I’ve just got back from a most enjoyable walk around the Peak Districts highest point. If you fancy a look at the photos, I’ve uploaded them to my other blog – http://stiggysplot.wordpress.com/
The weekly grocery shop, you either love it or loath it. Personally I like it, in fact I insist on doing it myself as have the layout memorised and can get in and out as quick as possible without interference from to many older shoppers, screaming children or the aisle hogs – of course one has to stop and browse the buy one get one free offers from time to time!
Well at our local Morrisons store, shopping has just got that little bit better as the instore magazine department are now stocking Retro Gamer Magazine! Great news as the past four or five years you could only get it at larger WHSmiths stores which require a special trip down to one and rather sharpish too as they never stock that many copies and each month they seem to sell out incredibly fast. I must live in a retro gaming postcode!
Of course you can subscribe to the magazine but our postie is rather heavy handed and I really don’t want to read a shredded copy of the mag. eBay, maybe…but only if I miss and issue as prices can be ridiculous sometimes.
Any-ho, It’s another milestone for the RG team with issue 101! As you can see, this months edition has a classic Bob Wakelin cover from The Great Escape game to tie in with this months the bumper article- Behind the scences of one of the UK’s biggest publishing Houses – Ocean Software.
I’ve only had a brief flick through this evening, but it’s looking like yet again, another great dollop of the retro good stuff. My attention also goes to the back page and a glimpse at next weeks articles… particularly – Lucasarts X-Wing ;.
I was going to install Workbench onto my Amiga 1200 SD Hardrive the traditional way i.e. from the original floppy disks but on testing, it appears that some of disks are no longer working
I did think about using replacement .adf images to replace the faulty disks but this would have to wait for another day as I don’t have the necessary transfer kit just yet. My friend Mike has a Kyroflux so maybe i’ll see about that soon.
So, instead, I decided to prepare my SD Harddrive and install Workbench via emulation thanks to the almighty WinUAE. Besides, it looked like a fun little project to try despite the numerous hurdles i’d encountered along the way.
The principle for installing Workbench on to a harddrive (or SD/CF ) is practically the same as if installing any other type of operating system onto a fresh out of the box harddrive i.e you install the drive, once detected partition it, format the partitions and finally install the O/S.
The first problem I encountered once I had my basic emulated A1200 configured and loaded was when I tried to add the SD card as a harddrive (which was connected to my PC via a USB media card reader ). Try as I might, WinUAE just wouldn’t detect it. I’ve read that certain brands of SD cards may not work but I was using a Sandisk which I’d read has a higher success rate according to various Amiga forums.
In the end I tried the same setup but moved from my PC to my Netbook and used the built in SD card reader instead. This time it worked perfectly and WinUAE detected it as a drive.
After trial and error I found I needed to set the drive type as IDE zero and obviously check the read/write box.
Booting my emulated A1200 with the WB Install .adf image, I launched HDtools to prep my HDD and encountered another problem. By default, my SD card was detected as a generic SCSI drive with a total size of 168mb. Not great considering I was using a 2GB SD card! Playing around with the various buttons and options I found the correct option to ignore the default and to force an auto detection. This time my SD card was detected and the storage capacity was just under 2GB at 1.86GB – perfect.
On to disk partitioning setup and yet another hurdle. I created two partitions, one for Workbench/Programs (500mb – DHO) and the other for games/data (DH1) using the the remaining HD space. On saving the partition table the following error occured -
‘block zero write attempt but drive has one more mounted pc partitions. erase the drive or unmount pc partition first’
Basically what this means is that my host O/S (Windows) has the SD card mounted for use which must be cleared before the emulated Amiga can use it.
Back to square one and a command line in Windows to open DiskPart, selected my SD disk volume and ‘Clean’ the drive – this unmounted the SD from Windows allowing WinUAE to take ownership.
This time around, the error didn’t appear and upon rebooting my emulated A1200, both partition icons appeared on the WB desktop as expected. All that remains is to format them both and install Workbench as if on an actual Amiga. (Top tip, set the Floppy Drive emulation to 800% for a speedier Workbench install!).
WB installed on DHO, and DH1 now formatting…and at 1.5gb, time to put the kettle on!
