Monday, July 29, 2013

The Future of Netbooks: Bay Trail Specs Leaked

Bay Trail is on the move again, barreling right along toward its holiday 2013 launch. Specifications for the next generation of netbook processors have been leaked alongside those for desktop and industrial Atoms, Celerons, and Pentiums, and the numbers look very promising. (Oh, you haven't heard yet? Intel's Silvermont microarchitecture is fast enough to be used in some Celeron and Pentium processors. Woof.)
An interesting thing to notice is the absence of the Atom name in the leaked Bay Trail-M model names. Perhaps Intel wanted to improve the public image of their new mobile chips by avoiding the Atom moniker, which, as you all know, has a bad reputation for being a slow, worthless piece of silicon. It's a smart move, as the names will not only avoid the bad Atom PR, but will be reflective of the architecture's massively improved performance. Basically, Silvermont is all of the improvements the Atom line should've had over its lifespan rolled up into one release, especially in the graphics department. With the slowest of the bunch, the Celeron N2805, Doom 3 will be not only playable on Ultra, but fluid on High settings. That's a huge leap over today's Cedar Trail GPU's (believe me, you wouldn't want to play Doom 3 on them unless you have an unusual tolerance for low framerates), and from the look of things, it will only get better from here.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Featured Game: Full Tilt! Pinball

Now you know where Windows pinball came from
Full Tilt! Pinball Macintosh Front Cover
Year: 1996
Genre: Pinball + Arcade
Recommend: YES

Have you ever played 3D Pinball on Windows XP? Of course you have! Many a Windows user, gamer or not, has fond memories of playing it as a kid, myself included. What you may not know is that it's a stripped-down version of a 1996 Maxis game called Full Tilt! Pinball. The Maxis version has 2 additional tables as well as support for additional resolutions, multiple balls in play, and additional sounds; basically, it's a lot more fun than the game bundled with pre-Vista Windows. If you enjoyed Windows' little gem back in its heyday, give Full Tilt! Pinball a try.

What you'll need

This game will run on a 66 MHz processor. Instead of wasting your time telling you about the unimportant system requirements, I'll direct you to the site where I downloaded the game.

Reviews and Awards

Unsurprisingly, Full Tilt! Pinball was dealt positive reviews from multiple critics. Gamespot gave the game only a fair score of 6.5, even though the only negative remark was for the game's soundtrack. (Typo, anyone?) Coming Soon Magazine (who?) dished out an 83% rating, with no subcategory falling below 80%. Oddly, CSM gave the highest subscore to the sound category; apparently tastes differ between CSM and GameSpot.


If you're anything like me, you'll find that the small screens on netbooks just aren't big enough for most pinball games. I recommend plugging in to an external monitor and running at the max resolution of 1024x768 if you have the option. Disabling visual themes in the Compatibility tab will allow the game to display properly in fullscreen mode.
Here's a table you won't see bundled with Windows