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Zapped to the Past podcast (C64)


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1 minute ago, Camel said:

Yup. Speccy and C64 versions.

We never did and we seem to be finding that if you don't have any... I hate to use the word nostalgic... ties to a game, it needs to have something special to draw you in now. Not that it can't be done. Confuzion, Big Mac, Kennedy Approach... All games I never played but found enjoyable now. 

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8 hours ago, Camel said:

Dug out my old copy of Zaxxon. As suspected it's the Synapse release. Still super impressive and plays really nicely. As mentioned, the space bits are stupid without shadows. Throughout the game perspective is sadly quite often the enemy. I find that with a lot of these isometric games and even back in the day I found that a bit annoying. I think it's often seen as part of the challenge though. Guess it depends on your perspective. Ho ho.

 

Here's the clever thing about the space section of Zaxxon in the Synapse version. When you line up with an enemy ship since there are no shadows in the space section they've added an audio beep for when you're at the same height along with displaying little crosshairs just in front of the nose of your ship. I'm pretty sure the Coleco version had some sort of indication as well.

 

The perspective thing is always difficult because a lot of old games from this projection are faking their 3D and it's really all about how clever the designers and programmers are with collision detection.

 

7 hours ago, Camel said:

And I've now played the other version, the one released on cartridge. It looks big and bright in comparison but it moves terribly.

 

I'm confused about Super Zaxxon. The Hesware version (which I recognise and must have too) seems very similar to the Synapse version of Zaxxon. Is it the same engine? How did that come about?

 

 

The Sega version for the C64 moves way too fast as well meaning you can't react to walls, you have to memorise them. Add to that the almost invisible forcefields and you're in for a bad time.

 

Synapse Zaxxon and HESWare Super Zaxxon appear to be by different programmers according to Mobygames.

 

Peter Adams programmed Zaxxon (he also handled the C64 version of WWI themed Blue Max)

Michael Cranford (of Bard's Tale and Dark Seed Fame) and Larry Holland (of Tie Fighter fame) handled Super Zaxxon.

 

They did come out at around the same time which is how that lawyer got busted for setting himself up as the middleman for licensing.

 

Apologies for the long url but if you use this and scroll forward to page 233 https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=Uu1MAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA233&dq=zaxxon+Lawyers+on+Trial:+Understanding+Ethical+Misconduct&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisqsWb89LRAhULj5QKHSiXAaQQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=zaxxon Lawyers on Trial%3A Understanding Ethical Misconduct&f=false

 

part of the reason it all fell apart was that both Zaxxon and Super Zaxxon came out at the sane time around 1984 with both Synapse and HESWare royally pissed that the property they thought they had exclusive rights to (and had paid top dollar for) was now less valuable because both companies were now competing directly for Zaxxon fans.

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1 hour ago, squirtle said:

We never did and we seem to be finding that if you don't have any... I hate to use the word nostalgic... ties to a game, it needs to have something special to draw you in now. Not that it can't be done. Confuzion, Big Mac, Kennedy Approach... All games I never played but found enjoyable now. 

 

I think it's similar to my love for Starfire and Fire One, it's hard to untangle that from the nostalgia of having played it at a certain time and place.

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I honestly think that if I'd never played STE and played it now I'd still love it but there's obviously no way of knowing that. It's exactly my kind of game though.

 

The Zaxxon wars stuff is really interesting. Thanks for posting all that.

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That Zaxxon stuff is crazy. Reminds me of the Tetris stuff that went on with Nintendo and Mirrorsoft. We still don't like the games though, and that goes back to then. I never liked Zaxxon in the arcade. Always just found it annoying. 

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Episode 10 is up and covers

 

-Barry McGuigan’s World Championship Boxing

-Raskel

-Cylu

-Vagan Attack

-Spy Vs Spy 2

-Tour De France

-Ghostchaser

-Dickie’s Diamonds

 

A mixed bunch, especially since I'm not into boxing.