Time to crack open my Amiga and testl my new SD Hardrive/Workbench install.
This is the SD adaptor and mini 1″ IDE cable I’ll be using. Adaptor via eBay and cable via AmigaKit
(I’ve also treated myself to the latest edition of Amiga Future magazine too which I must say, is flippin fantastic).
Temporary installed (will be using adhesive Velcro pads to keep it in place)
Power on….no smoke…no pop….woo flashy lights, that must be a good sign?
Yay, Workbench booted.
Time to install some fun stuff!
The latest newsletter from Replay Events popped into my mailbox this morning announcing dates of this years and biggest retro gaming event – Play Expo (formerly R3play).
I missed last years show due to work (damn server migrations!) so am looking forward to visiting once again. Will you be going?
It’s been awhile and i’ve been meaning to do this for a looooong time now – My Amiga 1200 is finally out of it’s storage box and setup on my desk for some retro fun.
At the moment my I’m still using a stock 2mb A1200 with external floppy drive but I plan to slowly build up a few hardware addons as and when budget permits. I’ve also got a stack of diskette boxes containing games, demos, programs and i think i’ve got some of my Deluxe Paint and Imagine 3D projects disks here too. I haven’t seen some of these in over 15 years so it would be nice to get them archived, assuming the disks can still be read.
Game wise I’ve already picked a few out that I want to revisit again.
Stunt Car Racer
..and on and on.
This particular A1200 is the third one I’ve owned and the previous two (Desktop Dynamite packages) are long gone. Unfortunately one died during one all day gameathon and the other was sold many many years ago to help fund the purchase of my very first PC during the PC gaming explosion thanks to the titles likes of Doom and X-wing….and CD-ROM drives with games like 7th Guest…erm..ok probably not that last bit.
As popularity and demand for the Amiga seemed to have dwindled in favour of PC’s and Commodore themselves going down the tube, my rather large collection of hardware and software sold for a fraction of the original price and letting it go is something I deeply regret now, especially as the accelerator/ram card would be really useful for WHDload. Hey-ho, live and learn
This is my current A1200 from the Race ‘N’ Chase sold around 1993 feature Nigel moustache Mansell and Trolls…which is just pants even with the AGA sparkle.
Set up on my desktop and ready to boot. The case is still fairly white, but I’ll give it the RetroBrite treatment this summer to remove the subtle hint of yellowing.
Yay, well it booted ok and no smoke yet.
Testing the internal floppy drive with Lotus…..which took about an hour. Such a great game
Testing the external floppy drive (and mouse i guess) with Ocean’s Operation Thunderbolt.
All seems to be working o.k so far. I had planned on installing a 4gb 2.5″ Harddrive taken from an old DOS laptop by instead had opted to try one of those SD card/IDE adaptors. I ordered one about a month ago and it’s been sitting in my desk drawer waiting for me.
What I’m really looking forward to, is having a go at preparing the SD card/hardrive on my PC running an emulated A1200 under WinUAE. I have no idea how to do this but it should be fun to play around with it. I’m hoping to install Workbench and a few other bits n pieces as my Workbench floppies (especially Locales and Storage) are looking a bit ropey.
I’ll be back with more pictures to show how I get on.
Yay Double Dragon, one of the greatest side scrolling beat em ups of its time, and forefather to many clones that came thereafter. Everyone’s heard about it, played and loved it…probably. So when teaser shots starting to circulate in computer magazines of the time regarding a very belated home conversion on the Commodore 64 you can imaging the whooping and a hollering from a young StiGGy. Not only that but is was being produced by ‘ Way of the Exploding Fist’ – Melbourne House.
Didn’t read the reviews, went out on release day, slammed down my hard earned cash and raced home to play it. Ooooooh dear…….what waste of a great license and missed opportunity….epic fail and amost 25 years later, I still shudder at the thought of it. A fine example of how not to make a beat em up and it should be added to the ‘Rise of the Robots’ wall of shame.
Interestingly though, I was reading a friends Facebook feed post regarding an eBay auctioncog a different version of Double Dragon for the C64. It was in cartridge format and produced by the mighty Ocean software for the Commodore 64GS games console. Athough a completed game, it never recieved an official release due to the short lifespan of the failed console and therefore examples of this very rare cartridge are few and far between and thus highly collectable. This particular eBay auction finished at just over £400!!
