IBM Easy Option AC 525

Rebranding isn’t exactly a new practice. There are many times where a company will release a product that’s basically just a name replacement for some other part, made by another company. IBM did this quite a bit with their Easy Options line from the early 90s, based on what I have found. The idea was to grab a piece of the market from stores where shoppers would recognize the IBM brand, and assume it’d work well with their IBM branded computer.

I’ve had the IBM Easy Option AC 525 sound card (or game & audio card, like they call it), for some time now. It’s been sitting on my shelf sealed for many years and the time had come to really check out what it was. Surprising no one, the card wasn’t actually made by IBM, but rather a rebrand. I won’t spoil the surprise on what this card actually is, you’ll have to watch the video to find out!

That said the card worked great, it has a nice sound to it, and the compatibility is excellent. I’d definitely put this in the “easy option” category! Check out the video on the card below.

Livestream 12/15/2022 – Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza

Since Die Hard is definitely a Christmas movie, it seems natural to play a Die Hard game for one of the December livestreams. This time that landed on Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza. An FPS that came out in 2002, developed by Pirahna Games, that tries to follow the events of the movie fairly closely.

Where it shines is seeing the events from the eyes of McClane where the movie might have cut away. I think it pulls this off to great effect putting you in the seat of the barefoot hero. A new perspective on a true action classic. However just following the events of the movie is not enough to fill out a full game experience players may be expecting. So they added additional things that didn’t happen (or at least were shown) in the movie. These parts may be the most boring aspects and can be almost considered “transport” between the good parts.

Sewer… level. Yep they added a sewer level with concrete, confusing hallways and tons and tons of enemies that appear out of nowhere. That part of the game sadly really felt like a slog. Weapons also lack a lot of punch and the moment to moment gameplay is unfortunately not very satisfying. They do what the can with the fabled Lithtech Engine (running games like No One Lives Forever, Blood 2 and SHOGO: Mobile Armor Division), but you soon run into limitations. I won’t spoil it too much but there were several portions of the game made harder by poor game design choices, and I’m sure problems with the engine.

That said the game overall is a fun, and interesting addition to the Die Hard mythos. Worth checking out but prepare for… I guess average? Take a look at the stream replay below!

VCF Midwest 17/2022 Pickups

Just like last year the Vintage Computer Fest Midwest (VCF Midwest) was held in Elmhurst, IL in September. It was my first time attending last year and I don’t know that anything could quite prepare me for how much of a nerd heaven it ended up being. Meeting new people within the hobby, seeing so many cool things and being able to experience so much… it was almost too much!

Well this year was even more bonkers. Exhibition rooms filled to the brim with celebrities (LGR or 8-bit guy anyone?), tons and tons of vintage equipment and lots of opportunity to buy things. I don’t think I could accurately describe it in just a few paragraphs but needless to say it was an awesome event. If you have any chance to go I’d highly recommend it, it’s a great opportunity to come together as a community. I’m planning to go again next year but for now enjoy a video where I go over some of the items I picked up while I was there this year!

Livestream 10/6/22 – Swedish PC Gamer January 97

Someone asked me about doing another magazine read through and showing off some of the cover disc demos again like we had done before. When they also mentioned it had been a year since we did it the last time I was a bit blown away. It felt like it was just a few weeks ago!

No time to lose obviously, so I brought out my trusty Pentium 166 MMX again which is very era appropriate for the January 97 timeframe this magazine was published. It is a huge round of nostalgia for me, personally, to go through this since I read this cover to cover as a kid (teenager). I got most of my gaming news, reviews and industry insights from magazines just like PC Gamer. While the US version of the magazine had even more content, seeing one that was local to my region was a treat. I subscribed to it for a few years so expect to see more of these in the future.

For now check out the replay below where we go through the magazine, remember the era fondly and lastly try out some of the games on the cover disc.

Livestream 9/30/2022 – Simon the Sorcerer

During the 80s and 90s it was hard to argue the hold that Lucasarts and Sierra had with their adventure games. While many different companies tried different approaches to the classic, point and click, adventure style those 2 companies had the market nearly cornered. That’s not to say there weren’t other studios making excellent games in the genre but bring names like Monkey Island, or King’s Quest up and you see what I mean.

One studio trying to show their take on the genre was Adventure Soft. They created the irreverant teenager Simon to star in their game. The game has Simon, being bored with his homework, get accidentally transported into a fantasy world trying to find a way to get home again. Featuring what I’d call very British humor, it’s an incredibly solid addition to the genre. The gameplay follows the Lucasarts mold where you don’t have any game over screens (looking at you Quest games), and actions are done through a list of verbs at the bottom of the screen.

The art is gorgeous, the puzzles mostly make sense and the humor really is befitting the game. All in all if you enjoy point and click adventure games from the 90s this is one to definitely check out. We played my original copy of the game which is the CD, “talkie” version. This replaces all the text found on other versions with a fully voiced soundtrack. It’s still a fun game so check out the replay below!