While listening to a recent episode of Everything is Alive I heard an interview with Elinor Hamilton. She is a voice actor who can be heard in many train and underground stations in the UK. She told of the comfort she got hearing her late husband Phil announce arrivals and departures as she got off trains, but also her grief at finding out that a particular station had stopped using his voice.
It’s a lovely interview, and if you’ve ever taken public transport in London or possibly other cities in the UK I think you’ll like it too.
If you had a Commodore 64 in your youth, or you’re simply curious about the games produced for the system then Gamebase64 is for you.
Gamebase64 is an effort to catalogue every single Commodore 64 game, along with associated media like music, tape or disk covers, adverts and magazine reviews
It’s huge! The latest version is V15 and was released in 2016 holding 25,700 games. The games themselves don’t take up too much data but the artwork, music, and associated material really take up a lot of room. The whole collection is available as 3 ISO files and an artwork zip file. You can find download links to all of those in this thread, but if you don’t want to download them you can browse the collection here (or here) too. You’ll need to download the GameBase frontend to view everything as well as the V15 database files. I use Vice to emulate the Commodore 64.
GameBase itself is a database frontend for Windows that supports multiple databases. Many systems from the Commodore Vic20 to the Amiga or the Speccy and Amstrad CPC range are covered. You can find links to them on the GameBase website as well as many other databases.
I mainly use a Mac so I use Gamebase64 Browser. It’s a very slick frontend but if you search around you’ll find frontends written in a variety of languages for various modern platforms.
Installation was as simple as copying everything out of the ISO files into a directory, installing GameBase64 Browser in the usual way and when first run, pointing it at the directory where I had copied everything else.
Single disk and tape games work perfectly fine but I’ve had trouble with multi-disk games. To play Retrograde I had to manually unzip both disks into a temporary directory and load them in Vice outside of GameBase64 Browser. Not difficult at all but worth remembering when your favourite game asks you to insert disk 2. 🙂
If you’re at all interested in retro computers then GameBase is definitely worth checking out!
Ah Retrograde, a Commodore 64 game released by Thalamus in 1989. The Rowland Brothers, of Creatures, Creatures 2 and Mayhem in Monsterland fame created this game and it shows. Presentation is top notch. Some would say that this is a repetitive shoot ’em up but I love it. Nice mix of flying around shooting aliens and then a bit of a break with the underground bits. I love the graphics and the sound is a delight.
The gameplay is very simplistic, especially underground but the flying weapons are super! Just make sure you have an autofire on your controller. My thumb was sore from two levels when I remember Vice can do the hard work for me. I’m also glad Vice can save a snapshot of the computer state to save my progress as this game takes some time to complete.
Tim and Naomi of the Irish Passport Podcast visited Northern Ireland in July to experience the marching season in all it’s “glory” for their latest episode.
It’s a great episode, showing the stark contrast between the neighbourly and friendly people they met during the day on the 11th, and the hate fuelled crowd who descended on the area that night for the bonfire.
I visited Northern Ireland in the summer and really enjoyed myself there. The people we met were friendly and welcoming but it was well past the marching season. Hopefully I’ll write a post about that sometime.
What game? No, that’s the title of a free game on Steam and on the Commodore 64!
The C64 version can be found here on CSDb while the Steam version is here. The Steam version works on Windows, Mac and 32 bit Linux! A comment on the original announcement post links to what could be a port to something called FreeBASIC which is available here.
The game is a very hard platform game where you have to collect all the items in the game to complete it 100%. The CSDb page has some spoiler comments so beware of those if you want to avoid them. Then again, this game came out in 2012 so you probably know about it already.
The game is great, but the the stand out thing for me is the flawless C64 port. It looks very much like the modern Steam version, with the same sounds and graphics which isn’t surprising as they’re fairly basic. The game plays the same, at least as far as I’ve got to!
Many people love this game for the CGA colour palette but it’s a reminder that the PC had humble beginnings comparable to the Commodore 64. The Commodore Amiga released in the mid-eighties blew away anything produced on the PC for many years.
One of the Facebook groups I’m part of is Sony a7iii/a7riii setup Tips. It’s a relatively quiet group but it’s chock full of great tips for Sony’s latest cameras. One of those tips was posted yesterday and Daniel Ockeloen, the group administrator, made a video of it which I have embedded above.
In manual mode, the AEL button can be used to maintain the exposure while you change settings. With AEL activated changing the shutter speed will change the aperture and vice versa. In effect it’s the same as going back to Aperture or Shutter Priority modes but it does allow more flexibility since AEL can be deactivated and you get full manual control again, with the same exposure.
Sometimes you accidentally dive down a rabbit hole of your own making. I came across the Retro Computer Scene search engine a few days ago and accidentally clicked on a link to a Commodore 64 disk image. Those files are small at 175KB so I decided to keep it and look at it later.
This morning I did and found Noice Driver v3.0a, a music disk for the Commodore 64 released in 1993. There are some great tunes on there but the name JEDININJA leapt out at me. It’s a good tune too!
The filename of the disk image is sb130978-1fbef9.d64 so I guessed it might have something to do with Scene Base. I downloaded their metadata list and found it there in the c64disk set!
It’s quite amazing the amount of digital history that’s out there. I’m only scratching the surface.
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