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Zapped to the Past podcast (C64)


Unofficial Who
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I've changed my mind. Pastfinder is the best of this issue. You were both bang on, this had to have inspired Braybrook, the similarities behind the landscapes is undeniable.

 

In fact let's hear from the man himself.

 

http://uridiumauthor.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-trouble-with-graphics-today.html

 

 

Quote

Alleykat`s graphics were influenced by my playing of Pastfinder on the Atari XL. The viewpoint was from 45 degrees behind rather than top-down or side-on, though the game was able to behave as if it were top-down. We had harsh lighting again, but no black background this time, though I`m thinking that since it was set in space then some see-through bits of inaccessible track would have been interesting. 

 

The graphics viewpoint really defined the colours. I needed a top colour, a back colour, a ground colour and a shadow ground colour. Drawing the graphics was as straightforward as building with Lego. I deluded myself that I was getting the hang of this graphics thing.

 

Let's compare.

 

Pastfinder-001.gif

 

alleykat_7.png

 

It makes sense that this started on the Atari XL, it feels like Atari 2600 game design with that extra 8 bit 3D look that was so appealing around 84-85. I really wanted this game at the time but never found it until years later when it was going cheap along with loads of Activision and LucasFilm games. At the time I had zero money. Heartbreaking. The cover art and adverts for their games at the time was top notch.

 

eVr7kMu.jpg

 

That advert makes it sound like The Dig and not the Zaxxon but slower with collectables.

 

There's something about how stripped back it is which makes it really appealing to me with later harder levels feeling a lot like an 8bit version of Race the Sun.

 

 

 

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Yeah, I had never played it before now and found it a really interesting curio and the influence on Alleykat was clear as day. I wish I had played it back then as I reckon I would have quite some mileage out of it. I'm not quite sure how all the different power up things that you can use work, but this is clearly a step above everything else we look at, even if Lords of Midnight is technically cleverer...

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Braybrook is a hero of mine and reading his diaries were one of the reasons I got into coding. However I didn't get on with much of his later stuff like Intensity, Morpheus and Alleykat. He gets a pass for Gribbly's Day Out, Paradroid and Uridium though. And the amazing Amiga port of Rainbow Islands.

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Yeah Paradroid is his best game I think. Gribbly's is great fun (and the 'Special' version). Morpheus is better if you play the disk version as that saves your progress, but it's a really hard game to get into. 

 

(I've never been much of a fan of Uridium, slick as it is. I find deaths can be a bit random)

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6 minutes ago, Camel said:

 

(I've never been much of a fan of Uridium, slick as it is. I find deaths can be a bit random)


I think it'd be better without the random sprite enemies for sure. Except the homing mines, they're good. And in no way did I rip them off for an enemy in Runn 'n' Gunn.

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I came to Lords of Midnight late. Another title I just didn't see in our local shops I finally got a copy from a covertape almost five years later. For a C64 release the lack of sound was incredibly weird but I was unemployed and still had my maps from back in the day. I never could play the game for a military victory but did win a couple of times Lord of the Rings style with the majority of my team keeping the forces of Doomdark busy while Morkin snuck the crown to the tower to the north to destroy it alone.

 

Would I play it today? Not on the old machines when there's a really good port available on the PC with loads of quality of life improvements.

 

You can get it for free here https://www.gog.com/game/the_lords_of_midnight?

 

It just plays better with a mouse and had the blessing of the late Mike Singleton. (Images from the remake.)

 

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Technically very clever, but despite my love of fantasy always left me very cold, and not just because of the snow. A decent tune may have helped this, but as it is, it stands with elite in a game that just came before its time or was more suited to other machines.

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2 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

Oh yeah. At first I couldn't place it at all, I thought you were describing Dizzy. "You play as an egg. With legs."

We'd never played it before so you can probably hear our bemusement in this and some of the other reviews.

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The last games you covered should have been "we warned you."

 

All I know of Shades is that box art that seemed to be ahead of its time.

 

wHI5fMm.jpeg

 

This sort of abstraction was a lot more common a couple of years later. I couldn't get this one running and judging by the lack of videos I'm not alone there!

