Sunday, 17 September 2017

TWOFER #17: Unique Games Corrections

1. Bigtop Barney (Interceptor Software, 1984)

Written by Jason Benham for the Commodore 64, with music by Robert Westgate. Released by Interceptor Software in 1984.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC by Alan Bridgman, with music by Tim Gibson. Published on Interceptor's "Players" budget label in 1986.

2. Harricana - International Snowmobile Race (Loriciel, 1990)

AMSTRAD CPC version: Designed by Bernard Auré, Programming by Olivier Richez, Graphics by Ivan Gaidonov, Philippe Tesson and Richard Martens; Music by Michel Winogradoff.

ATARI ST and COMMODORE AMIGA versions: Design and programming by Bernard Auré (Benoist Aron?); Graphics by Ivan Gaidonov, Philippe Tesson and Richard Martens; Music by Michel Winogradoff.



If the title doesn't tell you enough, let's elaborate. Back when I was still doing the Unique Games series, I made a few mistaken inclusions, these two games being some of the most glaring ones, but there were a few other games I could still make comparisons of, if anyone's interested. The thing is, though, most of the other games only became available for more platforms in the recent years, and the other two most obvious titles would have been rather obscure games called Illusions and Brain Strainers, both of which I thought felt unique enough, but were revealed not to be exclusive to the Colecovision... but I'll go with these two for now, because they're more interesting on a general basis.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Zorro (Datasoft, 1985)

Designed by James Garon, Kelly Day, John Ludin, Roy Langston and Terry Shakespeare.

Written by James Garon for the Atari 8-bit computers and Commodore 64 in 1985, with graphics by Kelly Day. Converted for the Apple ][ by Rick Mirsky and James Garon. Music for the C64 version by John A. Fitzpatrick. Released in North America by Datasoft, and in Europe by U.S. Gold in 1985.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC in 1985 and for the ZX Spectrum 48k in 1986 by James Software Ltd., and published by U.S. Gold.



This is perhaps going to sound a bit worrisome for some of you, but when I started on this blog, I decided that Bruce Lee and Zorro would be the two "bookend" comparison articles. Well, worry not, because there's still a good few comparisons to come, but this does mark the beginning of the end of FRGCB. There should be enough games on my to-do list at least until the end of this year, and perhaps a little further beyond, and I'm doing Zorro now only because I want the last foreseeable comparison article to be a properly high note. Now, let's get back to the basics, and hope there will be no similar updates to this as they were for Bruce Lee.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Overlander (Elite Systems, 1988)

Designed by Simon Cook

ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC versions: Programming by Mark Haigh-Hutchinson, graphics by Gary Tonge and Peter Tattersall, music and sound effects by Mark Cooksey. Published in 1988 by Elite.

Commodore 64 version: Programming by Richard Underhill, graphics by Peter Tattersall, loading screen by Paul Walker, music and sound effects by Mark Cooksey. Published in 1988 by Elite.

Atari ST and Commodore Amiga versions: Programming by Darren Pegg, graphics by Simon Cook, Gary Tonge and Peter Tattersall, ST music and sound effects by Jason C. Brooke, Amiga music and sound effects by Mark Cooksey. Published in 1989 by Elite.



When I started planning on taking the blog back into regular form, I decided I wanted to do something light and easy, so I decided to take a look at one of my old driving game favourites: Overlander. I remember buying this from some electronics shop in a sale of two tapes for a reduced price, and from the very few choices available, the other choice was Supertrux, because I didn't know anything about it - as opposed to knowing all the other games were useless. Anyway, judging by the information on the regular websites - Lemon64, CPC-Power and World of Spectrum, it looked to be just a regular threesome. But of course, things have a tendency to get more difficult when you least expect them to. This one just had to have two 16-bit versions as well, and naturally, in addition to the traditional three-way 8-bit battle, we would also have the other traditional 16-bit battle on our hands. Since the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga versions aren't too well known, this is a good opportunity to get to know them better, in case the game's 8-bit versions offer no surprises.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

SPECIAL: Modern Game Ports And Demakes!

This summer's series of special entries continues with a variation on a theme, which we have previously touched upon: games from more modern platforms for older systems. Simply put, "demade" games - devolved remakes. If you have not the faintest idea of what demakes characteristically are, the idea is to getting something of the essence of the games into a more restrictive platform, usually dropping some of the more consuming elements from the game and just get all the most characteristic elements included. Sometimes, though, they manage to be surprisingly close to the original, and fortunately, many of the more current demakes are as impressive as they are improbable. Some of the games on this list are still, or have been left unfinished, in a promising development stage, but most of the games featured here are finished demakes for our favourite 8-bit and 16-bit systems. Due to unexpected PC power supply blowing up -related circumstances, I couldn't quite get this finished before the end of July, so perhaps this will make August have more entries.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

