Monday, January 17, 2005

Retro gaming

Now where was that tunnel entrance?Last night I was mostly...playing Amiga games on my laptop using the latest version of WINUAE. Which is a big improvement on the old version I had. And you can download your old favourite games/software at Back 2 the Roots with full permission of the copyright holders. You will also need some Amiga ROMS to get the thing running. Check out Amiga Forever for a well supported fully functioning commercial package. Or go find a non-commercial version somewhere else...

Tonight I shall be mostly playing Fire and Ice on my laptop. An Andrew Braybrook classic (programming genius from the days when you knew who the programmer was). We'll have none of that new fandangled 3d gaming written by a team of 80 on a budget of 1.5 million pounds nonsense here.

Tomorrow I shall be mostly reporting on how the graphics aren't as good as I remembered them to be.

Keep it real. Keep it old school...in a modern software emulation stylee.

27 comments:

mmChronic said...

Yay it's our long lost Dogs! ;)

IIRC Fire and Ice was frustratingly difficult. Best platformer was Turrican by a long shot IMO.

Dogs said...

I was going to mention Addams Family but it appears that it isn't available for download at BTTR. It's a bit naff when a 15 year old game from a dead platform isn't released into public domain.

mmChronic said...

Addams family was great too but a little light on space age weaponry. It's a shame it's not available at BTTR.

Dogs said...

I didn't say that I didn't have a copy ;)

mmChronic said...

But... but... but... that's illegal! ;)

I figured I'd link it for the people who don't know how to use Google.

Dogs said...

And I'm still yet to find a copy of Cybernoid 2 that works properly. The one I've got works faultlessly for the first few screens before teleporting your ship into the scenery where you are permanently stuck. It has a trainer so I'd have thought that any copy protection had been removed (I'm assuming it's the copy protection not liking the emulation environment).

The speccy conversion that you linked the other day isn't bad but it's still not up to the miggy standard.

mmChronic said...

This may be a silly question but have you tried Cybernoid II in OCS/ECS emulation with minimal RAM etc? IIRC Cybernoid II didn't like the newer Amigas at all.

Dogs said...

Tried it all :(

Anonymous said...

Fire and Ice sucked, IMHO.

Turrican is the One True Platformer! <g>

Re: Cybernoid 2... off-topic a bit but the C64-in-a-joystick you can get has both Cybernoid games as part of the package. Obviously, not quite as fancy as the Amiga version but the music's cool -- SID rocked for its time. Plus that little box has another 15 or so games (it claims more but counts each event from World Games as a separate game... feh).

YLFM

mmChronic said...

/baits troll fishing line and casts...

Fire and Ice had nice gfx and any fule kno that Dogs rates gfx over gameplay.

/waits for bite

Dogs said...

Agree with Turrican, especially Turrican 2 (I can't remember why but I thought 3 was a bit lacking).

But AGA F&I was a great platformer for the miggy. Very difficult (which put most people off) but worth persevering with if you liked a challenge.

Dogs said...

<bite> And if I rated gfx over gameplay then I wouldn't be playing 15 year old games on a dead platform. </bite>

Anonymous said...

The title screen had a funky piano tune with the dog (Ice?) animated playing the piano, too...

I think that the real AB classics for me tho' were the C64 games... I wasn't hugely impressed with Uridium 2, Paradroid 90 or Rainbwo Proj... er... Islands. I believe after the fall of Commodore he quit games and went to work for an insurance company. (I think something similar happened with one of the original Bitmap Brothers, too... talking of which - Speecball 2! ICE CREAM!)

Unlike Braybrook, Raf Cecco of Cybernoid/Exolon fame (at least the originals on the Spectrum - IIRC Nick Jones was responsible for the C64 versions and I'm guessing the Amiga etc. versions were farmed out) is I believe still around, but hasn't done anything of note since Last Samurai on the Amiga, back in '91 ... so, I guess the old heroes are gone.

