Sunday, 15 March 2020

TWOFER #20: Bank Panic (Sega, 1984) + West Bank (Dinamic, 1985)


Bank Panic developed by Sanritsu Denki Co., Ltd. in 1984. Originally published as an arcade game by SEGA Enterprises Ltd. for the Japanese market. Manufactured for the American market by Bally/Midway.

Converted for the MSX computers, Sega SG-1000 and Sega Master System by Sanritsu Denki Co., Ltd. // Sega SG-1000 conversion published by SEGA Enterprises in 1985. // Sega Master System conversion published by SEGA of America in 1986. // MSX conversion published by Pony Canyon, Inc. in 1986. // Sega SG-1000 version unofficially converted for the ColecoVision by Eduardo Mello; published by Team Pixelboy in 2011.

Cloned as "West Bank" for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, MSX and Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Dinamic Software. // Sinclair ZX Spectrum version programmed by Álvaro Mateos Herrera. Original Spanish version published by Dinamic Software in 1985. English translation published by Gremlin Graphics Ltd. in 1986. // Amstrad CPC version published by Gremlin Graphics Ltd. and Dinamic Software in 1986; details unknown. // Commodore 64 version programmed by Richard J. Gibbs, with music by Fred Gray. Published by Gremlin Graphics Ltd. in 1986. Spanish version published by Dinamic Software in 1987. // MSX version written by Animagic, and published by Dinamic Software in 1989.

Unofficial conversion "Gold Bank" for the Acorn BBC Micro published by Fast Access magazine in 1989. Unofficial conversion "Bang! Bank!" for the Atari 400/800 developed by OUR 5oft, and published by Mirage Software in 1992.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


After a relatively quiet month and a half - apart from the three My Nostalgia Trip Games episodes, that is - it's time for another actual comparison. Just for the heck of starting on the right foot, this entry will be listed as both Bank Panic and West Bank in the archive, because although it's roughly the same game, some people might not be aware of either the game by its original title or the unlicenced Dinamic rewrite and its conversions. Personally, I was introduced to this game as the Gremlin translation of West Bank on the C64, and only found out sometime after emulation started becoming a thing, that it was originally an arcade game called Bank Panic, all the way from 1984. This entry is dedicated to those of you, who ever were as much in the dark as I once was.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Unique Games: Afterlife, Part 3

Continuing the celebrations of a new decade, and because it's been 4 years since I did my last UG: Afterlife entry, I thought this would be a good time to revisit this particular series. Considering the amount of time passing since the previous one, there should be plenty of interesting, exclusive and perhaps even unique games to browse through, so let's get straight on it!

Thursday, 9 January 2020

My Nostalgia Trip Games continues!

Just a quick update this time. In case you haven't noticed, I've been sporadically making content for my YouTube channel, the prominent series being My Nostalgia Trip Games, for which I made 16 episodes last year, featuring mostly unemulated gameplay footage. There's also a few unemulated Let's Play videos, as well as the most recently started series of comparison accompaniment videos, which are all compiled of emulated footage, just for the sake of convenience. Links to all the videos can be found under the VIDEOS menu item here.

As the header implies, the second "season" of My Nostalgia Trip Games has started with the first entry for MS-DOS games. This time, the footage is practically emulated due to DOSbox+Fraps being the only method I have of getting footage recorded. But next time, it's back to unemulated business as usual.


Thursday, 2 January 2020

Dragonfire (Imagic, 1982)

Originally designed and programmed by Bob Smith, and published by Imagic for the Atari 2600 in 1982.

Converted in 1983:
Mattel Intellivision version by Alan Smith, with graphics by Dave Durran. Commodore VIC-20 version by Tim Yu. Both versions published by Imagic.

Converted in 1983 for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Jim Rothrock; published in 1984 by Cheetahsoft.

Converted in 1984: Apple II version by Imagic; details unknown. ColecoVision version by David Ross, with graphics by Matthew Sarconi and Wilfredo Aguilar. Commodore 64 version by Bob Smith and David Ross (to be confirmed); published by Imagic.

Also converted in 1984 for the Tandy TRS-80 CoCo by Frank Ellis, with graphics by Matthew Sarconi; published by Tandy Corporation.

