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Zapped to the Past podcast (C64)


Unofficial Who
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Ep2 Pt 1 is now out for anyone who wants to give it a listen. 

 

Games covered in this episode:

 

Theatre Europe

On Court Tennis

M.U.L.E

Super Pipeline 2

Loderunner

International Basketball

Everyones a wally

World Series Baseball

Richard Petty's Talladega

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1 minute ago, Unofficial Who said:

Downloading now, there's at least two classics in that lot!

We like more than we don't like in that list and we downright love two of them, so as long as you're not talking about Everyone's a Wally, we'll get along fine!

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1 minute ago, squirtle said:

We like more than we don't like in that list and we downright love two of them, so as long as you're not talking about Everyone's a Wally, we'll get along fine!

 

I loved Pyjamarama but by the time I was able to find Everyone's a Wally (well emulate it anyway) it was a lot less fun than the version I'd made in my head from over a decade of reading the guide in C&VG.

 

Oddly enough I'd only ever read a guide with no screenshots of Pyjamarama so when I got that it looked very different from the Knightlore style game I had imagined.

 

My picks from memory from that lot would be the famous Lode Runner and the sadly forgotten Super Pipeline 2.

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6 hours ago, Camel said:

Love Super Pipeline II. Great game.

 

300px-super_pipeline_ii_title.gif

 

Just played a quick round and I still love it.

 

I first played this in the late 80's, it was on a massive 30 game compilation I borrowed off a friend. Almost all the games were rubbish apart from the Taskset ones and this one was the best of the lot.

 

I noticed on the podcast they kept saying that it felt like an arcade game due to it's slickness. iirc the programmers at Taskset made arcade games before pivoting to home computers when the arcade market was drying up. Everything about this game is slick from the front end to the tiny arcade cutscenes. It's a bit odd that the lead plumber has a gun and it's easy for the first couple of levels to settle into a camping spot and take out any hazards before the pipe is damaged. But then a lobster appears (only able to be attacked from behind) and then invincible flying nails which require you to keep moving. I tend to like to keep one of the little plumbers by my side and let the other one roam about taking out random beasties. It's still worth playing today, a hidden gem. 

 

(My quick run got me to pipe 9 with a score of 52540.)

 

400px-Super_Pipeline_ii_Gameplay_2.png

 

 

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1 hour ago, squirtle said:

Yeah, great game. Was unaware of the history of Taskset but the arcade influence in this is so clear. I'd have pumped so many 10ps into this. Also, I really do hope it's Bobby Pipeline with his two sons, Jeremy and Kyle Pipeline. 

 

I'm not going to fact check you here because I prefer your version.

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I noticed you both don't seem to like arcade adventures.

 

Which leads me to Everyone's a Wally. I mentioned earlier that I loved Pyjamarama on the C64. Picked it up on the C64 when I was feeling incredibly low and got lost in a sort of Northern UK version of Little Nemo. The colours were odd, and it was very surreal and slow but that just gave it a dream like quality that I loved. I could never find the sequel which saddened me because I loved the concept. A larger game! Four more characters to control! More to explore! I pored over maps like this one.

 

EveryonesAWally.jpg

 

A decade later and I started messing around with Spectrum emulators and I got a chance to finally play this. And I bounced off it. I tried a few times but I just can't. There's a few reasons. By then I had played far better arcade adventures on the C64. The Last Ninja. Labyrinth. Dan Dare. Mercenary. It somehow lacked the charm of Pyjamarama. Slow and strangely quiet works for a game set in a weird half dream, but not one set in dreary suburbia.

 

But you guys nailed it and it's the same issue as with Tir Na Nog. It's too big. Slowly trudging twenty screens to the left to fetch something only to slowly mooch back. With Pyjamarama I spent hours working out how the game worked, where everything was and experimenting to the point I could make a critical run. Failure was short, a successful run of Pyjamarama takes about eleven minutes once you've worked out where everything goes. Wally according to some longplay's I had a quick look at is about 45 minutes long for a successful run. Pyjamarama is set in a large dreamlike house of just over 30 screens with one character. Wally's map....well it's about the same but it wraps around in weird ways and isn't bound by walls. And there are several characters to keep track of, all with their own inventory. So there's a lot of moving parts, and 45 minutes is a huge time investment, especially in a game without a save point!

 

I might have enjoyed it if I had tracked it down in '85, but looking at it now it feels like a lesson in bigger not always being better. Less focused than it's predecessor and not near as good as the arcade adventures that were to come.

