hindsight, and I don’t know if anyone had really anticipated how things would develop during the 90s. Personally I became increasingly wary of Microsoft’s growth, probably in part by seeing the alternatives fall away, partly by spending much of my time as a student in a Unix-based universe.

I wonder how much of what happened in the 90s was part of a grand master plan and how much was good fortunes for Microsoft. Probably a bit of both, because fortune favors the well prepared. Of course, if there had really been a grand matter plan, then things would have gone differently in the 2010s, where the rising power of mobile platforms and the cloud meant that once more a Microsoft platform is not the only choice of technology stack.

Featured image

A shot from the park near the Citadel (Kastellet) in Copenhagen.