Robert Wm. Gomez's

September 2015

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (8/10)

Gritty crime fiction. Basically the blueprint for the entire genre. The writing and language are a tier above most of the pulp trash I've read. I wasn't blown away by the story but that's probably because this is a standard that has been repeated a zillion times afterwards.

Batman by Prince (3/10)

I think I liked the "Batdance" video on MTV back when this came out. Maybe I was just caught up in Batmania (although I don't remember loving the movie). For whatever reason, I own this universally mocked record. Listing to it again, I was hoping it would reveal itself to me as an underrated gem. Nope. It's pretty awful. I actually like the groove of "Vicki Waiting" and "Batdance" still is a fun listen, but the majority of the tracks are just too boring or too sappy.

Apple ][ Assembly Language Programming

The past few weeks I have been diving into the world of assembly language programming on the Apple ][ computer. My interest in the topic stems from the recent book release of a compilation of articles on assembly language programming called Assembly Lines: The Complete Book. The articles were written by Roger Wagner and originally published in Softalk magazine back in the early eighties. This edition was edited by Chris Torrence and is available for download and purchase from a number of locations.

Now, I am pretty familiar with Applesoft Basic programming, but I was always in awe of commercially released software on the Apple ][ that ran so fast, had fancy hi-res graphics and used sounds other than the system beep. What was the secret of these mythical programs that required you to type "BRUN" in order to get them to load? The secret was machine language.

A Golden Wake on PC (6/10)

A golden Wake... don't be deceived by this screenshot. There is no dancing in this game.

Although I'd give them props for creating a game with a truly unique theme, this Wadjet Eye adventure falls a bit flat. The game is set during the 1920's land boom of southern Florida and focuses on the player-character, Alfie Banks. Essentially it's a character study, but, unfortunately, interactive storytelling doesn't lend itself to well so such narratives. Games excel at mood and environment but creating riveting characters just doesn't seem to fit the medium all that well. Without a strong narrative plot focus (i.e. save the princess or defeat the evil villain) it's hard to justify the extra time spent clicking options and parsing dialog trees to get to the same point that a short paragraph of exposition would.

Apocalypse Now by Coppola, Carmine and Francis Coppola (9/10)

Format: 
CD

Not so much a soundtrack as it is an abridged version of the movie that you can listen along with, the double CD Apocalypse Now focuses on narration and dialogue instead of music. Sure there's "Ride of the Valkyries" and that stupid (aren't they all) Doors song, but for the most part the atmospheric synth sounds are limited to background here and there. That's okay by me.

1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) by Eurythmics (9/10)

Format: 
CD

Although technically speaking this is a soundtrack, I don't think any of these songs made it into the film 1984. That's fine. The dance floor beats don't really fit the tone of a dark and cruel dystopian future. Nevertheless, I have always really liked this CD (with the exception of the overly long "Julia"). Along with the attempts at police-state pop music, there is a nice mix of instrumentals where Lennox's voice is just there for atmospheric effect.