Categories
C64

The Great Giana Sisters on Ebay

I was going to make a joke about how a clone of The Great Giana Sisters had been released on the C64 a few weeks ago, but I would hazard a guess that only a handful of my readers will have the faintest idea what I’m talking about. Instead, you’ll probably remember that most gaming sites were abuzz with the news that Super Mario Bros had been released for the C64. That excitement then turned to fear and anger as Nintendo issued a takedown notice to one blogger who had a download link on their site. They have to protect their IP but the game is still available in several places including the Internet Archive and should be easy enough to find in the future.

If you’re at all interested in Super Mario Bros then grab your copy as quick as you can, just in case a massive database of copyright works is unleashed on the Internet blocking everything no matter how old it is.

The conversion of the game to the C64 is more than just a direct port. Both machines use the same (or similar?) CPU, a modified 6502 in the case of the NES and 6510 in the C64. The developer ZeroPaige spent 7 years modifying the raw assembler from the NES so it would work on the C64. He had to modify the graphics system to use C64 sprites and the sound system had to be reworked to use the SID chip of the C64.
The port also takes advantage of any extra hardware you might have plugged into the C64, or even uses the extra power of a Commodore 128 if you’re using that. Here are two videos showing the game off on a C128 and also on a Turbo Chameleon V2, an FPGA based C64 machine. The game suffers slowdowns on an original C64 so it’s best played when the machine has some help, or in an emulator. I have a C64 DTV. I wonder how hard it would be to get it running on that?

Super Mario Bros on a Turbo Chameleon V2
Super Mario Bros on a Commodore 128D with SuperCPU

It seems Nintendo aren’t really interested in the C64. Many years ago Gary Lidon and Gary Penn created an SMB demo for Firebird who sent a video of it to Nintendo. They responded with a cease and desist order!

Rainbow Arts apparently did the same and were rebuffed but they reused their code and cheekily created The Great Giana Sisters. Nintendo promptly came after them at the time and the game was taken off the shelves within weeks. Pirated copies are simple to find but the original must be very rare. A version of the game with the main character changed to Mario did find it’s way online but it’s basically Giana Sisters. No bad thing since The Great Giana Sisters is a great game. It’s one of my favourite C64 games.

After that detour down Nintendo lane, let’s get back to reality. If you want your very own physical copy of The Great Giana Sisters then check out this Ebay auction. Priced at an eye watering £199.99+postage I don’t think it’ll be an impulse buy but some collector is sure to snap it up.

As a historical note, there are two conversions (Atari and Ocean) of the original Mario Bros for the C64 if you really want to play it. I haven’t played either of them. I didn’t even know they existed until a couple of years ago!

Categories
Music

Queen – Open your eyes look touch and feel

This is a forty five minute remix of Queen music that just blows me away.

Categories
C64

Prodigy in Wonderland XIII

The death yesterday of Keith Flint left many shocked and reaching for their CD collections but I remembered that one of their songs was featured in a Commodore 64 demo.

Censor Design sampled Prodigy’s “Smack my Bitch Up” and used it as the sound track to the final part of their excellent demo Wonderland XIII. Click play on the video above to see it in action. It’s really amazing!

It’s worth watching the whole video but if the embedded version above doesn’t load at 7:33 then load it from here instead or here’s another video of the music played back by two SID chips which IMO sounds even better!

For those at the back who don’t know, the C64 was released in the early 80s but developers made it work magic and do things thought impossible, such as in this case playing sampled sound!

Edit (2019-03-22): Here’s a version of Voodoo People from Bad Boy by Samar Productions. Amazing what the SID can do!


Categories
C64

Road of Excess

Road of Excess by Triangle is a Commodore 64 demo released in 1990 that totally blew me away when I saw it.

Yes, you could play Breakout in one of the parts if you had a joystick plugged into the computer. This demo had quite a few interactive parts.

Categories
Photography

Lightroom: spot heal bug after DNG conversion

I discovered a bug in Lightroom!

If you apply the spot heal tool to an area in a RAW file (in this case, a Sony ARW one) and convert it to lossy DNG the spot heal will become a pink square. It’s easily fixed by applying the spot heal again but of course this shouldn’t happen.

While on the subject of Lightroom bugs, a long time ago I also noticed that the Transform tool acted differently on the compressed DNG version of a photo compared to the RAW (CR2) version. Hopefully that’s been fixed because that was a couple of years ago and I’m sure someone else has noticed by now ..