Unofficial conversions: Commodore 64 remake written with Garry Kitchen's Gamemaker by Fabian Del Priore in 1990; Atari 400/800 version written by Kemal Ezcan in Turbo Basic for a Zong magazine release in 1993; Sinclair ZX Spectrum version called "Dragonfire ZX" was made by Luca Bordoni with AGDx in 2018.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


With no real time to make plans for an actual Christmas/New Year's entry for 2019, here's something at least perhaps a bit unexpected, so... Happy New Year, everybody, and welcome to 2020! While starting to write this entry, I was having a difficult time thinking of any other game in the history of my blog, that started its life as an Atari 2600 game. There is a perfectly good reason for that, however: apart from some random gaming through emulation, I had not been properly initiated to the Atari 2600 gaming lore until a few months ago, when I finally bought my very own Atari 2600jr, along with about a dozen games to start with - Dragonfire being one of them. Thus began a new obsession.

Dragonfire was one of Imagic's bigger successes, along with classics such as Atlantis, Cosmic Ark and Demon Attack. Sadly, the company did not recover from the North American video game crash of 1983, so their legend is forevermore tied firmly to the Atari 2600. As are their games, to be honest, since most of the positive reviews and nostalgia are directed towards the Atari versions of the games, not their conversions. So, we are here to find out, whether that's at all sensible or not.

Friday, 6 December 2019

FRGR #11: Slicks 'n' Slide (Digital Footmark, 1993-2017)

Written by Timo and Juha Kauppinen.
Originally released as shareware for MS-DOS compatible PC's in 1993.
Currently available for digital purchase at Digital Footmark's website.

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INTRODUCTION


For my first Finnish Retro Game Review since taking a break, I decided to bring the series a bit closer to the present day. Not too much, though, because the game I'm about to dwell upon is still available for purchase after 26 years (!!!) of existence, and it also has been recently demade onto retro platforms. You won't be getting an actual comparison, although there is an entire chapter about the demakes. But I digress; the original Slicks 'n' Slide is such a famous Finnish game in the midst of old DOS gamers around the world, that I thought it was the only fitting game for reopening this series. With this, I wish you all a happy Finnish independence day!

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

November Newsflash

Things have been a bit quiet on this front for this month for a number of reasons. First of all, work, music and life got in the way again, but still, I'm writing new material as quickly as I'm able to.

Second, another episode of Retrogame Talkshow FINALLY got out yesterday (Random Ramblings #2) after almost half a year's delay, so we now have 8 episodes done! Click on the link right there to get to our Spreaker site, which is our main platform for the podcast. Work on the next episode has already begun, but how long that will take is anybody's guess.

In other news, which I forgot to mention earlier (sorry about that), an Italian retrogaming magazine, simply titled RetroMagazine contacted me in August about doing Italian translations of my blog articles for their magazine. The first one, which was a nice glued-together version of my original Bruce Lee comparison, including its updates, was featured in issue #17 - follow the link, if you can read Italian.

The next blog entry will be released, according to tradition, on the 6th of December - the Finnish Independence Day. Expect to read about something rather Finnish then. As for the followers of My Nostalgia Trip Games and other video series, I have decided to continue work on those in January, so you'll have to wait until then. But worry not, things are definitely brewing here.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

NGOTM: l'Abbaye des Morts (Locomalito, 2010)

Written by Locomalito, with music, sounds and promo art by Gryzor87. Originally released as freeware for Windows PC's in 2010.

Port for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k:
Programming by Yuri "Jerri" Potapov. In-game graphics and music by Paolo "Dark Horace" Arus. Loading screen by Einar Saukas. Published as digital freeware in 2014, and also a physical release by RetroWorks.

Port for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis:
Programming by Mun/MoonwatcherMD. Graphics by Gerardo Herce, Felipe Monge Corbala, Daniel Nevado and Igor Errazkin. Sounds by Paolo Arus and Manuel Gómez. Cover by Felibe Monge Corbala, Masterklown and Ozar Midrashim. Published digitally at itch.io and as a physical cartridge by PlayOnRetro and Mega Cat Studios in 2017.

Port for the Commodore 64:
Programming by Antonio Savona. Graphics by Saul Cross. Music by Gryzor and Saul Cross. Package design by Jason MacKenzie. Published by Double Sided Games and Psytronik Software in 2019.

Also released for Linux, MacOS, OUYA, Pandora, Nintendo Wii, GCW0 and Sony PlayStation Portable. The game is also reported to be in the making for at least MSX, ColecoVision, Commodore Amiga (AGA) and Sega Dreamcast.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME REVIEW


Due to the imminent arrival of yet another Halloween, and despite my previous lack of planning ahead, I decided to rush out a comparison of a few select versions of one of the most celebrated retro-styled horror-platforming games of the last decade: l'Abbaye des Morts. The reasons for only doing a comparison of a select few versions are simply, that most of the versions are basically carbon copies of the original, that it would be stupid going through all of them and finding nothing of importance, and secondly, I personally don't have access to most of the required hardware. So we only focus on the most retroest conversions currently available, in addition to the original.