2: The 7th Guest


00:00:00   So, I have a wildly unrelated question for Mr. Syracuse.

00:00:06   What the hell happened with this PlayStation 4 thing?

00:00:09   Because I don't really follow video games at all, but oh my god, the internets went crazy

00:00:13   over the...

00:00:14   I guess it was like...

00:00:15   They didn't go that crazy.

00:00:16   Well, they went fairly crazy.

00:00:17   I don't understand why everyone was all cranky.

00:00:19   I think everyone's mind was blown about how little their mind was blown over the course

00:00:23   of two hours.

00:00:24   I think that is exactly right.

00:00:25   That is exactly right.

00:00:26   I don't get it at all because they do this with every new console.

00:00:32   And many people are getting more and more worked up about it,

00:00:34   but they always do something like this.

00:00:36   They always dole out the information.

00:00:38   Nintendo is the king of this.

00:00:40   I remember with the Wii, they were like,

00:00:43   we have a new console coming, and it's called the Revolution.

00:00:46   And they had a press conference about that, but it told you nothing.

00:00:48   And then another time, they said, it's called the Revolution,

00:00:51   and it's the size of three DVD cases stacked on top of each other.

00:00:55   and the control scheme is very interesting.

00:00:58   And they didn't tell you anything else.

00:01:00   The next press conference is like, OK, now--

00:01:02   it was so long before they finally showed you, OK,

00:01:04   here's the little box, but the control scheme is really neat.

00:01:06   And it's like, all right, well, what the hell

00:01:07   is the control scheme?

00:01:08   And then finally, here's the new console, here's the box,

00:01:10   here's what the name is, and here's the controller.

00:01:12   And it was like seven press conferences

00:01:13   over the course of a year slowly doling out

00:01:15   information about the Wii.

00:01:17   That's how they do it.

00:01:18   This is the first press conference.

00:01:20   I'm surprised they even showed a picture of the controller.

00:01:22   I'm surprised they showed anything.

00:01:23   The specs, we already knew what those all

00:01:25   from all the rumors and everything, and they more or less confirm those, plus or minus

00:01:28   a few details.

00:01:31   In this internet age, we already know.

00:01:33   You see all those articles, I think I tweeted one of them, Durango versus Orbis, those are

00:01:38   the two code names of Microsoft and Sony's consoles.

00:01:41   We have them down to the individual components that are going to be on motherboards.

00:01:45   They're never going to announce price until it's practically for sale, so anyone expecting

00:01:49   price is crazy, "Oh, you've got to show me the box."

00:01:51   Who cares?

00:01:54   They showed the box to the PlayStation 3, and then that wasn't the box that they shipped.

00:01:58   They showed the controller to the PlayStation 3, and that wasn't the controller they shipped.

00:02:02   I don't know why anyone is upset about any of this.

00:02:05   As far as I'm concerned, this was like the first press conference.

00:02:12   They showed a bunch of stuff, probably about the same amount of stuff I expected them to

00:02:16   show.

00:02:17   Anyone who expected to see a price and a date, unless that date was like March, you were

00:02:21   crazy.

00:02:22   So, I don't know what to say about it.

00:02:24   So kidding aside, you were not disappointed by this?

00:02:26   No, it's exactly what I expected. I was disappointed by the controller,

00:02:31   but I can't say that I was unexpected. And I was pleasantly surprised about the RAM,

00:02:36   which was double the rumored amount, assuming they actually stick with that.

00:02:39   Sony says a lot of things. Like, until the product ships, who knows? So I'm still giving it a thumbs

00:02:46   up. I'll buy one despite the controller. What's interesting, too, is that the

00:02:50   architecture they picked, which they basically said it's x86 CPUs from AMD, and 8 gigs of

00:02:56   shared RAM with video and main RAM with some beefy AMD video card. That's basically the

00:03:02   modern version of the Xbox One. And the Xbox One, when it came out, because it had a 733

00:03:09   megahertz Celeron-ish thing.

00:03:10   You and your Xbox One.

00:03:11   No, but...

00:03:12   That thing was such a piece of crap.

00:03:15   No, honestly, the Xbox One was a fantastic system.

00:03:17   It was not a fantastic system. It was a cobbled together, terrible PC.

00:03:21   That's what it was.

00:03:22   I'd really like to differ. I would say, because it was, effectively, it was

00:03:26   like a 700 MHz Pentium something with a GeForce 3.

00:03:30   That's basically what it was. They were both custom parts, but that was...

00:03:34   I know, and if you open it up, it looked like it.

00:03:36   It looked like something. I'm going to take a PCA and put it in the Will It Blend machine,

00:03:40   and then jam it into an ugly black box and say, "Here you go."

00:03:43   One thing that helped them a lot was that making games was just DirectX.

00:03:47   And it was easy to program for, which many consoles are very hard to program for, or

00:03:52   at least to extract a lot of good performance out of.

00:03:55   And it had so many advantages.

00:03:59   It's interesting now that--and the Xbox went away from that architecture for the 360.

00:04:04   And the PlayStation--the PS2 and the PS3 were both ridiculously hyped for whatever weird

00:04:09   CPUs they had, which were always very hard to program for.

00:04:13   Especially, is it the PS3 with the Emotion Engine,

00:04:15   or is it the PS2?

00:04:17   - Two.

00:04:18   - Three is Cell.

00:04:19   - Yes, even I knew that, and I don't know crap.

00:04:21   - Yeah, everyone complains about both of those,

00:04:22   especially the Cell as being very hard to program for,

00:04:25   efficiently at least.

00:04:27   - The thing about the PS2 though, is it costs about as much

00:04:29   as the GPU in the original Xbox, like the entire machine.

00:04:31   - Oh yeah.

00:04:32   That's, the thing is, I can't see this,

00:04:34   whatever this PS4 is, I can't see that being inexpensive

00:04:38   launch. I mean, the PS3 launched at, was it 500?

00:04:41   Yeah, they're going to be expensive.

00:04:43   It's going to be probably in that ballpark.

00:04:46   The reason everyone's going x86 this generation is because x86 has finally got the power usage

00:04:52   under control, because the Xbox One was before Intel had gotten their chips down in power.

00:04:58   It was before the core architecture, before Apple adopted it.

00:05:03   But it was also before the stupid Pentium 4 Netburst architecture that was so wasteful.

00:05:07   I know, but it was still nothing compared to the power-sipping little washing machine

00:05:13   CPU that's in the PlayStation 1 and 2.

00:05:15   Like, consoles used incredibly cheap, wimpy things.

00:05:17   So that's why the Xbox was so huge.

00:05:19   That's why it was so hot.

00:05:21   And so everyone was PowerPC in the next generation because x86 still hadn't caught up, and that

00:05:26   was the sweet spot.

00:05:27   It was PowerPC and ATI.

00:05:28   And then finally now, in the modern age, the x86 stacks isn't that bad.

00:05:33   You can get a reasonably low-powered x86 CPU.

00:05:37   But really, the reason everyone went with the commodity PC parts this time around is

00:05:41   because neither player, Microsoft or Sony, had the kind of money to invest in all custom

00:05:47   stuff.

00:05:48   Like, Sony can't afford to do the sale again.

00:05:52   Whether you like the seller or don't like it, it costs them a tremendous amount of money

00:05:55   to develop this crazy-ass new thing all on their own.

00:05:59   They could not put that kind of investment.

00:06:00   They didn't want to.

00:06:01   Microsoft also didn't want to pay for IBM to make them their own crazy CPU/GPU thing

00:06:06   like they did with the Xbox and everything. They said, "We are both not in a position

00:06:11   to do that this time. We have to go with commodity parts. There's not enough of an upside for

00:06:15   us to do custom." So they both go with commodity parts.

00:06:17   Now wait, forgive my ignorance on this. I don't know anything about what the next Xbox

00:06:20   is rumored or planned to have. AMD, CPU, and NVIDIA. Is it AMD? Whoever's

00:06:26   doing the GPU is the same for both of them. It's AMD.

00:06:30   AMD then. Formally ATI for, yeah. Yeah, yeah, it's the same company now. But yeah, they're

00:06:35   the same. I mean, they were close to the same in the PSD. The Xbox 360 doesn't have a cell

00:06:41   processor, but they both had GPUs from ATI and they both had PowerPC cores inside their

00:06:46   CPUs when the cell did all sorts of other crazy stuff and had an NVIDIA GPU in there

00:06:51   or something like that. But yeah, the architectures are different. I'll send you that article

00:06:55   that I tweeted a couple days ago. It's short enough, you can read through the differences

00:06:59   and what they decided to do. It looked like the difference was going to be that Microsoft

00:07:02   was going to have double the RAM of the Sony box.

