My Commodore 64 is in my home office. How did they know?
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.
Fairlight was one such group and used the same intro and music for a number of games.
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.
Older readers may recognise the setting for the demo looks very like the classic Batmania by the same group. Nice bit of work reworking an instantly recognisable demo!
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 🙂Raistlin/G*P
Watch it here on Youtube!
A long time ago in 1987 a game called Barbarian made it’s way to the popular computers of the time. It featured brawny characters fighting to the death to rescue the scantily clad princess (or some such nonsense, game stories didn’t make much sense back then).
It was a great game with memorable music, fluid graphics, gruesome bloody moves and a goblin that would kick the head of your decapitated foe off the side of the arena. The gameplay got boring with time of course but and it was probably more infamous for the cover photo than anything else..
Anyway, after the short history lesson, I discovered that Andrea Baldiraghi announced the release of a new Masters of the Universe game on pico8. It’s inspired by Barbarian as Andrea says on the game homepage.
It has your favourite Masters of the Universe characters and even a rendition of the theme toon. In my first fight I managed to chop the head off Skeletor but the second devolved into a bloody fight to the end when I exhausted my opponent.
It’s embedded above, give it a go. Press Z to attack, X to defend and use the cursor keys to move!
The guys on the Retro Asylum podcast played Stunt Car Racer this month. That game is one of my favourites. A wild roller coaster of a game where you literally drive a car around a roller coaster.
I played the C64 version for hours on end and listening to them prompted me to set up FS-UAE again as I wanted to try out the Amiga version once more. I think I’ve only ever played that version in emulation as I didn’t have the game when I had an Amiga 500.
Anyway, FS-UAE is a great emulator based on the Winuae Amiga emulator. It uses openretro.org for database files including graphics and game information which is really helpful. It’s sort of an Amiga version of Gamebase64! Here’s a video describing how to set it up. I’ll leave it up to you to find the games and everything else but it’s not hard to find them.
Stunt Car Racer is an amazing game, and in my opinion still holds up today as a decent game. Sure, the graphics are simplistic, sound is limited but what is there is superbly polished.
The Amiga and Atari ST versions even had simultaneous multiplayer which I sadly never experienced but I’d love to know if FS-UAE could handle using some sort of virtual null modem cable to connect emulators on two machines together. It does emulate the Amiga serial port so there might be hope for the future. I found this thread about Winuae but people there didn’t have much luck.
So, what does Stunt Car Racer look like? Here’s someone who doesn’t know how to play it but he’s very entertaining and he learns as he goes..
The game is set on a roller coaster. Timing and speed are everything. You have to hit ramps at the right speed to jump gaps, and failing to line up a turn or a jump in time would result in a crash.
Here’s a much better driver, including the TNT version which I haven’t played yet but looks hard as nails!
 This game was created by AmiGer/CARE (http://www.discreetfx.com/care/) by modifying the original game Stunt Car Racer. The TNT of the title stands for “The New Tracks”. A track designer was written in Delphi and used to create 8 new tracks to race. The title screen and menu screen have been modified, as well as the colour palette.  The disk version has the track colours incorrect in the track preview window – they retain the reds from the original. The WHDLoad version fixes this problem.  2-player mode via null-modem connection.
This is one of the few games I play exclusively with the keyboard. Start a race and press “p” to pause, then f1 to redefine the keys. I usually use , . t g [space] and then press o to unpause.
Stunt Car Racer appeared on multiple platforms: Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Speccy, and Amstrad machines all had versions. Here’s a video comparing them. It’s amazing what Geoff Crammond and porting teams did back then!
Earlier this year, (2019 for those coming across this post in the future), the game was ported to the BBC Master and it flies along!
That looks way smoother and faster than the C64 version!
There is a sort-of modern remake. The game Assetto Corsa features the first track!
Stunt Car Racer is an amazing racing game. Track down the Amiga version, fire up Winuae or FS-UAE and give it a whirl. You’ll love it!
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…GTW
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.
It’s a fascinating story of digital archaeology and the game now be found in various places including the Solar Jetman page on GTW! You can play the original version on archive.org, but Triad released an excellent version that packed the game into one disk side, and trained it too.
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?Interview with John Buckley on C64.com
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.
Going through some of my old C64 discs and I found a bunch of “work in progress” demo parts and routines I was playing with.
Back then I didn’t know about revision control but it was a pleasure to find these bits and pieces of code that I had completely forgotten about. Here’s a few screenshots from Vice, but it’s shocking the difference between Vice and real hardware. The cascading Ozone logo is very pale compared to what I see on another screen. Could it be the screen? Or is it the emulator?
These were found on disc 23, side 1. All those discs are littered with small files, chunks of code that I was working on before throwing them together in the Action Replay monitor.
Kids these days are spoiled with their fancy editors. 🙂