My winning three for the RGCD 16k competition.

The entries for this years RGCD 16k cartridge competition have been out for a few weeks now and all have been getting some serious game time here. There are so many quality releases this year and it still amazes me  (trying to do the math here) that after 28 years (whoa) since first unwrapping my Commodore 64 on Christmas Day morn,  I’d still be using the very same machine today and that I’d be playing brand new games on it too.

The official results of the competition are yet to be announced, but here’s the three titles that I’ve picking as my own personal favourites.

3rd Place – BellringerIII

bellringerIII

Starting in alphabetical order, BelringerIII was the very first game I played from this years games selection, and right from the off with its toe-tapping catchy menu tune, I knew that this was going to be fun. It reminds me very much of early C64 games like Cavelon and  Hunchback and a whole host of platformers I used to spend hours with on my Commodore Plus/4. Fun times!

As well as being a great little retro style hide n run platformer, the charging guards and bell ringing puzzle at end of each level makes this game ever more enjoyable.

2nd Place – Monsterbuster

MonsterBuster

 

I didn’t really get into the whole Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move type games until acquiring my third PSX console (or was it the fourth?…why is it that you seem to end up with so many of these little grey boxes 🙂 )and used to play this into the wee hours with my mother-in-law of all people…who, despite never having picked up a console controller before,  surprised us all and whipped the living snot out of the game. Although lacking in things like power ups and specials in this 16k version (a fat 64k version has been mentioned), its still a charming and highly addictive game. Thumbs up to p1x3l.net for bringing back the monsters again.

…and finally the game that I keep coming back to more and more –

1st Place – Kobo64

kobo64

I absolutely love this game. Plenty of frantic bullet hell moments coupled with the sanctuary of deep space where you can regroup, rethink and begin your attack again. Hit and run, take the machine down bit by bit before laying a path  to the sweet spot in the middle…take that yer pesky space plumbing beasties. Awesome!

There you go, that’s my top three for this year. Special mention should also go out to the rather excellent Devil Ronin which just got better and better every time I played it,  the technically impressive Micro Hexagon which looks even better after a few beers…but maybe not after a kebab, Rocket Smash, because it’s about time the C64 had a descent Jet Pac game (and what a game!) and finally Vallation and Powerglove which I’m really looking forward to spending even more time exploring.

My thanks to RGCD and the incredibly talented folk out there for making this one hellava great time to be a Commodore user.

 

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RGCD C64 Cartridge competition 2013.

On Sunday evening, the entrance deadline for the 2013 RGCD C64 cartridge competition ended and all games have now been released.

http://www.rgcd.co.uk/

All in all, that’s a staggering twelve (plus three re-released) brand new swanky games for you to enjoy on your C64/emulator. Christmas has most certainly come early!

Here’s the list –

Bellringer III
Candle Burner 1.1
Cosmic Ark
Devil Ronin
Invert
Kobo64
Linus Vs Simon
Magic Duel
Micro Hexagon
Monster Buster
Powerglove
Revenge Of The Tomato
Rocket Smash
S-Blox
Vallation

The only title I have played so far (although this was an early beta last year) is the remake of the Atari 2600 classic Cosmic Ark by fellow RCM’er and good friend Max Hall. I very much looking forward to playing the final release especially after hearing about the nightmare that Max has had squeezing the whole lot into just 16k.

Here’s the download link – http://downloads.rgcd.co.uk/projects/c64/RGCDCompo2013.zip

 

As I type this post, I’m currently writing to my EasyFlash cartr….actually, they’ve just finished so I’m off to give each game a twirl.

Have you played any of them yet?  Got a favourite title(s) you like to see crowned as the  winner of this years competition?

IMG_4381 (Custom)

 

Bomberland on EasyFlash cartridge

Ever since purchasing a digital copy of the new C64 game Bomberland from RGCD, I’ve been wanting to have it running (and load in seconds) via my EasyFlash cartridge. The problem is that the firmware for the Easyflash doesn’t support the Magic Desk cartridge images that RGCD use for their 64k releases.

Bugger!

However, a comment on CSDB hinted of a way of getting this to work by editing the actual cartridge image. I couldn’t find a suitable guide anywhere, so I thought I’d have a go myself.

To do this you will need the game file itself which can be purchased at RGCD and a hex editor.

http://rgcd.bigcartel.com/artist/samar-productions

For the editor I’m going to use C64Copy which is a utility program that runs in DOS and contains a whole heap of useful C64 tools. Even, if this Easyflash post isn’t of interest to you but you’re a C64 user, it’s well worth checking out this rather rather handy piece of software anyway.

