Friday, 24 March 2023

Trailblazer (Gremlin Graphics, 1986)

Developed by Mr. Chip Software. Designed and written by Shaun Southern with additional graphics by Andrew Morris. Originally published for the Commodore 16/+4 by Gremlin Graphics in 1986.

Commodore 64 version also written by Shaun Southern with title screen by Andrew Morris; published in 1986.

Atari 400/800 version ported from Commodore 64 by Amin Hoque, and published by Gremlin Graphics in 1986.

Amstrad CPC, Sinclair ZX Spectrum and MSX versions: Programming by Chris Kerry, Peter Harrap and Shaun Hollingworth. Additional Amstrad programming by Greg Holmes. Additional MSX programming by Colin Dooley and Greg Holmes. Graphics by Terry Lloyd and Peter Harrap. Spectrum and MSX loading screen by Steve Kerry. Amstrad music by Ben Daglish. Published by Gremlin Graphics in 1986.

Atari ST version: Programming by Shaun Hollingworth, Greg Holmes, Peter Harrap and Colin Dooley.
Graphics by Steve Kerry. Published in Europe by Gremlin Graphics and in North America by Mindscape in 1987.

Some unofficial versions are included in their own section after the main comparison.



Because February was such a hectic month with three entries, I wanted to lower the pace and focus on just one big entry for a properly classic game this month. Actually, work on the comparison of Trailblazer started late last year already, but was postponed due to finding out about two relatively new unofficial conversions, one for a machine I had never even heard about before - Tesla PMD 85. Well, now is the time, and here's to hoping this classic ball-rolling game gets the comparison it deserves.

Friday, 3 March 2023

YouTube update: My Nostalgia Trip Games returns!

Yes, you read that correctly, it's time for the fifth round of My Nostalgia Trip Games, and this season brings you a new theme tune, a new title sequence and the ultimately necessary inclusion of emulated gameplay footage, and some other minor adjustments.

The 61st episode is the first one to do so, as we travel into the world of arcade games, which are not only impractical/impossible to collect without a storage hall (and funds), but also impossible to record high quality gameplay footage from their screens. Of course, the main focus will still be on unemulated material, but since I really have no room for more retro gear in the house, this is the way to go. For what it is, I hope you still enjoy these trips down my memory lane.

By the way, if you know of some low-cost lighting equipment for using a green screen, feel free to throw in a comment. =)

Sunday, 26 February 2023

SPECIAL: Telecomsoft Exclusives

The main excuse, of course, for bringing about a Firebird-themed month for this February was to continue the line started by the Mastertronic Exclusives special last May. Just as a quick reminder, the idea is to list games that were released by the publisher of choice, exclusively for certain platforms, whether or not they were actually unique in anyway, without listing any of the games already featured in the Unique Games series. As such, this list will not be a definitive one, but rather a look at the best of what Telecomsoft's labels Firebird and Silverbird had to offer exclusively for each represented platform. To my knowledge, the third label, Rainbird, never released any exclusive games, although they did do some odd publishing.

Telecomsoft's game publishing history was, while prolific and extremely memorable for us 80's gamers, unfortunately short, since they only existed from 1984 to 1989, before getting bought by MicroProse, who still continued to publish games under Telecomsoft's three labels until 1990. The majority of Telecomsoft's games were released for the two major home computers, Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum, but they did have a good number of games on other platforms as well, even exclusive ones. However, the two major 16-bit computers, the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga, shared all their games that did not get made for the 8-bits.

Tuesday, 14 February 2023

Collapse (Firebird, 1985)

Designed and written by Nalin Sharma for the Commodore 64.
Adapted for the Amstrad CPC by Paul Johnson.
Adapted for the Atari 400/800 by James Software Ltd.
All versions published by Firebird in 1985.



Happy Valentine's Day 2023, everybody! Since you can't really top Thrust very easily from Firebird's catalogue, I decided to dig a decidedly less exciting game for one reason, and one reason alone: Collapse was the first C64 game that I ever bought with my own money, and I tried valiantly to enjoy the game, without ever managing to do so. Before starting to work on this comparison, I hadn't even bothered to find out, if it had been released on any other platform, and to my utter surprise, I found two other versions.

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Thrust (Superior Software/Firebird, 1986)

Originally designed and written by Jeremy C. Smith for the Acorn BBC Micro and Electron, and published by Superior Software in 1986.

Commodore 64 version written by Jeremy C. Smith, with music by Rob Hubbard and title screen by Bob Stevenson.
Amstrad CPC version written by Jeremy C. Smith, with loading music by Melvyn Wright.
Sinclair ZX Spectrum version written by David Lowe, with graphics by Simon Clarke.
Atari 400/800 version developed by James Software Ltd.
C64, Amstrad, Spectrum and Atari 400/800 versions published by Firebird in 1986.

Commodore 16/+4 version written by Matthew F. Young (Lynsoft UK Ltd.) with graphics by Chris Young. Published by Firebird in 1987.
Atari ST version written by Alan Butcher, with music by Rob Hubbard. Published by Firebird in 1989.

Unofficial Atari 2600 version written by Thomas Jentzsch, published by XYPE in 2000-2003 as three different editions: Thrust, Thrust+ DC Edition and Thrust+ Platinum.

Unofficial Vectrex version developed by Ville Krumlinde and published by Classic Game Creations in 2004.



Here we go, FRGCB is back from the short break and ready for some serious comparing action! Following the idea of a Mastertronic month, it seemed logical to use a similar theme for another month for a change, if only this once. So, here at FRGCB, February 2023 is dedicated to Firebird games, ending with another list of exclusive Firebird games for various platforms. But as you have noticed, we start this month with Thrust, which was a game originally developed for the Acorn Electron and BBC Micro computers, and published by Superior Software, after which Firebird got the publishing rights for the rest.

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

Unique Games! - The Second Encore (Part 12)

Well, I guess five years is long enough a break in the lifetime of this blog to bring back its most interesting series for a one-off. If you don't remember what the Unique Games series was all about, the idea still continues to be, for the duration of this one more bonus chapter, to list a bunch of games that were not only at least a little bit unique in their presentation or style of gameplay, but also completely exclusive for the platform it was released on. Some mistakes were made in the course of the original 11 parts of the series, so I'm not exactly expecting this list to be completely accurate, since internet sources are too numerous and often contradicting in their information to have a 100% chance at getting everything correct here. But anyway, with this second encore entry of Unique Games!, I bid you another happy Christmas and a better next year!

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

TWOFER #24: Aasipelit Special!

1. Juhannussauna 2016

Programming and graphics by Arto4000. Music, sounds and cover art by Nutshell. Originally published for the NES by Aasipelit in 2016.

2. Juhannusolumppialaiset 2017

Programming and graphics by Arto4000. Music, sounds and cover art by Nutshell. Originally published for the NES by Aasipelit in 2017.

Commodore 64 versions written by Joonas Niinistö. Juhannussauna C64 published by SopuisaSopuli in 2020, and Juhannusolumppialaiset C64 published in 2021.



Happy Finnish Independence Day 2022, everybody! This is going to be a really short one, because this comparison was made first and foremost as a "wing it" kind of a video test for both versions of both games, and also featuring Aasipelit's third game, written in honour of Finland's 100th Anniversary of Independence five years ago. That game will not be mentioned in this text, but there's plenty of footage in the video below. So, without further ado, check out the video below, before you continue any further.