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Giles Hill

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kids in classroom with raised hands

Apple, if you want to win in education, look at what sucks about iPads

For us crazed weirdos who work in education – that's primary schools for me – I'll admit it was mildly encouraging to find our world was the main thrust of an Apple event this week. The updated, marginally cheaper iPad with pencil support isn't about to set hearts ablaze, but the mostly stable and reliable environment of iOS …
Giles Hill, 30 Mar 2018
After Burner arcade

After Burner: Sega’s jet-fighting, puke-inducing arcade marvel

Antique Code Show It was 1986, and the world went bonkers for Top Gun: that film about pleasant young chaps learning the flight ropes of F-14 Tomcats. New-wave synth poppers Berlin sang Take My Breath Away while straddling decommissioned aircraft; Tom Cruise apparently began a longstanding attempt to disguise his diminutive stature; and …
Giles Hill, 15 Oct 2015
Super Mario Bros

Hats off to Nintendo’s platform supremo Super Mario Bros at 30

Antique Code Show Super Mario Bros – the iconic game for Nintendo’s Famicom, or NES to those of us outside Japan – was released 30 years ago. Nintendo has been celebrating the build up to its anniversary, which takes place on Sunday, 13 September, by offering a competition to see who can make the best Mario-themed video – with a zillion and one …
Giles Hill, 11 Sep 2015
Shadow of the Beast

Shadow of the Beast: Amiga classic returns from the darkness

Antique Code Show Let’s state one fact clearly from the start: for all its virtues, Shadow of the Beast did not play especially well. Its often half-baked platform action appeared promising at first, but was let down ultimately by having no game-save positions, a frustratingly high difficulty level and a general lack of fair and progressive …
Giles Hill, 25 Jun 2015
Neo Geo MVS arcade console

25 years of SNK's Neo Geo video gaming platform

Antique Code Show 1990s console gamers were curiously obsessed with the notion of game conversions being “arcade perfect”. Of course, such hopes were invariably dashed on the hard rocks of reality – hardly surprising when arcade hardware tended to have far superior specs to home machines. Neo Geo MVS arcade machine Neo Geo MVS 4 in 1 arcade …
Giles Hill, 12 Mar 2015
Q*Bert

Q*bert: The Escher-inspired platform puzzler from 1982

Antique Code Show Given the choice, which 80s videogame star would you choose to have a friendly seasonal pint and chin-wag with? Pacman’s obviously got a personality defect, Mario’s breath probably stinks, and that bloke from Jet Set Willy is no doubt a pervert. But Q*bert? Well he’s one interesting individual – full of mumbled swear-word …
Giles Hill, 24 Dec 2014
Ghouls 'n Ghosts

One hard ghoulie: 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins

Antique Code Show In the build-up to the Halloween of 1985, Capcom lobbed this little box of horrors into the unsuspecting crowd of arcade dwellers. With mid-'80s goggles on, it’s easy to see why Ghosts ‘n Goblins gathered attention with its spooky but colourful visuals, alongside some memorably atmospheric ditties and effects. Ghosts 'n …
Giles Hill, 31 Oct 2014
California Games

Wetsuits, sunshine, bikini babes and a competitive streak: Epyx California Games

Antique Code Show California Games from Epyx cooked up a successful franchise with its winning combination of sunshine, grazed shins, wetsuits and bikini babes. Indeed, its well-considered play mechanics, delivered with multiplayer action and some slightly twisted humour, soon cemented its cult classic status in history. Video from 2004 looking …
Giles Hill, 14 Aug 2014

Xenon: Bitmap Brothers' (mega)blast from the past

Antique Code Show Xenon marked the beginning of a distinguished career for The Bitmap Brothers, legendary developers of the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST era. Overhead, vertically scrolling shooters were doing great trade in arcades across the land, and with its exposure on Saturday morning kids’ show Get Fresh (you don’t remember Gaz Top and …
Giles Hill, 19 Mar 2014
Space Harrier