00:07:06   But now Sony's matched that. But it was slower RAM. And everyone looked

00:07:10   at the Microsoft box and said, "Okay, well, why would you put that much RAM in a game console?

00:07:14   It's too much and too slow for you to use and to make up for the slowness of the RAM."

00:07:19   The next Xbox has a dedicated embedded SRAM, like 32 megabytes of it.

00:07:25   Wow. Kind of like how the GameCube did.

00:07:27   to have one really super fast region that you can use for cache, or enough for like

00:07:32   RAM buffers and other data that you need to close by, and then an enormous pool of much slower RAM.

00:07:37   And the theory behind that is that the Microsoft box was going to be like a DVR and a media center

00:07:43   and games wouldn't even have access to all that RAM, so it'd be like 8 gigs, but games would get

00:07:47   like 5 gigs of that or something, and the rest of it would be dedicated to just doing media-centered

00:07:53   TEP activities, which would run at the same time as your games, whereas the Sony one was

00:07:58   supposedly coming with 4 gigs of super-duper, you know, 4 gigs of GDDR5, which is stuff

00:08:02   that's on video cards, that would be a unified pool.

00:08:05   All of it's really fast.

00:08:06   You don't need a special cache close to it, but there's not enough left over for you to

00:08:09   be doing dedicated media center DVR, whatever functionality.

00:08:13   But now that Sony has come out with 8, I don't know if they just changed their mind and went

00:08:18   with 8, but that's kind of 8 gigs of GDDR5, assuming that's what's in there. I still haven't

00:08:23   seen it in the presentation, but I just saw the number on it.

00:08:27   Oh, and by the way, the PlayStation 1 supposedly has more GPU cores as well, so it was a more

00:08:33   interesting fight with the rumored specs. Now that the real specs are out, assuming

00:08:37   that the rumored Xbox specs are correct, the Sony one is just more powerful in all ways.

00:08:42   faster RAM, the same amount, more GPU cores, and then the Xbox one is, I guess,

00:08:48   it'll have its crazy-ass Kinect stuff on it too, but I don't know. But they are

00:08:53   looking very similar this generation. That's very... and then you also throw in,

00:08:58   is this ValveBox thing gonna happen? No, that is just a PC, I mean... Well, but the

00:09:05   funny thing is, like, you know, now we're gonna have two, possibly three, consoles

00:09:10   that are extremely similar to PC hardware,

00:09:14   all with games that don't run on each other.

00:09:16   - That's what I'm saying,

00:09:17   like the PS4 is not like PC hardware.

00:09:20   PCs don't have eight gigabytes of GDDR5 RAM.

00:09:24   They have memory for the computer

00:09:26   and a CPU for the computer,

00:09:27   and then they have a GPU,

00:09:28   and then there's RAM on the video card.

00:09:30   Two separate pools of very wildly different memory.

00:09:33   One of it's really close to the dedicated GPU,

00:09:35   and this is a very different arrangement

00:09:37   than having a unified super fast RAM for the entire thing

00:09:40   like there's dedicated video and decode hardwares on the thing, so they can do real-time screen

00:09:49   capture video of your plan.

00:09:51   The PS4 is not going to look like it's Steam boxing.

00:09:53   Steam boxing is literally going to be a PC.

00:09:55   There's going to be RAM, there's going to be VRAM, there's going to be a GPU, there's

00:09:57   going to be a CPU.

00:09:59   That is very different, architecturally, from the PS4.

00:10:02   And that's even before you start getting into all the little dedicated chips for all the

00:10:05   dedicated functionality, and even before you get into how much closer you can get to the

00:10:09   the metal on the PlayStation when writing games for it.

00:10:13   So I expect PS4 games to look as good as the Steam Box games out of the gate, assuming

00:10:20   anyone ever makes, I mean, who is that company?

00:10:22   Like that piston something company is making that Steam Box thing?

00:10:24   I don't know.

00:10:25   I don't know what Valve's plan is, but they should just either make their own hardware

00:10:30   or pick one hardware vendor and make one single thing and not be like, "Oh, it's a free-for-all.

00:10:34   Anyone can make a gaming PC that hooks up to your TV."

00:10:36   Yeah, they can, but they all stink.

00:10:38   Marco to go back quite a while actually what what is it that you liked so much about the Xbox one and I asked because

00:10:44   The friends of mine that I have that that adored the Xbox one in it seemed to me

00:10:50   They adored it more for the hacky moddy things you could do with it than they did for the actual stock

00:10:56   Xbox does does that question make so yeah, and and I bought mine actually pre hacked

00:11:01   Because I didn't want to mess with it, but so I bought I bought a modded Xbox

00:11:07   in like 2004, I think it came out in 2001 or something,

00:11:11   so it was well into the console's lifespan.

00:11:13   And it was very nice, I bought it mainly as a 16-bit emulator

00:11:18   for my TV and some media center functions,

00:11:24   like originally XBMC, running all that.

00:11:27   It was fantastic for that.

00:11:29   But as a gaming console, what I liked about the Xbox One

00:11:36   was that they really went all out on the hardware,

00:11:39   and they really had a few very good innovations.

00:11:44   One of the biggest ones were those breakaway controller cords.

00:11:47   You remember those?

00:11:48   - Yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:11:49   - You know it was better than breakaway controller cords,

00:11:52   Marco?

00:11:53   No cords. - Wireless?

00:11:54   Well, yeah, eventually.

00:11:55   - Oh, it's called innovation.

00:11:57   - Well, yeah, but--

00:11:58   - You and your breakaway controller cords.

00:11:59   - At the time, everything still had wires,

00:12:01   and so if you're going to have a bunch of wires--

00:12:02   - The GameCube with the WaveBird.

00:12:06   If you're going to have a bunch of wires, that's a very good way to do it.

00:12:10   And they also had an auto switching ethernet port on the back.

00:12:14   It was the first console, as far as I know, ever to have ethernet at all.

00:12:18   And to have it built in on every console was awesome.

00:12:20   And it was auto switching so that you could use a straight through or a crossover cable

00:12:23   between two Xboxes and it would just make it work.

00:12:26   Which on Gigabit, I think all Gigabit ports have that, but that was only 100 megabit and

00:12:30   so it was optional at that time and they put that in as a little trick.

00:12:34   And they had all sorts of neat little things,

00:12:36   the software, the management interface,

00:12:38   stuff like that that was very ahead of its time.

00:12:42   And in addition to being a pretty powerful system,

00:12:45   graphics-wise, so overall, I really enjoyed the X,

00:12:50   even though I didn't own one until relatively

00:12:51   late in its lifespan, I thought it was a fantastic system.

00:12:56   - You know what's weird is, and this is totally dating me,

00:12:59   well, except maybe to John, who probably was

00:13:02   well ahead of me on this.

00:13:03   But Marco, I bet you've done this too.

00:13:06   When you talk about an ethernet connection on a console,

00:13:10   I don't know why, but the first thing that jumps to mind

00:13:12   is me when I'm like 10, playing Descent 1

00:13:16   and like Wolf 3D, no, not Wolf 3D, but Duke Nukem 3D

00:13:20   and Doom on serial no-modem cables strung together

00:13:25   in my dad's office or whatever.

00:13:27   So my friends would bring their freaking tower computers

00:13:29   - Oh yeah, we did that. - And they're 800 pound,

00:13:31   15 inch monitors over, and we would have

00:13:34   like a predecessor to a LAN party,

00:13:37   and that was how I spent my Friday or Saturday evenings

00:13:40   when I was like 10, playing these games

00:13:43   against my friends locally,

00:13:45   and then we thought we were really hot shit

00:13:47   when we would figure out how to do it over dial up,

00:13:50   which by the way was so unreliable and so slow

00:13:52   that it never friggin' worked anyway.

00:13:54   But I mean, did you guys also do that sort of

00:13:57   ridiculously nerdy crap when you were young?

00:13:58   - Oh yeah, I mean, almost every weekend in high school,

00:14:01   and even like the summers in college,

00:14:03   my friends and I would do this when we were all home,

00:14:04   almost every weekend in high school though,

00:14:06   we would haul our computers and our CRT monitors

00:14:10   to whoever's house had the hub at the time.

00:14:15   (laughing)

00:14:16   Like different people got hubs at different times.

00:14:18   This was before wireless also,

00:14:20   so we would just have very long network cables

00:14:22   like duct taped to the ceiling

00:14:23   and running down the stairs and everything.

