Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, January 29, 2021

One concept of the meaning of freedom:

Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.

- Rosa Luxemburg, in “The Russian Revolution”

Implying that anyone in-line with the mainstream is, by definition, not free. Under this model, the freedom of the other is the only freedom that counts.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/29/2009 10:44 PM
Category: History, Political Theory, Society
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pixel pixel little star
What prompted me to post this ancient videogame screenshot in response to this geeky BuzzFeed contribution of a Space Shuttle cockpit photo?

For some reason, that photo of the real thing triggered my memory of the long-ago Atari 2600 game. And that’s without me ever actually playing the old Activision title. It came out in 1984, pretty much at the very end of the 2600’s active lifecycle, so it was pretty hard to track down thanks to stores eliminating their stocks of Atari merchandise. It was also kinda expensive, as I recall — something like 60 bucks, in mid-1980s dollars (so about double that in today’s money).

Why did I retain any memory of this elusive vintage cartridge? Because it allowed the granddaddy of consoles to go out with a bang. It was alleged to be the most technically-ambitious piece of software ever produced for the 2600, creating a gaming experience that really stretched the capabilities of the old 8-bit beast. I’m guessing it probably doesn’t come close to emulating modern-day flight simulators, but for its day, it was supposed to be the bomb.

Part of the reason “Space Shuttle” got so much notice is in the way that Activision made up of every available inch of the 2600’s hardware to pull of the complex maneuvers within the game. Since the native one-button joystick controller wasn’t going to cut it, they employed the various control switches on the face of the console itself: The reset button, difficulty setting, etc. were overriden to accomplish tasks like engine firing, cargo-door/landing gear deployment, and so on. They even provided specialized overlay grids for this purpose.

And, as you can see from the pic above, the on-screen payoff was a pixelated, primary-color view of near-terrestrial orbit. With a view of Skylab, to boot — anachronistically so, since this was several years after NASA’s old space station crashed back to Earth in 1979. Or else that’s Mir

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/29/2009 12:39 PM
Category: Internet, Science, Videogames
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