Thursday, 29 December 2011

Zooming Secretary (NES)

Like most people of my generation I've done my fair share of temp work. Call centres, shelf stacking, data entry, administration and filing... all tedious and soul destroying jobs that I would never have imagined could result in an enjoyable and addictive game design. However, Shiru and PinWizz have somehow taken the combination of phone answering, filing and a variety of office stereotypes and lovingly moulded them in to an excellent arcade title for the NES/Famicom. Underpaid and overworked office minions of the world, Zooming Secretary is a game written for you.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Kobayashi Maru (Atari Jaguar)

The Atari Jaguar has always been an object of aspiration for me, probably due to being a massively impressionable teenager when it first came on the scene. Later in life I almost spent a stupid amount of money sourcing one from eBay during my days of running up student debt, but like my ill-advised attempt at Vectrex ownership I was finally beaten by someone with stronger nerves and a bigger bank balance. Strange then, that I have never actually installed a Jaguar emulator until I publicly called dibs on reviewing Reboot's rotary Jaguar shooter Kobayashi Maru.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Kobo Deluxe (PC/Mac/Linux)

I first discovered Bosconian on one of those ultra-cute Namco "Direct-to-TV" joysticks that were popular at the start of the last decade and it instantly became one of my favourite classic-generation shoot 'em ups. There was something so gratifying about flying freely around 8-directional space, blasting asteroids and enemy fighters and of course obliterating the well-defended alien space stations. I drained several sets of AA batteries whilst 'in the zone' and to this day still prefer the Jakks TV port over the original ROM emulated via MAME (but admittedly that is possibly because the controller itself is so cool). In fact, it was around the point when I debated whether or not to buy an AC adapter for the game that I first read about Kobo Deluxe... a quick download later I was well and truly hooked and the DTV ended up on ebay shortly afterwards.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Retro News Update

'Tis the season to be jolly (so they say), but 'tis also the season to be incredibly busy with little time for reviewing, so here's an early Christmas delivery of stuff that we haven't had time to feature over the past couple of weeks.

The festive period always delivers a stocking bursting with new retro releases, and this year is no different with some exciting games, freebies, previews and bundles. So without further a-do, here's the news.

Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe (PC)

Our original review of Andrew Morrish's Super Puzzle Platformer is still the most viewed post on this blog - and with it's gorgeous low resolution visuals and maddeningly addictive game-play it's easy to see why. A mash-up of Mr. Driller and arcade shoot'em up, Super Puzzle Platformer's design was pure genius and far too much fun to be wasted on a simple browser-based prototype, so myself, Simon from Pixel Prospector (and quite possibly many, many others) begged for a further enhanced version - and now several months later Andrew has announced a fully-fledged deluxe version is in the works. With multiplayer, new levels, new obstacles, unlockable characters and "lots of other shit", Super Puzzle Platformer Deluxe could well be the Super Meat Boy of 2012. Yeah, it looks that good..!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

C64anabalt (C64) (2011)

System Requirements

* A Commodore 64/128/GS (PAL/NTSC).
* A joystick/joypad.
* A VDU preferably connected to a loud sound-system.


Download C64anabalt in .bin/.crt cartridge format HERE!
Download C64anabalt in .d64 disk format HERE!
Download C64anabalt in .tap tape format HERE!

BONUS! Download mp3 recordings of the two soundtracks HERE!
BONUS! Check out Onslaught's cracked version in .d64 disk format HERE!

EMULATOR PACKAGE! Download the ready-to-run Onslaught version combined with the Windows 32-Bit version of the VICE emulator HERE!


C64anabalt is an official conversion of Adam Atomic & Danny B.'s award winning single-button 2009 indie game Canabalt for the 8-Bit, 64KB RAM, 1Mhz Commodore 64 home computer developed by Paul Koller (Paulko64). This particular version was designed to run from a 16KB cartridge (although there are also tape and disk versions available to download as well).

The game was developed as an entry for the RGCD C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition (2011), and the name C64anabalt was suggested by Adam Atomic himself. The physics and procedural algorithms are based on those documented in the original game's open source code.

There are two versions of C64anabalt available; one with a SID chip conversion of Danny B.'s original score by Mikkel Hastrup (Encore), and an alternative build featuring music from the PC indie game ThrustBurst by Andreas Slotte (Ghormak). Unfortunately it wasn't possible to fit them both into a single 16KB ROM, so we've made two versions available to order (more on that in a bit) or download.

