In the most recent issue of Retro Gamer they looked at Rainbow Islands and you may have seen mentioned a little company called Graftgold. They were the original company working on one of the arcade conversion for the game but the project was passed on to Ocean Software. It sparked back memories of when I was at school, not just because I used to play Rainbow Islands on my Amiga but because my mum actually knew someone who knew the manager of Graftgold and whilst everyone else was doing their work experience working at some dead-end crappy job I was doing mine there. I had to go for an interview which I remember being one of the scariest experiences of my life, in fact I distinctly remember wanting to pass out from fear. The interview was a bit of blur, but I think a tiny bit of my passion for my Amiga shon through and I was allowed to work there. I explained that I really liked making music and was using a program called Octamed. They put me with their in-house musician and unless I dreamt this I ended up making a remix of Whigfield’s Saturday Night or he heard me playing with their keyboard messing about, I remember it being very embarrasing anyway. After playing around with their music equipment for a few days I went on to test games. Yes, thats right, I spent my whole work experience testing games and writing down suggestions or any faults with the game. This was quite possibly every school boys dream job! I was in the offices with programming legends like Andrew Braybrook. Lunch times would be a Bomberman tournament with fish and chips. This really made me want to be a programmer, my only regret is that I never made more of an effort to get to know everyone. I was very young and didn’t really know what to say!
Anyway if you want to play the online version of Rainbow Islands I have found it here!
I have just been reading about Microsoft’s new Game Room. For those of you who don’t know this looks like it could be a lot of fun. Basically it is a downloadable piece of software that allows you to move around a virtual arcade playing lots of retro arcade favourites. Currently it looks like the line-up of games is mediocre to say the least but it will hopefully keep expanding, depending on the success of course. One feature i’ve read is that you can challenge your friends to beat your high-score and send them taunts. This seems like a great idea to me, i’m sure this will be one of the key elements of Game Room as I can’t think of anything more tempting than trying to beat a friends high-score. I’ve lost count the amount of times i’ve tried to beat someone at a game on Facebook only to fail and frustrate me until my fingers start to bleed! The emulation with the games is apparantely very good according to industry experts (and people who just love old games). As i’ve said the list of games looks OK but it could do with some more titles on there, I guess it takes time to do deals with developers and companies that, well, simply don’t exist anymore. I can imagine it being a legal minefield. There seem to be a lot of Atari and Intellivision titles at the moment which obviously means games like Adventure, Combat and Millipede can be found. I hope they start to introduce much later arcade classics as they are more my era, but maybe thats just me being selfish!
I’ve only just downloaded Game Room but I was slightly annoyed at Microsoft insistance that the entire human race is from the USA. I had to make up my usual US address with the only zipcode I know – 90210 (I bet they get a lot of incorrectly addressed mail in Beverly Hills, but i’m sure the beautiful huge houses and millions of dollars in their bank accounts make up for the torrent of junk mail in their very american trash cans!) I plan to post my thoughts on Game Room after I have had a good play with it.