15/01/2019

๐Ÿ’พ Britt Roberts: The Rambling Man "Disk 1 of Dungeon Quest is No More" ๐Ÿ’พ #Retrogaming #C64

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This festive period has been marked for me by a distinct lack of reviewing due to buying a house and having to move over the New Year. 

With no Wi-Fi, I couldn’t download the indie gold sent to me by The Mighty Games Freezer and so I found myself retreating into the Kingdom of Carts Collection in these (quite literally) dark days. 

I thought I’d just write a bit of a rambling blog discussing what I’ve been up to and some thoughts that I’ve had, just to prove I’m still kicking around if anything!

Our new apartment is a lot bigger than our previous place and so we’re in a situation where we can have a room specifically for our collection (something we’ve always yearned for). This has been a godsend as previously we just had a few consoles/computers ready to rock but games stashed away in various forms of storage making setting anything up a gigantic pain in the Amanda Bearse. 

It’s been so refreshing having everything to hand. I’ve spent the majority of the last two weeks working through our Commodore 64 and Amiga collection, having a crack at various games we’ve picked up and haven’t yet had a chance to play. So many oddities, a few surprises and of course, so many memories.

We probably have a few hundred games for the C64 and Amiga, so it’s been awesome just getting in some nice wine (mainly French Cabernet Sauvignon, a sneaky Barefoot Merlot and various Malbecs that wobbled in quality) and trying out dozens and dozens of tapes and disks. As always, it was depressing to find certain Amiga disks slowly failing, I was ruthless and just gave up on a lot of ‘copied’ games, throwing them away, freeing up precious real estate for those titles that still work after the thirty or so years of their magnetic lives. 

I’m sure you, as I did will feel a wave of sadness when you hear that, alas, disk 1 of Dungeon Quest is no more…spares, anyone?

One of the things I adore about the C64 library is just how British the artwork is on some of the games, Skool Daze with its extremely ‘Bash St. Kids’ teacher and the cartoon approach of Codemasters with Wacky Darts et al. I did find that, oddly, the cassettes appeared to be more robust than disks with a LOT of my disks having various issues but only a handful of the C64 cassettes affected by Father Time, again calling to mind the vital importance of emulation as more soldiers fall on the magnetic field of battle. 

I also discovered that we own 2 Amiga 500’s, one Amiga 500+ and an A1200…only one of the Amiga 500’s works, which is something I fully intend to remedy this year, I mean, how am I supposed to play the AGA version of Trolls? For God’s sake.

I played the Amiga version of Terminator 2 and also the C64 cartridge version, which I preferred although neither are really top games. The ‘one life and game over’ approach combined with the memory-test bike level called to mind Back to the Future 3 on the Mega Drive, such a teeth-grindingly infuriating experience and yet oddly memorable and fun enough to bang on for ten minutes every now and again….and then turned off in a fit of blackening rage as you get hit by yet another tomahawk or bird that blends in with the background scenery.

Quiz games were the order of the day, though. Both Faye and I love quiz and word games so I dug out trivial Pursuit, Trivial Froot (really fun little game, the questions are tough)The Krypton Factor, Bullseye, Every Second Counts and both versions of Codemaster’s Pub Trivia, another example of the C64 version showing its superiority with more question blocks (giving more longevity) and more care towards the spelling and grammar of the in-game trivia (the Amiga version has a surprising amount of issues with the questions involving lack of capitalisations, mis-spellings and no spaces between words).

I dabbled in some games that baffled me such as the 80’s political satire that is Election before moving on to one of my favourite Amiga titles, Hunter and PD classic, Salmon-Pink Max (sequel to Bip). I didn’t play my top games, Action Biker or Gunfighter because I like to only play them once a year, to keep them fresh and this was all about lost personal classics and new discoveries, I didn’t want to just reach for faves.

Now that all of our games are to hand and a CRT TV is on its way so I can once again get hips deep into light-gun games (soon, Virtua Cop 2…soon and Vampire Nights, calm down, you’ll get your turn as well.. yes, yes you too, Point Blank 3) and work my way through our libraries of PS1, 2 and maybe even Spectrum, a computer that I must admit I have little knowledge of or appreciation for, which should be remedied.

Can anyone recommend some cool games for the Commodore 64 or Amiga that may have passed me by? 

I love coming across titles I missed, always a pleasure to spend some time with that quintessentially British period of gaming’s history, where entire development teams could fit into a Smart Car and were usually related.

Does anyone else think that the player character in Exhumed on the Saturn handles like a speedboat?

Right, I’m off to beat Faye at Trivial Froot again.
Britt

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