Vertical take-off and laughing: Space Harrier

Antique Code Show One of the outright joys of retro gaming is being able to look back at some very esoteric design choices and general weirdness that sometimes surrounds old titles: forgotten little segments of youth culture, odd nuances that found their place due to technical limitations, and novel arcade game concepts designed to draw more and …
Giles Hill, 18 Feb 2014
Tomb Raider

Hooters, shooters and looters: Eidos’s Tomb Raider

Antique Code Show It has been argued that Tomb Raider’s star, Lara Croft, was the first feminist female of video games: a bastion of 1990s "girl power" and the "ladette" culture that was (supposedly) happening at the time, and thus a great role-model for young empowered women everywhere. Then again, take one glance at Lara posing on the cover …
Giles Hill, 25 Nov 2013
Sonic X-treme

Sonic the Hedgehog

Antique Code Show Pocket-money saved, game ordered, wait for the postman and... nothing. A friend had the game already – rubbing salt into the wound – yet my journey of anticipation home from school each day still arrived at a big hole of spiky blue hedgehog nothingness. The original Sonic the Hedgehog was especially hyped throughout its long …
Giles Hill, 11 Apr 2013
Space Invader

Twenty classic arcade games

I’d better say it from the outset: picking 20 all-time arcade game classics is a nightmarish task, not simply because of the almost endless array of titles available to choose from, but because of all the really good ones you have to omit. Space Invader Here then, are the titles that made the cut, either because they have …
Giles Hill, 5 Mar 2013
Raspberry Pi and Lego Supercomputer, credit Simon J Cox 2012

Bash Street bytes: Do UK schools really need the Raspberry Pi?

Feature There’s been a right fracas in education this year, with the government proclaiming that ICT (Information and Communication Technology) teaching is dull and demotivating, and that kids need to be be taught more programming, and less use of applications. Into the fray like a white knight comes the Raspberry Pi, a tool designed …
Giles Hill, 27 Nov 2012
Streetfighter 2: The World Warrior

Streetfighter 2: The World Warrior

Antique Code Show Yoga-fire! Had-uken! A-shab-dap-whoo-jit! In the early 1990s, such was common playground talk up and down the country, as children re-enacted their Streetfighter 2 fantasies, and dinner-ladies looked on in bewilderment. Streetfighter 2: The World Warrior Eight controllable characters was something of a revelation 20 years …
Giles Hill, 18 Jul 2012
Pentax Optio WG-2 rugged camera

Eight... Rugged Cameras

Product Round-up Has anybody not trashed a digital camera at some point while out and about? Dust or sand, water or ice-cream, the great outdoors ruthlessly claims its tech victims on a daily basis. While manufacturers have busily carved out a niche of rugged ‘adventure-proof’ cameras, the truth is that most people, whether on the slopes, at the …
Giles Hill, 7 Apr 2012
Ten... Outdoor Gadgets

Ten... outdoor gadgets

Product Round-up Experiencing the great outdoors is fundamentally about escaping the trappings of modern life – leaving all the gadgets and gizmos we carry around at home – right? Well, maybe not – as there’s a mountain of technology ready to enhance, rather than detract from your chosen outdoor pursuit, however extreme or placid. To document …
Giles Hill, 20 Aug 2011
Contour GPS Bluetooth camera

Contour GPS Bluetooth camcorder

Review Contour has been making a lot of noise recently about the new wireless viewfinder feature for its HD range of helmet cameras. With these units being necessarily small, the idea is that the viewfinder bulk is taken care of by using your phone's display, with a Bluetooth connection streaming the pics and video. Simply download a …
Giles Hill, 12 Jul 2011
GoPro HD Hero

GoPro HD Hero camera

Review For show-offs and general posers outdoor enthusiasts everywhere, GoPro devices tap neatly into all sorts of extreme sports where cameras have previously been off-limits. Indeed, the Hero range can be stuck, worn, twisted and clipped in numerous tricky places. GoPro HD Hero GoPro's HD Hero: one camera, several guises The …
Giles Hill, 16 Sep 2010

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