Richard Pepper and I played together at a coffee house in the basement of his church building last night. I played bass for the first three songs, and then switched to guitar for the last song. While switching instruments, Richard commented that I was a "multi-instrumentalist", to which I replied, "Yeah, *2* instruments - and one is a subset of the other."

Last night was also remarkable because I "sang", which I don't usually do at gigs like this. I had a total of two words (sung multiple times each) - "Yeah!" six times during our cover of "We're Not Going To Take It" by Twisted Sister and "Jesus", quite a few times during the sort-of chorus of a Mike Roe/77s song. Apparently it sounded like I was singing "Cheezus" to some folks.

Check out Richard's write-up of the 'house.

Car Battler Joe review coming soon...


While checking out how I rank on google for "Computers and Video Games" I stumbled across this fascinating transcript from 1982:

fascinating transcript

It's somewhat laughable, but also a neat glimpse into the concerns some had about video games in the early years.


Midwest Gaming Classic continued...

In one corner of the vendor's room was a guitar amp and microphone, and from time to time the "buh-bing!" sound of a Gameboy Color powering up could be heard. A guy named Bud Melvin would push a few buttons on the GBC, some music would start playing, he'd put the Gameboy down, pick up his banjo, and play along, and sing. Bud did several sets throughout the day, and his music grew on me as the day went on.

Jason actually knew Bud through their mutual friend Bohus, so we ended up spending a lot of time together. I enjoyed talking music with him, and I found myself motivated to start making music again - it was obvious that he was just doing what he enjoyed, something that hadn't occurred to me in a while.

Jason, Bud and I went to Fuddrucker's for lunch. I had heard of it before, but had never been. You order your (huge) burger, then wait at your table to be paged by your coaster (kind of neat!). You then dress your burger yourself - it's pretty much a small salad bar you can choose from. Kind of like Harvey's, but you're not seperated by the glass, and you're in control. Mmmmm.

I bought Bud's CD ("The Return of Bud Melvin") and when I returned home, downloaded all the tunes he had available on his website. I really, really like his cover of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me".

After the show was over, us AtariAge forum members gathered in the AtariAge room for a party. It was pretty late starting, but the free pizza and pop and other stuff made it worthwhile. There were some gaming competitions, and for a time I had the high score in the 1k Cave-type game, 1288 I think. Sounds like someone else managed to do a 1400+ after we left.

I stayed at Jason's place Saturday night too, then went home Sunday morning. Beforehand, I was thinking of going to the MGC Sunday too, but I felt I had seen everything there was to see, and the extra 3 hour round trip just wasn't worth it.

I did a bit of shopping in Duluth on the way back. I found the PC version of Knight Rider for $5, so I grabbed that, and got some sugary stuff for Carla and the kids too.


Boy, lots of stuff I talked about earlier has now happened, or is in my possession, or whatever - got lots of blogging to catch up on.

Okay, the Midwest Gaming Classic was pretty good. I drove down to Madison on Friday, and managed to go down the wrong highway in northern Wisconsin on the way. Pretty bad, considering there are only two highways up around there :/ Took me about 15 minutes to be certain I was going the wrong way and then another 15 minutes to get back to the highway.

I stayed at Jason and Katie's house - thanks guys! Very friendly, helpful and welcoming. Jason writes articles for computer publications, and Katie is a university professor. We watched Top Secret, and laughed a lot - and had some great "thin-crust Chicago style" pizza.

Saturday was the big show. Jason and I went in his car, and he drove the 1.5 hours or so to the hotel where the MGC was being held, near Milwaukee. The vendors and exhibits were spread all over the building in many smallish rooms which was kind of disappointing. As the day wore on, it would have been nice to be able to sit and hang out in one of the busier areas, but it was standing only, for the most part.

One area had several rooms filled with pinball and classic arcade games set to "free play". I played several games of pinball, and a few arcade games, like Donkey Kong and Centipede. I saw the fella who was declared "gamer of the century" by some outfit. Apparently he set a new world record for Donkey Kong at the show. Glad he's good at something.

Downstairs were several rooms filled with computers and video games. The Atari Age room was especially interesting, since I was so fascinated by pictures I saw of their display at another show earlier this year. They sell very professional looking "homebrew" cartridges for classic systems, especially Atari 2600 ones. I'd love to have a game of my own making sold that way. It was also cool to see the 2600 port of my C64 game "Splatform" on display, and watch people enjoying playing it.

