February 19, 2011
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I wrote about how I’m often taken by surprise by the popularity of games, how, when I upload something, I still don’t know whether it will be a success or not. Nothing has changed since then BTW, after dropping out of the top twelve for a short time GobMan is now back on place 10, and I still don’t know why.
In a more recent case I did find out. Black Box is a 1970s board game (sort of) that enjoyed some popularity with Windows programmers for a while. I only ever came across a single graphic DOS implementation. When I put that up for download, it made its way into the top twelve quite fast. Why?
It turns out that there is an application named blackb0x, an FTP server for jailbroken PS3s. Not long ago version 1.2 of this app was released. The game I put up had the version number 1.2 too, and was simply named Black Box, Black Box 1.2. So it tended to turn up in searches for the FTP server, and I guess a lot of people just wanted to know what kind of game this is that has the same name.
The latest surprise is Xonix32, a Windows remake of the old DOS Qix clone Xonix. I added it about a month ago, today it entered the top twelve. Not counting the two QBasic sample games, it’s the third new addition to achieve this since I started Download Central. I have now added the original Xonix as well. It will be interesting to see whether it in any way shares the popularity of its remake.
February 15, 2011
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The Hacker's Dictionary, 1983 and 1996
A couple of days ago I received a copy of the original Hacker’s Dictionary (also known as Steele-1983) I had bought on eBay. On the photo it lies on top of the third edition of the New Hacker’s Dictionary, and it’s interesting to compare the two volumes simply for size: Steele-1983 has 140 pages, of which 110 are the dictionary proper. The New Hacker’s Dictionary has around 570 pages, of which about 470 form the dictionary proper, including the cartoons.
What makes Steele-1983 so interesting is that it is the oldest version of the jargon file still to be found, and unless someone digs up a crumpled printout of the late seventies, this is not likely to change.
February 2, 2011
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The Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows consisted mainly, though not exclusively, of games Microsoft employees had written for their own enjoyment. Many of these games had been distributed for free before they were included in the WEP. Of course these older free versions are usually less polished.
I found another of these free pre-WEP versions and put it up for download: QUADominoes, better known as TetraVex. It does not have an about screen, but since TetraVex is credited to Scott Ferguson, this will probably apply to QUADominoes as well.
There are now a total of 275 Windows games on Download Central.