An unexpected link

Most readers will know that I’m a “bit” of a collector when it comes to all things Commodore.

It was not the first computer I owned though. No, the first “real” computer I owned, well it was actually a games console, was the Philips Videopac. As a kid I’d play for hours and hours on my Videopac G7200 (the one with the built-in TV screen) and occasionally my mum and dad would try to beat my highscores on some of the games. The graphics were not really the best in the world (you got to remember we’re talking late 70s, early 80s here though) so when in ’83 a friend at school boasted that he had a Commodore 64 and me and some friends spent a Wednesday afternoon at his place playing some of the games, I was hooked. The Videopac moved to the storage room and I convinced my parents to get a Commodore 64.

Many years later, when I was already into my Commodore collecting hobby, I cleared the attic of my parent’s house when they moved and I found amongst some of my old Commodore gear the old G7200 hidden in a corner, tucked away beneath several boxes of stuff that finds its way to most people’s attics. She was in bad shape and attempts to revive her failed… it had been too long. Still, seeing my old console again brought back many childhood memories and I decided then and there that I’d collect Videopac machines as well.

As it turned out, it didn’t just stop with just the machines (I do limit myself to the European models though as the US models, known as the Odysseys are basically the same, but just ported to the NTSC format).

I ended up collecting all the games (well, there are a few that still elude me, but paying $150+ for one is just too much in my book) and got together all the rare expansions like the C7010 chess module (see the post “CHESSmate vs. Videopac C7010“).

My daughters find it an amusing site: their dad surrounded by all that old gear in his office, but they do enjoy playing games on all the old machines I collect. Recently they played the 1980s game “Cosmic Conflict” on the Videopac. A simple 2D space shooter with not all too much variation in the gameplay.

When I put the cartridge back in the box, I noticed something odd about the cover art of the game box… I knew I had seen that image before. Perhaps it was just a fragment of a memory from my childhood, but there was something with that image of the 2 spaceships going to battle… I just couldn’t exactly seem to figure out what it was…

After having given it some thought, I noted some similarities with the artwork of Stewart Cowley’s books, such as “Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD”. These books were again a childhood favorite, and I can still see myself going to the local library every two weeks to get me a copy of the book.

I was fortunate enough some time ago to buy a copy of this book from Magisterrex’ online store so I browsed through the gorgeous artwork of all the spacecraft in the book and a couple of minutes later… bingo! This spaceship looked exactly like the one on the Videopac’s game cover. Giving it a second look though and putting the images side by side, it did seem similar, but unfortunately, no match. Perhaps it was the memory of the images of the book and the images of the box art that somehow blurred together in my mind.

Nonetheless, I still had the feeling that I really had seen this image before and I really wanted to get this thing sorted out… was I really mistaken and had the resemblance of the book’s images fooled me or was I right and did I see the image somewhere?

Finally, a few weeks ago, the mystery was solved. I was going through my collection of old Commodore magazines and there it was: the exact same image as that on the Videopac game “Cosmic Conflict”. It was on the cover of the Dutch Commodore magazine “Commodore Info”. It was on the December ’89 – January ‘90 issue.

So 10 years after the release of the Videopac game, the editors of the magazine put the exact same image on the cover of their magazine. It wasn’t referenced as the cover art of the Videopac game, but chances are they must have known this, being a Dutch magazine and Philips, makers of the Videopac, being a Dutch company.

So there it was: an unexpected link between my passion for all things Commodore and the love for my first console, the Videopac.

Perhaps it was written in the stars that one day I would collect them both… the stars of “Cosmic conflict”… ooh here I go all nostalgic again…

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