Way beyond my meagre budget, but interested to take a look at it in action as i was not aware of this other release, I headed off to the interweb to see if I could find a .crt dump. My first port of call was to have a look at Matt’s (Mayhem) web site. I got chatting with him at Eurocon a few years and as as avid Commodore cartridge collector thought that if anyone would have it he would!…and he did!
Image downloaded, copied to my SD2IEC and being flashed to my C64 Easyflash cart.
Starting the cart on my c64c
Nice menu screen to match the arcade original and a pretty decent rendition of the main DD theme music – although there’s quite a bit of artistic interpretation here aka it’s doesn’t sound anything like it at times
Well, it certainly looks a little bit better than Melbourne House’s attempt and not a hint of that awful graphical clitch that sees body split from legs. The characters are a bit chunky looking though and for a late Commodore release, you’d think the background GFX would have been better drawn. Complete game yes, but maybe only at a prelimary stage?
Well after playing it for an hour or so, I can safely say that this plays better than The Melbourne House version….but it’s still dire. Bad collision, dodgy animation, very limited opponent types, weapons that are not displayed when picked up, steep difficulty curve despite the multiple continues, lack of any of the little features that made the arcade original so great (bearing in mind that this was a 32k cartridge release and could have easily contained them) and moves that are limited and ineffective ..apart from the headbutt which is fun for a while.
C64 collector or not, if i’d paid £400 for it, i’d be sweating a lot about now
It looks like Double Dragon on the C64 just wasn’t to be. If you’ve not played it, give it a go, go on I dare you
Surely this has to be the coolest cake ever? Imagine getting this for your birthday!
Life size Star War Stormtrooper cake.
Eek! TK-421 has even bigger problems.
Check out the details and amazing build photos here -
A new kickstarter project that may see Tex Murphy return to our PC screens once again? Let hope so, we’ve missed you!
After much anticipation Commodore have finally announced the release of their latest machines and it’s a big thumbs up to them as its so nice to see the Commodore and Amiga logo on computer cases again. Would I buy one…erm, sadly not. As nice as they are, they’re not exactly competitively priced despite the high specs of the top range Amiga.
…still, those Amiga mini cases look sooooo good! I’m a big fan of mini ITX cases, our own HTPC is encased in one and have always had a soft spot for the Apple Mac mini. Maybe if Commodore lowered their price a little, I’d buy a barebones?
Hopefully, they’ll be a few unboxing videos appear on YouTube sometime soon.
Are you planning on getting one?
Hehe, check out these retro styled poster designs for the lazy traveller.
This one in particular made me smile.
Can you time the perfect shot?
A word of warning, make sure you’ve got a little bit of free time ahead of you before you play 10 Bullets..you’ll need it!
You have just 10 bullets to fire on the ships flying left or right. Hit one and it’ll explode sending shrapnel that may hit another ship causing it in turn to explode and so on until you have a huge chain reaction. It’s surprising how much damage can be inflicted with just one 10 shots…if you’re lucky.
My current score is 203, can you beat it? [edit - have now reached 313]
10 Bullets is available for iOS and Android devices or via web browser at -
I found this on the Atari Age website the other day in the 2600 homebrew section – It’s a port of the arcade grid shooter – Juno First
Juno First is a vertical shooter much like the classic galleries games like Galaxians or Space Invaders. However, your ship can move both up and down rather than restricted to left & right and offers a much faster and frantic pace similar to Defender than the slow build up of Space Invaders.
Although a popular game back in the day, I personally only ever saw one arcade cabinet..one i might add that was played quite extensively one hot saturday afternoon and the next week it was no longer there.
This homebrew port, although looking very much like Beam Rider (which is no bad thing as it happens to be one of my favorite 2600 shooters) is very faithful to the arcade original given it’s limited resources and is a credit to the programmer for providing the same sense of speed and flicker free gameplay.
I’m guessing as it was released a few years ago there’s no way of ordering an actual cartridge but if you’re lucky enough to have a Harmony Cartridge go check it out here -
If not, Stella is the way to go it plays wonderfully with a mouse…in fact, it beats the Atari Joystick any day.