As an alternatively to C64Copy that doesn’t require DOS, check out something like HxD instead – http://mh-nexus.de/en/hxd/

You can download c64Copy from here – http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/~schepers/personal.html

Extract the contents of the C64Copy archive and place it somewhere suitable. I also find copying the Bomberland .CRT file into this folder to, so that they’re altogether for the next step.

Unless you’re really going old school and still rocking a DOS PC (kudos to you), C64Copy runs perfectly well under DOSbox and for and even easier setup, it’s well worth looking at D-BOX because all you need to do is simply drag/drop the app executable file over to D-Box and it will auto install, setup Dosbox and run.

Here’s C64Copy loaded and you can see that my Bomberland.crt file  is listed because I’d previously copied it to the C64Copy folder which DOSbox has mounted as the root (C:\) directory

c64copy1

C64copy has mouse support therefore select the .crt file and Press ALT and F4 (or press F9 and select Disk Hex Editor from the Emulation menu).

Woo, The Matrix….C64 style!

c64copy2

What we need to do is change the values at Address 0x00000017.

Move your cursor here as indicated by my big fat yellow arrow –  which I’ve just discovered you can draw with ease via Win7’s version of mspaint 🙂

You’ll also notice the Blue arrow (yup, I’m going all arrow-tastic in my screenshots now!) which indicates what the current value represents in ASCII. I’m guessing ‘!!’ signifies a Magic Desk cartridge indicator?

c64copy3

Press F3 to enter into edit mode and change the value from 13 (or whatever it is for you) to 05

Finally, Press F4 to save the changes to the file and press F10 to exit C64Copy.

c64copy4

Now all you need to do is write the edited .crt file to your Easyflash cartridge using EasyProg – http://skoe.de/easyflash/doku.php?id=downloads

Here’s my  C64  with Easyflash Cartridge inserted, EasyProg loaded (via SD2IEC) and writing the .crt file (again from my SD2IEC). Note, that the .crt file is now listed as a Ocean cartridge due to the Hex editing I’ve done. I also noted that the original Bomberland file was 65k before editing and 64.1k) after editing.

IMG_4341 (Custom)

Testing time….woot woot, game on!

photo

Many thanks to Enthusi of Onslaught for pointing us in the right direction.

Retro Gaming: RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition no.2

Woohoo, perfect timing now that I’ve now got a working C64 SD2IEC  as I’ve just noticed that RGCD‘s second 16k cartridge competition entries have been released for download.

Here’s the games list –

Amazon Tales
Assembloids
Escape From The Laundry
Get ‘Em DX
Little Sara Sister 2
Match-Buster
Monkey Eat Milkey
On The Farm III
Rent-A-Cop
SpaceChem Nano (
Spike Dislike
Super Bread Box 16KB
Wonderland

I’ve used Draco’s cart maker to transfer all of the  CRT images from my SD2IEC to my EasyFlash cartridge and as there’s still a bit of room on the 1mb cartridge, I can also transfer the game entries from 2011 too. C64 homebrew-tastic.

Fairy Well 
C64anabalt 
Panic Analogue 
Space Lords 
Jars’ Revenge 
Woolly Jumper 
Fortress of Narzod 
The Mollusk 
Get ‘Em! 
Blok Copy
Rong – Ron’s Pong 

Quite a few entries this year so lets get stuck in for a quick look

Amazon Tales

A great start to the game as intro  music by Richard Bayliss is fantastic. Amazon Tales is a simple side scrolling shoot em up where you play a zoo keeper on the hunt  to locate an escaped elephant….o.k, good enough schmup back story for me. Dodge or shoot all manner of jungle inhabitants including blow pipe tottin natives, snakes, tigers and other forestry thingymebobss  and dodge the huge coconuts(?) thrown down from the trees by the pesky monkeys. It’a quite an enjoyable little game with some really nice graphics that kinda remind me of  Platoon and/or the Human Race. There’s not a great deal to keep you coming back for more though  but enjoyable none the less.

Way of the exploding jungle cat?

Amazon_tales

Assembloids

This is a fast and tricky puzzle game where the aim is to match sets of four tiles to complete a series of pictures faces. I’m hopeless at this kind of game and therefore it’s usually not my type of thing but once you start to get into it, it’s actually rather fun. I’ve got to say though, that the intro music for Assembloids is outstandng…especially if you pipe your C64 through a descent set of bassy speakers.

