Relentless Gamescom Article
n.b. Scroll past the first part of the article on VR (or read it!) to get the "Relentless Gamescom" section on (including others) the C64... or just read it below
Gamescom: world’s largest computer and video game fair attracts 400,000 There’s something relentless about Gamescom, the world’s largest computer and video game fair that attracted almost 400,000 people to the banks of the Rhine in Cologne last week.
Most are here to sample their next gaming addictions. But stepping into Hall 10 was like a trip back in time: gamers on bean bags, holding red-and-black joysticks. Before them: the ghosts of computing past. Is that someone playing Pacman on the original Atari console? Why is that man programming furiously on a Commodore 16? How can that poor soul be absorbed in a BBC Micro game?
They are all part of a growing trend: classic computing. The clear favourite here is the beige Commodore 64, launched in 1982 and produced until 1994. With its eight-bit graphics and warbling SID sound chip, the Commodore 64 is now so technologically dated that it exerts a whole new fascination.
“The fascination lies in the restriction,” said Oliver Lindau, a computer graphic artist , one of many creating new games for one of the first mass-market computers.
“With today’s systems you can do anything. But the C64 system is limited, meaning you have to be more creative to do more.”
Just as Hollywood special effects cannot cover up a weak script, even today’s knock-out graphics cannot hide poor gameplay. And that, it seems, is the attraction of rediscovering classic computer games – and developing new ones.
Mr Lindau’s project is the point-and-click adventure game Caren and the Tangled Tentacles, with blocky graphics that have a pleasing Picasso-esque quality to them. Another new C64 game on show here is Sam’s Journey, a platform game with cute graphics and wonderful music.
The scene is thriving, from Britain to Scandinavia; Germany even has its own classic computer magazine, Return. For today’s young gamers, trying the C64 is probably the equivalent of trading down from a Porsche to a Model T. But as the original C64 generation age and their children leave the house, the beige box of tricks is coming out of the cupboard. Like vinyl or vintage cars, eight-bit nostalgia is back.