00:14:26   We would spend like six hours setting,

00:14:28   We would start the game at midnight because it would just be so long just setting it up,

00:14:34   trying to get all the computers to see each other on the network properly.

00:14:36   It was a disaster.

00:14:38   People would have their big CRT sitting on this rickety coffee table, just everyone crammed

00:14:43   into the basement.

00:14:44   Oh my god.

00:14:45   But we had a blast.

00:14:46   It was tons of fun.

00:14:47   Now we could all just do that with laptops or iPads and have just as much fun.

00:14:54   There really is something about local multiplayer.

00:14:57   I love that. And for certain game types, like, we would almost always play RTSs. And especially

00:15:04   for that game type, I mean, it's such a fantastic setup. And it's so much better than playing

00:15:09   online. It's so much better than split screen all on one TV from a console. It's fantastic.

00:15:17   And now the hardware is awesome. We all have enough money to afford laptops now. And laptops

00:15:22   are all good enough to play games now. And now we all live in different places and have

00:15:25   kids and stuff and we're all too busy to ever do any of this stuff again.

00:15:29   Yeah, it's kind of sad. John, how much, how much, I presume you were

00:15:33   an expert in all of these things, but did you get involved in all this? Only in college really, because I didn't have

00:15:37   like, networking in my house until I went off to college.

00:15:41   But AppleTalk was awesome for this, because AppleTalk, the discovery

00:15:45   protocol on AppleTalk, like when you're on AppleTalk network, you can see everyone else

00:15:49   who's also on the network, so that's simplified setup greatly, you just have to plug all the things together with

00:15:53   talk cables, everyone could see everyone else, and games like Marathon and stuff supported

00:15:57   Apple Talk. So you'd just fire it up, you'd all see each other, you'd join up and play,

00:16:00   it was really easy. College computer labs, the Macs were there, and they were all connected

00:16:06   with Apple Talk, you just load Marathon and all of them and you've got Instant Land Party

00:16:10   in the computer lab.

00:16:11   Yeah, but then the problem there, though, is that you need two things that don't exist.

00:16:16   Friends with Macs in the '90s, and games for Macs.

00:16:19   In colleges, the labs are always filled with them.

00:16:22   And we had a marathon, which is all you really needed.

00:16:27   I did play Doom on the Mac over a modem, I believe, but I think that was after I had

00:16:33   come back from college and played against somebody.

00:16:35   They had an old, crappy, poor game.

00:16:38   Did you ever hear of Avara?

00:16:40   Avara?

00:16:41   How do you want to pronounce it?

00:16:44   That was a great game with AppleTalk networking.

00:16:46   It was non-texture mapped, but just like flat shaded polygons, kind of like a mech game

00:16:52   where your direction of travel and the direction that your head carrying the guns were pointing

00:16:56   were independent of each other.

00:16:58   Too complicated for modern gamers, certainly too complicated for a console, but very interesting

00:17:03   to play over the network, especially at colleges because with a college you had an AppleTalk

00:17:09   network but you also had an Ethernet connection to the internet, which was just amazing coming

00:17:14   from dial-up, right?

00:17:15   So you could play people in far off places over your Ethernet connection.

00:17:19   That was like magic.

00:17:20   I remember doing that on the -- you could only do it on the lab computers, because back

00:17:25   in your dorm you just had a modem and it was a non-starter.

00:17:27   You could play online games over Ethernet over the Internet.

00:17:30   Once we got to college it was way easier because you were on a network of computers or you

00:17:35   had labs.

00:17:37   In high school when you were just on your computer around -- and of course before LCD

00:17:41   monitors and good laptops, and wireless, it was so much more involved.

00:17:46   I never would have taken my computer to any place. My precious, beautiful computer, is

00:17:51   I going to carry them in a car, and in a box, and check? No, I would never have.

00:17:55   For me, though, you always had Macs, right?

00:17:59   Yeah.

00:18:00   So by definition, you were never building your own computer. For me, I had this weird,

00:18:05   hacked together tower that I had assembled myself. No part of it really felt particularly

00:18:12   like nice or fragile. It always was just kind of like this.

00:18:16   That's why you liked the Xbox, because it looked like it was built like a Frankenstein

00:18:19   monster. I know. The Xbox is huge. I even had a full

00:18:25   tower case, not a mid tower, a full tower. And I had friends with those cases, too. I

00:18:31   over to their houses and played their PC games with them. No, no good.

00:18:37   I still miss RTSs with local multiplayer. And you know what I miss? I actually did play

00:18:44   some. I played Starcraft and Command & Conquer, Red Alert, some. But you know what I miss

00:18:51   is the days back in the day, Marco, when you and I would play Transport Tycoon together.

00:18:56   Oh yeah, on your OS/2 laptop.

00:19:00   Was it really OS/2? I know, I definitely ran OS/2 at some point.

00:19:04   I think we would have to boot to DOS to play Transport Tycoon. But the great thing is, Transport Tycoon,

00:19:08   which is a game that nobody had ever heard of as far as I knew, it apparently has enough of a cult

00:19:12   following that now there's this huge open source

00:19:16   thing called OpenTTD for Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe.

00:19:20   You can get a modern engine for Transport Tycoon that uses all the old

00:19:24   assets, all the old art and everything, for, it's open source, it's for Mac and Linux

00:19:29   and Windows. Somebody, I think, once tried to port it to the App Store and it got pulled

00:19:34   out of the store for probably a GPL violation or something, who knows. But you can get this

00:19:38   now. So, like, I was playing Transport Tycoon again a few years ago on my MacBook on the

00:19:43   train, like, building up a whole new, it was awesome. And that game has lived on.

00:19:49   Do you know all that was, yeah, and did you know, like, I believe it was Transport Tycoon,

00:19:52   If it wasn't Transporting, it was RollerCoaster Tycoon.

00:19:54   You know all that was, 99% of that was assembly.

00:19:57   Wow, I do not know that.

00:19:59   That's how you made games back in the DOS era.

00:20:01   Yeah, you kind of had to.

00:20:02   But that just melts my head.

00:20:04   Half of the Mac operating system was assembly for most of its early life.

00:20:09   It's the only way you could do it to get any good performance out of it.

00:20:13   That stuns me.

00:20:14   Because when I was in school, I, like John, was a computer engineer, not a computer scientist.

00:20:18   And so because of that, we had to take a bunch of double E

00:20:22   courses.

00:20:22   And one of the ones that I believe

00:20:24   was classified as double E was microprocessor--

00:20:27   I don't remember exactly what it was called.

00:20:29   Basically, it was writing assembly for a Motorola HC-11.

00:20:32   And I was one of the six people I

00:20:35   talked to that actually really, really loved that course.

00:20:39   And I really did enjoy writing in assembly.

00:20:41   But holy crap, I would not want to do that at that level.

00:20:45   That just sounds painful.

00:20:46   I could enjoy it.

00:20:47   I really liked my assembly courses, and I really got into it, and I could see how I

00:20:51   would be perfectly happy doing that. But by the time I was taking that course, I knew

00:20:55   it wasn't, you know—like, if that was the mainstream way to program, I'd be perfectly

00:21:00   happy. But, you know, with the way it is now, that's not—no one is writing entire large

00:21:04   programs in assembly anymore.

00:21:06   Yeah, but Perl makes about as much sense.

00:21:08   No.

00:21:09   It's about as readable.

00:21:10   Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

00:21:13   You know, going back to "Transport Tycoon,"

00:21:17   I have lots of ideas for little games

00:21:21   I would make if I knew how to make games and had time to do

00:21:23   so and chose to do that with that time, none of which

00:21:26   are true.

00:21:27   But one of the things that I've always wanted to do

00:21:30   is take-- what I love so much about "Transport Tycoon"

00:21:35   is building the train networks.

00:21:36   I don't really care about the other parts of the game.

00:21:39   I just like building these complicated train

00:21:41   with tracks laid out in such a way that the maximum throughput of trains can go through

00:21:45   and not get all gummed up and everything. And I think

00:21:49   I bet you could extract that, just that element of it,

00:21:53   into a simpler game for iOS that's modern

00:21:57   and just simpler and fun. And I

00:22:01   know there's Trainyard, which is not really the same thing, although it's very good.

00:22:06   But as far as I know that doesn't exist yet. And I don't really know even what

00:22:10   the details of that would be, like what exactly the gameplay would be, how that would work.

00:22:15   I would imagine it would be some kind of puzzle-like game where you're trying to design these tracks

00:22:20   and put the signals in the right places where they would do the right thing and everything,

00:22:23   but all to maximize throughput and minimize traffic.

00:22:29   Once you envision that program in your head, don't you immediately envision the program

00:22:32   that you would write to solve that game?