Going back to Fire and Ice, Dogs makes no mention that it was also worked on by Steve Turner, Graftgold's other "star", and the man who brought us such Speccy classics as Quazatron and Ranarama. Unlike fellow ex-Hewson bods Brabrook and Cecco, I've no idea what happened to him though... I think he worked on the very dull "Virocop" game late in the Amiga's days, so perhaps he lost it...

Old Games Geek? Moi? Surely not...

YLFM

mmChronic said...

Quote 1: Fire and Ice suckedQuote 2: Fire and Ice had nice gfx

Emphasis mine ie we were talking past tense. The reason you chose the (compratively) pretty looking F & I over all the other 15 year old games was it's looks rather than gameplay. Probably. ;)

And yeah T3 was pap compared to the first two.

Re all the old coding heroes - at least one serves a useful purpose to this day. If you want to know which hardware platform is going to fail you find out which platform Jeff 'Hairy Yak' Minter is coding for currently. ;)

Anonymous said...

Poking around BTTR, it DOES have Fire and Ice.

Turrican 3 sucked. It wasn't an Amiga game, it was a game designed for the Megadrive (as MegaTurrican, IIRC) and then ported to the Amiga later on for reasons that always escaped me. It wasn't anywhere near as technically impressive as the previous games... personally I preferred Turrican 1 to 2. I preferred the Chris Huelsbeck music of the former game, too.

Minter? Hm... recent platforms have been the PocketPC, PC, Mac and a cancelled Gamecube title (that sounded like another one of his lightsynths...).

On the plus side, Gridrunner++ for the PC... :)

mmChronic said...

Not forgetting developing for Atari ST, Lynx and every other failed bit of kit in the 90s/early 2000s including some sort of open standards console thing.

Maybe he is curing himself of the kiss of death though developing for GC and Mac would suggest otherwise. ;)

And GridRunner on any platform is a plus. Classic game. :)

Dogs said...

Wasn't Minter solely responsible for the demise of the Atari Jaguar? Not fair really as he wrote Tempest 2000 for it. A game designed to melt your eyes.

mmChronic said...

Yeah the Jaguar was his fault too. :)

I think to get real console death he only had to announced a new version of his tripatron / light synth software. This would quickly be followed by Dixon's announcing they were dropping that platform.

If Microsoft were serious about winning teh console war they'd hire The Yak and announce his first title would be TripATron 2005 for the PS3.

Argos and Index have been quietly dropping the Gamecube since the aforementioned GC version. ;)

Anonymous said...

Nah, that would be Atari.

The system was notoriously difficult to develop for (q.v. Satun) and suffered some quite nasty hardware bugs, probably due to being rushed out. Atari didn't have the megabuck marketting budget it was starting to take to sell a new console (q.v Playstation) and they didn't have much in the way of quality titles... the only games I recall as being worthwhile on it that were exclusive (there were lots of Amiga/Console conversions too, but they were no better than the originals, so...) were Tempest 2K, Aliens Vs Predator and perhaps Iron Soldier. (And AvsP wasn't a patch on Doom on the PC, IMHO). They also released quite a lot of 3D games that can only be described as "unfinished" - the quality was awful.

Couple that with all the games mags raving about the upcoming Playstation and Sega Saturn (which were just around 12 months away tops) and a MUCH better games library on the Megadrive/SNES and "THE" Game for many being Doom on the PC, with anything not being as good being deemed as worthless by so many...

There were also technical issues - to develop you had to buy Atari-TT based devkits from Atari... the unit as standard was cart-based but the max cart size was cripplingly small and the CDROM was an addon (something that had never done well in the console market) that wasn't due to be released 'til around the time of the Playstation...

