PixelatedArcade News


Scheduled Maintenance and Upgrades 2024

Site Infrastructure Updates

Summer is definitely underway! The weather has been extrememly hot and humid, so yard work is out of the question most days. Instead, I've been indoors enjoying some games, and now it's time for some site maintenance and upgrades. Throughout July you may occasionally notice some brief downtime or other oddities as work is being done behind the scenes. The updates need to get done eventually, so might as well work on it while hanging out in the air conditioning is desirable. In the meantime, hopefully your summer is going well, a little late but happy pride month, and until next time take care!


Cyber Cop

Game Review

Heading into the late 1980's after having worked on a number of successful games for Gametek, CBS Software, and more, Roger Pedersen attempted going out on his own with a handful of games published under the Pedersen Systems, Inc. banner. It's been a while since I've posted a game review, so let's take a look at one of these games. This time around it's Cyber Cop, an amazingly awful action game. Thanks to a decent idea and CGA graphics that aren't too bad, this one can almost look good if you squint; but, it's not...


All Points Not Addressable

When Colors Clash, Part 2

When the IBM PC was released in 1981, the Color/Graphics option had a still somewhat uncommon feature that IBM called “all points addressable graphics” in the documentation. What this meant was you could take any pixel on the screen, set it to any available color you wanted, there was no impact or limitation from the colors of adjacent pixels and you were not limited to only choosing characters from the character set as with text modes. Most color computers of the era weren't quite this flexible and still had some unusual color limitations; in order to keep costs down while improving performance, a myriad of color schemes were devised which provided more colors on the screen at one time than the IBM PC offered, but the tradeoff was you couldn't just set any pixel to any arbitrary color. One of the more common schemes was to limit colors to only two per block of pixels (such as on the ZX Spectrum which allowed two colors every 8x8 pixels). Color clash (sometimes also known as attribute clash) was the term commonly used for the resulting artifact of colors seemingly bleeding from one area into another that resulted with these color schemes. Creating graphics within these limitations was a challenge and previously I looked at a few examples in When Colors Clash. These were all loading screens from a handful of 8-bit computers in order to demonstrate the issue and show examples of how artists worked with the constraints for static screens. Getting attractive graphics put together was tough enough there, but what happens if we add movement to the equation? Usually trouble! For action games (or any game with some sort of animation) the problem is now worse as the artist has less control over where to position elements on the screen to hide or work around color clash, instead the graphics need to follow the action of the game. Some common patterns and techniques did emerge, however, so this time let's take a look at a few of the tricks of the trade developers utilized to deal with this limitation outside of the loading screen and during the game itself...


New Screenshot Color Features

View CGA and Amstrad CPC Screenshots With Different Monitor Types

Another code update has been pushed live for PixelatedArcade, and this time around the main new feature adds the ability to view some screenshots with colors simulated for different monitor types. When supported, you'll see a drop-down menu below screenshots after clicking on them which allows you to select your preferred monitor. A while back I had written about tales of CGA colors, and this update finally delivers the feature to view different CGA color possibilities. Additionally, you can also view Amstrad CPC screenshots in both color and monochrome. Previously this feature was available for Apple II and Hercules Monochrome screenshots, so I'm delighted to introduce this expansion...


Happy Holidays 2023!

The PixelatedArcade 2023 End of Year Roundup

It's nearing the end of 2023, and time for the traditional end-of-year roundup! And what a year it's been... some real life challenges kept me from the once a month cadence for news or reviews, but we did have the IBM PCjr's 40th Anniversary sneak up, so that was fun! From a behind-the-scenes point of view, lots of changes were made with some pretty sizeable code updates; unfortunately there was a lot of downtime this year, but with new updates in place and other configuration changes PixelatedArcade should be more stable than ever going into the new year. Similarly, a significant update to my photography site PixelatedImages is underway and I hope to begin making updates there again next year. It's also notable that PixelatedArcade finally crossed the 3000 game entries mark! Maybe not the largest site, but slowly gaps are filled in to hopefully become an incredibly useful, intuitive, and informative site. Below are the latest database stats along with a few mini-reviews. Happy holidays everyone!


The IBM PCjr 40th Anniversary

IBM Announces the PCjr on November 1, 1983

Fourty years ago on November 1, 1983 IBM officially announced it's latest home computer, code name Peanut and officially known as the IBM PCjr. Where the IBM PC was clearly aimed at business users, the PCjr was intended to be a more attractive option for the home and was to compete with the likes of Apple, Commodore, and more in an ever expanding home computer market. Outfitted with a smaller case, new 16 color graphics and 3-voice sound that were great for games, two cartridge slots, a lower price compared to the PC, and yet still compatible with the PC the IBM PCjr should have taken the market by storm and was widely predicted to do so. Unfortunately for IBM, that's not what actually happened and the quirky little system is often considered one of the biggest flops in computer history. Despite many great ideas, the PCjr had a lot of minor issues that all added up to make it a rather unpopular system. If you'd like to learn more of the history and why this is the case, I recommend you check out the first part of a series Trixter uploaded to his YouTube channel The Oldskool PC: The IBM PCjr, Part 1: The road to hell is paved with good intentions (be sure to follow the channel or check back later, there's more videos on the PCjr to follow)....


Scheduled Maintenance 2023

Site Infrastructure Updates

Just a quick update this month; our hosting provider will be performing some system maintenance and upgrades on August 15, 2023. Assuming all goes well, this should be pretty seamless and involve very little if any downtime. Of course, there is always the possibility of something unexpected popping up as has happened in the past, but hopefully not this time. We also found our email address info@pixelatedarcade.com isn't working correctly at the moment and we are working on restoring that.

The Best and Worst of Arcade Cabinets

18 Designs That Either Wow or Fail to Impress

Happy pride month! It's been a while since an update has been posted, so I put together some photos to browse through. Inevitably, the ”best of“ and ”worst of“ lists will appear; doesn't matter too much what you're talking about, nearly anything that's popular and been around a while will have good and bad examples of the product and someone will rank and stack a few of them into some sort of order that's hardly scientific and reflects not much more than the personal taste(s) of whomever assembled said list. Well, I can hardly resist this temptation myself and now present to you some of the best and worst arcade cabinet designs! This list reflects just my personal preferences; it's not based on any research or polls to represent the gaming community at large, and as such I'm sure some readers will disagree with my selections. It's also incomplete; with so many games out there, narrowing down to just a handful is tough! There's some really great (and bad!) cabinets out there which I had to leave out just to prevent this article from rambling on forever. That said, I like pointing out some of the cabinets out there just in case there's some you haven't seen before...especially on the good list, there's some fantastic artwork and design that went into presenting arcade games that's worth checking out. A great cabinet couldn't make a bad game good, of course, and if a cabinet was so poorly designed that it hindered gameplay in some way that could be a problem. But it's still nice to take a look at the artwork and creativity some designers had and if a game was already good a fantastic cabinet certainly helped make the game just a little bit better of an experience. So without further delay, let's take a look at our entries...

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