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bakersnarkMDW
Mar wrote:


Oh wow, interesting find. Do you know if it’s Sega licensed or not? Perhaps just a bootleg or something? If it’s licensed, perhaps you’ve uncovered a forgotten piece of video game history! And another platform for Benn to get the world record on...


Don’t know what the licensing situation was, but to quote the first para of the Wikipedia entry:
”Columns (Japanese: コラムス Hepburn: Koramusu) is a match-three puzzle video game created by Jay Geertsen in 1989. Early versions of the game were ported across early computer platforms and Atari ST. In 1990, Jay Geertsen sold the rights to Sega, who ported the game to several Sega consoles.”

The Mac version I played was ©1989 so predates those late-to-the-party Sega folks! So Jewelbox for Mac was a clone of the Sega version whereas “my” Columns was a port/clone of the original! 😁

EDIT: NOT the end of the Columns story. Exciting update to follow once compiled - warm up those fingers Benn!
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bakersnarkMDW
I’m hoping my excited foreshadowing at the end of the last post hasn’t built up expectations that will have this post produce yawns at the possibly already known and ultimately unremarkable info contained herein.

Poking about a bit more to satisfy my own curiosity I ended up tying two items together into a Google search which sent me to this extract of The Sega Arcade Revolution: A History in 62 Games By Ken Horowitz, starting on page 165.

Here’s a contracted (redacted?) version:

“Columns (March 1990)
... the one puzzle game that is most commonly associated with the company (outside of Puyo Puyo) is one that wasn't designed by Sega itself. That game is Columns.
...
In the arcade, on console, or in portable form, the game was a major part of Sega's game lineup in the early '90s. Though it eventually saw release on rival consoles, Columns was foremost in the public eye when it was on Sega's hardware.
... For a game so closely tied to a console, it's strange to think that it was first released on a Hewlett-Packard workstation.

Columns was designed by Jay Geertsen in 1989. Geertsen was a Hewlett-Packard employee who was porting an application to X11 (the X Window system), an open source windowing system developed at MIT in the early 1980s to provide a common graphics rendering engine for Unix applications. He was unfamiliar with the X11 system and was using a tutorial to acquaint himself. He soon found the exercises to be dull and wanted to do something a bit more exciting than what the tutorials required. He decided to program a game, and he took inspiration from the classic tic-tac-toe. (Geertsen).
..
When Columns was finished, it was an office hit, and it soon spread among Geertsen's colleagues. ... Two of (them), Nathan Meyers and Chris Christensen, played the game and ported it to DOS and Mac (John Rotenstein did the Windows 3.x version the next year). In turn, these versions became available to the public. Geertsen never intended to sell Columns to anyone.
... an opportunistic attorney who recognized its potential as a video game... approached Geertsen about buying the rights, but because Columns had been developed with company resources, Geertsen consulted with his superiors about how to proceed. They reached an agreement in which Hewlett-Packard sold nonexclusive rights to the attorney and retained the rights to distribute the X11 version with HP-XU.
..,
Sega would soon enter the equation via Steve Hanawa ... and ... a Japanese engineer who was working at Sega's contract manufacturer. The two became fast friends, and this friendship would bear fruit for Sega in a big way. "He knew I was looking for a second Tetris game and found Columns for me," Hanawa recalled in an interview for this book.

The engineer showed him a shareware version of Columns he had downloaded. Sega had recently lost its rights to publish Tetris to Nintendo, and it needed a puzzle game. Hanawa was instantly enthralled when he played it, and he knew he had something special. ... Sega quickly moved to obtain all the rights to Columns from the attorney that had acquired them from HP, and it unveiled the arcade version in 1990. Soon afterward, Genesis and Master System ports followed, and the game was included as the pack-in title for the Game Gear launch (Geertsen; Hanawa).”

The key part of that chunk of text above from my perspective is the names of Geertsen’s office colleagues who wrote early ports of the game. Chris Christensen was the author of the Mac version I played, making it about as official and sanctioned a version of the game as you could get! (IMHO)
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Mar
Wow, that's really fascinating stuff, and I had no idea about any of it. Like probably 99.9% of the gaming population, I thought Columns was a Sega created property.

The big take away from that text for me, was that it sounds like Geersten got shafted. He went to his bosses to see how he could proceed with selling the game he created, and HP - from what I can assume - just took it and sold it to someone else. Lovely.