Ironically, Commodore launched the CD32 in the same period and it was "sort of" a success -- what finally killed CBM was that they couldn't get the credit they needed to buy the parts to make the CD32 to match the orders they had. Christmas '93 saw huge CD32 demand that CBM couldn't fulfill because their credit rating was in the toilet, and when parents couldn't get a CD32 in time for Christmas, the Megadrive and SNES were what sold instead.

YLFM

mmChronic said...

Nah it was Jeff's fault. ;)

Wasn't there a conversion of Doom for the Jaguar?

I've still got my CD32! As you know it mostly saw use as an external CD drive for my A1200 until I got sick of the slow transfers over parnet.

Anonymous said...

Poor Yak... :)

Yeah, Doom did indeed appear, and many considered it the best version. Never having liked Doom (I thought the 3D engine tremendous but the gameplay dull) I'm probably not one to ask, but I've never liked FPS games with a joypad, so...

I think of all of the above, the lack of advertising and the poor launch titles killed it... but Atari rushed out both hardware and software due to financial issues and to try and gain a foothold before the Playstation/Saturn appeared...

At least Yak can't be blamed for the Saturn, AFAIK he never coded for it ;)

The Jag CDROM addon does feature VLM1 though - a light sim - in its ROM.

And of course, the NUON (games-in-DVD chipset "media processor") got VLM2. (The Main dev of which left to join nVidia in about 2001, IIRC).

And VLM3 was written on the Gamecube. (Was it ever released? or just a test bed? And how would it get tunes, since CDs won't fit in the 'cube? A CDROM addon? <g>)

Yes, perhaps Yak has a lot to answer for after all... tho' not your external CDROM... er... CD32.

(To be fair to him, NUON sounded ill-fated long before he came onboard, and I think the nature of his software keeps him away from the more "commercial" (ie can afford advertising) type companies...

Did you know his beloved sheep Flossie died last year btw?

mmChronic said...

Poor Flossie. I was on his site the other week and he's still keeping goats as there were loads of pictures in the forum.

There's a fairly old interview here which is quite interesting - among other things it asks him why hee keeps backing failed platforms. THe naswer is that he likes playing with new stuff. Doesn't explain why he dosn't pick the new stuff that is going to be successful! ;)

It's shame as someone who has occupied so many people for so long deserves better luck than he's had career wise.

Anonymous said...

Indeed.

I still think it's mostly down to the people who will employ him not being "mainstream" in many cases... at least, not since Atari bit the dust. (Oh, no-one's mentioned the Panther yet, either -- 32bit console that Atari dropped due to the Jaguar progressing faster than expected, and one which Minter had written some demo games for -- in fact, some early Jag games were rumoured to be ports from the Panther ... and, since I am in trivia mode, the Jaguar is descended from what was going to be the infamous Konix Multisystem, which in turn was a descendant of the equally infamous Amiga-beating Sinclair Loki project -- but AFAIK Minter had nothing to do with either ;).

I believe he has several goats and possibly a Llama still.

If you go to his website you can get a demo of Gridrunner++ for the PC (or Mac, if you're that way inclined).

Not tried it yet since I'm not feeling too good, so I'm not on my main box, just ye olde P2 which has a small but full HD and no sound.

Perhaps we should do an NL "best retrogames" post for suitable discussion of old games we loved/miss/etc. sometime when news is slow... and limit each to a specific format, since each format is vast. Tell me when you do the PSX one so I can sleep that day ;)

mmChronic said...

Most mainstream game companies would turn their nose up (literally) at someone who smelt of goat. Probably. ;)

Hopefully his retreads of his old 2D hits on PDAs and phones will make him a bob or two.

Re retro games post by platform - feel free any time. :)

We should also link to emulators and the actual games where possible - then we could try them and see if they are actually a pile of poo which nostalgia has glossed over for us.

Anonymous said...

I will sometime soon, when I can be bothered to find the appropriate links... I think perhaps a Speccy one first?

bungers said...

Didn't the Jaguar CD drive make it look like a toilet?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but without it, it looks like a bed-pan, soooo....