Like many fellow retro gamers, I’ve always had a soft spot for games written by Jeff Minter of Llamasoft – especially some of the early arcade titles he wrote for the Commodore VIC-20. His games were fast, loud and devilishly addictive and considering the limited resources of an unexpanded VIC, he could squeeze the very best out of it.
Now that I’ve got my own VIC20 (Well, VC20) up and running again a few weeks ago, I’ve been enjoying a couple of my favourites. The first is GridRunner, a clone of the arcade golden oldie Centipede where Jeff has added additional features and the second, for which when I play time just disappears rather rapidly, is Laser Zone.
Laser Zone loaded from my Behr Bonz cartridge.
Back in the day, Llamasoft games really appealed to me because they were similar to games I was playing in the arcades like Defender and Robotron and nearly 30 years on, they’re just as fun to play today. Retro inspired gaming is back in a big way on modern platforms such as phones, tablets and gaming consoles with games featuring chunky block pixels, chip tunes and buckets of retro sound FX and so games like Gridrunner are becoming discovered or rediscovered all over again.
Jeff is still making great games today for iDevices and although I’ve yet to sample Goat Up, visiting his website blog shows he’s got another retro game coming out on very soon called Caverns of Minos – http://s349909351.websitehome.co.uk/blog/?p=176
…and with iCade support too.
I met Jeff a few years back at R3play and I asked him what he thought of the retro gaming scene and our conversation came to emulation and grey area of roms/game images. He was chuffed to bits that folk still found his games entertaining and didn’t mind at all that websites were hosting his old games for download and playback via emulation. In fact, he encouraged it.
Whether it’s an old classic or a new classic, you can’t got wrong with Llamasoft. Long may it entertain us.