Categories
C64

Oddities of C64 BASIC

1 BORDER=1

Can you tell me why the very short BASIC programme above has a syntax error?

1 BRDER=1

But then the one with a slightly renamed variable name is perfectly ok?

It turns out it’s one of the limitations of Commodore BASIC V2. As explained here:

Variable names were limited to two letters. Or, specifically, any variable name longer than two characters was truncated, so that MARKUP and MAINTOTAL would both point to a single variable named MA.

Can somebody confirm this? IIRC, the C64 could handle longer variable names, but it’s a long time ago so I could be wrong.

Correct, the first two letters of a variable name must be unique. Also, your example variable MAINTOTAL contains the reserved word INT which would produce a ?SYNTAX ERROR.CarstenKlapp

http://wiki.c2.com/?CommodoreBasic

The word BORDER contains the BASIC command OR that cannot be used in a variable name!

I have no idea if I knew this back in the 90s. I presume I did but it had me scratching my head for 10 minutes last tonight trying to figure out why my BASIC programme wasn’t running.

The (re)discovery that variable names shouldn’t be longer than 2 characters long also explains the terse variable names I used in the BASIC portion of DMSREADER. We’re spoiled these days.

I also discovered that petcat doesn’t like uppercase BASIC commands but I have a nice Makefile now to compile BASIC and ASM portions of Disk Masher and copy them into a D64 for testing so it was a productive night.

Categories
C64

From Rio to Waterfalls

Follow along from “I Go To Rio” to “Ritmo De La Noche” to “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” by Coldplay. I had no idea Ritmo De La Noche had such a history!

Of course there’s a C64 version! Maduplec of BUDS/NATO/Crest fame created a SID version of Ritmo De La Noche for his 1992 Glober demo. Every time I hear that song I think of that demo. I couldn’t find it on Youtube so you’ll just have to fire up an emulator to watch the spinning globe but here’s the SID tune!

Categories
Life

I rescued a cat today

Somehow a cat got stuck in the cavity blocks of a wall in Blarney today. My wife was alerted to it by a post on the Muskerry News Facebook page. She was very upset and decided immediately to go up there and see what she could do.

I know the area well as I bring my dog for a walk there most days. I thought I could get the cat out by breaking the block around it so I grabbed a hammer and screwdriver, and for height a plastic chair from the garden.

The cat was so calm and friendly. She didn’t once give out, or try to claw me. She was obviously in distress because she had only her head and a single paw out.

After 20 minutes of carefully digging around her she pulled back into the wall so I was able to break it apart more quickly She came back too soon and poked her head out again, and wouldn’t duck her head back down to make my job easier!

My wife had a brain wave then to get the tin of cat food she had left in the car. We allowed the cat to smell it and made sure she saw us drop a few bits into the block in front of her. A moment later she ducked down to eat and I was able to dig away at a faster pace.

Once again she came up for air, but she backed down again and eventually the hole was big enough and out she popped with a little help! 🙂

I took her off the wall and put the tools away in the car to shouts that, “the cat has jumped up on the wall and is trying to get in again!” Luckily there were humans around to discourage this adventurous side of her personality. I grabbed a few rocks and covered the hole.

I recognised the cat once she was out. She tried to make friends with my dog a few times when we were out walking. Lovely cat, hopefully she’ll keep out of trouble now!

Three days later I went for a walk this morning and the cat is still safe and sound. 🙂

Categories
Music

Bo-Meme-Ean Rhapsody (Queen Fan Video)

OK, this is just wonderful. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen in memes. Article 13 would have a field day. I don’t expect this video to stay up for very long so watch it as soon as you can!

Categories
Ireland

Ballintemple on Sullivan’s Quay.

If you go over to Google Maps and click on the location of the now demolished IDA building you’ll be told that you’re in Ballintemple, somewhere that is a few km to the east.

A neat way to quickly get home if you happen to live in that area, but awkward when Google Timeline thinks I’ve been in Blackrock every time I head into town ..

Odd things:

  • The popup marker shows the old building there.
  • Clicking on it will zoom out and mark the real Ballintemple on the map.

Hopefully it’ll be fixed sooner rather than later as I remember this showing up several weeks ago but forgot to report the problem before now.