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Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing is well regarded on the C64. Probably one of the best boxing games on the breadbox but...I'm just not into boxing games and for me this fills me with as much excitement as a trading run from Lave to Diso would the podcast hosts.

 

For anyone interested in giving this a shot there's a great guide here at https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Barry_McGuigan_World_Championship_Boxing

 

BMWCB_Fight.png

 

Um...what else to say about this...um...this was programmed by Troy Lyndon who had previously coded the C64 version of Mr Do and if you think I'm going to use that as an excuse to cover that here despite not being mentioned in the podcast you'd be absolutely right!

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50 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing is well regarded on the C64. Probably one of the best boxing games on the breadbox but...I'm just not into boxing games and for me this fills me with as much excitement as a trading run from Lave to Diso would the podcast hosts.

 

For anyone interested in giving this a shot there's a great guide here at https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Barry_McGuigan_World_Championship_Boxing

 

BMWCB_Fight.png

 

Um...what else to say about this...um...this was programmed by Troy Lyndon who had previously coded the C64 version of Mr Do and if you think I'm going to use that as an excuse to cover that here despite not being mentioned in the podcast you'd be absolutely right!


It wasn't Zzap but another magazine which currently escapes me but they had a picture in their review with the caption "The end is in sight, should have worn longer shorts." Which made me laugh as a 13 year old.

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52 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing is well regarded on the C64. Probably one of the best boxing games on the breadbox but...I'm just not into boxing games and for me this fills me with as much excitement as a trading run from Lave to Diso would the podcast hosts.

 

For anyone interested in giving this a shot there's a great guide here at https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Barry_McGuigan_World_Championship_Boxing

 

BMWCB_Fight.png

 

Um...what else to say about this...um...this was programmed by Troy Lyndon who had previously coded the C64 version of Mr Do and if you think I'm going to use that as an excuse to cover that here despite not being mentioned in the podcast you'd be absolutely right!

Barry McGuigan's is a great game. Best boxer on the C64 by miles. As I noted, I used to play this loads and I still found it deep and enjoyable to play now. I'm not even into boxing, but the process of running through a career and strategising against up and coming boxers and the choice of who to fight was so far ahead of everything else at  the time. Having now played Knockout, this, Frank Bruno's and Fight Night for the podcast, this is the clear knockout (Sorry).

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1 hour ago, Unofficial Who said:

Episode 10 is up and covers

 

-Barry McGuigan’s World Championship Boxing

-Raskel

-Cylu

-Vagan Attack

-Spy Vs Spy 2

-Tour De France

-Ghostchaser

-Dickie’s Diamonds

 

A mixed bunch, especially since I'm not into boxing.

Yeah, wasn't exactly a strong month, this one...

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So Mr Do! It's one of a small group of coin-ops that I used to play at the local burger bar, when ever I play one of them I can almost smell burger meat being crilled and taste those perfect potato chips.

 

The C64 version is pretty decent and would have loved to have gotten my hands on this back in the day even if it feels squashed due to the change from portrait to landscape.

 

MrDo_Animation.gif

 

Playing this so soon after replaying Boulderdash 1 and 2 and I've got to admit I can see why this was skipped for the podcast. Centuri's The Pit, Namco's Dig Dug and Universal's Mr Do! were great games but given the choice of any of them or Boulderdash and....well...

 

This was another occasion where in the odd period between official eight bit versions and emulation it was down to unofficial public domain versions to fill the void and so I was thrilled when Bob's Garden appeared on an Amiga coverdisk.

 

 

 

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So this is a cultural thing I guess. MAD magazine was massive in Australia in the 70's and early 80's. And I was a massive fan of Spy Vs Spy.

 

On a magazine full of words it stood out by having no dialogue whatsoever relying entirely on sight gags.

 

image.jpg

 

Um it's a lot darker than I remember, and that was the nicest strip I could find!

 

I played the first one quite a bit at friends places and it was a laugh, the split screen worked well and a neat bit of graphic design hides how little of the screen is being used.