00:22:34   Well, no, I think...

00:22:35   You just make an algorithm and have it sicken on the game and have it maximize throughput.

00:22:40   I think it might be NP-complete to solve what I'm imagining.

00:22:44   It's one of those--you ever see them where they do the automator things for Mario games and stuff?

00:22:49   Where you try to make an algorithm that will successfully get you through the level,

00:22:54   but there are limitations to how you're doing it. It has to be real-time. You can only do it in the scanning intervals.

00:22:59   So you can't really be smart, so you have to come up with the dumbest algorithm that

00:23:05   can execute on this limited CPU during the interval between frames that successfully

00:23:09   gets you through the level.

00:23:12   That's really nerdy.

00:23:13   My goodness.

00:23:15   That's impressive.

00:23:16   Now, did you ever play Transport Tycoon, Jon?

00:23:17   Do you even know what we're talking about?

00:23:19   No, but I know all those Tycoon games.

00:23:21   But you don't.

00:23:22   That's the thing.

00:23:23   But you don't.

00:23:24   It's not like the others, Jon.

00:23:25   It's not like the others.

00:23:26   The transport tycoon is like railroad tycoon or roller coaster tycoon and it's not and it was I think it was made by totally different people

00:23:33   It's much more like Sim City. It's closer to that. I also don't like Sim City. Okay, you probably wouldn't like this

00:23:39   Yeah, I mean like I understand why people are into them

00:23:42   I see the appeal but I like I played them just does not make up a tee

00:23:45   I mean the gist of the game is it is very it looks a lot like Sim City and

00:23:49   There are a bunch of cities on the map

00:23:51   But you don't build the cities. You are a transportation network and you build the trains and the planes and the roads

00:23:58   that connect the cities and you get business from that. And so you spend most of your time like laying out track.

00:24:04   I like pipe dream. Does that count?

00:24:06   I don't know. I don't know. Do you remember pipe dream? I don't think so.

00:24:10   You have a bunch of pieces that are all square and a piece can have a straight line from top to bottom,

00:24:16   a straight line from left to right. Those are the pipes.

00:24:19   an elbow, and you had to lay out the pieces as they came. You didn't get to pick and choose.

00:24:24   It was like, "Here's your next piece. Fine. Somebody's good for it." And then eventually

00:24:27   water would start flowing, and the goal was to get your pipe set up for a really long

00:24:31   run of water.

00:24:32   That's right.

00:24:33   You meet some limit. The best thing about Pipe Dream is that I think at least one, possibly

00:24:38   multiple games, have added, basically, Pipe Dream as their version of hacking. Like when

00:24:43   you're in some game and you go up to the door lock and they put you into the hacking minigame,

00:24:47   And the hacking minigame is basically Pipe Dream, with wires and special effects and

00:24:51   stuff like that.

00:24:52   But you're like, "Wait a second.

00:24:53   This hacking game is Pipe Dream," which has nothing to do with actual hacking.

00:24:59   They just have to have some sort of activity that regular people who don't know anything

00:25:03   about computers will accept as, "Okay, I guess this is hacking."

00:25:06   And they use Pipe Dream.

00:25:07   I like Pipe Dream.

00:25:08   I thought the game was fun.

00:25:09   I think they even had a version of that in The Seventh Guest.

00:25:11   Remember that?

00:25:13   It's very popular.

00:25:14   disguise it as much as possible and eventually realize, "Wait a second, this is just like

00:25:18   pipe cream cleverly disguised."

00:25:20   So A, I'm definitely going to release this as another Accidental Tech podcast episode.

00:25:25   B, I wonder if anybody is going to know what I just said about The Seventh Guest. Like,

00:25:30   if anybody even remembers what that is.

00:25:32   I remember what it was. I actually loved Eleventh Hour. Do you know what that is?

00:25:36   I do. That's the sequel, but I never played it.

00:25:38   Yes, indeed. See, I never played Seventh Guest, coincidentally, but I really enjoyed Eleventh

00:25:42   Hour.

00:25:43   The Seventh Guest is one of those CD-ROM games where--

00:25:48   - Wasn't it one of the first?

00:25:48   - It was one of the first CD-ROM games, I think.

00:25:51   It certainly, it was one of the first I'd ever seen.

00:25:53   And it was like you were in this haunted mansion

00:25:58   and you had to solve puzzles.

00:26:00   It was just like a big puzzle solving game.

00:26:02   And so it was tons of these little mini games

00:26:04   and trying to figure out some murder mystery.

00:26:07   I forget the exact story, but it was one of those games

00:26:11   where because it was on a CD-ROM,

00:26:13   most of the time in the game was spent

00:26:17   watching these little FMV sequences,

00:26:19   these little videos,

00:26:20   'cause games couldn't have videos up until that point.

00:26:22   There was not enough storage space on cartridges.

00:26:24   So they would waste the whole CD

00:26:26   with videos and CD audio raw. (laughs)

00:26:31   And so you just spend the whole time watching video clips

00:26:34   and clicking between them, and that was the game.

00:26:37   But it did have some pretty hard puzzles in it.

00:26:40   I remember that because it was right to my memory, which is terrible.

00:26:45   It was right around the time that like Myst had come out as well.

00:26:47   I think it was before Myst.

00:26:50   But Myst was way more popular, but the Seventh Guest I think predated it.

00:26:54   And I remember like Myst was, like Myst seemed so primitive after seeing the Seventh Guest

00:26:59   because it wasn't full motion.

00:27:00   It was like a slideshow that you were clicking between in Myst.

00:27:03   Well, it was HyperCard.

00:27:05   Myst, rather.

00:27:06   There's video on that.

00:27:07   Was it just a lot less of it?

00:27:09   It was QuickTime, so it was tiny video.

00:27:11   OK.

00:27:12   Well, see, the seven guests, every move you made

00:27:15   would be animated the whole way.

00:27:18   And I think with Myst, if you clicked

00:27:20   to move to go into a room, it would just clip

00:27:23   and you'd be there, right?

00:27:25   Yeah, well, they did a crossfade.

00:27:26   But yeah, the full motion video was--

00:27:28   I love that you remember that there was a crossfade.

00:27:30   It was a plague on optical media games,

00:27:34   because there was so many-- remember,

00:27:36   it was a vampire game with Shannon Doherty in it. I think that was the low point.

00:27:39   And there were a whole lot of like, make your own music video games. There was like a criss

00:27:44   cross one for the Sega CD. Really? God, that's awful.

00:27:49   Seven Guess was a good game, but in general, full motion video on CD-ROM,

00:27:52   those were all terrible games. Especially because like, when CD-ROMs first came out,

00:27:57   yes, they could hold video, but they couldn't hold or playback very good quality video.

00:28:03   So you were seeing like you were sitting there sitting through really low quality really great tiny if you're lucky exactly

00:28:11   so

00:28:13   One of the things one of the other CD games that are CD-ROM games that I really loved at the time

00:28:17   Although I think it was a couple years later was Wing Commander 3. Did you guys ever play that?

00:28:21   They've had Mark Hamill in it. John you must have played this. I know what you're talking about

00:28:25   I was not a Wing Commander fan

00:28:26   I this is the only one of the series I ever played that

00:28:29   But I really loved it and that had a lot of full motion video and it was split across like four CD roms

00:28:33   Which was unheard of at the time but a couple things about

00:28:36   7th guest in mist firstly John

00:28:39   I'm surprised that that you aren't in love with mist strictly because it was originally done in hyper card

00:28:45   I liked it. I like that you could cheat by holding down command an option. I

00:28:50   Did not know that what would that let you do so in hyper when you make a hyper card stack

00:28:55   You can like make little regions that are clickable whatever and when you when you're developing a hyper card

00:29:00   You want to know what those regions are so you could hold down command and option it would put dotted lines around around the clickable

00:29:05   regions

00:29:06   And that's early early versions of mist they had not I guess found a way to disable that or whatever

00:29:11   So it really took the mystery out of the game if you could hold down command and option and see what the great war regions

00:29:16   Were in any of the mist screen

00:29:17   That's awesome

00:29:17   And then also a real-time follow-up because I don't want to have an episode without it from Wikipedia

00:29:22   Myst was commercially successful on release along with the seventh guest

00:29:26   It was widely regarded as a killer application that accelerated the sales of CD-ROM drives, which was first. I'm curious

00:29:31   Seventh guest by a few months. That's it

00:29:35   Yeah, like I and this is this is of course just you know

00:29:38   Whatever my friends had but like I saw the seventh guest a few years before I ever saw missed

00:29:43   But again, that's just because my friend had it and I guess nobody bought missed for a while

00:29:46   Well, the best part was I remember vividly

00:29:49   for these games

00:29:52   Loading them into what do you call it? Not a carousel, but it was a like a cartridge that you yeah

00:29:59   Yeah, yeah

00:29:59   Yeah

00:29:59   So you put the CD into a caddy and the caddy into the external CD-ROM drive and that's how I played it in

00:30:05   Oh my god, that was so terrible and it was probably scuzzy

00:30:08   It was it was indeed. You're absolutely right PC

00:30:12   Weenie's missed out on was it before missed were get two games called the manhole and cosmic Osmo which were the manhole

00:30:19   The manhole yep is that and come on?