Whilst taking a break from editing holiday photos, I got caught up with this rather funky looking vector based game i found on the Chrome web store (or you can play it via any flash compatible browser).
It’s called Vector Stunt and the idea is to complete a circuit and score points by collecting pick ups on the track and performing stunts as your craft leaps off the approaching ramps. You gain extra points by linking jumps together so it pays to aim for the next ramp as your craft begins to descend. You can also time a jump to land on the side ramps to increase your points too.
A simple game that looks good, plays good and sounds amazing thanks to the ability to import and playback your own mp3 music whilst playing. The level finishes when the music stops and you can compare your scores with others players/music track selection. Thumbs up!
Here’s a short video i’ve shot and as it’s a Tron-esque looking game, it seemed fitting to have a suitable soundtrack (also recommend a bit of ACDC too!)
Oh…and I really should spell check….what the flip is a muliplier ?
Of all the mobile games that’s kept me occupied during downtime moments whilst on holiday it’s these three games from veteran coder Jeff Minter of Llamasoft. All three are incredibly addictive, easy to pick up and play, button bashing arcade games that are lavished with retro style graphics and sound effects and contain multiple control configurations that simply work so well.
Have all of these ingredients in a mobile game and I’d buy it, inject a healthily dose of the Minter-ism, with it’s wacky humour and pure bizarreness and it’s a sure winner.
A truly bizarre title that see’s you running and jumping from platform to platform grazing on the grass, getting fat and multiplying, collecting all manner of random bonus items and kissing goats. Yup, kissing goats gives you a nice scoring bonus as weird as it might seem. Welcome to Llamasoft!
Loving the references to iconic gaming sprites like the robots from Berzerk, the Amiga Boing ball, Mutant Camels and the themed levels that pay tribute to classics 8-bit games like Manic Miner and Bounty Bob and Jet Set Willy.
As you jump up from level to level, the screen scrolls down with the bottom most levels disappearing. You have to keep your goat constantly on the move and jumping up to avoid dropping of the bottom of the screen. It makes for one intense game and you’ll be back time and time again to see if you can progress a little bit further.
Caverns of Minos
This games takes inspiration from a couple of classic games such as Thrust, Scramble and Caverns of Mars and adds amongst others sheep motherships, underpants and minotaurs – yes my blog is usually prone to the odd typo but believe me, all these items are actually in the game.
Guide your craft down into the cavern to retrieve an item for you mother sheep. Along the way you can pick up hitch hiking minotaurs for bonus points and destroy fuel pods to keep your ever depleting fuel from running out. Those cavern walls can be quite tricky to navigate at the best of times and impacts will reduce your limited shields, throw in alien craft, rockets and farting SAM sites into the mix makes your journey even more precarious.
This is one tough game and at times can be a tad frustrating sometimes. Practise and mastery of the sensitive controls are the order of the day.
Jeff once stated that he wasn’t going to churn out unoriginal ports of his own early games if he couldn’t bring anything new to the game especially as folk could pretty much play the originals via emulation. Well I’ll always love the originals (especially the chunky VIC-20 version) but this new remake is one superb shooter of a game. In fact, even if you haven’t played the original Gridrunner or indeed haven’t even heard of Llamasoft, get Gridrunner, you won’t be disappointed.
Gridrunner take inspiration from Centipede where the object is the same as the arcade classic, blast away the enemy craft which snakes down from the top of the screen. Gridrunner adds two laser cannons that patrols the left and top of the screen that both fire at random or if you cross their path.
The gameplay has been tweaked, enemy objects and bullets on screen have been increased giving plenty of those ‘bullet hell’ moments us Schmup fans love. Weapon upgrades have been added too, including some ‘right back-atcha screen filling cannons’
I was playing Gridrunner the other day in my iCade (all three of these games support the iCade) and moved the screen from portrait to landscape mode. What a great surprise!
All three games are a worthy edition to you iOS gaming collection and if your a gamer of old, will love the vintage gaming references contained within. I would love to know how he mirrored that classic Atari speech at the beginning of Caverns of Minos…thought I was back on Gauntlet for a second there!