The Camera Link software makes saving Game Boy Camera pictures to your hard drive quick and easy.
Only one thing stops the Game Boy Camera from being like its full-fledged digital camera brethren: PC connectivity. Well, unless you also consider resolution, graininess, and monochrome-only to be major differences as well. MadCatz is the first to bridge the Game Boy to PC gap, notably with the Camera Link, but, in the effort, they managed to throw in a few hitches and some fairly lackluster software. Aside from a few nitpicking problems, however, we have to admit — if you want to transfer Game Boy Camera pictures to your PC, this is a great way to do it.
The Camera Link packaging contains an installation CD-ROM and one 6-ft. bluish-purple printer cable with a Game Boy game link connector at one end. Assuming that your printer port is set to “Auto” or “Bi-directional” in your system’s BIOS, just connect the parallel port connector to your PC. We mistakenly assumed that the printer port was set this way on one of our test machines which caused a temporary — albeit easily fixable — headache. Eager to see our goofy pictures on the big (ger) screen, we slipped in the Windows 95/98 installation software, which fills less than 3 MBs of the 650 MB CD-ROM (more on that later). Soon we were prompted to choose printer information and select an image-editing program (the Camera Link does not come with one, but Windows Paint will do).
The Game Boy Camera has the ability to use a game link cable to transfer images with friends, but the Camera Link requires users to “print” the images to the PC in BMP form. All of the control of the images is done at the Game Boy end. The Camera Link software sits idly by and accepts images — images cannot be transferred from a PC to the Game Boy Camera. The possibilities then become endless, as you can add color or edit your pictures in any way you wish. Once the image is transferred to the PC, feel free to click on the “E-mail” button in the Camera Link software, which will automatically attach the picture to a blank email (sorry, AOL users, your email program must be MAPI compliant, like Outlook Express or Eudora).
Those that have problems will find nothing in the help file that they won’t find in the enclosed “help sheet.” Sadly, if the wrong printer information is selected, users will have to do a full uninstall and reinstall to correct the problem. MadCatz’ Camera Link did a fine job of transferring our Game Boy Camera pictures to the PC, but perhaps that is one of the biggest letdowns; it could be so much more. The hardware is there. Why not add some software on that nearly empty CD-ROM to let us trade our Pokemon over the Internet? How about an across-town or across-continent head-to-head game of Mario Golf? Perhaps Nintendo is a little skittish about allowing that ability to become widely available — and, of course, it’s important to avoid the possibility of some sort of piracy or risk of damaging the games. [Not to mention the engineering required to develop software that would negotiate an Internet connection and the Game Port connection, or the cost of launching and maintaining a matchmaking service for online players, or the cost of marketing… Damn the laziness! -ed.]
The whole time I was waiting for Mirage’s Mortyr to be released in the good old US of A, I was fondly remembering the archaic Wolfenstein 3D (I also thought back fondly to the original ’80s titles as well) and how much fun it was to kill goose-steppin’ Nazis. Then I got Mortyr and played it. All hope was lost. It’s an absolutely terrible game. Wolf 3D, which was released in the early ’90s, had better gameplay! Hell, the original 1980s titles had better gameplay, and they only required 64K of RAM! So after the horrific experience of playing in Mortyr’s fairyland of blandness and Nazilike automatons, I greet the news of id Software’s third part proposed Return to Wolfenstein 3D, or Wolf 3D in Quake 3’s clothing, with open arms and a song in my heart. I love the idea, but Mortyr stains the memory; shooting Nazis in a castle environment seems less fun than it did earlier — like December.
But the real reason we should hold our enthusiasm for this new title is the fact that former members of Xatrix (now called Gray Matter Studios) are developing it. Remember Xatrix? Remember Redneck Rampage? Remember Kingpin? Great, just great…. Nazis capable of flatulence and cursing like sailors, all with Cypress Hill looping in the background. Ugh.
PCData’s Top Five Computer Games
1. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Disney magic kingdoms cheat online Interactive
Mike Ely of Firaxis used one of Sid’s Dino Diaries to wax philosophical about why the TV show is so popular. Perhaps the same logic could be applied to the game’s success? Read it here.
2. Centipede – Hasbro Interactive
Was there a price drop or something? Must’ve been a price drop. Yeah. Either that or the whole world has gone mad. Must be a price drop.
