Sunday, 31 January 2016

THE BIG PREVIEW

So how has your 2016 been so far?  We're only four or so weeks in but already I can see how this blog could develop now because I've had a corker of a month with the Commodore... and there's a very specific reason why I've used a certain word there.  More on that below.  But after playing, coding and exploring the C64 for a few weeks now I feel READY     to kick things off at last.

OLD MEETS NEW


As I mentioned before in the very first post on here I developed an affinity with the Commodore during my teens and was never to enjoy working on a computer so much until the Mac Mini arrived in my house a couple of years ago, resulting in me diving head first into my previous site, The Oink! Blog.  Now the two computers are going hand-in-hand as I document my adventure on one by writing about it on the other.  Reading back over the first issue of Commodore Format I'd ever bought I see they too used Macs to put that magazine together so this just feels right.

MacBoyce keeps a watchful eye on its great, great grandfather-in-law-twice-removed

This month I've been playing two fantastic games, completing one which is a milestone in itself as I never did when I owned it the first time around, as well as reading some superb magazines and the book I received at Christmas.  While I also have a full-time job, another blog and writing project, as well as an actual life (believe it or not) away from all of these retro-themed displays of affection, I feel I've been living and breathing the C64 throughout January.  I've definitely had worse starts to a year that's for sure.

Somewhat inspired by the magazine I've been reading, the blog has been taking shape in my head (as well as the design on the screen) and I'm gagging to get stuck in.  But I wanted to give you a heads up on what to expect, particularly through February as I start to finally write about this wonderful machine.

IN MY HUMBLE OPINION


Now people who know me will tell you I can't abide most reviewers, especially for film and television where they like to lecture others on what they must like and not like.  Back when I collected various video game magazines there were a few which stood head and shoulders above the rest.  Commodore Format spoiled me as my first magazine of any kind, but 3DO Magazine and then Cube for the GameCube followed suit by having reviews which were written in a friendly and entertaining way, but which also didn't talk down to the reader.  How many times have you read a review of something, whether it's in a professional magazine or on some random website and the opinion is being treated as fact, so much so that you're simply not allowed to disagree and if you do you're "wrong" (even though an opinion can't be wrong).

Those favourite magazines named above (and the likes of Barry Norman and Jonathan Ross in the movie review world it must be said), while obviously giving a game or piece of software a score would be written in such a way that we could normally tell from the actual review whether we'd personally like it or not.  For example, in the first issue of CF I ever bought there was a game which got a measly 32% but I wanted it so badly!  As I continue to rediscover old favourites and discover other games I never had the money to buy as a teen, I'll be writing up my own reviews under this section in the same way.  After all, this is my blog and my own journey and I just want to share what I personally think every step of the way.

Castle Master has been enjoying some lengthy late-night gaming sessions this month

It won't just be games though, as I'll be kicking off the section with my views on the brand new book Commodore 64: a visual Compendium so look out for that soon.  I've also borrowed a little something from Commodore Format for the summing up of what I think and I can't wait to start doing so.  Speaking of CF...

IT WAS A CORKER!


There's already an absolutely wonderful website for this greatest of C64 magazines on the internet.  I discovered it a few months ago when I first bought this Commodore and for all things CF it simply can't be beat, so if you were a fan make sure you go and check out Commodore Format on Wordpress!  Neil Grayson has done a fantastic job of honouring the mag and getting some fantastic interviews and articles put together.  I'll have my own section dedicated to it but not in the same vein.

Not only is Neil doing such a good job it'd be nigh on impossible to come up with something he hasn't thought of, I also don't want to take anything away from all of his hard work or give the impression I'm competing.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact Neil has already asked me to write a little something about my time with CF and this got me thinking about the blog.  As well as the games, books, hardware and all the other goodies to come I'll also be reading my way through Commodore Format from the first issue right to the very end.

It was magazine design at its finest and a revolution to my young eyes!

Now Neil is already covering these and you can read each and every one through links on his site, but just as I explained above with the reviews section I'll be sharing my thoughts on each issue from my own personal perspective.  CF was my very first magazine and not only did it entertain and inform, it also inspired me in more ways than one and I look back at it as a very personal thing; something I was just as passionate about as the Commodore itself.  It'd be a bit strange to review them though, so instead I'll be reading my way through and sharing my personal thoughts in their own individual section.

Almost finished issue one so this will be starting up very soon.

GETTING THE B.A.S.I.C.S DOWN


While I'll be playing and reading things and immensely enjoying writing about them, I'm still just seeing where all this will lead.  Will I end up writing something about the C64 as a book?  An online guide?  Will this blog grow into its own beast of a project?  Who knows?  I didn't know where this cracker wee computer would lead me when I first received it as a thirteen-year-old and I'm all set to begin again and see where it goes this time.  But I do know I loved coding on it back then, even if I didn't get too far.

This time I've started on the manual straight off the bat and am getting to grips with BASIC again and surprisingly finding it's something that's stayed in the recesses of my memory ever since.  It's been a blast and while I'll have to figure out how to make it in any way interesting for you to read (no small feat) it's definitely something I'm pursuing.  Maybe this will all lead to the creation of a game?

Even when cat-sitting the Commodore comes along for the ride, though Smudge was less than impressed

These are the three main areas I've been getting stuck into during January but hopefully this will be just the beginning.  There's a couple of ideas for other parts of the blog I've had too, such as a look back at my own original time with the C64 and Parallel Logic (eh?  What's that?  You'll find out) but they'll follow in due course.  I don't want to promise too much before I've had a chance to properly think them through, but needless to say the idea of a simple blog chronicling my time with this computer this time around is developing into something I'm feeling very excited about.

I've a good feeling about this year.