I totally fell into the internet...

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Speaking of handheld games...

I had this one when I was maybe ten or eleven that I traded away from a neighborhood kid. You controlled this missile launcher at the bottom of the screen with a knob that moved it left and right and a button that sent your missile shooting straight up towards the top of the screen.

Enemy aircraft crossed from left to right at different speeds and altitudes. When it died, I cracked it open and was fascinated to see that it was entirely electromechanical: Each flight level of aircraft was a filmstrip that scrolled in a continuous loop. Your missile ran on a vertical track; the "reload" time was how long it took to get the little backlit plastic missile back down to the bottom of the screen.

Given all the monkey motion going on inside that little plastic case, it's a wonder that it survived as long as it did in my hands.



I like supporting local retailers, and there's a little joint called The Game Station that I try to stop by once a month or so, even if it's just to take advantage of their 3-for-$20 DVD wall.

Every time I'm in there, I glance in the case full of handhelds, just to see what's new, since I've been planning on adding to my feeble handheld collection for some time now. (Currently I only have the original Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear.) Yesterday, I noticed that they had a couple of Game Boy Advance units for, like $16 each, and a copy of Eye of the Beholder for $8. Heck, that's almost free! And for an old-school D&D geek like myself, that's a nearly irresistible combination.

Let's see how this thing works...


It's too big to be a space station!

At not quite 40 pounds, the original G3 iMac was a handful to move, but the eMac? Yikes. I think it tips the scales at shade over a desk-busting fifty pounds with its built-in 17" CRT.

The one I snagged off eBay (for a buy-it-now price of $80) is a 1.25GHz G4, circa early 2004. At only five years old, it's stretching the definition of "fossil", but with the demise of the PowerPC Macs, even a big G5 tower more or less rates the term these days.

The eMac, which sold new for about $800 in 2004, just absolutely crushes my G4/500 tower in any objective set of benchmarks, and the G4 sold for $3,500 stripped just four years before the eMac, which is ready to boot out of the box. Never let it be said that Apple doesn't have some schizoid pricing practices.

Ports are abundant, with 2 FireWire and three USB 2.0 ports easily accessible on the right side of the case towards the front, and another USB port on the backside of the keyboard. The keyboard is Apple's attractive white/clear "borderless" unit, where it looks as though the keys are hovering above the lucite slab.

One big area of improvement over the earlier G3 iMac is the speakers: while they don't exactly provide floor-shaking bass, they are leaps and bounds better than the tinny units in the old iMac. This makes the machine excel as a second computer for watching movies and doing simple 'net chores, although it will choke on media-heavy sites unless you cram in more RAM than the 512MB with which mine shipped.

I'll post more detailed impressions after I've played with it some more.