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.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Test Drive (Accolade, 1987)

Developed by Distinctive Software, Inc.

Designed and programmed by Mike Benna, Donald A. Mattrick, Kevin P. Pickell, Brad Gour, Bruce Dawson, Amory Wong and Rick Friesen.

Graphics by John Boechler and Tony Lee.

Music and sound effects for the Commodore 64 by Patrick Payne, and for the 16-bit versions by Patrick Payne and Rick Millson.

Originally released by Accolade in North America for Commodore 64, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga and IBM-PC compatibles in 1987. Distributed in Europe by Electronic Arts.

Converted for the Apple ][ computers in 1988 by Distinctive Software, Inc. with additional coding by Allan Johanson and Esteban Ahn.

Conversion for the NEC PC-9801 published by Pony Canyon Inc. in 1989; further credits are unknown.



In the light of attempting to keep my word on doing the comparisons teased in the teaser picture I posted in last August, I shall have to make a little confession. The last one missing from the picture is, of course, Broderbund's Wings of Fury, which has a couple of conversions made for machines that I wasn't aware of at the time of compiling the teaser picture, and these particular machines are such that I have had no luck so far in either finding, or getting to work through emulation, and purchasing them through eBay for this single purpose would be, frankly, a tad idiotic. But since the comparison of Wings of Fury was a pick from a small list of suggestions made some time ago by my bandmate Jaakko, I decided to pick one that I am only barely more able to do from his list.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

APB (Atari Games/Tengen, 1987)

Developed and released for the arcades by Atari Games.

Designed by Mike Hally; Programmed by Russell Dawe and David Theurer, with technical support from Alan Murphy; Graphics by Mark West; Sounds by Brad Fuller, Hal Canon and Earl Vickers.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum 48k/128k by Walking Circles: Programming by David Beresford, Graphics by Graham Stafford and David Fish, Sounds by David Whittaker. Published by Domark in 1989.

Converted for the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga by Walking Circles: Programming by David Selwood, Graphics by Andrew Page and David Fish, Sounds by David Whittaker. Published by Domark in 1989.

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Walking Circles: Programming by Carleton Handy, Sounds by David Whittaker, Title screen by David Fish. Published by Domark in 1989.

Converted for the IBM-PC compatibles by Walking Circles, and published by Domark in 1989. Sounds by David Whittaker. No further credits known.

Converted for the Atari Lynx by Atari Games Corp.: Programming and sounds by Robert Barris, Graphics by Shann Chastain, Arlene Caberto Somers and David Nelson, Music by Dave Bean, Movie projector by William C. Fisher. Published by Atari/Tengen in 1991.



Okay, it's time to fulfill another request/suggestion, and against my better judgment, I have chosen another late 80's Atari product, although I can't claim having enjoyed doing the comparison of Toobin' some time ago. Anyway, this one goes to a WoS user by the name of Slenkar (again) - I hope this was worth the wait.