Author Topic: GAMERS THREAD  (Read 244271 times)

Offline Battle

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« Reply #1050 on: March 18, 2020, 02:25:08 pm »
Wednesday, 18th March 2o2o (Originally published Thursday, 14th March 2o2o)
Before Atari, this Black man invented the first video game console with changeable cartridges
by Francis Akhalbey

In an era where it was deemed impossible to develop a video gaming console that could afford the luxury of swapping cartridges let alone have its very own microprocessor, Gerald Lawson broke the status quo.

Though the Fairchild Channel F, which was released in the 1970s with Lawson as lead developer did not gain as much prominence as Atari, Sega and Nintendo, the ingenuity behind it paved the way for the evolution from single video game consoles to those that allow players to change cartridges as and when they please.

Born December 1st, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York, Lawson’s interest in electronics started at a very young age.

Speaking with Vintage Computing, Lawson recalled some of the unusual toys he received from his father including the Irish Mail.

“The Irish Mail was a hand car that operated on the ground. It was all metal, and you could sit on it. You steered it with your feet, and it had a bar in the front, and the bar with a handle. You’d crank it, and it would give you forward or backward motivation, depending on which way you start with it. I was probably the only kid in the neighborhood who knew how to operate it, so I used to leave it out all night sometimes. I’d find it down the block, but no one would take it, because they didn’t know how to operate it,” he said.

Lawson also credits his mother, who ensured he attended a prestigious almost all-white public school and one of his teachers, Ms. Guble, for making him believe anything is possible.

He also admitted this influence further sparked his interest in becoming a scientist.

“I had a teacher in the first grade — and I’ll never forget that — her name was Ms. Guble. I had a picture of George Washington Carver on the wall next to my desk. And she said, “This could be you.” I mean, I can still remember that picture, still remember where it was,” he said.

As a young kid through to his teens, Lawson, without any formal training in electronics whatsoever had achieved quite some remarkable feats.

In the 1940s, he had his own amateur radio station in Jamaica, Queens, which he had an operating license.

He also made walkie-talkies which he sold and repaired televisions some part of his teenage years.

After studying at Queens College and the City College of New York, Lawson had working stints at Grumman Aircraft, Federal Electric, PRD Electronics and Kaiser Electronics.

After securing the Kaiser Electronics job, whose scope of work was centered on military technology, he moved to Silicon Valley, according to Engadget.

As one of the few Black engineers in those times, Lawson admitted the race factor affected his job prospects, but the end results of an accomplishment was satisfactory.

“It could be both a plus and a minus. Where it could be a plus is that, in some regard, you got a lot of, shall we say, eyes watching you. And as a result, if you did good, you did twice as good, ’cause you got instant notoriety about it.”

Lawson’s time at Fairchild Semiconductor, where his ingenuity contributed to the birth of the first ever console with changeable cartridges began in 1970.

From the freelance engineering department to being made the Chief Hardware Engineer and director of engineering and marketing for their video game division, they were pessimistic about the functionality of the Fairchild Channel F as they feared it may cause an explosion among other things.

“We were afraid — we didn’t have statistics on multiple insertions and what it would do, and how we would do it, because it wasn’t done. I mean, think about it: nobody had the capability of plugging in memory devices in mass quantity like in a consumer product. Nobody,” he said.

After the development of the Fairchild Channel F, another hurdle they had to jump was getting certification from the FCC as it was “the first microprocessor device of any nature” to go through testing.

They were, eventually, able to sail through.

Speaking with Mercury News about how he was able to achieve the almost impossible, Lawson said:

“The whole reason I did games was because people said, ‘You can’t do it,’”

“I’m one of the guys, if you tell me I can’t do something, I’ll turn around and do it.”

At Fairchild, Lawson was among the very few black members of the Homebrew Computer Club, a computer hobbyist group in Silicon Valley which had Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as members.

In 2011, Lawson was honored by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) for his contributions to the cartridge concept.