3. Parker Brothers Classic Card Games – Hasbro Interactive
Of course, it makes perfect sense that a card game CD-ROM would blow into the chart at number three. Perfect sense. Someone, please tell me why this makes sense.
4. Milton Bradley Classic Games – Hasbro Interactive
Aaaah! Aaaaaah! What’s going on? Is Hasbro bussing elderly PC owners to Best Buy or something?
5. Roller Coaster Tycoon – Hasbro Interactive
Still Hasbro. Hasbro is God. Everyone loves Hasbro. Their symbol is a smiley face. They spread happiness. I feel tingly.
Rounding things out we have the indefatigable Age of Kings (6), Quake III (7), Deer Hunter III (9), Hoyle Board Games (10 — from Havas, thankfully, but I suspect the same elderly buyers are involved) and at #8 we have RCTycoon: Corkscrew Follies, from … Hasbro …
Okay, so I wasn’t too excited about this card before I got my grimy little hands on it. Matrox cards are always solid, but rarely inspiring, and my expectation was for this to be an also-ran in a race dominated by 3dfx and NVIDIA.
The first thing you’ll notice when you take a look at the card is that it has two VGA ports. The G400 MAX features built-in dual monitor support, which is one of Windows 98’s most underrated features. You can expand your desktop over two displays, display the same image on two monitors, or watch a DVD movie with the included software on one display and use your desktop on the other. To that end, the G400 acts like two separate video cards: It handles refresh rates and resolutions discreetly so you can throw an old 15-inch monitor on one side and your spiffy 19-inch monster on the other. How does that affect gaming? Rumors abound of flight sims that will support multiple monitors, and if one takes off (no pun intended) other genres won’t be far behind.
The G400 supports every 3D checkmark and buzzword you’ll find in game developers’ plan files, including 32-bit color and z-buffering. It’s also the only card that includes hardware support for bump mapping, which, if you’ve never seen it, is a nifty effect. D3D performance is on par with most current cards, and though it doesn’t match the TNT2 Ultra crop, it’s not far off.
A refreshing alternative to the TNT2 vs. 3dfx battle, the G400 MAX proves that Matrox is still in the game. If/when the company gets its OpenGL support up to par, it may create a hands-down winner. As it is, the G400 holds its own as a gamer’s 3D solution.
When a game comes from a virtually unheard of source and scores more than one of the six awards given out each year at the Independent Games Festival (IGF), we owe it to our readers and ourselves to look into it. (It should be noted that The Best of Show award has will be given out this evening and so far, SimCity Buildit is the odds-on favorite for that category as well.)
The story behind SimCity Buildit is somewhat generic. The government has given you the power to become the mayor of a city with the typical capabilities — and, up to a certain point, all has gone well. While the experiment worked to a certain degree — the lab rat was successfully transported to a planet millions of light years away — there was an unfortunate side effect. Everything and everybody within a 2,000-kilometer radius of city. Thus, the gameplay starts.
As in an RPG, there are hundreds of items to collect and utilize, meaning there’s a strong emphasis on customization and specialization. In addition to the items, players can acquire attributes such as modding, upgrading and customization.
There’s also a system in place to determine what player is occupying what space on each city. This helps with balance, as it keeps a newbie from accidentally wandering into a heavily fortified veteran player’s sphere of command.
Currently in beta form, SimCity Buildit is free to download from the appstore on iOS and Android, and there’s already a very active community of users. Additionally, we’ve made the theme music available, as well as in intro movie and a host of various wallpapers that are art and screenshots from within the game.
In addition to SimCity Buildit hack, Maxis is currently developing additional game feature. Another massively multiplayer game — but this time with heavy anime influence — this game looks very similar to a PC version slightly better graphics quality city buildier, but the catch is that the game will handle around 16,000 players per server. Because of the robustness of the engine, the designers are also free to quickly and easily create entire new quests and areas to explore in a matter of hours instead of weeks.
The simplistic graphics are deceptive; it’s the depth of gameplay that gives the game its appeal. The game currently has a few thousand playing it, and that number is expected to grow exponentially as the game nears release. Another cool aspect of SimCity Buildit is the chatting interface. Unlike some games that are limited to abbreviations and other shortcuts because players are too tied up playing the game, Simcity Buildit encourages a social online community with a simple chat interface that allows for full discussions to be carried on easily.