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gone fishin'

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  1. Oh, I must have missed the release, I’ll have to keep an eye on when it’s available again.
  2. Baggers in Space is still in pre order, unless it’s been updated from here? https://www.spectrumnextgames.uk/baggers-in-space
  3. No, you can only upgrade the original to 1MB by adding in one 512KB memory module in the spare slot, although it doesn’t need soldered and it’s fairly easy. It sounds like they’ve upgraded the internal 512KB memory chip to 2MB, I’m not sure if you can remove that memory in the original Next and simply replace with a 2MB chip, but yes it’s a shitty move upgrading the standard onboard memory to 2MB and fragmenting the already low user base further. While I understand costs were higher than expected for the first Next, including taxes they weren’t aware of, but the price hike confirms that the Next is likely to be stuck as a niche machine. There was a lot of fanfare about the number of backers in the first hour for this, but it’s currently at just over 2,000 backers, which is surprisingly much lower than the first one (over 3,300 backers IIRC) - plus it would be interested how many of these second backers already own one from the first Campaign. I think the price hike will have put off a lot of people, which is a shame as with more streamlined manufacturing processes, it should be cheaper to make than the first (they should literally just be making more of the same). But the nonsense of having increased memory as a stretch goal just adds more potential problems in the testing and manufacturing (IIRC the original memory was an issue due to supply problems, because the memory had to be specific timing to make it compatible, so if they sourced a good replacement that worked, why change it?) That and the increased costs highlight that the Next is a bit of a home brew project and way off commercial manufacturing, which again is a shame as the potential for a much bigger audience is there. My Next has been sat in a drawer for the past few weeks, I use it mostly for Spectrum gaming but the number of new Next games has been really disappointing. So many of the games mentioned during the first campaign still haven’t been released - Arc of Yesod, Rex Next, Dizzy amongst others and even Baggers in Space hasn’t been released and it was being shown at retro fairs nearly 12 months ago. What’s worse is a special edition of it is now being promoted as a stretch goal! While I suppose it’s OK to spend £175 for the original Next to play Spectrum games, I think £300+ to essentially replace a Spectrum and DivMMC (which costs about £120 for both ) is probably too much, especially when there’s so little specific Next titles available. For that amount you could probably even stretch to a toast rack 128k and a DivMMC.
  4. You should only have to spray it every 6 months or so. The problem seems to be tiny bits of funk getting stuck under the cover and even with a 10 year old playing it every day, it still only needs a spray every 6 months or so.
  5. As a few people have said, I’d say a lot of this is cyclical and usually down to a new trend or technology meaning studios have a new way to exploit old products (while stroking the ego of directors). After owning home video releases became affordable in the early 90s, studios needed more content so they started releasing directors cuts like Aliens or Apocalypse Now. DVD came along so they started releasing more directors cuts like Unrated editions. The good old “double dip” release was now popular. Now we’ve got streaming platforms and “content is king”, right? But where are the studios going to get this content without spending billions like Netflix? So what better than to go into your vaults and release exclusive director cuts of films that are now so long they need to be a fucking TV series!!! What better way to keep your customer retention rates high!
  6. Sure, there had been a couple of licensed film games for home computers (Indiana Jones in the Lost Kingdom and Buckaroo Banzai spring to mind) but they weren’t very good. Yes there had been good games released for home computers like Jet Set Willy, but Ghostbusters felt like it was a big moment for the legitimacy of games on home computers - it felt like it was the first time you could get a “game of the film” for your Spectrum or Commodore 64 that was actually good and used a licence really well. It was also the first time you could get a big licenced game only for home computers (the 2600 version came out in 1985 iirc and it was crap in comparison!) Plus it sold gangbusters and it clearly started the flood gates for the likes of Ocean to start looking at how to turn films into computer games.
  7. Erm, OK name all the good, officially licenced Film based home computer games before Ghostbusters then.
  8. Ghostbusters was a big turning point in games - it was an officially licensed game that brought some credibility to home computers (which had consisted of knock offs and very iffy licensed games). The C64 was a bit of a system seller - I remember it being demo’ed in our local home computer shop and the music (with Karaoke style lyrics) was the icing on the cake. I didn’t have a C64 at the time, but when it came out on the Speccy I managed to get a copy and loved it! I then managed to get the 128k version when I got a +2 years later, then when I got a C64 I managed to pick up a Ricochet re-release. And when I got a Master System, well I had to get Ghostbusters (which I’d say is the definitive version).I also had it on a few compilations for the Spectrum and Commodore 64, I think I have it about 6 or 7 times in total across different formats and releases! I wonder how many copies it sold across all formats? The original release was in the top ten for a ridiculous amount of time then the ricochet re-release was also in the charts for what seemed like forever (it was Mastertronic s second biggest selling game selling over 340,000 copies ((http://www.guter.org/mastertronic/mastertronic_stats.htm)
  9. I used to stay at my Auntie and Uncle’s on a Friday night and I’d often take down my ZX Spectrum with me (in a carrier bag!) I also remember going with one of my friends to his Gran’s house for a week and he took his Spectrum, tape deck and portable TV up with him because he knew there would be little to do when it was raining! It’s crazy to think that my son just takes his switch and he’s got the ability to have multiplayer on a single (albeit small) screen!