He passed away on April 9, 2011, at the age of 70 after a long battle with diabetes.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2020, 02:26:39 pm by Battle »

Offline Battle

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« Reply #1051 on: March 30, 2020, 02:03:52 pm »
Monday, 30th March 2o2o
Kosteniuk Crowned Isolated Chess Queen as Krush Recovers from COVID-19
by Jennifer Shahade

On Saturday, March 21st, Botez Live and US Chess Women hosted the Isolated Queens Swiss, a blitz tournament on open to female players of all ages.

85 players participated including over 30 streamers, who gave running commentary on their twitch channels.

Women and girls from six continents played, many practicing social isolation to stymie the scourge of COVID-19.

One of our most beloved American players, Grandmaster Irina Krush played in quarantine while recovering from coronavirus.

On Friday night, March 20th, the seven-time US Women’s Champion revealed to her many fans and friends that she had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

That post is public, and can be read here.

Feeling somewhat better the next morning, Irina jumped into the stacked blitz event.

"I was tired of laying around unproductively for a week…was it hard to play? It was fine…I mean, of course I wasn’t being super evocative in my twitch stream, since I had to conserve my breath, and I probably would’ve had a stronger reaction to my bad moves under other circumstances."

This was Irina’s very first time streaming.

“I felt I should have gotten a prize just for figuring out how to stream. It was definitely my biggest creative achievement of the tournament, and maybe top ten of my life :)

Irina did end up getting 7.5/10 for joint 2nd, and perhaps more vitally, an afternoon of absorption.

On March 26th, after this article was posted, Irina wrote another heartfelt update on Fakebook about her health.

“The virus has not been an easy opponent, but I am hopeful that this wave will recede too.”

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Offline Battle

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« Reply #1052 on: April 01, 2020, 02:46:48 pm »
Wednesday, 1st April 2o2o
Arianne Caoili Passes Away
by Peter Doggers

Arianne Caoili

December 22, 1986 - March 30th, 2020

Born in Manila, Arianne Caoili learned chess at the age of six and was a WIM (Woman International Master).

Arianne Caoili, a former Oceania women's chess champion, Woman International Master, and an incredibly versatile human being, has died due to the consequences of a car crash.

Ms. Caoili, the wife of Armenia's number-one grandmaster Levon Aronian, was 33 years old.

On March 15th, the Armenian state news agency reported that Caoili was in serious condition after a car crash in Yerevan.

Alone in her car, she reportedly lost control and crashed into a concrete barrier under a bridge.

She was brought to the Astghik Medical Center, where doctors initially said her condition was serious, but later they reported positive dynamics in Caoili's condition.

She was kept in an induced coma.

On the evening of Monday, March 30th, Aronian shared the terrible news that Caoili had passed away.

He did so in a moving Tweet which, at the time of writing, has over two thousand replies with condolences.

Caoili was born in Manila, the Philippines, on December 22, 1986, the younger of two sisters born to a Dutch mother and a Filipino father, who was a minister.

The family moved to Australia in 1989.

She was an active chess player in her youth and won her first major title on her 14th birthday when she came first in the Asian girls under-16 championship in Bagac, the Philippines, in 2000.

Her most successful year as a chess player was 2009, when she won both the London Chess Classic Women's Invitational tournament and the Oceania Women's Zonal Championship.

Ms. Caoili changed federations in 2004 and began representing Australia, the country she represented in five Olympiads.

Before that, she had played twice for the Philippines.

She became known to the wider Australian public in 2006 when she participated in the fifth season of 'Dancing with the Stars'.

She did quite well, finishing in second place with her dance partner Carmelo Pizzino.

Ms. Caoili wasn't an active chess player herself anymore, but she was incredibly busy with a wide variety of projects and engagements.

She visited Aronian occasionally at chess events to support him.

"I wouldn't say I'm a great player, but I am good enough to be nervous enough!" she said.

Caoili and Aronian were engaged in 2015 and married in September 2017 in Yerevan, in the presence of the then Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his wife.

Ms. Caoili was multi-talented.

