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.