00:30:22   Which were absolutely?

00:30:25   100% precursors to mist, but they were black and white

00:30:28   And they did not come on CD-ROM cosmic also came in like six floppy disks or something six eight hundred K floppy disks

00:30:35   But it was the same as I think a hyper card stack with static screens that you could click on to make things happen to

00:30:40   Solve puzzles much more casual puzzles much more kid oriented lighter weight type things all black and white graphics

00:30:46   but it was the same type Dio click, go from one place to the other.

00:30:49   Myst was simply 640x480 3D rendered

00:30:53   color version of that plus full motion video. But if you had played those first two games

00:30:57   it was a natural progression. Well also apparently it was by the same guys who did Myst.

00:31:01   Which I had never heard of them. Yes, the Cyan, those guys.

00:31:05   Cosmo is a very important piece of work along with like Fools

00:31:09   Errand in the pantheon of gaming and Mac gaming.

00:31:13   Do you think you could still make a game like Myst today or do you think everybody would

00:31:18   just want it to be a free 3D world where you could move wherever you wanted?

00:31:22   Well that's what the Myst games are like now.

00:31:23   Oh they still make them?

00:31:26   Well they did Myst and then Riven was just like Myst but much nicer and better.

00:31:31   Then they did the one, Myst III Exile where you could, like QuickTime VR, you could change

00:31:35   your viewpoint and look around in real time.

00:31:37   So it was like you were in a series of bubbles, QuickTime VR things, you could look around

00:31:42   Like those real estate walkthroughs?

00:31:44   Yeah, but only much nicer and motion sickness inducing in me.

00:31:48   Then they did Real Mist, which was like, "Take Mist 1, now we can do that in real time."

00:31:53   And then they did Uru, which was the online thing where you could walk around in complete 3D.

00:31:58   But yeah, we're far past the point of static screens.

00:32:01   Although I believe Riven is coming out for the iPad, and I think that will actually be a good application.

00:32:05   For people wondering, Riven is the best game. If you can only play one of them, play Riven.

00:32:10   Even with the static screens, I think on the iPad, it'll still work well.

00:32:16   Yeah, actually that kind of game probably, like there's so many game ports that people are dumping

00:32:21   onto iOS now because if they think they can make a quick buck off their old catalog and...

00:32:25   Such as the seventh guest.

00:32:26   That's for iPad now? I didn't realize that.

00:32:28   Yes, sir.

00:32:28   Wow, I actually might try that just to see, I'm sure the game is not nearly as good as I remember.

00:32:32   $4.99.

00:32:34   It never is. But like Sega's dumping so much crap on there and like there's so many like

00:32:40   old console and old PC games that are just being dumped on iOS.

00:32:44   And most of them are just terrible because controlling things is so different on iOS.

00:32:48   But I imagine a game like Myst and Riven would

00:32:52   probably be really easily portable. That's a perfect fit. You just tap.

00:32:56   It's random access. It's even better than doing it with a mouse because you don't have the mouse cursor mucking things up and you have random

00:33:00   access. But they really need to bring this myth, M-Y-T-H.

00:33:04   Wasn't that like an RTS with fantasy people?

00:33:08   or Renaissance?

00:33:10   Yep.

00:33:11   But it was no resources.

00:33:12   At the beginning of the round, you

00:33:14   have a certain number of points you

00:33:15   distribute to whatever units you want to select, and that's it.

00:33:17   No mining, no producing new troops, no nothing.

00:33:21   So it was a tactics game, really.

00:33:22   But it's perfect for the iPad, because it was all

00:33:25   about swiping around the battlefield, rotating,

00:33:29   skewing, selecting multiple people.

00:33:30   You can imagine tracing your hands around them.

00:33:32   Maybe they'd have a little bit of difficulty,

00:33:33   because there were formation keys,

00:33:35   like all the number keys for which formation you wanted.

00:33:37   and then you would click and drag to align your formation.

00:33:40   But I feel like with a series of gestures,

00:33:41   you could pull it off.

00:33:42   And it would be awesome.

00:33:43   I played Myth like crazy,

00:33:45   and that would be awesome on the iPad.

00:33:47   - I definitely feel like the RTS-type games,

00:33:51   or games that have RTS-like controls,

00:33:53   are really so far under-explored on the iPad.

00:33:56   Because I think they could be awesome.

00:33:57   - And they're terrible on the console,

00:33:59   because you don't have a random access,

00:34:01   you don't have a mouse pointer,

00:34:02   so it's just like, it's a nightmare, right?

00:34:04   So they're good on the Mac or PC,

00:34:07   terrible on the console, but the iPad should be great because you have random access and

00:34:11   10 fingers. You really need the iPad Pro for that, the 20-inch iPad Pro. You can use two

00:34:17   hands to play Myth 3000 that Bungie will come out with when they're done with Destiny.

00:34:23   But if we at least had all iPads, I wouldn't have to carry my full tower PC to my friend's

00:34:28   house to play RTSes.

00:34:29   That's true. On a random note, you know what else that just jumped into my head that I

00:34:33   I used to love playing back in the day was Battle Chest.

00:34:36   You guys ever play that?

00:34:37   - I saw it, yeah. - I remember Battle Chest, yep.

00:34:38   - Oh God, I love that.

00:34:40   It was just a stupid animation.

00:34:41   - Yeah, that was exactly aimed for 10 year olds.

00:34:45   - Yep, and yep.

00:34:46   - They cut the guy's head off.

00:34:48   - Oh my God, that's so awesome.

00:34:49   - This is so much better than regular chess.

00:34:51   - And it wasn't even, was it 320 by 200?

00:34:55   I don't know if you remember--

00:34:55   - I don't even remember. - 480.

00:34:58   - Yeah, I don't know. - 'Cause that was

00:34:58   the dividing line between disgusting PC games

00:35:01   with the pixels the size of bricks

00:35:03   and real software that had reasonable size.

00:35:05   Very few games of that era were 640x480.

00:35:08   Yeah, Syndicate is the first one I remember seeing.

00:35:10   I'm like, finally PC gaming has arrived.

00:35:13   Well, according to the screenshot in Wikipedia

00:35:15   for Battle Chess, it was 320x200.

00:35:17   But I get the feeling this has got to be shrunk or something.

00:35:20   I remember one of my favorite classic games

00:35:23   is Scorched Earth, to the extent that when I was in college,

00:35:28   I tried making a Scorched Earth clone about five different ways

00:35:31   and starting over five different times.

00:35:34   That's how I learned DirectX, that's how I learned OpenGL.

00:35:37   I started even trying that on iOS,

00:35:41   because I love Scorched Earth so much.

00:35:43   And in fact, my wife, who was then just my girlfriend,

00:35:46   even made me a Scorched Earth pillow

00:35:49   for one of the various anniversary or Valentine's

00:35:52   something or other, where she stitched a Scorched Earth

00:35:55   screenshot that she found.

00:35:56   She reproduced it with stitching on a pillow.

00:35:58   It looks awesome, I still have it.

00:35:59   But yeah, that was a fantastic game.

00:36:03   And I was happy to see some games similar to it,

00:36:06   like that tank game, whatever.

00:36:08   I shoot on iOS in the early days.

00:36:11   But oh yeah, that game, that was one of the very first games

00:36:16   I had where I could run it at the full resolution

00:36:18   that my video card supported, which was 640 by 480.

00:36:22   And it just looked so much better

00:36:23   than my friend's crappy 320 by 200 version

00:36:25   on his little bit older PC.

00:36:29   all those sharp lines and everything was so crisp on my 640x480 screen.

00:36:34   That's what us Mac gamers were lording over all you people.

00:36:37   "Yeah, you may have color, but who wants color?"

00:36:40   And games.

00:36:41   "We have sharp, sharp black and white graphics."

00:36:43   Wow.

00:36:44   Now, really, you didn't make such a difference, though, with the sharpness of the things you

00:36:48   could do.

