The Digital Antiquarian on the Rise of Age of Empires

In the early days of Microsoft they really looked down on gaming, fueled by an antipathy towards entertainment by many higher-ups in the company. The Digital Antiquarian recounts the story of the game that got Microsoft started on computer gaming, ultimately leading to the rise of Xbox, and from there, Halo. It’s a longer piece, and mostly text, but the DA knows their stuff. Myself, I’ve never played Age of Empires! Maybe I should try it….

Cover art from the article.

Age of Empires (or, How Microsoft Got in on Games)


I posted links to this elsewhere to so-so-reception, but darn it the idea is amusing enough to me: take an old 3D game that got really poor reviews, hack it to make it better (not to mention playable on current Windows), and post the hack online.

The game involved is a Garfield game for PS2 and PC that I hadn’t even heard of before. The person who did this objectively silly thing is a Youtuber, and they uploaded a 20 minute video on the game and their modifications. You can even download their modification to play yourself.

No one was clamoring that they do this. They themselves admit the game isn’t really that great. But they love it, for irrational reasons, and that’s fine by me. It’s not really terrible, they surmise that the egregiously poor reviews (0/10!) were part of the Internet Pile-On Effect, where the reviewer finds something it’s okay to hate, and proceeds to do so as much as they can. In this case, the game’s greatest sin is being a licensed game, and those are always the absolute worst, aren’t they?

Anyway, here’s their video in an embed. Again, it’s 20 minutes long, so it might not fit into your schedule. That’s okay.

Forgeries in PC Retro Gaming Collecting

Image credit: Ars Technica

Kyle Orland at Ars Technica, who always does good work, has a long piece up about scandals in PC game collecting. It’s a close-knit subculture where members trust each other implicitly, but as the value of old games has gone up, it has recently been awash in forgeries.

A prime culprit in their distribution was Enrico Ricciardi, a prominent figure in the community who many members trusted. He is known for writing books on the history of the Ultima games and the early days of Ultima publisher Origin Systems. It’s not known that he was actually forging the copies of the games, but the fakes are known to have passed through his hands, and it’s considered by the group that he should have been able to spot fakes.

It’s a fascinating article that involves prominent Apple II disk imaging expert 4am doing forensics on a supposedly-legitimate disk of The Chambers of Xenobia and finding it was a cracked copy.

Ars Technica: Inside the $100K+ forgery scandal that’s roiling PC game collecting