 

SpyVsSpy_Animation.gif

 

I couldn't wait to play The Island Caper when it came out in 1985! 

 

300px-Spy_vs._Spy_II_settings.png

 

And thanks to Zzap I got my chance....in 1991.

 

So here's the thing. Spy Vs Spy 1-3 are great. As multiplayer games. In 1991 I was unemployed and isolated. And even with few friends none of them wanted to play an ancient C64 multiplayer game. The computer opponent is ruthless even at the lower levels. And while The Island Caper looks more impressive than the first game it's harder to read the screen and work out where to find the missing missile parts. The scrolling is really juddery as well.

 

Spy_vs._Spy_II_screen_map.png

 

As a single player game it isn't fun and even with two I think it's not as focused as the first game. By the time I got my hands on this I was too late. Seven years too late.

 

There's a neat walk through here if you want to play the game https://strategywiki.org/wiki/Spy_vs._Spy_II:_The_Island_Caper/Walkthrough

 

But really if you want to play a similar game with friends you'd be far better off playing Among Us (or even watching it being played.)

 

 

 

 

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Yeah, Mad Magazine was never that big over here in the UK so again, these games, for us, had little cultural relevance. And as we state, as single player games they are just brutal and unenjoyable. They're clever, and I think the link to Among Us is really clear. I do remember playing them 2 player in the eighties with a friend, but we still found it really fiddly and tricky to control. It always felt like we should have been having more fun than we were with these games. Appreciate them technically, but not really in any other way. 

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I used to read Mad magazine in the UK! The Spy vs Spy games are amazing. 

 

Agree about Barry McGuigan too - great game. Frank Bruno was ace too. I much preferred the Speccy version though.

 

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37 minutes ago, Camel said:

I used to read Mad magazine in the UK! The Spy vs Spy games are amazing. 

 

Agree about Barry McGuigan too - great game. Frank Bruno was ace too. I much preferred the Speccy version though.

 

Mad Magazine was not even a thing in our neck of the UK which is why the Spy Vs Spy games hold little affinity for us. I absolutely understand why people could like them, but they never connected with myself. Frank Bruno is... Problematic...

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I played Ghost Chaser back in the day. What I remembered of it was that I liked the fake 3D look at the time but when I returned the copy to my friend I was offered a copy to keep. I wasn't tempted. This was ported from the Atari 8 bit machines and it feels like they've struggled with the colour palette here. The main character has this weird inertia which when combined with fall deaths make this more difficult than it should be. There's less here than you might think as well, a full playthrough taking around five minutes.

 

 

There are loads of better platform games on the C64.

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I had a copy of Dickie’s Diamonds thanks to it being a cover mount on Zzap or Commodore format.

 

Like @squirtle I had major issues with the scale of the spider. Just look at it!

 

697635-dicky-s-diamonds-commodore-64-scr

 

As an Australian I've seen loads of spiders and to be realistic that spider needs to be at least two times larger.

 

It's not a great game being released in 1983 but I did look at the credits of the programmer Brian O'Shaughnessy at https://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,814/

 

Of interest he also programmed The Devil's Crown and The Adventures of Bond... Basildon Bond!

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2 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

I had a copy of Dickie’s Diamonds thanks to it being a cover mount on Zzap or Commodore format.

 

Like @squirtle I had major issues with the scale of the spider. Just look at it!

 

697635-dicky-s-diamonds-commodore-64-scr

 

As an Australian I've seen loads of spiders and to be realistic that spider needs to be at least two times larger.

 

It's not a great game being released in 1983 but I did look at the credits of the programmer Brian O'Shaughnessy at https://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,814/

 

Of interest he also programmed The Devil's Crown and The Adventures of Bond... Basildon Bond!

Why does an owl have limited flights? Also, I am never coming to Australia with spiders like that.