 

Mind you I'd still play this over Andy Capp.

 

Edit. If you have a C64 mini then this is pre-loaded on there. But not Pyjamarama. :(

 

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Yeah, exactly. We didn't particularly like this and it's not because we don't like arcade adventures (or aardvarks as Zzap called them), it's just that we think if you're going to use the word arcade, then it needs to have something aracde-y to it, and these are all bland flick screen collectathons. The notion seemed to be that by putting random objects whizzing about it made it arcade-y, and it just did not. In subsequent parts, we like variations on this that do something different, but our gradual hatred for these flick screen spectrum looking games grows quite sharpish. I think we just weren't aware there were quite so many of them as we probably never played them back then, but seeing so many of them... Wait until we get to Brian Bloodaxe or Circus Circus in later episodes...

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Theatre Europe was another game that I never saw in Oz and that's probably down to a number of factors. But I read a lot about it and I think that PSS were incredibly clever with the marketing. With the then current setting it drawing on the tensions of the cold war it probably felt a lot more interesting than yet another dry old war game about D-Day.

 

The ending you described might have inspired the fail state screen in Chris Crawford's Balance of Power which felt like it was giving a bit of side eye at games showing fireworks for screwing things up.

 

6a01348660b2b3970c01b8d204ca70970c-800wi

(Balance of Power:Amiga)

 

As for games that followed on with that sort of starkness the only one I can think of is DEFCON with the sterile numbers and the weeping in the background.

 

0000000629.600x338.jpg?t=1586365976

 

Quick question @squirtlesince you've played this, from what I could gather the aim of Theatre Europe seemed a little unique in that it's less about winning and more about struggling to maintain the status quo. Did you and your co-host ever win a game?

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I really wanted to play M.U.L.E back in the day for a couple of reasons.

 

1. The cover art. Look at it!

 

Mule_box.jpg

 

2. This was a four player game. I remember reading a review of the Atari 8bit version and you could play with whatever setup you had. Only have one joystick, two paddles and a keyboard? No problem!

 

I never played MULE. At least not the way it was meant to be played. By the time I got my C64 it was long out of print having arrived around 1983/84 in Oz. I looked at it many years later but again it was too late. A game meant to be played in 1983 with three buddies just had no meaning for someone trying it alone two decades later. I have no doubt @squirtle that you and your co-host were right. This would have reviewed well purely because of the multiplayer, I remember a lot of multiplayer games from the 80s-90s rated really highly purely because all the review staff were working out of a central location. Like a lot of Danielle Bunten Berry's early works this was hugely influential to a lot of designers and journalists. This along with Seven Cities of Gold and Modem Wars makes her a bit of a games designers designer (if that makes sense.)

 

Another one where you really had to be playing it at that time and place.

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Lode Runner. This was the game I sorely wanted for my C64 but could never have. It wasn't until the 90's that I scored a disk drive. And O could never find the cartridge version for sale. But again by the time I got a C64 it was long out of print and I could never find a second hand copy.

 

But it was always available to me provided I could book time on the library Apple 2. Every library near me seemed to have an Apple 2 and a copy of this and we could play for an hour a week (or until some shitty adult would push us off to do serious stuff.) Playing by keyboard was the best way to play back in the day as you could fire your drill behind you if needed.

 

The graphics were tiny but it led to the most amazing looking levels!

 

LodeRunner_Animation2.gif

 

Lode Runner did incredibly well in the West but 80% of the sales for Lode Runner were made in Japan. It's now almost forgotten in the West but is still seen as a classic over there.

 

https://www.ign.com/articles/1999/02/18/locknlode

 

Quote

Q: How many copies did it sell in the end?

Doug:

On the Apple II, I'm not sure of specifics -- probably a couple of hundred thousand which was pretty phenomenal for back then and then I went down to Broderbund in June of '83 and worked on the Commodore 64 and the Atari 800 versions. I did the Atari 800 version and one of my friends did the Commodore 64 version and I was helping with someone who was working off site doing the IBM version.

Starting in Fall of '83, I started doing a lot of press tours with Broderbund. A lot of people don't realize that Lode Runner's sales volume has probably been about 80% in Japan. Hudson Soft published Lode Runner as one of the first 10 titles on the Famicom in Japan and we did like a million and half units there alone. Between all the platforms I would put all the copies at over 3 million.

 

Doug Smith passed away in 2014 sadly.