00:36:49   That's why games like, you know, Fool's Errand were possible with those tiny, sharp little

00:36:53   graphics.

00:36:54   There were even things like Dark Castle, where PC gamers, when they saw Dark Castle, were

00:36:58   impressed because it was something they couldn't see on their systems. Even though this was

00:37:02   a black and white game, they did not turn their nose up on it. They were fascinated

00:37:05   by it because it didn't exist at all anywhere. Nothing had 72 dpi screen with tiny little

00:37:14   characters with real sound. That's the other thing that PC gamers would be impressed by.

00:37:18   If you didn't have a fancy sound card, you just had the PC speaker and it would bleep

00:37:22   at you or whatever. The Macs came out of the box, 22 kilohertz audio, and they put actual

00:37:26   clips of sounds. I used to impress PC folks when they came over. I would just play random

00:37:31   clips from Ferris Bueller's Day Off and stuff. Just play them as beep sounds. They'd be like,

00:37:35   "Wow, your computer made that sound? Is there a CD in there?" No, that's just the sound

00:37:39   the computers make. They can make sounds.

00:37:41   You know, it's funny because I don't really give a crap about hardware in terms of the

00:37:47   intricacies of this GPU versus that or this processor versus that. But back in those days,

00:37:52   Man, I remember having arguments about, what was it, like the Sound Blaster 16 versus the Sound Blaster Pro,

00:37:59   and like all these stupid, terrible arguments that when you're 10 years old and a complete frickin' nerd,

00:38:05   God, you took them so seriously.

00:38:07   Well, also, like, back then, it was a much rougher world with all this stuff.

00:38:12   Like, you would have—some games just wouldn't support your sound card, and that'd be it.

00:38:16   And even just like the point where you went from PC speaker to sound card,

00:38:21   nobody had Mac, sorry John, but the point when you went from PC speaker to sound card,

00:38:25   that was a major upgrade because it really did change what your computer could do.

00:38:30   It radically changed what it was like to play games.

00:38:35   To me, so I got my first computer, it was a 486, without a sound card,

00:38:40   and then I got as an add-on the next Christmas,

00:38:45   I got a package that was a Sound Blaster

00:38:49   that a CD-ROM drive would also plug into, because the

00:38:53   motherboards didn't have CD controllers, like I think it was a Tappy, the interface that they used

00:38:57   and so you had like early sound cards would actually come with

00:39:01   a Tappy controllers and they would sell the CD-ROM and the sound card as a bundle

00:39:05   so that, so like my first Christmas after having my first computer

00:39:09   I added to it a CD-ROM and a sound card and that was

00:39:13   was such a massive upgrade. I don't think there was an upgrade that significant until

00:39:19   getting internet connectivity, in how much it changed my computer. And then getting internet

00:39:24   connectivity, there wasn't anything really after that until SSDs, maybe?

00:39:29   Well, what about Wi-Fi? I mean, maybe not the same.

00:39:32   So how are you not finding Macs, because you're adding this terrible CD-ROM drive and the

00:39:35   Sound Blaster card to the computer, and it's such a huge upgrade, and every Mac all was

00:39:40   already able to do that for years and years when you had your 486 and you were just ignoring

00:39:45   them.

00:39:46   Yeah, probably.

00:39:47   They were off on the side there.

00:39:48   They all had stereo sound that worked.

00:39:52   You could connect the CD-ROM drive to all of them.

00:39:54   You didn't have to buy anything weird.

00:39:56   It was just there.

00:39:57   It was just a baseline.

00:39:58   I probably wouldn't have been able to afford a good...

00:39:59   Because I bought this computer in 1994, or late '90s.

00:40:05   No, it was early '94.

00:40:07   I remember it cost like $2,000 with monitor and printer.

00:40:11   What would a decently equipped Mac cost in,

00:40:15   sorry, not 2004, 1994.

00:40:16   What would a decently equipped Mac cost in '94?

00:40:22   - I'll probably double that.

00:40:23   - Right, and that was the problem.

00:40:24   We couldn't afford it, so I had my Gateway 2000 PC

00:40:29   that came in the Cowspot box.

00:40:31   - Oh, the LCs were out then.

00:40:33   1994, the LCs were out.

00:40:34   You could get a crappy low-cost Mac.

00:40:37   with the CD-ROM and sound card?

00:40:39   - Yeah, well, there was no sound card.

00:40:41   They tried to say there's no sound card in a Mac.

00:40:42   They all came with sound that worked.

00:40:45   It was like, it's built in.

00:40:47   It's not, there's no incompatibility.

00:40:50   Like the very first one, 128 kilobytes of RAM,

00:40:54   22 kilohertz sound, it was just like regular sound.

00:40:58   They jumped up to CD quality eventually,

00:40:59   but it was like, there was never a Mac

00:41:02   that could just bleep and boop at you.

00:41:03   - Right, the Apple II would do that.

00:41:06   Do you remember, speaking of RAM-- and this is for Marco--

00:41:09   do you remember doing the dance with conventional memory

00:41:11   and trying to make sure that your auto-exec.bat and config

00:41:14   sys had the drivers set up in such a way

00:41:17   that you would eke out just barely enough conventional

00:41:20   memory in order to run whatever game you wanted to run?

00:41:22   I did that over at my friend's house

00:41:24   trying to get the games to run.

00:41:25   They would come with little instructions

00:41:26   on how to change your config.sys and need a bat file

00:41:30   to try to get the thing to boot up.

00:41:31   It was like, you would get one game to work,

00:41:33   and then you'd have to be like, hey,

00:41:34   are we done with this game now?

00:41:35   because we have another game and we have to screw with the settings again.

00:41:37   And this one needs the mouse, so we need to screw with it.

00:41:39   You can't do both of them.

00:41:41   I had these bitchin' boot disks and these auto-exec scripts that were full-on menu systems,

00:41:48   so you would turn the computer on, it would be like, "What game do you want to play?"

00:41:52   And based on what game you wanted to play, it would either engage or disengage the mouse

00:41:55   and turn on or off your Sound Blaster in the CD-ROM drive.

00:41:58   It was barbaric, but god, it was really.

00:42:01   - I think that's how it was lucky,

00:42:02   'cause right after that,

00:42:04   I bought my first computer right when that stuff

00:42:08   started not mattering anymore.

00:42:09   Like it had eight megs of RAM,

00:42:11   which at the time was pretty good.

00:42:13   Like it wasn't like a workstation level,

00:42:15   but it was for a home computer that was very good.

00:42:17   And it was like DOS 6.1 or 6.2,

00:42:21   so it was already, DOS was pretty mature at that point.

00:42:24   The Sound Blaster was really easy.

00:42:25   It was a Sound Blaster 16.

00:42:27   I just put it on the default IRQs and everything,

00:42:29   and it just worked, and all the games

00:42:30   supported Sound Blaster 16s already. So like, I feel like I entered that like right after

00:42:36   it was all those pains in the ass.

00:42:38   JASON LEWKOWICZ The next time I had such a big pain in the

00:42:41   ass, and I'm gonna butcher the acronym, but it was, we were living in Austin, Texas at

00:42:47   the time actually, and we were getting, we were trying to hook up to our first ISP, and

00:42:53   not only did we have to write the modem command script, whatever that's called, where it was

00:42:57   like AT blah blah blah.

00:42:58   block.

00:42:59   >> ATH something, 292.

00:43:01   >> So we had to write that, but then we had to write the script that you would run, that

00:43:08   the modem would run, or whatever the computer would run once you connect to the ISP.

00:43:11   God, I wish I could remember the name of the script, but we had to write that by hand.

00:43:16   And this was when ISPs, like nobody had an ISP.

00:43:18   Everyone had friggin' AOL.

00:43:19   >> Right.

00:43:20   It was like, wait for this and send that.

00:43:22   >> Yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:43:23   God, I can't remember.

00:43:24   >> I wrote those in college to connect to my college's network with my modem.

00:43:27   I used to remember what it was called, and my dad and I literally spent like two weeks

00:43:31   trying to figure this friggin' thing out.

00:43:33   And finally we did, and it was like a whole new world.

00:43:35   It didn't take me that long because I had internet access in the lab.

00:43:38   Yeah, see, we had no such benefit.

00:43:39   They really need to look up Moto Minit scripts.

00:43:41   And yeah, they weren't that complicated.

00:43:44   Well, but bear in mind, I was like 12 at the time.

00:43:48   We didn't have an internet to turn to because A, there was barely an internet to begin with,

00:43:52   and B, this was us trying to get on the fucking internet in the first place.

00:43:55   So oh man, it was so painful.