By education, she was an economist with a Ph.D. on "Russian foreign policy, especially its economic and business relations with Armenia on a state and individual level."

She spoke several languages fluently and loved mountain climbing, cycling, and cooking.

Her Twitter bio lists many more interests such as the economics of space, foresight, ESG funds +SWFs, music, dance, and boxing, apart from chess.

She owned a jazz club in Yerevan and recorded an EP in Australia.

After working as a consultant at Price Waterhouse Coopers, she became the managing director at the global strategy consulting firm Akron, which is active in public policy and economics.

In this role, she advised international leaders, including the Armenian president.

She also co-founded a newspaper in Armenia.

Ms. Caoili was also involved in several philanthropic initiatives in Armenia.

In 2018, she made a 2,000-km bike tour through Turkey, Iran, and Armenia to raise funds for the Children of Armenia Fund, which, among other activities, builds schools where chess is now taught.

"I'm really proud of that," Caoili said.

"It was a lot of fun, and the central message, besides the historical context and how interesting that was, was to drive home that sport and chess is really important for kids."

« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 04:40:19 pm by Battle »

Offline Battle

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« Reply #1053 on: April 04, 2020, 08:48:32 am »
Saturday, 4th April 2o2o
This Sega Genesis Mini Is Now My Go-to Stress Reliever
by Anthony Rotunno

A common question I have been asked ever since New York and many other states enacted strict stay-at-home orders:

Would you consider moving home with your parents?

It makes sense that these uncertain times are driving millennials (even “older,” married ones like myself) to seek the emotional and physical comforts of home.

But my answer is always no, and not just because of the risk of transporting the virus from the city to the suburbs.

With the press of a button, a little gadget in my apartment will instantly transport me to my childhood living room, and I can spend hours not obsessing over the rising death toll, how many more days it will be before my husband and I need to shop for groceries again, or if we’ll have any money left in our retirement savings by the end of this pandemic.

No, it’s not a teleportation device:

It’s a Sega Genesis Mini.

Just like the actual Sega Genesis I grew up playing, I have my mom to thank for the mini, which she bought as a host gift of sorts the first time my husband and I invited our families to our Bushwick apartment for Thanksgiving.

I suspect she thought it would provide the sort of easy entertainment one needs to keep their brothers’ and sisters’ (and even parents’) minds off of the fact that they would be crammed into an apartment together for hours.

Now stuck inside that same apartment with my husband and cat for who knows how much longer, the system has become an almost daily hero for that very reason.

To anyone who grew up playing Sega Genesis, the mini-console functions more or less exactly as you remember its older sister working — except for the fact that the games are built-in, so no swapping (or blowing on) cartridges is necessary.

It comes with two controllers, and when I pick one up, I’m hit with a wave of nostalgia and muscle memory that I imagine is similar to the feeling a high-school baseball star might get from putting on his old glove decades later.

The array of games is delightful, from Sonic the Hedgehog to Toejam & Earl to Altered Beast (which I couldn’t beat then and still can’t now), with the system boasting 40 in total.

It also comes with the cords needed to hook it up to most TVs.

Technophiles should know that I am one of those people who used an iPhone SE until this year, meaning I don’t care about the latest and greatest technology and am thus blind to some of the system’s finer details that Serious Gamers might nitpick.

That said, our friends at Polygon — who are as serious about gaming as it gets — had more good things to say about the mini Sega Genesis than bad things.

Also: With newer systems like the Nintendo Switch sold out seemingly everywhere, the Sega Genesis Mini, while lower-tech, presents a reasonably priced and just as addictive alternative.

If you’ve never played Sega or any of its games before, there will probably be a slight learning curve (“I still don’t get the point of the presents,” was my husband’s quick take after a recent two-hour Toejam & Earl game).

But if a 6-year-old me could learn them then — without the benefit of YouTube tutorials — it’s fair to say anyone that age or older can learn them now.

And as our guides to quilting and knitting and drawing and origami and scrapbooking suggest, being stuck at home is as good a time as any to learn a new skill.

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