SPECIAL: A Brief History of Scandinavian Games

That should probably read "Other Scandinavian Games", since I've already dealt with Finland. But yes, you read it right: it's time to dig into the history of our neighboring countries' gaming industries. The topic has been requested by a few different readers occasionally, and because I couldn't find any proper easy-to-browse articles about this topic from the internet, I decided, that before I call it quits with this blog in the not-too-distant future, this should be one of the special entries I make before the inevitable. Mind you, at least the history of Swedish gaming industry has been made into a book called "Svensk Videospelsutveckling - Från 50-tal till 90-tal" by Thomas Sunhede and Martin Lindell, and the book was released in October last year; I have no idea about the existence of either Norwegian or Danish equivalents. Unluckily for me, the book mentioned has been published in Swedish only, and I'm not proficient enough in the said language to have any interest in buying the book, so all the information I have dug into this article have been found by heavy googling, so if any game historian finds anything of interest missing, comments are welcome.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

California Games (Epyx/US Gold, 1987) - Part 2

Previously, we left California in a state of discord and mayhem, as the 8-bits were taking the lead over the 16-bits. Of course, like so often before, the games originally developed for a certain kind of a machine rarely translates well onto other platforms, but some of the console versions were of a surprisingly good quality, and were sometimes even better than the original. While working on Part 2, I have also updated Part 1, since I posted it a bit hastily before having figured out all the gameplay aspects of all versions, so you might want to read it through before heading on to the conclusive part. But if you're more interested in graphics and sounds, as well as the overall scores, feel free to continue with this entry.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

California Games (Epyx/US Gold, 1987) - Part 1

Designed, developed and published for the Commodore 64 by Epyx, Inc. in 1987: Game Design by Kevin "Fuzzy" Furry, Chuck Sommerville, Jon Leupp, Ken Nicholson and Kevin Norman. Graphics by Jenny Martin, Susan Greene, Sheryl Knowles and Paul Vernon. Music by Christopher Grigg and Gil Freeman.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC, MSX and Sinclair ZX Spectrum computers by Choice Software in 1987.

Converted for the Apple ][ computers by Carl Mey, Edwin Reich, Ed Chu, Brian Fleming and Kevin Norman in 1987.

Conversion for the IBM-PC compatibles by Epyx, Inc in 1988: Programming by Gil Colgate, Dan Duncalf, Dave Farquharson, David Miller, Ken Nicholson, Lee Powell and Ken Rogoway. Graphics by Sheryl Knowles, Muffy McCosh, Gail Rathbun and Steve Snyder. Directed by Matthew Householder.

Converted for the Commodore Amiga by Westwood Associates, and published by Epyx, Inc. in 1988: Programming by Michael Legg, Barry Green and Louis J. Castle. Graphics by Maurine Y. Starkey, Louis J. Castle, Jenny Martin and Sheryl Knowles. Sounds and music by Christopher Grigg, Karl Lehenbeuer, David Hayes, Steve Hales and Chris Ebert. Project management by Brett W. Sperry, Matthew Householder and Ronald J. Fortier.

Converted for the Atari ST by Choice Software, and published by Epyx, Inc. in 1988: Programming by Colin Gordon. Graphics by Sharon Connor. Music by Ben Daglish.

Apple //GS version developed by Designer Software, and published by Epyx, Inc. in 1988: Programming by Jimmy Huey and Dan Chang. Graphics by Jenny Martin and Sheryl Knowles. Music by Bill Bogenreif. Project management by Matt Householder and Ron Fortier.

Atari 2600 version written by Peter Engelbrite and Steve A. Baker, and published by Epyx, Inc. in 1988.

Sega Master System conversion programmed by Mark Cerny, and published by SEGA of America, Inc. in 1989.

Converted for the Atari Lynx by Epyx, Inc. in 1989: Programming by Pete Wierzbicki, Stephen Jungels, James Donald and Larry Abel. Graphics by Matthew Crysdale, Susan Greene, Jenny Martin, Arthur Koch, Paul Vernon and Sheryl Knowles. Music by Robert Vieira and Alex Rudis. Additional help by Robert J. Mical and Dave Needle.

Converted for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Rare and published by Milton Bradley Co. in 1989: Graphics by Tim Stamper (uncredited). Music by David Wise (uncredited). Other involvement (shown in high scores, otherwise uncredited): Poppi, Kevin Bayliss, Paul Proctor, Tess, Sweep and Rachel Edwards.

Converted for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive in 1991 by Mihály Brudnyák, József Molnár and László Szenttornyai, with graphics and animation by Talent, sounds by András Magyari and film linking by Gyuri Szollosi. Published by SEGA of America, Inc. in 1991.



Since the first seasonal Epyx two-parter, I have attempted to have one of these at least once a year. A year ago, the obligatory Epyx sports game comparison of the year was Summer Games II, and since then, I have had requests to write yet another one, more particularly of California Games. I'm not sure, whether this will be the last one I make, or not, because there's still World Games to consider as being part of the original series; it all depends on how long I have the energy to write this blog. But a comparison of California Games is what people have asked for, so it's what you shall be given this summer.