Sunday, 6 June 2021

FRGCB's Let's Play series also continues!

Hello, readers and viewers alike! FRGCB's YouTube channel continues to spew more content out, this time with another Let's Play video, the first one for 2021. Just wanted to share that with you here in a more official manner. I shall attempt to make at least the same amount of these as last year, and for a different platform each time, but I still have no schedules planned, much like I didn't the two previous years. This year's Let's Play series started off with the C64 version of Batman the Movie, an old favourite of mine, of which I wrote a comparison of way back in 2014.

As for other news, I will be taking this month quietly again, first and foremost because the deadline for Reset64 magazine's contributions is getting close, and I haven't done squat, apart from having chosen the featured game. Secondly, a band of mine has released an album 5 days ago (Spotify link here), and I will be spending much of my free time on promoting it and making music videos whenever possible. So, apart from the video stuff, things will be quiet here at FRGCB this month, maybe even July. See you when things get less crazy!

Monday, 31 May 2021

Motos (Namco/Dempa, 1985)

Design by T. Okada
Programming by Kosei Matz
Music by Norio Nakagata
Graphics by Satoru Chan
Engineering by SIG-EL
Debugging by M. Taguchi
Supervising by Sing Kozima
Originally released for the arcades by Namco/Dempa in 1985.

Developed for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Binary Design (1001 Ltd.):
Amstrad and Spectrum programming by Matthew Rhodes
C64 programming by Michael Delves
Amstrad and Spectrum graphics by Ste Pickford
C64 graphics by Lee Cawley
Music by Jason C. Brooke
Published by Mastertronic in 1987.

Converted for Sharp X68000 by Yodel, with sound by Hideya Nagata. Published by Dempa Microcomputer Software in 1989.



One thing Mastertronic never got properly recognized for was their arcade conversions, mostly because they didn't do all that many of them, and those that they did were largely made after they merged with Virgin Games in 1988. Prior to that, Motos represented one of Mastertronic's earliest ventures into arcade game licencing. This could have been one of the reasons why the eventual merging with Virgin was necessary, since Motos wasn't really one of the most celebrated arcade games in its time. Now, though, it makes an interesting study.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Rollaround (Mastertronic, 1988)

Designed by Tony Kelly for Mr. Chip Software.

Commodore 64 version written by Tony Kelly, with title screen by Andrew Morris.

Amstrad CPC version written by Simon Wilson, with graphics by Andrew Morris.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum version written by Steve Parys, with graphics by Andrew Morris.

All versions were written in 1987, and published by Mastertronic in 1988.



I don't often feature isometric games on this blog, mostly because I'm really not a big fan of them, but there are some odd exceptions here and there. Tony Kelly's Rollaround is one of them, if only because it happens to be one of the first tape games I got by a chance in a bundle, when I started collecting C64 tapes after the emulation period had been going on for a few years and my C64 hadn't been properly in use for a while. It's also a fairly rare occurence, that an isometric action game was originally designed for the C64, which should make this comparison a bit more interesting than were it not.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Ninja (Mastertronic, 1986)

Developed by Sculptured Software.

Designed and programmed by Steve Coleman, with music by Rob Hubbard. C64 loading screen by Jim Wilson. Originally released for the Atari 8-bit computers and Commodore 64 in 1986 by Mastertronic.

Converted for the IBM-PC compatibles by Bryan Brandenburg and Soft Arts in 1986.

Converted for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Icon Design Ltd. in 1987.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC by Brian Beuken of Icon Design Ltd. in 1987.

Atari ST conversion: Programming by Steve Coleman, Graphics by Tanya Platt, Loading screen by Jez Nelson, Music by David Whittaker.

Commodore Amiga conversion: Programming by Rick Nooner and Bruce Milner, Graphics by Tanya Platt and Joe Hitchens, Loading screen by Jez Nelson, Music by Brad Dahl.

Arcadia conversion by Sculptured Software (further details unknown).

Released as "Ninja Mission" for the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga in 1987, and for the Arcadia in 1988 by Mastertronic.



Welcome to the second Mastertronic May at FRGCB! With any luck and time on my side, there should be three games to be dealt with this month, much like last year, and we shall start with a relatively big one: Ninja from Sculptured Software, designed by none other than Steve Coleman, who is also responsible for such classics as The Pharaoh's Curse and Rainbow Walker, as well as the 8-bit Atari conversion of Raid Over Moscow.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

FRGCB on YouTube: My Nostalgia Trip Games continues

As if the title for this post isn't clear enough, let's just elaborate a little on that. The video series My Nostalgia Trip Games is back with a new "season", if you like to divide all the episodes into such. With the third season, you get more of the same old, with some enhanced features, such as new intro and outro jingles and graphics, and possibilities of more interesting backgrounds for my introductory hosting bits. There will also be some previously left-out platforms featured sometime along this season, once I get the equipment to record better quality videos, but for now, the new season of MNTG will start with a few regulars, with the MS-DOS compatible PC's being the first episode.

Friday, 12 March 2021

TWOFER #22: Horace Classics (Sinclair Research Ltd, 1982)

Hungry Horace and Horace Goes Skiing:

Developed and written by William Tang (Psion/Melbourne House) for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 16k.
Published by Sinclair Research, Ltd. in 1982.

Commodore 64 conversions by Gregg Barnett. Published by Melbourne House in 1983.

Dragon 32/64 conversions:
Programmed by D. Jansen (a.k.a. Denver Jeans; to be confirmed). Graphics for Horace Goes Skiing by Russell Comte and Greg Holland. Published by Melbourne House in 1984.



The little blue ghostly armless character, well-known particularly in the Spectrum community by the name Horace, was one of the first home computer mascots, and deserves to be honoured with his very own entry here at FRGCB. To be honest, I never really considered the Horace games interesting enough to even consider they might be worth doing a proper comparison of, but on further thought, the character's historical value is enough to give it the full works. So, although I have listed this as a two-fer - mostly because the first two games are all that I'm actually able to compare versions of - this entry will feature chapters for the other available official Horace games, and some of the best fan sequels out there. So, despite its origins, this is going to be a (relatively) big one.

Monday, 1 March 2021

Retrogame Talkshow makes a comeback!

After a largely unplanned sabbatical year, Retrogame Talkshow is back with a new episode! As was planned in late 2019, episode #7 is a tribute to the late, great Ben Daglish, a master game music composer most of us retrogamers know and love from his work on all the major 8-bit and 16-bit computers. Mr. Daglish passed away on the 1st of October in 2018, so the episode is a bit overdue, but as they say, better late than never, and his music is always worth listening to.

There you have the YouTube video version of the episode, and as a more traditional audio podcast format, it's available on iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker and practically every other podcasting platform available. You can also find Retrogame Talkshow on Instagram (@retrogame_talkshow), Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram is where we mostly operate outside of the actual podcasting. Thanks for listening!