 

Buck Rogers was a game I loved in the arcades and I would have totally bought the home port if I could have found it. I think you pointed out the false economy of this, buying a dud arcade conversion vs spending a few quid in the arcade.

 

It feels so slow next to the Sega original, the C64 just wasn't good at sprite scaling and we would see people over the next few years trying to squeeze a pint into a thimble with varying success.

 

Comparison time.

 

The arcade.

 

 

 

 

The worst. Also you were both right about this being an odd representation of Buck Rogers, over in Japan this game was known as Zoom 909.

 

As for Web Dimension....what even is this? I remember the web looking striking in screenshots but oh dear.

 

wdim.gif

 

There. That's the best bit.

 

Looking forward to the top 64 list in issue 1. Some nice games there! Except....you aren't going to cover those are you....fingers crossed for some Silver Medals covered in future issues.

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@Unofficial Who The original plan for the episode was for it all to be in one release and the games were under the headings The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Upon recording it, we had what you have heard and decided that we aren't Giant Bomb and no one would listen to a near 4 hour podcast about c64 games so we split it into two, which means it is a bit lopsided in that all the good games are in Part 1 and the bad games are in Part 2. For Episode 2, we aimed to be a bit more brief and we kept the same format, but found that we couldn't and ended up with two parts again, meaning the good games are in Part 1 and the dross are in Part 2 along with the Crapverts. By Episode 3, we had sorted the structure accordingly so there are good and bad games throughout both Parts and Crapverts at the end of each Part. As we release more, you'll here this change happen. 

 

Looking at Issue 1 there were loads we left out just due to running time and wanting an even split across those three sections, Good, Bad and Ugly. We would have been so lopsided with the latter two sections that it would have been unwieldy.

 

Those three games you mention there are all awful Web Dimension is a thing of wondrous, creative bemusement in it's terribleness.

 

And as for the last point, we did record an Episode Zero where we looked at a chosen selection of games that we liked from 82, 83 and 84. It was the first thing we recorded and we do intend to release this in the break between 1985 and 1986. Again, it's huge so will probably be in two parts but when you hear us mention Episode Zero, you will get to hear it at some point. 

 

Also, just to say, anything that got a GM, Sizzler or Tacky and is a game, we cover.


Also, that Shades boxart is what happens when someone goes to town with clipart.

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13 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

I'm looking forward to it, just trying to try some of the games you've covered being a subset of what they covered, how did they get a magazine out each month? They must have done nothing else.

The number of games they look at does go down. I would imagine that issue one was produced over a longer period than subsequent issues, but they still did around 20-25 games a month for most issues. I'm sure I could find out, but I wonder who they had to do the White Wizard stuff?

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12 minutes ago, squirtle said:

The number of games they look at does go down. I would imagine that issue one was produced over a longer period than subsequent issues, but they still did around 20-25 games a month for most issues. I'm sure I could find out, but I wonder who they had to do the White Wizard stuff?

 

A freelancer called Steve Cooke. I was a Keith Campbell fan myself,  he had a way about writing about adventure games that would sometimes draw me in enough to dabble.

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12 minutes ago, Uncle Nasty said:

Love the Podcast and the way you're intertwining the games talk with more general 80s discussion. Pure nostalgic escapism, exactly what I need right now.

 

Great thread as well.

Cheers and thank you, that's really good to hear.

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I still have my copy of issue one of Zzap64. It's really tatty, as Julian Rignall testified in this Tweet.

 

I finished part 2, I'm really enjoying the podcast so thanks. Am I correct in thinking that they got rid of the "Tacky" accolade quite quickly?

 

2020-04-15 19.35.07.jpg

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1 hour ago, carleton said:

I still have my copy of issue one of Zzap64. It's really tatty, as Julian Rignall testified in this Tweet.

 

I finished part 2, I'm really enjoying the podcast so thanks. Am I correct in thinking that they got rid of the "Tacky" accolade quite quickly?

 

2020-04-15 19.35.07.jpg

I wish I still had all my issues but they had to go when I was moving somewhere and didn't have any space for storage. :(

 

The Tacky award went by about issue 3 or 4, off the top of my head, when sizzlers had to get 90% and over and Gold Medals had to get 97% and over. 

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