Thursday, 17 October 2019

FireTrap (Data East, 1986)

Originally developed by Wood Place Inc. for the arcades, and published by Data East.

Conversion for the Commodore 64 programmed by Mike Chilton, with graphics and music by Chris Gill.

Conversions for the Amstrad CPC and Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Source Software Ltd (assumedly Ross Harris).

The home conversions were published by Electric Dreams (Activision) in 1987.



Due to the increasingly uncertain future of Retrogame Talkshow, I decided to get properly back to writing comparisons whenever I felt like it, which means that they will be released as quickly I can get them done. In the odd case that there isn't a video comparison available on YouTube for any specific game I'm writing on, I shall compile a companion video for it. Now, this reboot comparison was chosen this time due to its placing in the alphabetic list, and more importantly, the number of versions available, just to give me a continuation of an easy restart - hopefully.

Monday, 9 September 2019

TWOFER #19: Revs (Acornsoft, 1984) + Microcosm (Firebird, 1985)


Designed and written by Geoff Crammond.

Originally published for the Acorn BBC Micro through Acornsoft in 1984.
Conversion for the Commodore 64 published through Firebird in 1985.
Unofficial conversion for the Commodore Plus/4 by AndrĂ¡s S. in 1988.


Written for the Acorn BBC Micro by Steven Reece and David Pearce.

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Andrew E. Bailey and released by Firebird in 1986.



Before I venture on to talk about the games themselves, it should be noted that only one of these game comparisons was recently featured in the most current RESET 64-magazine (the 12th issue), and I just wanted to write another comparison as a big bonus thing for the blog, since I haven't been doing comparisons since starting the Retrogame Talkshow podcast and my two video series. So, now felt a good time to do something more about the blog, and I've got the feeling I might be continuing with new comparisons for a while for now. As for the second game featured in this two-fer: it was very randomly picked months after writing the Revs comparison here, and the only connections between the two games are the publisher and that both games were only ever officially released on the BBC Micro and the Commodore 64.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Presenting: Another brand new thing!

Yes, you read it correctly: I'm starting another new thing, and this time, as you can see, I'm going for video format! Going video is something that has been suggested to me many times during the active FRGCB years, and starting to do so now could be the means to restart the blog in some manner. But before you can utter the words "ooh, nice, new comparisons", take a look at this brief introductory video I've prepared (using a potato-quality camera) to see what I'm really on about right now.

Meanwhile, work on the Retrogame Talkshow continues on-and-off, whenever Bob and I can find common time to work on it, and we're hoping to get a new episode out before 2019. Also, another comparison article has been delivered to the Reset64 magazine staff to be reviewed, so that's coming out in its own time.

All in all, the future of FRGCB is looking surprisingly promising at the moment, so stay tuned!

EDIT 18th of December 2018: Here's the first actual episode, enjoy! If you want to keep yourself updated on my videos, you might want to consider subscribing to my channel.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Voidrunner (Mastertronic, 1987)

Written by Jeff Minter for the Commodore C64, C16 and Plus/4 computers.

Converted for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Icon Design Ltd.

Also converted for the MSX, but no credits are known.

All versions released through Mastertronic Added Dimension in 1987.



Because this article was originally prepared for the RESET magazine's issue #11 many months ago, I have been holding on to the blog release of it due to a certain agreement I have with the magazine folks. I guess, from the point of view of an FRGCB reader who doesn't read RESET magazine, this entry comes as an arguably nice bonus surprise, although if you're a Commodore fan, but don't read the said magazine, do yourself a favour and fill this void in your life now. Naturally, from the point of view of a RESET magazine reader, this entry will come as not much of a surprise.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Presenting: A Brand New Thing!

While the FRGCB's closing-down has been in process, there's something new and interesting for retrogaming fans that's been in the works. Today, on the 26th of March, 2018, my good friend Bob and I have launched our very own podcast, which is simply, but very effectively called:

The first episode, which is an introductory episode, has now been released through Spreaker on Soundcloud and YouTube, and you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter @RetroGamePod, and Facebook. Take a listen, and send us some comments on any of those social media accounts, and you can also send us some e-mail to retrogametalkshow(at) (link removed for spam prevention).

Listen to "Episode #1 - "The Beginning"" on Spreaker.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Nebulus (Hewson Consultants, 1987)

Designed and written by John M. Phillips for the Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore Amiga and Atari ST. Additional graphics and misc help for the Commodore Amiga version by Stephen "SIR" Robertson.
IBM-PC version written by Ste Cork, and published in Europe by Hewson in 1987, and in North America by U.S. Gold in 1988.
Amstrad CPC version written by Chris Wood, and published by Hewson in 1988.
Atari 7800 version converted by U.S. Gold and published by Atari Corp. in 1988.
Atari 8-bit version developed by Hewson, but not published by Atari Corp. in 1988 - beta release only.

Published in the North American region as "Tower Toppler". An Italian translation called "Subline" was also published for the C64 by Edigamma S.r.l. in 1987.

Converted for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy by Bite Studios, with music by David Whittaker. Published as "Castelian" by Triffix in the USA in 1991. Also released in Japan in 1992 through Hiro Entertainment as "Kyoro Chan Land".

Acorn Archimedes version programmed by Nigel Little, with music and sound effects by Matt Furniss and graphics by John M. Phillips. Published by Krisalis Software Ltd. in 1992.

Also unofficially released on the Enterprise 128, but it has two releases based on both ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC versions.



Here we are, the last comparison of FRGCB. Well, at least, the last one I'm writing. It might not be exactly the most epic possible finale, but I thought it's a perfect reminder of how much more interesting and imaginative top-shelf game developing was at best during the 1980's, than it came to be decades later. Also, considering the number of versions listed above, it's bound to be a properly big one to end with, featuring most of the regular "contestants" and then some. In case you didn't arrive on this page through one of the forum links I have infested with my spam, click on to read, and hopefully learn something in the process.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

1,000,000 !!!

Well, here it is! The milestone of one-millionth visit to the blog was reached today, on the 21st of February, 2018. In addition to being now featured on two top retrogaming blog lists (many thanks for the more recent addition to The Great Setup!), this is definitely a milestone worth celebrating. Of course, since I figured this was coming sooner or later, I prepared this little video to express my thanks and thoughts on the matter. (Hope you can make out all the words, my recording setup is not perhaps the best for this sort of a thing...)