00:43:58   God, I wish I could remember the name of that script.

00:43:59   I remember tweaking my modem and its scripts.

00:44:02   I got interested enough in it to look up the AT whatever language made by-- who was the

00:44:08   one who made that?

00:44:09   Was it Hayes?

00:44:10   Yeah, whoever came up with that originally.

00:44:12   It does make sense once you understand how it works, and so you could tweak it to try

00:44:15   to get a little bit more performance out of your Z modem transfers.

00:44:18   If you just tweak this parameter a little bit, see, let's try that.

00:44:21   Hmm, 500 characters per second.

00:44:23   I think I can get more.

00:44:24   - I think I'm both on a cold air intake.

00:44:26   (laughing)

00:44:29   - Oh, and I remember the days of like

00:44:30   the external US robotics modems.

00:44:32   Didn't you talk about that at one point, Mark?

00:44:33   - Yeah, well, 'cause that was the first,

00:44:35   well, the first modem I had,

00:44:37   because I wasn't allowed to really get on the internet

00:44:40   for a while, just for money reasons.

00:44:42   So the first one I had was just a hand-me-down

00:44:45   from, I don't even know where I got it,

00:44:46   maybe the garbage, a thrift store.

00:44:48   It was 2,400 baud,

00:44:49   and it was a tremendous external serial modem.

00:44:52   And this was probably 1996.

00:44:54   it was pretty late to have a 2400 baud modem.

00:44:58   And the only thing I could connect to was this local BBS

00:45:00   that was free.

00:45:01   There was no internet service for me back then.

00:45:03   So what I eventually got, though,

00:45:05   was I eventually somehow negotiated--

00:45:10   or I think somebody else felt pity on me

00:45:12   and handed me down a 14-4 modem a little while later,

00:45:15   which at the time, again, was ridiculously slow.

00:45:18   But it was at least a lot better than 2400.

00:45:20   So with that, I convinced my richest friend,

00:45:24   whose dad had an AOL account,

00:45:26   to give me a screen name on his account.

00:45:30   So I could log on and I would leave call waiting off.

00:45:34   I mean, I would leave call waiting enabled

00:45:37   and leave the speaker on the modem on constantly,

00:45:39   which is an AT command that you have to modify to do that.

00:45:41   And just listen to the, "Shh,"

00:45:45   the whole time I'm online, just listen to that.

00:45:47   and I would have to listen for the call waiting beep.

00:45:50   Because if the call waiting beep,

00:45:52   it was either my friend who wanted to use the account

00:45:54   because we couldn't both be logged in,

00:45:56   or it was somebody calling for my mom

00:45:58   and we only had one phone line,

00:46:00   so I had to flip the modem off,

00:46:02   pick up the phone and answer the phone,

00:46:04   and then lose all the connections I had.

00:46:06   Any download that was in progress would be lost,

00:46:08   have to start over again.

00:46:10   AOL, the AOL client would freak out

00:46:12   'cause it wasn't really accustomed to your modem

00:46:13   just being turned off all the time

00:46:15   in the middle of being used.

00:46:17   And it was terrible.

00:46:20   And I went straight from that terrible AOL setup

00:46:23   to eventually a 336 modem that was a gift for me

00:46:28   from my mom, I really appreciated that 336 modem.

00:46:31   Still no service though, I still use my friend's account.

00:46:34   And then after about another year of that,

00:46:36   I went right to cable.

00:46:38   I finally convinced my mom to let me buy

00:46:40   my own internet service.

00:46:41   I was working at a little hippie food co-op grocery store

00:46:46   when I was like 15, so I was able to pay the 40 bucks

00:46:49   a month for the Roadrunner service from Time Warner.

00:46:51   It was one of the very first cable modems, it was awesome.

00:46:54   And I went straight from 336 AOL, my friend's account,

00:46:57   to 10 megabit unmonitored awesome everything.

00:47:01   - You never got 56K.

00:47:02   - No, I skipped 28.8 and 56K,

00:47:05   like the two most common ones.

00:47:06   I skipped both of them.

00:47:08   - No, I skipped 28.8 and 33.6.

00:47:11   I went 24, 96, 14, 4, 56.

00:47:16   Yeah.

00:47:17   - See, I went 96, 14, 4, 28, 33, 6.

00:47:21   And a lot of this, I went through every step.

00:47:23   And I remember that we chose the X2 side

00:47:25   of the X2 K56 flex debate.

00:47:28   But the reason I was able to get all this stuff

00:47:30   was not because we were particularly fluent,

00:47:33   but because dad worked for IBM.

00:47:34   So he arguably needed all this crap for work.

00:47:38   And so because of that,

00:47:39   I got to kind of ride on his coattails.

00:47:40   In the same way I'm riding on Marco's M5's coattails,

00:47:43   if you will.

00:47:43   - Yeah, I need this car for work.

00:47:45   - I still have all my modems up in the attic, you know.

00:47:48   - Well, I think I still have the 336.

00:47:49   Like, it was, so, you know--

00:47:51   - Original boxes and everything.

00:47:52   - I got the cable modem in like '98 or '99, one of those.

00:47:56   But I was still, I still had a reason to pull out

00:47:59   that old external 336 US Robotics modem,

00:48:02   like once a year until like 2005.

00:48:05   I held onto it because I kept needing it

00:48:08   for like occasional like, oh crap,

00:48:10   something's broken, I can't do something,

00:48:12   I need this modem to save me in some way.

00:48:14   Like that kept coming up for almost a decade

00:48:18   after I had it.

00:48:18   - Oh man, memories.

00:48:23   We're so old.

00:48:24   - We really are.

00:48:24   That's a good time to end, what do you think?

00:48:29   - Yeah, probably.

00:48:30   It's getting late anyway.

00:48:31   I'm about to turn into a pumpkin.

00:48:33   Or whatever you do when you get really tired.

00:48:35   (laughing)

00:48:38   Anything else though?

00:48:39   I think I'm just going to let you keep talking.

00:48:41   Yeah, right?

00:48:42   It's getting better.

00:48:42   That's not good.

00:48:44   And I only had that one glass of silver tree.

00:48:47   Some kind of fruity vodka.

00:48:49   It was not fruity, you jackass.

00:48:53   And that is long since done, so I can't even blame it

00:48:55   on the booze.

00:48:56   Oh, well.

00:48:57   All right.

00:48:57   Anything else?

00:48:58   No, I think we're good.

00:49:00   Actually, that was a really good accidental tech podcast,

00:49:02   if I'm allowed to say so.

00:49:04   You guys OK with me?

00:49:05   I thought that wasn't actually going to be a podcast,

00:49:07   so I was too loose with my gaming talk.

00:49:09   my fans will be disappointed.

00:49:10   - That's the best. - Oh, God, listen to this guy.

00:49:11   - The whole point, Jon, is that if we convince you

00:49:13   to do any kind of additional tech podcast,

00:49:16   we can't allow you to prepare for it,

00:49:18   because then you'll get burned out

00:49:20   and you'll have to stop doing it.

00:49:20   - I didn't even see, I still gotta find the video.

00:49:22   I only saw the tail end of the video.

00:49:24   I just looked at the reports of the front part, yeah.

00:49:26   I just saw, I started,

00:49:28   I joined when they were showing the Killzone demo,

00:49:31   the obligatory pre-rendered BS Killzone demo,

00:49:35   which has become part of the Sony press conference

00:49:38   experience.

00:49:39   I just, I really have doubts with these consoles that, like, is the console business still

00:49:45   growing meaningfully?

00:49:46   Oh, I don't know if they're going to be successful business-wise, but the hardware

00:49:50   they're making, I would like to buy and use, and I hope they stay in business long

00:49:53   enough to make GameSort. I'm not even going to attempt to handicap their business stuff.

00:49:59   But the hardware, I think it's still very interesting, much more interesting to me than

00:50:03   just like making a gaming PC.

00:50:05   If you look at the optical disc for video business,

00:50:09   I think we had the HD DVD vs Blu-ray format

00:50:13   where it sucked, and then now we still have the problem with

00:50:17   a lot of people just don't upgrade to Blu-ray because

00:50:21   DVD is good enough for them and they don't really notice.

00:50:25   And Blu-ray is such a pain in the ass, like all the weirdo new menu things they do,

00:50:29   the Java. And so like, I think

00:50:33   I think looking at that landscape, it very well might be that Blu-ray is the last video

00:50:38   disk format.

00:50:39   Oh, certainly, yeah.

00:50:40   That's the reason that we get that one.

00:50:41   And if it's not, there's only probably one more.

00:50:44   But I think Blu-ray is probably going to be the last one.