Escape from the Laundry room.

So you’re a sock and as you can guess from the game title, you’re on the run. You can see from the screen shot that there’s definitely a nod to Jet Set Willy with this platformer and is just as unforgiving with it’s pixel perfect collision detection yet brilliantly playbable game mechanics. You’ll come back for more just to see if you can get that little bit further next time. A real classic in the making here!

Laundry

Get Em DX

This is a rerelease and is takes inspiration from classic maze games like Pac Man, Dig Dug and Mr Do. Not usually my cup of tea but worth a shot if you’re a fan of the genre. There’s a foot-tappin-tastic SID tune that play out too.

GetmAll

Little Sara Sister 2

Side scrolling platformer which looks and plays very much like Giana Sisters..not that that’s a bad thing. A bit basic here and there and can be a tad frustrating sometimes  but it’s well worth taking a look. Again, absolutely brilliant menu, gameplay and spot FX tunes. This years entries really have gone to town with some wonderful SID tunes.

lss

Monkey Eat Milky

Great title, rubbish game..although I’m guess it’s more of a party game really. Waggle your joystick left/right as fast as you can  to have you monkey drink the milk. Press up when instructed to ‘burp’ your monkey, rinse and repeat until the milk is gone. Fastest player wins. Cool graphics though and a great digitised ‘burp’ FX.

monkey

On the Farm III

So weird you’d think it was a game by Llamasoft 🙂 A simple shooter which places you in the role of a sea gull out to protect it’s grass crop from a bunch of hungry sheep….erm…o.k. Drop, what I can only assume is TNT bird crap onto the sheep below to wipe them out before they tuck into lunch.  Keep an eye out moles as hitting these have a smart bomb effect and will  clear the screen of all sheep. Also look out for enemy birds that will kill you on impact….yup, it’s all a bit weird to be honest but what a great arcade game it is and well worth checking out.

Counting sheep, only 38 more to dispose of.

farm

Rent a cop

Hmm, not sure about this one. As shopping centre security guard it’s your job to locate and chase after the robber that’s  looting the place. Each screen is split over multiple levels and you need to use the map at the bottom of the screen to locate said robber and quickly move up to the same level using the lifts available at the centre of the screen. There’s also a few obstacles to jump over but to be honest I didn’t play this one for very long as it kinda gets boring very fast.

Nice menu tune though which is well worth listening to as it’s muffled style isn’t something you hear too often and works really well.

I wonder if he works for Group 4?

rentacop

SpaceChem Nano

Bit of a difficult one to explain this one is and is best if you simply try it out for yourself (you’ll need or Mouse attached to your C64 or configure mouse support in Vice – ALT Q will switch to mouse mode).

The game map shows a reactor containing molecules and atoms. By using something called a ‘Waldo’ you have to alter/move the atoms so that they go from the inputs to the outputs…yeah, i know, that doesn’t make much sense but what you have here is a rather unique and highly entertaining puzzle game based on the indie game Space Chem. Thankfully there’s a handy in game tutorial to help you figure it out. This one should keep you busy for a while.

Nano

Spike Dislike

This is probably my favourite game of all the entries. Spike Dislike is such an easy game to get into one one that becomes very addictive to play.  Basically all you have to do is move your bouncing ball through the level without touching any of the spikes. Sounds simply eh? Well, you can only move your ball in one direction (right) and points are awarded  if you can manage to keep your ball travelling right without stopping it to time the bounce for the next spike. How long can you keep bouncing without stopping?

Simple, yet totally engrossing.

Spike

Super Bread Box

A game that everyone has been looking forward to. Super Bread Box is a remake of the retro Indie PC game of the same name that was originally inspired by 8-bit graphics and so it’s perfectly at home on the C64.

The aim is to collect at many crates as you can without being hit by any of the  incoming horders of green and red meanies. Each crate contains varies weapon to help you dispatch all that stand in your way so be quick and dish it out with extreme prejudice.

Super Bread Box is pure arcade twitch gaming  and has become quite the cult game and I’m sure the C64 version can only go the same way. A must for all C64 owners.

Woo, got me a laser gun!

crate

Wonderland

The last game in this years competition is this Zelda-esq RPG and although I’ve not played it for very long, am really enjoying what I’m seeing here and look forward to exploring much more. Journey through the land, with your trusty sword by your side on a quest to find the four magic crystals. Righto,  best get cracking then!

You can find all of these games here –

http://www.rgcd.co.uk/2012/12/rgcd-c64-cartridge-development.html