Friday 12 April 2024

Pub Games (Alligata Software, 1986)

Sinclair ZX Spectrum version:
Programmed by Richard Stevenson and David Wright (as Dollarsoft)
Published by Alligata in 1986.

Commodore 64 version:
Programming by John Stevenson
Graphics by JLM (?)
Music by Ben Daglish
Published by Alligata in 1986.

Amstrad CPC version written by Nix, and published by Alligata in 1987.



Starting this year's Abominations April, FRGCB is proud to present the non-awaited comparison of Alligata's classic pile of multi-event dirt that goes by the name Pub Games. It's a game that was unfortunate enough to find its way into my collection a couple of years ago via a joblot that I purchased from eBay, after solemnly swearing that Pub Games shall not ever be part of my collection. It's also a game that is often spoken of as a joke by myself and my friend and colleague Bob (of Retrogame Talkshow), merely by mentioning the name. So, of course, Pub Games was a perfect candidate for one of the games to be featured in Abominations April.

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Zynaps (Hewson Consultants Ltd., 1987)

Sinclair ZX Spectrum version:
Designed and written by Dominic Robinson; In-game graphics by Stephen J. Crow; Loading screen by John M. Phillips; Music by Steve Turner.

Commodore 64 version:
Designed by John Cumming and Dominic Robinson; Programming by John Cumming; Graphics by John Cumming and Stephen J. Crow; Music by Nigel Grieve.

Amstrad CPC version:
Programming by Michael Croucher and Dominic Robinson; Graphics by Stephen J. Crow and Mark R. Jones; Music by J. Dave Rogers.

Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum versions published by Hewson Consultants Ltd. in 1987.

Atari ST version:
Programming by Howie Davis; Graphics by Pete Lyon; Music by J. Dave Rogers.

Commodore Amiga version:
Programming by Howard Ball and Neil Metcalfe; Graphics by Pete Lyon; Music and sound effects by Giulio Zicchi.

Atari ST and Commodore Amiga versions developed by Microwish Software, and published by Hewson Consultants Ltd. in 1988.

Cover/poster art by Steve Weston.



Happy Easter, everybody! Having known this was going to be a busy March for me, I chose to put all my blogging focus on one of the last games I remember from my original Spectrum days (ca. 1984-1987), that I was somewhat obsessed about: Zynaps, Hewson's input into the already vast enough range of Gradius variants. I didn't know it at the time, nor did I give it much thought until years later, but now it seems somewhat obvious, that the game was originally designed for the ZX Spectrum. Despite being very likely the first game of its kind that I ever played, the genre didn't appeal to me even then, so I never did become all that good in Zynaps, but in an attempt to finally get better at it, I decided to give this game its turn now.

Friday 23 February 2024

Gothik (Firebird, 1987)

Game concept and design by Paul Hutchinson.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum version written by Paul Hutchinson, with loading screen by Drew Northcott. Published by Telecomsoft (Firebird) in 1987.

Amstrad CPC version written by Paul Hutchinson, and published by Telecomsoft (Firebird) in 1988.

Commodore 64 version written by Gavin "Gaxx" Raeburn, with loading screen by Paul "Dokk" Docherty. Published by Telecomsoft (Firebird) in 1988.



There are two reasons why I chose Gothik from Firebird's vast catalogue as the second of this year's two February Firebird items: one, because I noticed that there haven't been too many Gauntlet-clones here at FRGCB, so it's about time to have the second one, no more than 6 years and 10 months after Pandora's classic Into the Eagles' Nest, rather coincidentally released the same year; and two, because I didn't have to make a video accompaniment, thanks to one already available in the Mikroview series.

Friday 9 February 2024

Chickin Chase / Cock' In (Prism Micro-informatique S.A., 1984)

Developed by JAWX
Written by Francois Lionet
Originally published as "Cock' In" by Prism Micro-informatique S.A. for Oric Atmos in 1984.

Amstrad CPC version by JAWX, released as "Chickin Chase" by Firebird in 1985. Also released in France as "Poule Position" by Minipuce.

Commodore 64 version by JAWX, released as "Chickin Chase" by Firebird in 1985. Re-released in France as "Cock' In" by Prism Micro-informatique S.A.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum version by JAWX, released as "Chickin Chase" by Firebird in 1985. Also released in France as "Cock' In" by Prism Micro-informatique S.A.

Thomson MO5/TO7 version written by Alain Fernandes, with graphics by Olivier Corviole. Published as "Coq'Inn" by VIFI in 1985.

Atari 400/800 and MSX versions by JAWX, released as "Chicken Chase" by Bug-Byte in 1986.



This year's Firebird February will have to make do with only two games due to my constraining work schedules. First off, we have a French game from 1984 that wasn't originally even a Firebird release. JAWX developed Cock' In originally for the Oric Atmos, and got released by Prism Micro-informatique, but the game got converted for other platforms with various different names, with Chickin Chase being the chosen title for the Firebird release. This game has probably become more famous in the recent years thanks to certain online lists of the worst game covers ever, for which the original Cock' In cover has usually been chosen.

Monday 15 January 2024

Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future (Virgin Games, 1986)

Developed by Gang of Five for Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum, and released by Virgin Games in 1986.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum version:
Written by Dave B. Chapman, Martin Wheeler, Neil Strudwick and Irwan Owen.

Amstrad CPC version:
Programming by Dave B. Chapman and Andrew Wilson
Graphics by Ian Mathias
Technical management by Steve Webb
Testing by Patricia Mitchell

Commodore 64 version:
Programming by Andrew Wilson
Graphics by Ian Mathias and Stu Jackson
Music by Graham Marsh and Andrew Wilson



The year 2024 starts off bravely with a comparison of a game that I have never really given much notice to, although I did play Dan Dare on the C64 a few times in before the turn of the millennium, and I remember not liking it particularly much back then, because I didn't really understand how to play it. Since the game has more of a reputation on the ZX Spectrum, I decided to look into it now for the sake of balance. However, since deciding upon doing a comparison of Dan Dare, I realized all three versions of the game are quite different, so I wonder, what sort of sense would it make to do the comparison? Let's find out.

Monday 18 December 2023

New (Unique) CHRISTMAS Games!

For the 2014 Christmas season, I had prepared a special Unique Games entry on some of my favourite Christmas themed games for various platforms. Although I have found some more Christmas-themed games mostly from the olden days for the classic platforms, I decided to do a special entry on comparatively new unique and/or exclusive Christmas- and winter-themed games for old machines, most of these made within the last ten years, since there are plenty to be found. Links to games' pages provided as far as legally and/or officially possible.

As usual, I have tried to be as thorough in my investigations as possible, but it still could be that I might have missed some of even the more notable Christmas/winter-themed games from this list, so if you can think of anything to add, feel free to throw in a comment at the end of the post.

Wednesday 6 December 2023

FRGR #15: The Complete Works of Simo Ojaniemi (Amersoft, 1984)

For this year's Finnish Independence Day celebratory blog post, I decided to take a closer look at all four games by Simo Ojaniemi, who is one of the pioneers in Finnish game developing. He started out developing games on his brother Juha's Commodore VIC-20 in 1982, and ended his game developing career in 1984 after the release of his fourth game, RahaRuhtinas. All four games were briefly mentioned in the History of Finnish Games series in 2013-2014, so now is a good time to give them all more in-depth reviews.

MEHULINJA, HERKKUSUU and MYYRÄJAHTI written for the Commodore VIC-20, and RAHARUHTINAS written for the Commodore 64 by Simo Ojaniemi; all games published by Amersoft in 1984. MYYRÄJAHTI was released on the same cassette tape as HERKKUSUU.