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13 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

I played Ghost Chaser back in the day. What I remembered of it was that I like the fake 3D look at the time but when I returned the copy to my friend I was offered a copy to keep. I wasn't tempted. This was ported from the Atari 8 bit machines and it feels like they've struggled with the colour palette here. The main character has this weird inertia which when combined with fall deaths make this more difficult than it should be. There's less here than you might think as well, a full playthrough taking around five minutes.

 

 

There are loads of better platform games on the C64.

It's a worse Rupert and Roland Rat Race.

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Just now, squirtle said:

Why does an owl have limited flights? Also, I am never coming to Australia with spiders like that.

 

The owls are constantly tired from dealing with Australian spiders.

 

Anyway it's not the spiders you need to worry about, it's the drop bears.

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Just now, Unofficial Who said:

 

The owls are constantly tired from dealing with Australian spiders.

 

Anyway it's not the spiders you need to worry about, it's the drop bears.

Never coming to Australia.

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So of the remaining...these don't tempt me at all.

 

Raskel With Guardian and Dropzone being prettier options why would you play this?

 

674921-raskel-commodore-64-screenshot-al

 

Cylu @squirtle. I've noticed you don't like a lot of 2D arcade adventures that are just about collecting. This variant, the Knight Lore clone is the genre I really dislike. Knight Lore looked so amazing back in the day that everyone tried to copy that style and on the C64 all of these were awful up until Head Over Heels and The Great Escape. So with any future ones that come up I'm probably not going to say much. This is one of the ugliest and most awkward of these though with an odd angle, unpleasant sprites and those tank controls. I would rather play Dicky's Diamonds. I suspect that a lot of people trying to get this viewpoint to work just had little time to work on the art or the design.

 

241720-cylu-commodore-64-screenshot-you-

 

Vagan Attack I remember being well impressed with early Star Trek games like this in the early 80's but these were all made redundant by Star Raiders that essentially took this formula and made it into a more personal first person action strategy game. I'm sure people who spent their youth playing Star Trek on university mainframes would love the nostalgia here. But it's too retro even for me.

 

566526-vagan-attack-commodore-64-screens

 

Tour De France looks lovely but back in the day Summer Games 2 had me covered for cycling. And the mention of joystick waggling put me off.

 

Why play this now

 

663887-tour-de-france-commodore-64-scree

 

when I could play this instead?

 

546880-lonely-mountains-downhill-screens

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

So of the remaining...these don't tempt me at all.

 

Raskel With Guardian and Dropzone being prettier options why would you play this?

 

674921-raskel-commodore-64-screenshot-al

 

Cylu @squirtle. I've noticed you don't like a lot of 2D arcade adventures that are just about collecting. This variant, the Knight Lore clone is the genre I really dislike. Knight Lore looked so amazing back in the day that everyone tried to copy that style and on the C64 all of these were awful up until Head Over Heels and The Great Escape. So with any future ones that come up I'm probably not going to say much. This is one of the ugliest and most awkward of these though with an odd angle, unpleasant sprites and those tank controls. I would rather play Dicky's Diamonds. I suspect that a lot of people trying to get this viewpoint to work just had little time to work on the art or the design.

 

241720-cylu-commodore-64-screenshot-you-

 

 

 

 

Raskel had great sound FX. Little else, though.

 

Collecting stuff. I don't mind it. I loved Frankie and that is essentially one of those and I also like Monty, Nodes of Yesod, Robin of the Wood (spoilers), but it's the endless screens of nothing that do me in or the opposite; endless streams of enemies. There was clearly a tech arms race back then to see how many screens you could fit into the memory and any kind of gameplay consideration be damned. Cylu didn't even seem to get the perspective right. Like vector games, these things don't fair well on the C64 and it shows here.

 

We also missed the obvious Bore-de-France pun as well, which we kicked ourselves for afterwards. 

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7 minutes ago, Camel said:

Chimera is an isometric adventure game worth firing up just for the astounding music.

Not the speech, though. It also has an issue that you can be killed by radiators... Can you tell we just played this?

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Yeah I've never been much of a fan of the actual game. I'm not going to knock scratchy speech because in my mind it's still impressive, but that bassline ....

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