Once again, our resident fact checker, researcher and historian. Thanks Mark. You're not just a pretty face!
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Hwaygo
12min40sec
proceedurally generated levels

EDIT: apparently it is considered “Roguelike” presumably under the loose modern definition which simply requires proceedurally generated levels and permadeath. It’s not even close to being the first - that would likely be Rogue from 1980 😉 (though there are a couple of games that fit the genre and predate Rogue).

The stricter definition has a much longer list of major and minor attributes which were formalised as the “Berlin Interpretation” which allows a number rating of how Roguelike a game is - the most Roguelike scoring around 60 and Toejam and Earl scoring about half that. See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roguelike?wprov=sfti1

It’s important to note that procedural generation is not simply random. Early development of Rogue with fully random levels led to players ending up in unplayable dead ends, so it was made to start with a rule set ensuring playability and then randomising from there.


I knew we were on shaky ground when we mentioned "rogue-like"! haha
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Hwaygo
Yeah, yeah, yeah - I’ll get back to Dune later.

Rolling Stones has extra cabinet buttons, though they’re for the posts in the outlanes and the guts (well worth it!).

Maybe Wham-O corporation owns the rights to Barcade™ - the only place to officially play Fisbee™ and Hacky Sack™ (not to mention Hula Hoop,, Slip 'N Slide, Super Ball, Trac-Ball, Silly String, and Boogie Board.)
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WOW! What are the chances of that?!? lol
I sense another podcast theme developing!
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Hwaygo




Don’t really know anything about Dune 2 for Megadrive (apart from what I just read on Wikipedia) but I don’t expect it will spoil either of the stories going under the name Dune. As John indicated on the podcast, Dune’s strength doesn’t lie in shocking twists and reveals, but in the depth and texture of the narrative’s progress.


HOLY S!
I said something that turned out to be right!

I knew I could do it someday..
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Hwaygo
Cary wrote:
Thank you Immortal one for the welcome. Yes my new lair will be the forums and occasional email to win free stuff.

I remember my teen bestie playing Dune2 plenty, and it is highly rated. Oh, and something about spice 🙂

Being an avid reader most my life, im afraid for about 10years I've lost/misplaced the pleasure of reading unless it is a graphic novel/comic or reading for work/academia. Maybe Dune will be the book that revives it.


Having only read about half of it I'm very confident in saying that its well worth reading. But it might be that it is particularly up my alley..

What graphic novels / comics are you into Cary?
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Hwaygo
I AM a Ritchie fan in general, though never got into Black Knight.
Read the Wikipedia link for Dune 2 - apparently it set some standards for later RTS.

Cary, at the risk of sounding like some defective vinyl music media - definitely read the book (I’ll join you guys in a reread and Dune Club). There IS “something about Spice” - it’s VERY important and is different in the movie to the book despite being crucial to the plot. I must admit my fiction reading has also fallen away, with a lot more technical documents and Tabletop game rules (& info for the nonsense I post here) instead.

If you hang around long enough and make enough noise you become immortal - who knew?


Yes. 

I move to file a motion that "Immortal" be a level for MDW only
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bakersnarkMDW
Hwaygo wrote:


Yes. 

I move to file a motion that "Immortal" be a level for MDW only


I fear it may be redundant to legislate the exclusivity of my immortality.

Marc is the only one who currently qualifies, and he is locked to the more powerful but less sexy title of Administrator (& is the Creator of the Levels [praise be to the Creator]).

You are the next closest but, even if you up your posting game, you appear condemned to Moderate.

As we know, Matt mostly Lurks - which is another way to spend eternity.

I await Cary’s arrival - only 297 more posts to go! (Like life, it really doesn’t seem like many once you get there...)
Random item from my Tabletop Games Collection
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See it & the rest here:
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Hwaygo
Well.. as they say... "You don't become immortal overnight".

..just don't ask me who 'they' are..
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Cary
I'm sure immortality is just a vampire bite away... I'm afraid quality nor quantity are my strengths!  And I've changed phones which makes it harder to post and I'm doing on desktop now.

I've been reading a lot of the Star Wars graphic novels - especially the omnibus ones which give me closure (to a degree).  I like it as the universe is massive to draw on and develop characters, so cameos and side references are easy to put in, but not essential.  Plus not overly violent!  I was reading a lot of DC especially Batman, but the stories were getting quite dark, quite brutal, and always with the cliff hangers!  

Other than that, I'm waiting for the translation team to work on the next issue of the manga High Score Girl 🙂

So I'm not the deepest reader around, but maybe Dune will sway me.
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