The vendor room across the hall was great too - I bought about 20 VCS carts I didn't have before. It was somewhat overwhelming - in Thunder Bay, if I see some game cartridges or systems, I buy them with hardly a second thought, since it happens infrequently. Here, I was surrounded by hundreds, possibly thousands of games I don't own, and I just had to let it be, and be glad I got some.

Okay, that's enough for now - Bud Melvin and more, next.


Weird - my blogger.html file that you're reading right now was gone this morning - it's almost like blogger went in and deleted it overnight! Well, it's back for now, obviously.

I'm just about packed, and about to jump in the van and drive to Madison, WI now. Got all my geek gadgets - Gameboy Advance, portable DVD player, digital camera, Pocket PC... I'll let you all know how it goes. Later!


I accidentally tried to go to blooger.com today, but stopped myself. Not sure I want to know what it's about.

I'm heading off to the Midwest Gaming Classic this weekend, near Milwaukee, WI. This is possibly even geekier than the Commodore Expos I go to, but I'm not sure. I'm really looking forward to going to it, and staying in Madison with some friends who live there.

I believe my Cuttle Cart 2 arrived in the mail today, as well as my Car Battler Joe. Too bad I have no time to play with them before I leave tomorrow morning! I should have lots of geeky stuff to talk about next week.


I play too much video game hockey. It's been a ten year addiction, introduced by my friends Victor Wong and Dean Barker.

Most of the hockey has been played on the Sega Genesis with EA's NHL series of games. I briefly played with NHL '94, then joined in the competitions hosted by Victor, working our way from NHL '95 to NHL '98. We kept playing the Genesis even when the software companies moved on - Victor does his best to keep the rosters current with a lot of work. Just last weekend was the 5th annual "Challenge for Gold" tourney, and for the 5th time in a row, I took home gold. I don't have quite as much success in the other tournaments.

More recently, my fellow hockey gamer friend Tim Burton introduced me to "NHL 2K2" on the Sega Dreamcast system. Since Tim doesn't live in Thunder Bay anymore, he's been organizing tournaments where we report back on his website, after we play the computer opponent. Not as social as the in-person tourneys, but better than nothing. I just won the second season final 2 game series with a total score of 10 goals to Tim's 9. Sorry Tim!

I've also got some fond memories of playing a complete season of Superstar Ice Hockey on a C-64 emulator while "working" at a previous job (it took several weeks of playing), and playing the "hockey" game on a Pong console I brought with me to Dorion Bible Camp way back when with a whole bunch of people. Fun stuff.

Well, that's my most linked blog yet - plenty of things for you to check out if you're REALLY bored.


I wonder what it looks like when I post twice in a day?

Anyway, I think I'm finally going to buy a Gameboy Advance. I have the original Gameboy from 1989, a Pocket Gameboy I bought around 1996 or so (I should look into when it was released) and a Gameboy Color from around 1999 or 2000. The reason I want a GBA is because of a game called Car Battler Joe. It came out last year, but I only heard about it yesterday. It seems quite rare, and it's only available on the GBA. But from viewing the screenshots and reading the reviews, it sounds like it's nearly the game that's been in my head since 1987, when I lived in Australia. I still remember thinking about how the game would play while standing out in the field where my friend Ben and I would play one-on-one cricket, a very frustrating and exhausting game for the non-batting side.

The game would be like Autoduel where you're a dude in a semi-post-apocalypse world who eventually earns enough money to buy an armed and armoured car, then takes on various missions (sometimes courier, sometimes other things). Kind of like the world of Mad Max but without so much anarchy and lawlessness - I can't see how anyone could really survive in that world.

Autoduel was great, but lacked some important things. The cities were packed with buildings that served purpose, but they lacked personality and character interaction. And the highways between cities were barren places - the only thing to do was fight with other vehicles. You could get out of your car, but the only purpose that served was to scavenge parts from your opponent's wrecked cars. Occasionally there would be houses off to the side of the highways, but you couldn't enter them - they served no purpose.

Unfortunately, Car Battler Joe is done in an anime style, rather than the semi-realistic (though still 8 or 16 bit) graphics I had envisioned. But I can overlook that if the gameplay and story and setting are there. If they aren't, I guess I'll still have to make my game.
It's that time of year again - the days get longer, it's warmer outside, and I'm freed from TV watching every second night by the Maple Leafs losing to Philly.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?