Apart from old consoles I have only one computer with a CD/DVD drive. There are a couple of radio/CD players around the house but they’re never used.
I have a large wallet of “backup DVDs” in the attic that I made more than 10 years ago. The files on them are my photos that are on multiple drives and in cloud storage too. Probably a good thing as the discs are likely unreadable by now.
I also have one machine that reads 5.25″ discs from the early 1990s so you might realise where my priorities lie.
The resurgence of vinyl records may well be fuelled by the realisation that people like to have and hold physical objects.
Demos come in all shapes and sizes, 4k, 64k, intros, demos and more, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen a demo running on a Commodore 64 disc drive, or 1541 drive. You can read more about it on the Freespin homepage.
The 1541 family of drives have the same CPU as the Commodore 64 so adapting code to run on it will be easy for anyone familiar with the machine but what’s different here is that the drive is hooked up directly to the monitor to display the demo.
Sound is supplied by the drive, and as expected is the usual buzzing sounds until the end when it changes and becomes slightly more musical.
Worth a watch, even if you have no interest in demos. The idea of running software on a disc drive like this blows my mind!
There were some great demos, music and graphics released at Transmission64 2021 yesterday but one of my favourite demos was Mahna Mahna by Mahna Mahna. You can watch it above but if you have a C64 emulator or real hardware then grab it from CSDb and watch it there. So fun. I love it.
I loved the PETSCII King Tut too. An amazing piece of work when you realise it was made from the characters available on the C64 keyboard and not drawn pixel by pixel.
Find more of the releases on this page at the Transmission64 website but before I leave you here’s a selection of the stunning graphics entered in the competition this year.
This one’s for the C64 fans out there. The Commodore 64 had a huge piracy problem but the groups that distributed games often put small intros at the start to show off. The same thing happened on all platforms and I presume still does, but with the advent of Steam and Humble Bundle it’s easier to buy games than pirate them.
LukHash has created a great remix of the Fairlight intro music that will leave you wanting more. It starts off simple but then the remix kicks in and I love it! He has a Bandcamp page too where you can download an album of his work.
Memento Mori is a stunning Commodore 64 demo released by Genesis Project that won first place at the Function 2020 demo party recently. The picture above was shared by Raistlin/G*P on Twitter saying:
Razorback delivered this stunning piece for Memento Mori. This is a 408 pixel wide multicolour bitmap that we scrolled, right through the side borders, at 25fps, streaming from disk as we went. A world first on C64 🙂
This is a game I’d forgotten about until recently when I saw someone playing it on Twitch. Solar Jetman came out on the NES in 1991, and conversions were made for the C64, Speccy, Amiga and Atari ST. Unfortunately due to poor sales of the NES original the conversions were never released.
Luckily the team at Games That Weren’t were contacted by Martin Holland, someone who knew about the game’s development.
GTW got to work and began to search for this elusive conversion, and started with Haydn Dalton, who sadly could not find anything of the game after some searching. Two years later, and a month or two after the site relaunch, efforts were made to find the game’s programmer, John Buckley as a last ditch effort. After tracing John down to PlaypoolUK, GTW got the news it dreaded.. John hadn’t got any of his old disks no longer… But a week or two after almost giving up hope of finding the game, Haydn Dalton was one day searching through some things at home, when he stumbled upon a disk with the label missing. The label was in there too, and stated “Solar Jetman Disk 1”, and after a bit more digging, Haydn found the second disk.
The game itself is like Thrust or Lunar Lander, but it came later and is much better than both! Controls are easier and enemies are more varied so if you liked those games you need to try Solar Jetman.
The conversion is missing a few things present in the NES version, and apparently the maps are a little cut down from the original. I need to download the NES version and give it a spin too!
What do you see when the game ends? Vinny has the answer and posted it on the (old) C64 Game Endings site here.
I discovered an interview with John Buckley, the developer who worked on the C64 version.
What were your first and last ever productions on the C64? The first thing I did on the C64 was called Jeep Command. I did this in my spare time including the graphics and sound FX. If you have seen it, you will know I ain’t no artist! I sent it off to Bug Byte I think, and they put some music on it and shipped it out. The last thing I did was Solar Jetman, which never got released… until now.
Out of all the games you have worked on, which were you most proud and disappointed with? I can’t say I am disappointed with anything I worked on. Most of them were conversions, some I wish I hadn’t of worked on but such is life. I liked working on Solar Jetman on the C64 but overall I am most proud of PLOK on the SNES.
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