The making of Super Star Trek 1978 meets 25th Anniversary

The story of how I created this free fangame/remake of Super Star Trek mixed with the Interplay adventure and how it became so popular.As you probably know by now, I love old computer games, and I love to tinker with their source code. Super Star Trek holds a special place in my heart, as you have read in the other articles I published here. Read More

Posted: 12 May 2023, 11:07 am


Brief History of Computer Games and Platforms Part 2: 1983-1986

I published the first part of this article precisely two years ago, it took a lot to complete the second part, but finally, it's here. I hope you will enjoy it!In the first part of this story (1977-1982), we saw the Apple II dominating the gaming scene during the early years following the birth of the home computers. Of the three models released in 1977 - the Commodore PET, the TRS-80, and the Apple II - the machine designed by Steve Wozniak captured the game developers' interest more than the others. Many influential game creators such as Richard Garriott and Ken Williams fell in love with the Apple II and produced games for this machine. The Atari 8-bit series, released at the end of 1979, became only a second-choice despite better graphics/sound and specific gaming hardware. Companies like Sierra On-Line and Brøderbund were first developing their original titles for the Apple II and only later ported them to other platforms. Read More

Posted: 7 February 2023, 11:27 pm


Interview with David H. Ahl, founder of the Creative Computing magazine

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to meet, online, Mr. David H. Ahl, the legendary founder of the Creative Computing magazine. It was unexpected, and I was so happy to start exchanging messages with him. David Ahl is a real visionary. He created Creative Computing, the first magazine dedicated to home computers, in 1974, even before home computers existed! David Ahl is also the author of several books, including BASIC COMPUTER GAMES, the first programming book to sell more than one mln copies. Mr. Ahl agreed to do a virtual interview that I'm publishing here. Enjoy! Read More

Posted: 1 April 2022, 11:24 am


Bake Off Italia - The Graphic Adventure

Quando si hanno due passioni completamente diverse, una più “tangibile” (e analogica, direi), e l’altra più astratta (diciamo pure “digitale”), viene da chiedersi se verrà mai un momento in cui sia possibile unirle.Nel mio caso la passione analogica è quella per la pasticceria, iniziata fin da piccolo: torte, crostate, pan di spagna, mousse, creme e glasse. Quella digitale, è ovviamente quella per i computer, la programmazione, lo sviluppo di siti web e videogames. Read More

Posted: 21 May 2021, 7:52 pm


Super Star Trek 1978 - The TOS version

If you have read my previous article, you already know I fell in love with this very old text-only game. After porting the original BASIC code to Perl, and then LUA, I decided to add some improvements. Not really on the gameplay - at least not for now - but in terms of overall experience. Main main goal was to make the original cast more "present". But after that, I decided to improve the code with trigonometric functions and other things. Read More

Posted: 14 November 2020, 10:32 am


How I rewrote the 1978 text-only Super Star Trek game

During the last two weeks, I spent all my free time working hard on one of the most ridiculous achievements of my life: dissecting, understanding, and rewriting the old 1978 Super StarTrek videogame.If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s an old text-only game, a sort of early example of turn-based space strategy sim, written in BASIC. In this game, you are the captain of the starship Enterprise, and your mission is to scout the federation space and eliminate all the invading Klingon ships. You will have to carefully manage the ship energy, use phasers and torpedoes to destroy the Klingons, and find starbases to repair damages and replenish your energy. All of this, rendered with a few characters on screen and a lot of imagination. Read More

Posted: 9 October 2020, 7:22 pm


Brief History of Computer Game Platforms - Part 1

This is the first part of a quite lengthy article I wrote last summer, that tries to summarize the history of computer games and computer games platforms. This first part covers the early years of the 8-bit era, from 1977 to 1982.As an amateur historian of computer games, I find it fascinating that in the '80s and part of the '90s, companies were developing their titles for so many different platforms. For example, take Lode Runner: it was initially released for Apple II, Atari-8 bit, Commodore 64, Vic-20 and IBM-PC. Then it was ported to ZX Spectrum, MSX, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, and Amiga. Ultima IV was released for Amiga, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, C64, DOS, MSX, and the Japanese computers FM-7, FM-Towns, PC-88, PC-98, Sharp X1, and X68000. Read More

Posted: 2 October 2019, 6:56 pm


E' stata la Commodore o la Apple ad inventare il Personal Computer?

Nel 1980 il Wall Street Journal pubblica un'intervista a Steve Jobs dove lui dichiara candidamente: "quando inventammo il personal computer...". Nell'occhiello il giornalista ribadisce: "Steve Jobs inventò il primo personal computer nel 1976 con il suo socio Steve Wozniak". L'intervista di per sé non è rimasta nella storia, ma potrebbe aver dato il via ad un mito che ancora oggi è più vivo che mai. Read More

Posted: 31 March 2019, 6:00 am


Heroes of the 16-bit: The Story of Thalion Software

I wrote this article for GamesNostalgia because I have always been fascinated by Thalion Software, one of the most talented game development studios of the ’90s. Gurus of the 68000 based home computers (Amiga and Atari ST) these guys created some of the games that I loved most when I was young. They were real innovators, and they could not accept the limits of the hardware. That's why their story is so interesting. Read More

Posted: 3 March 2019, 6:00 am


La vera storia di è stato uno dei primi siti in Italia (forse al mondo) ad offrire una selezione di programmi scaricabili gratuitamente per PC.Alla fine degli anni 90 Internet era ormai esplosa e la gente aveva scoperto che si potevano scaricare programmi dalla rete. Anche se non tutti sapevano la differenza tra freeware e shareware, si era capito che in rete si trovava tutto ciò che poteva servire al proprio PC: browser alternativi, client di posta, messengers, programmi per archiviare (zip, rar), file manager, media players, antivirus, screensaver e ovviamente giochi. Read More

Posted: 3 January 2019, 6:00 am


Un pezzo di storia del videogame: Santa Paravia e Fiumaccio

Quando mi hanno chiesto se avevo mai giocato a Santa Paravia e Fiumaccio pensavo fosse uno scherzo. Sembrava un nome uscito dal film “Non ci resta che piangere”, non il titolo di un videogame. La sorpresa è stata scoprire che non solo esiste, ma che, ancora oggi, conserva un discreto numero di fan. E’ un gioco dalla storia intrigante, che ho deciso di raccontare. Read More

Posted: 1 May 2018, 1:54 pm


Sid Meier's Colonization - One of the best games ever designed

When I first heard about Colonization, I thought: ok, so this is just like Civilization, but instead of the entire world, you only have America; instead of barbarians you have the Indians tribes; instead of the whole span of the history of humankind, you have no more than 358 years. You don’t have technological advancements or scientific research, so that you won’t discover robots or jets. Why should I play it? I was very wrong. Read More

Posted: 1 January 2018, 11:24 am


Dual Track Agile: The Experience so Far

Last September my team and I decided to test a new methodology called Dual Track Agile for the development of our product (a simple mobile game called Game Arena). The main principles of the methodology are listed in this post I published on October 7th. After 4 months I thought it would be nice to tell you about this experience, how we applied it, what worked and what didn’t work for us. Read More

Posted: 26 January 2017, 7:33 pm


Introducing Dual Track Agile

Last July I had the chance to follow a 2 days training called “How to Create Products Customers Love” held by the Silicon Valley Product Group. The workshop was really intense and information-rich, with a lot of useful suggestions for our product team and our product development process. In this post, I’ll try to give a recap of the points that I consider the most important ones. In the meantime, I have been trying to put the teachings into practice in my team, so I promise to write a new post about my personal experience soon. Read More

Posted: 8 October 2016, 10:50 pm