 

Tozai Games currently hold the rights and they've made a pretty solid remake in the form of Lode Runner Legacy. I don't like the graphics they use for the classic levels but otherwise the 3D Dot Heroes look suits the more modern levels and it's probably one of the best ways to play the game today if you don't want to mess with emulation.

 

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, squirtle said:

@Unofficial WhoYeah, good game that was with some real evil AI in those enemies. Much preferred this to the Jet Set Willy style of platformer that we seemed to be inundated with. Really clever and challenging and fun to play.

 

It was like the difference between Space Invaders and Defender. They seemed aware of you amd where really responsive. Also it was amazing how much personality was in those little sprites.

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I was a a massive fan of International Soccer. It was a pack in with my C64 and at the time it was seen as a bit of a killer app. I really wanted to play this followup but I could not find it anywhere legally or otherwise at the time.

 

I've had a quick go now and while I know my brother and I would have loved this at the time it feels very much like International Soccer only slightly modified. I love how polite the crowd are with their gentle clapping in stark contrast to the hissing static of the crowd in International Soccer.

 

International_Basketball.png

 

Um...that advert though. Lol.

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The games you couldn't persuade me to try (or more accurately warned me off.)

 

Richard Petty's Talladega. It looks like the car itself is trying to escape.

 

 

On Court Tennis. I actually played this a little back in the day. A little, not a lot because I found the dead eyed avatars in the game really unpleasant to look at.

 

 

World Series Baseball. The magazines all went mad for this and I think it was all about the large screen in the middle magnifying the action. A great idea but one made redundant by a later baseball game.

 

 

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Enjoyed the new episode, cheers. I never played Theatre Europe so that went over my head a bit but I certainly recall the Cold War fear of the time.

 

The only one I really player was the baseball game as we could afford about one game per month. It was a poor choice I think.

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2 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

I was a a massive fan of International Soccer. It was a pack in with my C64 and at the time it was seen as a bit of a killer app. I really wanted to play this followup but I could not find it anywhere legally or otherwise at the time.

 

I've had a quick go now and while I know my brother and I would have loved this at the time it feels very much like International Soccer only slightly modified. I love how polite the crowd are with their gentle clapping in stark contrast to the hissing static of the crowd in International Soccer.

 

International_Basketball.png

 

Um...that advert though. Lol.

Another sports winner. These games in two player were great. 

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1 hour ago, carleton said:

Enjoyed the new episode, cheers. I never played Theatre Europe so that went over my head a bit but I certainly recall the Cold War fear of the time.

 

The only one I really player was the baseball game as we could afford about one game per month. It was a poor choice I think.

You're not alone. I think we bought that too... I think we convinced ourselves it was good... 

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Loved both International Soccer and International Basketball. I had a version of Basketball where the players were all in wheelchairs and for years I was convinced it was an official release which I thought was pretty cool. Of course it turned out to be a hacked version.

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4 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

The games you couldn't persuade me to try (or more accurately warned me off.)

 

Richard Petty's Talladega. It looks like the car itself is trying to escape.

 

 

On Court Tennis. I actually played this a little back in the day. A little, not a lot because I found the dead eyed avatars in the game really unpleasant to look at.

 

 

World Series Baseball. The magazines all went mad for this and I think it was all about the large screen in the middle magnifying the action. A great idea but one made redundant by a later baseball game.

 

 

On Court Tennis is actually pretty decent. The other two, especially the former, not so much... 

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51 minutes ago, Camel said:

Loved both International Soccer and International Basketball. I had a version of Basketball where the players were all in wheelchairs and for years I was convinced it was an official release which I thought was pretty cool. Of course it turned out to be a hacked version.

Yeah, I had Wheelchair Soccer. 

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21 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

I was a a massive fan of International Soccer. It was a pack in with my C64 and at the time it was seen as a bit of a killer app. I really wanted to play this followup but I could not find it anywhere legally or otherwise at the time.

 

I've had a quick go now and while I know my brother and I would have loved this at the time it feels very much like International Soccer only slightly modified. I love how polite the crowd are with their gentle clapping in stark contrast to the hissing static of the crowd in International Soccer.

 

 

 

Um...that advert though. Lol.

 

Written by the same guy, Andrew Spencer. There’s two versions of Basketball, one with just American rules and one with a choice of Olympic, NBA and NCAA (college) rules.

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6 hours ago, merman said:

 

Written by the same guy, Andrew Spencer. There’s two versions of Basketball, one with just American rules and one with a choice of Olympic, NBA and NCAA (college) rules.

We thought International Tennis was by him as well as it shares a lot presentationally but turns out it wasn't. 

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