This month in... C&VG '85
The Golden Sundial of Pi prize from "Pimania" was finally found! The winners - Sue Cooper and Lizi Newman - solved the puzzle by being at Hindover Hill in Sussex on July 22nd. The competition had begun on the release of "Pimania" in 1982.
British Telecom were about to open up public access to M.U.D. (multi-user dungeon), which had previously just been available to students and staff at Essex University.
Mikrogen announced their Mikro-plus hardware add on for the Spectrum which would bump up the Spectrum's memory by 60k. Several other companies had attempted this (including Imagine with their infamous mega-games), but it looked like Mikrogen would be the first to market. No specific titles were announced apart from a "fantasy arcade adventure" ("Shadow of the Unicorn") and a game based on the TV Show "Battle of the Planets". The latter did come out ("Battle of the Planets") but did not make use of the Mikro-plus.
Designer of the Month was Martin Walker, who had had his first game published ("Rupert and the Toymaker's Party") for the C64. Martin would become one of the best know C64 programmers and musicians.
A new "Diary of a Game" series began which would follow the development of CRL's "Space Doubt". It was a short piece covering April, May and June with the deadline falling mid-August. I actually bought the game based on this series, and was rather disappointed...
Marshal M Rosenthal reported from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Chicago. Activision were showing "Hacker", "Alter Ego", "Gamemaker", "Fast Tracks" and "There's Someone Living Inside My Computer" AKA "Little Computer People". Epyx had two new games from Lucasfilm ("The Eidolon" and "Koronis Rift"), as well as "Winter Games". Elsewhere, the new C128 was on display and a company called TTC was showing off two robots - the Hearoid and Homer the Carryall.
Yamaha's CX 5M computer was released which opened up music production to a much wider audience (it cost £449). C&VG talked to the band "Beat the Sharks" who had used the setup to prepare their first single. I've been unable to find any details on the band, but Richard Joseph was on engineer duties. A comprehensive roundup of music software on home computers was conducted, and the feature finished off with a series of music related program listings.
- "Astroclone" Hewson - The new game from Steve Turner that featured a similar presentation to his previous games "Avalon" and "Dragontorc" but with a scifi setting. Rather interesting was the inclusion of an arcade shoot-em up style phase.
- "Nightshade" Ultimate - The latest Filmation game from Ultimate, except now the world scrolled rather than relying on flip screens.
- "The Adventures of Bond.. Basildon Bond" Probe - A game based on Russ Abbot's character.
- "Rupert and the Toy Maker's Party" Argus Software - C64/Spectrum 8/10 Blitz Game "The graphics are amazing! Obviously, a lot of thought and effort has gone into this."
- "Elite" Firebird - BBC/C64 10/10 Game of the Month "This [the port to C64] will undoubtedly please many people, including one dedicated Commodore owner who, when the game first appeared, was heard to mutter: 'It's almost worth buying a BBC micro to play Elite!'"
- "Beach-Head II" US Gold - C64 8/10 Blitz Game "Overall, though, the game is a worthy sequel to Beach-Head and, if you like the original or like a realistic shoot 'em-up, then Beach-Head II's the game you've been waiting for."
- "Skyfox" Ariolasoft - C64 9/10 "The joy of Skyfox is that it is instantly playable but also has enough scope to allow the player to develop his or her skills, and not tire of the game."
- "Spy Vs Spy" Beyond - C64/Spectrum 10/10 Blitz Game "Spy Vs Spy is a unique, entertaining game. If you like your arcade action with added brain work then Spy is for you. Recommended!"
- "Juggernaut" Pete Cooke/CRL - Spectrum 7/10 "The idea of the game is quite novel but the graphics aren't the greatest."
- "Dynamite Dan" Mirrorsoft - Spectrum 8/10 Blitz Game "Mirrorsoft keep the platform style alive and kicking with Dynamite Dan."
- "Highway Encounter" Costa Panayi/Vortex - Spectrum 9/10 "The graphics are exciting and well animated, the sound as good as the Spectrum allows and game play very addictive."
- "A View to a Kill" Domark - Spectrum 7/10 "Some of the graphics in A View to a Kill are a little crude. But overall it's a fun game which does credit to the film."
- "Thing on a Spring" Gremlin Graphics - C64 9/10 Blitz Game "Great graphics, excellent animation and sound together with immense playability combine in what must be one of the top selling 64 games of the summer."
- "Graham Gooch's Test Cricket" Audiogenic - C64 8/10 "After a short while you find yourself absorbed in the game - just like the real thing, in fact. In the C&VG office test, England beat Australia by one wicket to loud cheers." This was a favourite of mine, despite it being a bit ropey. Sadly it probably still ranks as one of the best cricket games made.
- "Hyper Sports" Imagine - Spectrum/C64/Amstrad 9/10 Blitz Game "We looked at the Spectrum version for the purposes of this review - and the graphics and animation are above standard for all the events." Interestingly the review ended with "STOP PRESS: We've just seen the C64 version - and it's a peach! Terrific sound, brilliant graphics - but still easier to play using the keyboard. Just listen to the Chariots of Fire theme tune and you'll be hooked." I think this was Martin Galway's first outing on the C64.
- "Fahrenheit 451" Telarium - C64/Apple II 8/10 "Fahrenheit 451, the game, is far more enjoyable than the book - I think so anyway."