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Joel Billings and SSI - Digital Antiquarian article

 
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Joel Billings and SSI - Digital Antiquarian article - 3/4/2016 5:54:53 PM   
Perturabo


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http://www.filfre.net/2016/03/joel-billings-and-ssi/

Interesting stuff. Especially:
quote:

Recognizing the need to present a professional appearance — especially in light of Computer Bismarck‘s $60 price tag, four or five times the price of the typical computer game at the time — Joel had taken the unusual step of hiring an artist and packaging designer for SSI right out of the gate. In an industry still dominated by Ziploc baggies stuffed with hand-scrawled photocopied title cards, Computer Bismarck shipped in an actual box sporting Louis Saekow’s ominous head-on graphic of the Bismarck itself. Inside was not only a real, professionally typeset manual but also a generous collection of player aids, including a map and counters for keeping track of those aspects of the strategic situation that the program, even with the aid of the Apple II’s bitmap graphics, couldn’t always show.


According to Measuring Worth, 60$ from 1980 is ~173$ modern dollars.

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RE: Joel Billings and SSI - Digital Antiquarian article - 3/4/2016 6:15:52 PM   
wings7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

http://www.filfre.net/2016/03/joel-billings-and-ssi/

Interesting stuff. Especially:
quote:

Recognizing the need to present a professional appearance — especially in light of Computer Bismarck‘s $60 price tag, four or five times the price of the typical computer game at the time — Joel had taken the unusual step of hiring an artist and packaging designer for SSI right out of the gate. In an industry still dominated by Ziploc baggies stuffed with hand-scrawled photocopied title cards, Computer Bismarck shipped in an actual box sporting Louis Saekow’s ominous head-on graphic of the Bismarck itself. Inside was not only a real, professionally typeset manual but also a generous collection of player aids, including a map and counters for keeping track of those aspects of the strategic situation that the program, even with the aid of the Apple II’s bitmap graphics, couldn’t always show.


According to Measuring Worth, 60$ from 1980 is ~173$ modern dollars.


What a great entertaining and historical article...thanks for sharing!

Patrick

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RE: Joel Billings and SSI - Digital Antiquarian article - 3/4/2016 9:34:51 PM   
Pvt_Grunt

 

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I found this section interesting:

quote:

The great Sid Meier gave us the maxim that “fun trumps realism” in game design. One might say that SSI’s games took the opposite position. But, almost paradoxically, for the niche of people on their wavelength the realism — or the abstract idea of realism, whatever the actual reality of simulation on a 48 K Apple II — was the fun.


The realism VS fun balance is still debated to this day. This was back in the days where game companies had a "personal" style that ran through all there games no matter the genre or title. I dont think its the same anymore with companies as they are too large and the staff tend to swap around more.

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RE: Joel Billings and SSI - Digital Antiquarian article - 3/5/2016 12:15:59 AM   
sullafelix

 

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All of the wargames that I bought during the eighties were being sold for $59.95.

That was both Commodore and IBM.

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RE: Joel Billings and SSI - Digital Antiquarian article - 3/5/2016 11:35:40 PM   
wings7


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I look forward to Part 2, "We’ll step back next time to look at what set that titan on a collision course with Joel Billing’s modest little treehouse for wargamers."

Patrick

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RE: Joel Billings and SSI - Digital Antiquarian article - 3/8/2016 1:17:26 AM   
donkuchi19


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I don't know if this was the same Bismark game, but I remember one for the Apple that was written in Basic. I remember using a printer at my Junior High School to print out the Basic program and then I translated it to work on my Commodore 64. This way, I was able to play the same game at home. (The graphics on the one I translated were only dots and letters).

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