Thursday, 20 October 2016

Ghostbusters (Activision, 1984)

Designed by David Crane for the Commodore 64. Programming by David Crane and Adam Bellin. Graphics by David Crane and Hilary Mills. Music by Russell Lieblich. Published by Activision in 1984.

Converted for the Apple ][ by Robert McNally, and released by Activision in 1984.

Converted for the Atari 8-bit computers by Glyn Anderson, with graphics by Hilary Mills. Released by Activision in 1984.

Converted for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by James Software, Ltd, with speech by David Aubrey Jones, programming assistance by Adam Bellin and graphics by Hilary Mills.
Released by Activision in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum, and in 1985 for the Amstrad CPC.

Converted for the Atari 2600 by Dan Kitchen and Adam Bellin, with graphics by Hilary Mills. Released by Activision in 1985.

Converted for the MSX computers by Robert Rutkowski, and released by Activision in 1985.

Converted for the IBM PCjr and TANDY 1000 and their compatibles by Robert Rutkowski, and released by Activision in 1986.

Conversion for the Sega Master System done at Activision, and published by SEGA of America, Inc. in 1987.

Conversion for the Nintendo Entertainment System by GlennHills Graphics Co.:
Programming by Works, Susumu Endoh, Satomi Miya and James M. Kirk
Graphics by Yoshio Tsuboike, Kaketo Tsuguri and Satoru Miyazaki
Sounds by Yoshiaki Tsuruoka and Tadashi Sou
Editing by Masatoshi Kanemitsu
Produced by Tom Sloper
Directed by Ryuuichi Yarita
Published by Activision in 1988.



This year's Halloween theme will likely only consist of one game, but it's a rather big one - in fact, it's the biggest single comparison I've written so far, so prepare yourselves with plenty of coffee or other refreshments to keep you awake. Sorry to make the Halloween month so short this time, but these things do take quite a bit of time to prepare properly, which I don't really have too much these days. With all that crazy commentary having been going on about the recent reboot/remake of the film series, I forced myself not to take part in it until after the whole circus had quieted down and I had actually seen the movie myself. Not that seeing the new movie would have anything to do with my writing of this blog, other than for making me do the obvious statement, that Ghostbusters really is a classic 80's movie, and shall always remain as such, in both good and bad, even though I cannot but feel that the 2016 Ghostbusters movie was unfairly prejudged. I didn't think it was as bad as it could have been, but it certainly cannot beat the 80's version. But more than being a classic 80's movie, it is also almost solely responsible for making movie-licence games a viable marketing plot; after all, it was Activision's best-selling game until 1987.

Monday, 26 September 2016

NGOTM: Reaxion (Cosine, 1994)

Designed and programmed for the Commodore 64 by Jason Kelk in 1994. Music by Sean Connolly. Originally released as public domain, and published on the coverdisk of Commodore Format magazine issue 47.

Converted and extended for the Commodore Amiga by Sean Connolly in 1995, with graphics by Jason Kelk.

Extended version for the Commodore 64 re-written by Jason Kelk in 2001, with music by Glenn Rune Gallefoss. Published on the coverdisk of the December 2001 issue of Commodore Zone magazine.

Reaxion Extended converted for the Atari 8-bit computers as "Reaxion" in 2005. Programming and graphics by Jason Kelk. Music by Adam Hay and Sean Connolly.

Reaxion Extended converted for the Commodore Plus/4 as "Reaxion" in 2005. Programming and graphics by Jason Kelk. Music by Sean Connolly.

Reaxion Extended converted for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance as "Reaxion" in 2007. Programming by Christian Widmann, graphics by Christian Widmann and Jason Kelk, sounds by Rebecca Gurney. Developed and released at the Buenzli 2007 party.

Reaxion Extended converted for Javascript-abled platforms as "Reaxion" in 2012. Programming and graphics by Christian Widmann. Developed and released at the Revision 2012 party, and the final version can be found on his website.



For my only new comparison entry for September, I chose to do another New Game Of The Month, since this was something I planned on doing before I left for my summer holiday, but didn't have the time to finish it. Anyway, this time, we're REALLY going to stretch the meaning of the word "new", but since this is still a comparison of a game originally made for a machine that was already commercially dead, the definition sort of applies. But although the original Reaxion was programmed well over 20 years ago, its most recently released conversion is "only" 4 years old.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Anarchy (Hewson Consultants/Rack-It, 1987)

Written for the Commodore 64 by Michael Sentinella.
In-game graphics by Michael Sentinella.
Title screen by BAY. Music by Nigel Greave.

Converted for the ZX Spectrum by Dominic Robinson.
Converted for the Amstrad CPC by Michael Croucher, with graphics by John Cumming and sounds by J. Dave Rogers.



