Apple Car, Apple Arcade, and Jeff Minter graphics

Published stuff

This week’s Stuff column is This is the Apple Car keynote that we’ll never get to see, which is perhaps not the most serious take on Project Titan being cancelled, but hopefully one of the most fun to read. The year’s best Lego also got an update.

And for this blog, I wrote up a quick piece in response to reports about Apple Arcade’s future: Game over for Apple Arcade?

Upcoming stuff

I’m still working on a piece on Sinclair, delving into the depths of the company’s output. That should be in Stuff before the summer. Meanwhile, my earlier piece on Atari is slated for the issue out in a few weeks.

Elsewhere, I’m digging into music discovery on mobile, and excited about writing up a piece on a very different type of mobile games controller. Or at least a very different use for one.

Other stuff

It’s quite a time for tech companies that should know better doing bad things. HP’s going all-in on the subscription printer game, which charges $7 per month for 20 printed pages. Don’t worry, because you can top that up! And you ‘only’ have to ensure the printer is always online. And sign up for two years. Although you can cancel – by paying HP more than the cost of a new printer. Bargain.

Automattic, which was supposed to be one of the good companies, has decided to sell Tumblr and WordPress (not, note, self-installed) content to AI companies to help them train their models. But don’t worry, because you can opt out and hope those companies actually care about your request, even though there’s no evidence I can see that they’re legally obliged to. Way to detonate years of goodwill, Automattic! (Docusign of all companies is also doing this. Which is quite something, given that the content you feed into it often comprises contracts and NDAs.)

Apple has performed a screeching U-turn on killing web apps, perhaps because the European Commission publicly stated there was no need for Apple to scrap them in the first place. Oh dear. I look forward to certain (mostly US) commentators retracting their “the bad and evil EU is forcing our beloved Apple to do a bad thing” stance and replacing it with a “the bad and evil EU is making it impossible for Apple to know what it should do and that is a bad thing” stance. Fun!

Right, that’s enough negative stuff. How about some positives? Three things, in fact, all about games. First, Kimmo Lahtinen has celebrated a decade of making games. The story is bittersweet regarding sales (as in, several of his games didn’t sell well), but he still seems happy with his lot. Also, if you’ve an iPhone or iPad, I would strongly recommend you buy some of his games. Drift’n’Drive is an absurdly fun racer for a buck, and I adored Day Repeat Day’s clever mix of match-three and social commentary. Get them all.

Elsewhere, having documented and even bug-fixed the original Elite, Mark Moxon has now reconstructed Lander– or, for people of a certain age in the UK, that insanely difficult 3D game on the school’s expensive Acorn Archimedes computers where you attempted to control a spaceship with a mouse and inevitably crashed after approx 0.3 seconds.

Finally, Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story is out in a couple of weeks. Alas, not for Mac, because reasons. But almost every other platform will get a combination of games and stories revolving around one of the most standout game makers from the UK. 

I wrote about Space Invaders for Stuff, and how that’s lodged in my mind as a very early gaming memory. Minter’s work is there too. The two very old home computing games I remember from my early childhood are Bowling and Metagalactic Llamas: Battle at the Edge of Time. Needless to say, they were two very different games. And I only feel compelled to revisit one of them today.