And the winner is…

Last week we had the excellent Commodore C64 week, an idea by Glenn McNamee.
People from all over the globe changed their online avatars, blogged about their fondest memories of the C64, listened to some great SID remixes and much more.
Here on MOS 6502, I decided to launch a “guess-that-game” competition, in which every day, from Monday to Saturday, a screenshot of a classic C64 game would be posted.
I got literally hundreds of participants (that’s an exaggeration), and almost everyone had them all correct.  Only Saturday’s screenshot turned out to be a bit of a challenge.

So, without further ado – start drum roll – it is time to announce the winners:
First place goes to Aldo Chiummo, who wins Brian Bagnall’s excellent book “Commodore – A Company on the Edge”.
The participation prize, Harold Goldberg’s “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” goes to Robin Elvin.
Congratulations to our winners!

So, now on to the answers… what were those game?

First up on Monday, we had the 1992 classic “First Samurai”.  This game was a great example of how a good conversion from the Amiga should be done: great scenery, superbly animated main sprite and last but not least splendid gameplay.

The game wasn’t that easy, and I remember playing this game and getting frustrated on many occasions, as the maps were big and you sometimes had to back-track to solve a puzzle.  The demo which was amongst others featured on a cover tape of Commodore Format even got a follow-up in a later issue with the solution being posted for the demo level (!!).
The name of the game, incidentally, started out as a in-joke as the developers had previously worked on the “Last Ninja” series (get it, last ninja, first samurai, … oh well).

Tuesday’s challenge wasn’t that difficult either, as it was the MicroProse’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopter simulation “Gunship”.

This 1986 game featured some nice 3D wireframe graphics and placed the player in control of this formidable weapon in a series of missions in Southeast Asia, Western Europe etc.
You really had to use the keyboard overlay as the controls were quite tricky.
For me, this was one of the best sims and had great replay value as you could advance your career and move up through the ranks to become a Colonel and earn lots and lots of medals along the way.  The scenario’s themselves immersed you in the different combat situations and I remember playing this game a lot with the Stones’ “Painted Black” bursting out of my stereo speakers.
The game came on disk and tape, but you really had to steer away from the tape version as it was a massive multiload.

On Wednesday, the game to find was the 1988 game “IO”, which many mistakenly gave the subtitle “Into Oblivion” (but no points were deducted for this though).  It has become something of an urban legend that this was the subtitle as this text isn’t to be found on any of the packaging or advertising for the game.

The game is in my book the toughest horizontally scrolling shoot ‘em up as the 4 levels took a lot of practice to master with some really hard end-of-level bosses.

Thursday’s challenge was a bit of a special game, as the 1985 “Little Computer People (LCP)” told the story of little people that lived inside your computer and caused bugs.

The game would provide a house for your LCP (and his pet dog) to live in.  You had to tend to the physical and emotional needs of your LCP by talking to it via commands you entered onto the keyboard.  This involved making food, providing a drink and delivering books and records amongst other things.
The game was fun and basically introduced the whole concept of a virtual “pet” (what we see nowadays in games like Nintendogs and the likes).
On a side note, the Commodore magazine Zzap!64 at one stage provided a listing in their magazine, that, once typed in and executed, allowed you to evict your LCP and have a new one move in.

The fifth challenge involved another 1985 classic: “Super Pipeline II”.

Just like in the original, the game involved fixing a series of broken pipes, so the water didn’t spill on the floor.  You played as the foreman and had to instruct your two assistants to fix the pipe.  The leaks were caused by a series of enemies, like the blowtorch and spanner), who were aided by another set of enemies, such as the lobster who tried to kick the plumbers of the pipe and prevent them from fixing it.  Luckily, you were armed with a gun to shoot the bad guys.

Then on Saturday, the toughest game to guess was presented: “Newcomer”.  Tough in the sense that it wasn’t developed during the golden C64 years, but years later.  Actually, development started in 1992 and the release followed in 1994, with then an enhanced version in 2004 called “Enhanced Newcomer” and “Ultimate Newcomer” in 2010.

This has to be the longest ongoing project on the C64 in history as the game has seen releases and updates for the past 20 years (the latest update is as recent as July 23rd of this year!).  With such a long cycle, it comes as no surprise that it has some of the best graphics ever for the breadbox, the best AI and much much more.  Here’s the feature lists as it is displayed on the official Newcomer website:

  • 180+ characters you can interact with, each with his/her own portrait graphic
  • 10+ people who may join you, to make a team of up to 6 members
  • …or try it on your own, in the extra challenging Solo game mode…
  • 50+ different areas to explore, created with 30+ different graphic sets
  • 100+ cutscenes/situational graphics
  • in-game, that make you feel like you are there
  • 180,000+ words of ingame text, mostly interactive conversations
  • No random encounters
  • Thousands of puzzles and situations to encounter and solve
  • Complex, non-linear gameplay with multiple levels of endings
  • Months or weeks of immersive gaming until you “complete” the game…
  • …but there will still be a thousand situations, resolutions and encounters you have not seen yet, and 2 more game modes to complete!
  • Animated intro and outro sequences
  • Game controls changed for more comfort for emulator users on PC/Mac keyboards
  • VICE fully supported, extensively tested, no virtual floppy disk swapping, works like a native PC / Mac / Linux game
  • Much faster disk I/O in the 1541 version, compared to classic or Enhanced Newcomer
  • Less floppy disk swapping needed – optimized data layout, area sorting and duplication for all multiple floppy disk versions
  • 1541 version: 12* floppy disk sides
  • 1581 version: 3* DD floppy disks
  • CMD FD2000 version: 2* HD floppy disks
  • CMD FD4000 version: a single ED floppy disk – zero disk swapping
  • IDE64 version: 2 MB installed, “instant I/O”, playing from HDD / CD / DVD / CF / remote filesystem (ethernet, USB, or User Port PCLink, via ideserv – IDE DOS v0.91 or newer required for this feature) supported, different data and save devices supported
  • PAL and NTSC Commodore 64/64C/128/128D/128DCr systems auto-detected and supported
  • 6581 and 8580 SID chips auto-detected and supported
  • C128 2MHz CPU mode auto-detected and supported – much faster unpacking for all storage devices
  • SuperCPU 20MHz mode auto-detected and supported – instant unpacking for all storage devices

There you have it, all the anwers on the classic games featured in the Commodore 64 week competition.  I hope you enjoyed it, as I
certainly enjoyed making it!

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