Sunday 23 July 2023

Stop the Express (Hudson Soft, 1983)

Originally designed and programmed for the Sharp X1 and Sony SMC-777 by Fumihiko Itagaki, and published as "Bousou Tokkyuu SOS" by Hudson Soft in 1983.

Ported to Commodore 64, Hitachi S1 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Hudson Soft, and respectively published in 1984 by Commodore Business Machines, Hudson Soft and Sinclair Research Ltd.

Ported to MSX by SoftBank, and published by Hudson Soft, Sony, Kuma Computers, HoneyBee Soft and Toshiba in various regions in 1984.

Unofficial conversion for Commodore Plus/4 by Csabo, with graphics by Chronos, and released by Legion of Doom in 2021.

Unofficial conversion for Mattel Intellivision by Carlos Madruga, with music and sound effects by Anders Carlsson, and released through Intellivision Collector in 2023.



Hudson Soft's games haven't been all that well represented here at FRGCB, so I thought I might tackle at least one of them now. If you're first and foremost a fan of either Commodore 64 or Sinclair's ZX Spectrum line of computers, chances are that you might have missed Hudson Soft either by choice or by accident. Their games for those two computers didn't really scream Hudson Soft at you, although they were certainly responsible for some of the earliest Sinclair classics. Stop the Express was not necessarily one of the most well-known ones of the lot, possibly because it was already made during the time when Hudson was prioritizing their efforts on the Japanese 8-bit computers like Sharp X1 and MSX, but it became some sort of a cult classic. Only in the last few years, Stop the Express has gone through a revival period, with new versions for Commodore Plus/4 and Intellivision already out, and rumour has it, there are more conversions in the pipeline.

Monday 3 July 2023

Gyroscope (Melbourne House, 1985)

Developed by Catalyst Coders.
Produced by David Wainwright.

Acorn BBC Micro and Electron versions written by David Wainwright and John Nixon.

Amstrad CPC version written by Tony Mack and Steve Lamb, with music by Gloryflow Ltd.

Commodore 64 version written by Mark "Dubree" Prosser, with music by Graham Davis and Rob Hartshorne as "Alphingwood".

Sinclair ZX Spectrum version written by Steve Lamb, Tony Mack and David Dew, with loading screen by Mark Alexander.

All the above four versions published by Melbourne House in 1985.

A version was also made for Apple II, with no credits known, and published by Melbourne House (?) in 1986.



Marble Madness is one of Atari's most recognizable arcade classics, and has easily earned its status with no less than 15 (if not more) conversions in addition to the original. Isometric 3D games were big in late 1984, so having an isometric ball-rolling game with a trackball as your controller in the arcades must have been something very unique back then. Because of such an enormous amount of versions available, though, Marble Madness is likely to never be featured in this blog as a comparison. So, I decided to go with the next best thing: Gyroscope, which was developed for the 8-bit computers before the first home conversions of Marble Madness started coming out. This proved to be a relatively wise move from Melbourne House, since they later got the rights to port Marble Madness to some of the home computers.