The fourth season at FRGCB starts off with very little effort for myself - a comparison article that was originally written for the ninth issue of RESET magazine. The moment I was made aware that the magazine's theme was Hewson, I knew I was in trouble, because I didn't know of any Hewson games that would have just two versions available, at least from which the other was made for the C64, so I had very little options from those that had no more than three, just to get the amount of printed text and pictures to a minimum. In the end, Anarchy from Hewson's low-budget range was the only plausible, and really, possible choice for this issue.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Achievements and tough decisions - Starting Year 4

Two months worth of relative rest and relaxation, and I'm happy to say I have made a decision of sorts. The happy news is, the blog still continues. The unhappy news is, I have stopped working on it pre-actively, in the way I have so far been doing. This means, that the rate of posts will be lower (perhaps even much lower) than previously, and I cannot guarantee the sort of material you will be getting on a regular basis anymore, because I'm only going to work on one article at a time, unless I've got a RESET magazine article to work on simultaneously. On the plus side, now I can focus on bigger games with more versions to compare, rather than lesser-known titles that only a handful of people care about. The lack of a schedule also means that I can now accept suggestions and requests more freely and work on with more immediacy than the previous year. Also, due to the less frequent posting, I have decided to continue working on the blog as far as I can bother with no summer holiday breaks or anything of the kind, but this also means, the next time I decide to go for a break, I might as well quit the blog then. But now, let's start the fourth year, or season, if you will... with an announcement about achieving another visitor milestone:

The above number of visits FRGCB has had over the past 3 years was passed on the 3rd of August, which is already well over a month ago. Currently, we're going at almost 250,000 already, which I think is spectacular. Thanks for the continued interest, everybody! The next stop, half-a-million!

Now, if you're even more interested, click on to read what I've been up to this past two months. Some of it might have something to do with the blog, but I assure you, not all of it is FRGCB-related.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Summer Games II (Epyx/US Gold, 1985) - Part 2

Oh my lord, they actually went with an upgrade of the hilariously horrid advertisment used for the first Summer Games... Well anyway, in what has become a familiar formula for my writing comparisons of Epyx's multi-event sports games, Part 1 left us with a bunch of scores given for the game's playability, and now we have to deal with the game's graphics, sounds, and the overall scores. You might already know how this is going to end, but the real question here is, are there any properly good options for the original? Sure enough, that is a question that could easily stand as the conceptually central one for the whole blog, and a fine question to pose at the beginning of the second half of the last comparison article of this season.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Summer Games II (Epyx/US Gold, 1985) - Part 1

Created for the Commodore 64 by Chuck Sommerville, Jon Leupp, Kevin Norman, Michael Kosaka, Larry Clague and Scott Nelson, with music by Bob Vieira. Tape loader by Gary J. Sabin.

Converted for the Apple ][ computers by in 1985 John Stouffer, Jeff Webb, Doug Matson, Greg Broniak, Tim Grost, Matt Decker, Vera Petrusha, Ken Evans, Pat Findling, Chris Oesterling and Dr. Keith Dreyer from K-Byte.

Converted for the IBM-PC compatibles in 1986 by Phil Suematsu, Don Hill, Jeff Grigg and Jimmy Huey from Designer Software.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC and Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Einstein, with graphics by Steve Hawkes. Released through US Gold in for the Spectrum in 1988 and for the Amstrad in 1989.

Converted for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST/STe by Creative Materials: Graphics by Adam Steele; Music by Dave Lowe; Sound effects by Phil Morris. Released by US Gold in 1992.



Here's another two-parter for all of you Epyx's Games series' fans. As I mentioned long ago in the entry of the first Summer Games, I do enjoy this one a bit more, so I thought I might as well start on both games simultaneously. And as you can see, that plan went well - it's now been a couple of years since I finished up with the other one. Luckily for me, there are quite a bit less versions of Summer Games II around, than the previous two games from the series that I wrote about, so this was somewhat easier to work on; it just took a longer while to actually bother to start working on it. But as it is the last game comparison for this year, I hope it'll do to keep you satisfied until I decide to get back from this year's summer holiday, whenever that may be.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

FRGR #06: Octapolis (English Software, 1987)

Designed by Jukka Tapanimäki for the Commodore 64.
Programming, graphics and sound effects by Jukka Tapanimäki. Music by Wally Beben.



This season's final entry for the Finnish Retro Game Reviews series will be more of a history lesson, rather than just another "regular" review that I have been doing for the MSX games. Jukka Tapanimäki was one of the most notable personalities in the Finnish gaming scene, having been one of the more regular reviewers for both major computing magazines of the 1980's: MikroBitti and C-lehti. He also published a book about writing games for the C64 in 1990. Of course, most of you outside of Finland will know him for his classic C64 games, Netherworld and Zamzara, both released by Hewson, and both of which I might very likely talk about in the future of this series. However, for this entry, I chose Octapolis, because it was his first commercially released game, and more particularly, his first game released outside of Finland. That, and Jukka's story deserves to be begun from the beginning.