00:50:46   Looking at these consoles, I would say there's a good chance these might be the last consoles

00:50:51   that Microsoft and Sony make.

00:50:55   If they play their cards right, they shouldn't be.

00:50:57   They're the last consoles that are going to have optical disks in them, probably.

00:51:01   There was many questions about whether the PlayStation 4 would have an optical drive where

00:51:04   they were just going to go download only.

00:51:06   And I think we don't know the answer to that yet, do we?

00:51:08   Yeah, they're going to have optical drives.

00:51:10   They can't go download only because the games are too big.

00:51:12   It's a little aggressive now.

00:51:13   And people's internet connections are too slow.

00:51:14   So yeah, I have faith that certainly Microsoft can stay in business with their other things,

00:51:20   funding them.

00:51:21   And Sony, I think they'll both pull it out.

00:51:23   I mean, Microsoft will be fine, because Microsoft is fine pumping money into a losing division

00:51:28   for a long time.

00:51:30   And Xbox is finally making money for them.

00:51:32   Oh, it is?

00:51:33   Yeah, they turned around sometime towards the end.

00:51:35   I don't know if it turned around if you ignore the Red Ring of Death cost or if you

00:51:40   don't, but basically it came around.

00:51:42   That's their one little success story.

00:51:44   They're just fighting the wrong battle.

00:51:46   But yeah, I hope they both stay in business, because I like game consoles, and I don't

00:51:50   want them to go away.

00:51:54   It's hard for me to really enjoy them, because I haven't really had time to enjoy a game

00:51:58   console or rather I haven't.

00:51:59   - You haven't even played Journey.

00:52:01   It's shameful.

00:52:02   - I know, like I haven't chosen to spend my time

00:52:04   that way, I guess.

00:52:05   - It's two hours, Margot, two hours.

00:52:07   - So angry.

00:52:09   Go do it now, Mr. Ice-

00:52:16   - Well, it takes two hours to play the game,

00:52:17   but it takes four hours to get the game.

00:52:18   - Right, that was the problem.

00:52:18   There was a day, and I am due for recommendation,

00:52:21   there was a day where Tiff and I decided,

00:52:23   you know, like this was before the baby was born,

00:52:25   and we were bored, and we were like,

00:52:28   it was like a weekend, I'm like,

00:52:29   "Okay, I can justify not working for one day."

00:52:32   And we're like, "Let's play video games."

00:52:34   Okay, and so we go to play video games

00:52:36   and we're like, "All right, well, what do we have?"

00:52:37   We have all three systems.

00:52:39   Well, the Wii is, I think, upstate somewhere,

00:52:41   at her parents' house,

00:52:42   and I don't know where the Wii is anymore,

00:52:43   'cause we have no desire to play the Wii.

00:52:46   But we have the 360 and the PS3.

00:52:49   They both have internet connections.

00:52:50   They both have downloadable game stores.

00:52:52   All right, let's go.

00:52:53   What do you wanna play?

00:52:54   And we realized we were totally unqualified

00:52:56   to even choose a game to buy and play from their stores.

00:53:00   So I am Syracuse, so I asked you, what should we get?

00:53:05   You gave me all the recommendations,

00:53:07   they were mostly pretty good.

00:53:08   So I go and like, oh, I gotta add more credit to my account,

00:53:11   but I don't wanna give Sonya my credit card

00:53:13   'cause they keep getting hacked,

00:53:14   so I have to find some way around that.

00:53:16   And then while the PS3 game was down,

00:53:19   I'm like, let's switch over to the Xbox,

00:53:20   this is gonna take forever,

00:53:21   and then go through 17 system software updates

00:53:24   and all these reboots.

00:53:26   go over to the Xbox and do pretty much the exact same thing.

00:53:29   Going through all the software updates and all the reboots,

00:53:30   then going and trying to buy some games,

00:53:33   having to add more credit to my account

00:53:34   'cause I haven't added any credit to it since 2005

00:53:37   and all this or whatever.

00:53:39   And like all these hoops to jump through,

00:53:41   these overhead of trying to start playing a game.

00:53:45   And oh, let me download the demo for this one

00:53:47   before I buy it and then the demo sucks

00:53:49   and then you can't multiple download or anything

00:53:50   'cause if you do it cancel the first download.

00:53:52   It was such a disaster.

00:53:54   we ended up spending hours trying to play a game.

00:53:58   And then by the time we actually started playing a game,

00:54:01   which eventually we started-- what's that black and white one?

00:54:03   You played Limbo.

00:54:04   Yeah, Limbo.

00:54:05   And that's a really good game.

00:54:06   We enjoyed it for a while, but I haven't actually gone back

00:54:09   and finished it yet.

00:54:10   That was the perfect game for us.

00:54:12   But it took us hours of dicking around

00:54:16   with the consoles and their stores.

00:54:18   Think if you didn't turn on your Mac for a couple of years

00:54:20   and you wanted to get something.

00:54:21   Oh, well, the thing you wanted was only in the Mac App Store.

00:54:23   "Oh, what's the Mac App Store? Oh, you need 10.6.8 to get that. Oh, well then I got to

00:54:27   upgrade that. Okay, once I get 10.6.8, oh, that only runs online, so I got to upgrade

00:54:30   again."

00:54:31   Like, if you didn't use your Mac for years, you'd be in for the same crazy upgrade thing.

00:54:35   If you use your console frequently, the system updates are—they're more frequent than

00:54:41   OS 10 point updates, but they're not that onerous.

00:54:43   Well, they'd be spread out because you'd be using it more frequently.

00:54:45   Well, I do use it frequently, but I use it frequently as a media player.

00:54:48   Right, so the people who don't actually play games on it, except for once in a blue

00:54:52   moon, just like they have all these updates built up for them. But if you use it frequently,

00:54:58   that's not stopping any of my kids. They're playing the things at least once a week, and

00:55:02   so everything is always updated and really fine. And I think there's plenty of Wii games

00:55:06   that you would actually enjoy. Not that I'm recommending you dig out the Wii, because

00:55:11   now it's kind of past its prime, but you know.

00:55:13   I mean, honestly, if I was going to get back into the Wii, I'd get the Wii U, because one

00:55:16   of the things I hated so much about the Wii was the lack of HD output.

00:55:18   Yeah, well, you know, it was past its prime when it was introduced, and it's even farther

00:55:24   past now.

00:55:25   But yeah, the Wii U was fun.

00:55:26   Talk about multiplayer gaming, where one person's got the little screen, one person's got the

00:55:28   big one.

00:55:29   No split screen.

00:55:30   It's kind of nice.

00:55:31   Yeah, I imagine, like, once my kid is old enough to want to play video games, I imagine

00:55:36   my opinion of consoles will change and my usage pattern will change.

00:55:40   But for the next few years, until that happens, presumably...

00:55:42   So you've got to keep those console makers in business, waiting for Adam to get older.

00:55:47   He's got a couple of years, maybe five years before he can do something useful, and there

00:55:52   better be console makers still standing.

00:55:55   I imagine some geek parents have probably attempted this, where you attempt to make

00:55:59   your kid just be happy with a very large quantity of games for an old system that now costs

00:56:05   nothing.

00:56:06   But I would imagine that plan falls apart when they go to the friend's house.

00:56:09   I did that with my kids.

00:56:11   They do not care.

00:56:12   He played Nintendo 64 games, GameCube games, Wii games.

00:56:16   None of those are HD. Some of them are just tiddies looking and there's no...

00:56:20   He never has never made a peep about a game not looking good.

00:56:24   Not once and he's eight now.

00:56:26   That's pretty good.

00:56:27   Yeah, maybe I'll try that. I still have that modded Xbox somewhere

00:56:31   loaded up with my emulator packs of like every game ever made for the

00:56:35   Genesis, the Super Nintendo, the NES,

00:56:38   and I think even a few for the TurboGrafx-16 and a few...

00:56:42   - Wow. - And it could... - Yeah, that's the one thing. - It did emulate the i64.

00:56:44   I didn't try 2D games. Maybe he would have complained if it was 2D. They were all like

00:56:49   Nintendo 64 as far back as I went, but Nintendo 64 games look awful compared to... You know

00:56:53   what I mean? That was like the first things that were 3D, you know? They're not good-looking.

00:56:59   But maybe he would have balked at 2D. I'm not sure. So you'll find out. Try them out

00:57:04   with Space Invaders.

00:57:05   Well, but now so many iOS games are 2D, and so many kids end up playing those.

00:57:09   Yeah, but they're 2D retina.

00:57:11   It's a lot different than the Super Nintendo graphics or whatever.