  10. That photo and layout was used as a promo poster for the film (with They’re here. To save the world” above it) I cant upload it because I’m on my phone. I don’t think because it was racist but because it was seen as a Murray/Ackroyd/Ramis vehicle.(and the thought of the three of them saving the world is a bit ridiculous I guess!) Murray and Ramis has been in Meatballs and Stripes together and Ackroyd has just lost John Belishi (Ghostbusters was originally written with Ackroyd and Belisha in the Venkman role). When the film game out there was talk of this being the first in an Abbot and Costello type of series where the three would be in different setting together, but I don’t think Bill Murray was such a fan of that...
  11. They managed 3,000 backers for the first campaign, like I said I'm sure they'll do that again but I do think they're really missing an opportunity by not going down the commercial route to market. I mean, Retro Games have just announced TheVIC20 going to retail, the original Vic 20 sold something like a million units, the Spectrum sold 5 million, so there would definitely be a market for it. I'd just like to see as many Nexts as possible out there, it would mean a larger install base and more exclusive Next games!
  12. Henrique Ollifer's games development company received several million in investment a few years ago, they've already shown they've got the market, I would imagine it would be fairly easy for them to get access to finance through loans or investment. We're also talking about the original campaign that raised over £750k, so it's not like some small scale campaign. But as @ulala has said, if you go via crowdfunding there is literally zero legal comeback if you fail to deliver (as we've seen with the likes of the Vega+). It also removes any time pressure to release the product, which unfortunately as we've seen with the original Next, resulted in a 2 year delay ("hey, it's a crowdfunded product so it's not a 'commercial'' product so we're going to take our time and dick around with it!"). I'm really surprised they've gone down the crowdfunding route (well, maybe not if you look at the reasons above!) and to be honest I'd preferred if they went down a The C64 type of route, getting the product in retail, getting more widespread coverage and ultimately selling more of them in order to increase the install base - hopefully increasing the number of games being developed. Until they do go down that sort of commercial route, I think the Next is going to be destined as a hobbyist machine and not much more, plus the crowdfunding aspect is probably going to put off a lot of people. Sure, they'll hit their Kickstarter goal, but it could be a lot bigger than the current 3,000 or so Nexts out there.
  13. Ah, but the home-brew scene on the Commodore 64 is still massive, there's typically three or four new games a month being released for the C64: http://www.indieretronews.com/search/label/C64 Sure, the Spectrum doesn't get quite the same amount (probably down to it being big in mostly UK, Spain, Portugal and a few other countries), but still there's a couple of new games typically released a month. http://www.indieretronews.com/search/label/Zx Spectrum Bonnie and Clyde was released in May and it's one of the best games for the Spectrum. The Next has, what sounds like, really good development tools, Next Basic is supposedly really easy to make fairly high quality games (certainly better than the Spectrum's basic), but there just doesn't seem to have been the take up on it that I thought there would be. I don't know why that is, maybe it's down to the Next platform not really having a very specific look and feel, some games look like early Atari ST games, others look more like enhanced Spectrum games. Maybe it's not that easy to port over Spectrum games to the Next in order to enhance them, which is something I really would have liked to have seen. Even if it was just something like being able to remove colour clash if you had the source code or enhance the palette slightly, but again I don't know how easy it is to do that or if you just have to develop Next games from scratch.
  14. My worry/fear would be that it isn't a simple "do 5,000 more of them" but "we've learned from the first batch, let's improve it a bit by making changes" and it not only ends up delaying it but makes the original Next have less compatibility. Yes, there's also the issue of some of the parts just having less volume available due to them potentially being discontinued. IIRC they had problems sourcing the memory modules for the first batch of the Next, because they were quite old. I'm not sure where the FPGA in the Next is in terms of roadmap, it might be discontinued or getting to end of life. That's the problem with the first batch being delayed so long, we're talking about components that were designed 4 years ago! Anyway, let's see what the plan is in terms of the next Kickstarter. Getting more Nexts in people's hands would be good as it would be nice to see more of a home-brew/development scene for the Next, something that does seem surprisingly lacking. The amount of games released and in development isn't really that big, considering the original board only option was released about 2 years ago. https://www.spectrumnextgames.uk/games
  15. I forgot to post this, but a few Magnetic Scrolls games have been remastered for the Next. So far The Pawn, Jinxster and The Guild of Thieves are now released with a few others being planned. This is great as Jinxster and The Guild of Thieves were previously +3 Disk only and had no graphics, so it's a nice chance to play these games on a "Spectrum". The remasters have been done by Strand Games which was setup by Hugh Steers, co-founder of Magnetic Scrolls, and there's plans to remaster more of the games. They do look really nice!
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