• magisterrex Retro Games


    I've been gaming since the days of Pong and still own a working Atari 2600. I tend to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games. Sometimes I digress. Decades after earning it, I'm finally putting the skills I learned while completing my history degree from the University of Victoria to good use. Or so I think. If you're into classic old school gaming, this blog is for you!

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    Got a game or product you want reviewed? Send me an email! Will review board games, PC games, video games and accessories (Xbox 360 or Wii, but also new releases for classic systems - you know who you are!)
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Merry Christmas From…Ral Partha?

Do you remember when companies would take out full-page ads in gaming magazines to wish their patrons a Merry Christmas? No, me neither. Yet that’s just what Ral Partha did in Dragon Magazine #56 (December 1981). How can you not feel more full of holiday spirit after reading that? I know, how about looking at it, too!

Merry Christmas from Ral Partha

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From 1988 – “Merry Christmas from Sierra On-Line!”

Back in 1988, Sierra introduced the Sierra Creative Interpreter (SCI) game engine, which permitted graphics in 320×200 in 16 colors, a huge improvement from the previous AGI (Adventure Game Interpreter) engine, which ran at 160×200 resolution.  The first three  games to enjoy the improved graphics quality were King’s Quest IV: Perils of Rosella, Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking For Love (In Several Wrong Places), and Police Quest II: The Vengeance.  Sierra also sent out a new holiday season demonstration program to help computer retailers sell their wares (just as they did in 1986).

Merry Christmas from Sierra On-Line showcased the SCI technology with a festive Christmas carol musical score.  It was programmed by Teresa Baker (whose only other credited Sierra product was the aforementioned King’s Quest IV), with graphics by Jerry Moore (who helped animate many Sierra classics, including The Colonel’s Bequest, Space Quest IV, and Quest For Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero, but was also involved in the Legend of Kyrandia series), and music scored by Mark Seibert.

As the Night of the Jolly Fatman rapidly approaches, enjoy this retro memory…and Merry Christmas!

More Retro Demos: The Tandy Color Computer 3 Holiday Demonstration Program

Time to unearth another retro Christmas demo, this time one that was used to showcase the Tandy Color Computer 3 back in 1986.  The “Holiday Demonstration Program” was developed by Spectral Associates, a software company founded in 1980, and based out of Tacoma, Washington.  Spectral Associates published a number of CoCo games, including Color Space Invaders, Realm of Nuaga, The Interbank Incident, and Madness and the Minotaur (and many more), selling them both directly through mail-order as well as to Tandy for distribution through their Radio Shack chain of retail stores.

The Holiday Demonstration Program was written by David Figge and John Gabbard, who also co-wrote several of Spectrum Associates’ other titles, and the graphics were coded by Eugene T. Gatlin (who was employed by Spectral Associates from the spring of 1985 to the winter of 1986, and worked on several of the company’s CoCo 3 projects).  Information on Spectral Associates is a bit sparse, including the exact date of its demise, which appears to be sometime in the late 1980s (not far removed from the release date of this holiday demo!).

Regardless, watching this demonstration program is a wonderful trip into the PC retrogaming past, chunky graphics and all!  Enjoy!

Time for a Commodore 64 Christmas!

As we hurtle ever-so-closer to that magic time of year in which peace and good will to all mankind manifests everywhere across North America, except shopping malls and “occupy” demonstrations, a reminder of times gone by is a welcome guest.  In that vein, it’s time to remember the days of the Commodore 64, with the 1982 C64 Christmas demo that displayed all the awesome 64K RAM, 16 colors, sprite animation, and amazing sound synthesis that the then-powerful home computer could offer.  Enjoy the holiday spirit this invokes and don’t forget to keep the retrogaming spirit alive!

Season’s Greetings to all Atarians!

Here’s a nifty little gem from a time when the Atari ST was a player on the home computer market.  This demo was produced in 1985 by Audio Light, Inc., with Peter Wickman using the company’s N-Vision software to create the images for a musical slideshow with a Christmas Holiday theme.  The demo served to showcase N-Gage’s painting power, while giving something for retailers to run on their ST demo PC to attract shoppers and interest them in a new computer purchase.  Today it serves as just another pleasant holiday season sidetrack down retrogaming lane!

From 1992: Sierra’s VGA Christmas Card “Season’s Greetings”

Yesterday we traveled back in time to 1986 to watch Sierra’s Christmas Card showcase of animation and music (From 1986 – Sierra’s “A Computer Christmas”).  Today it’s time to see what 6 years of technological advancement has wrought, as we arrive in 1992 to view Sierra On-Line’s “Season’s Greetings” electronic Christmas Card, complete with 256-color VGA graphics. Enjoy!

From 1986 – Sierra’s “A Computer Christmas”

Back in 1986, Sierra On-Line, the company that brought us all the King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry series, produced an electronic Christmas card to be used by retailers who carried their products as a demonstration of the advanced graphics and sound available in their games. Over two decades later, A Computer Christmas still has magic.  Enjoy this retro memory…and Merry Christmas!