Interestingly, there is a second unofficial version of Canabalt available for the C64 that was developed by Andreas Varga (Mr. SID). The two versions were developed without the coders' knowledge that each other were porting the same game. Mr. SID's version featured the RUN track by Encore and this was reused for the official build with his kind permission. Check out his fantastic C64 Prince of Persia conversion if you get a chance! ;)

Playing The Game

To play C64anabalt you will need either a real C64 (and a method of transferring the game over to it) or an emulator. For emulator users, we recommend VICE, as it works on a variety of systems and is very user friendly. Just download the emulator and either attach the cartridge images themselves or drag and drop the .d64 file into the open program window.

Like the original, C64anabalt is a simple one-button game. The anonymous game character automatically runs onward at an ever increasing speed, and the only control open to the player is to make him jump by pressing fire on the joystick attached to port 2. Whilst you attempt your daring escape over the rooftops (and through the buildings) of the war-torn cityscape you'll encounter a variety of hazards and different ways to die.

Hitting boxes and furniture slows you down and should be used to control your speed. However, slow down too much however and you may not make your next jump.

Collapsing buildings (recognisable by their cracked exterior) will steadily drop down off the bottom of the screen. Make sure you don't go down with them.

Bombs fall from the sky and explode upon contact. Avoid.

You'll also encounter sheet glass windows to dramatically leap through, doves that take flight as you approach and the occasional enemy jet that screams past. None of these are hazardous (so don't panic).

Death is inevitable. Your goal is simply to survive as long as possible and cover a greater distance than your previous attempt.

Promotional Trailer

Below is a video of C64anabalt running on a C64c via the Ultimate 1541-II cartridge. This is the Encore build of the game.

NTSC Compatibility

C64anabalt is compatible with NTSC C64's, but lacks the static parallax background cityscape (the background scrolls instead) and it stutters slightly at high running speeds (due to the NTSC machine having less CPU time available). The game also plays fractionally faster than the PAL version. None of these issues severely affect the play of the game, but it should be noted that the game was coded specifically for PAL machines.


The following people made this game possible.

Design & Concept
Adam Saltsman (Semi Secret Software)

C64 Conversion
Paul Koller

SID Music
Mikkel Hastrup (Undone)
Andreas Slotte (Umlautgames)

James Monkman (RGCD)

NTSC Testing
Raymond Lejuez

Cartridge Hardware
Tim Harris (Shareware Plus)

Tape Mastering (& Loader Game)
Richard Bayliss (TND)
Martin Piper

Cartridge version of C64anabalt Published by RGCD, 2011. Special thanks go out to Andreas Varga for giving permission to share the excellent soundtrack from his unofficial version of the game.

Ordering The Official Cartridge

The official C64anabalt cartridge is available to buy from our shop. The game is presented in a dove-grey cartridge shell, complete with box art by Adam Saltsman and a printed manual.

The cartridge version is available in two packaging types, a standard card carton and a more expensive 'deluxe version' that comes in a plastic case (a Universal Game Case with a specially cut foam insert to hold the cartridge). The standard version is priced at £17, whereas the deluxe version costs £22. Shipping is £4 for UK/Europe and £5 for the rest of the world.

Byte Me (ZX Spectrum)

Jonathan Cauldwell's Byte Me was sold to me by my esteemed colleague (and Editor) on the basis that it would enable me to relive my days as a skivvy at a well-known fast food outlet. Despite this dubious recommendation I was prepared to give it a go and I am pleased to report that it is nowhere near as dull as the aforementioned experience. The one key difference between my (thankfully) long ago slavery to the BBQ sauce-stained masses and this simulated version is that whereas my role only contained a mild amount of peril, this has peril by the bucket-load.

Out-Space (C64)

I was going to review another game this week. I won't say which one, but it looked really cool and grabbed me as soon as I laid eyes on it. Then I spent three or four days of solid playing trying to actually have an opinion on it and I couldn't come up with anything. It's easy to decry something but I couldn't even manage that.

Out-Space, a single axis shooter for the Commodore 64 was my second choice and failed entirely to disappoint. The C64 scene really is shockingly dependable as far as producing good quality product is concerned and Jason Tinkler's shooter which premiered at the recent Replay Expo 2011 sticks with this tradition in supplying quirky, solid and addictive gameplay.

Astro Dodge (Philips Videopac/Magnavox Odyssey2)

Regular readers of RGCD will probably already know about their r0x game for the Atari STE computer, released back in 2009. Simple, yet fun to play, r0x proved that a space themed action game doesn't have to involve shooting all the time to have a blast. In fact, you don't have to shoot at all - a statement proven yet again in Astro Dodge, a new release for Philips Videopac and Magnavox Odyssey2 consoles by the Dutch based Revival Studios.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition 2011

Just over half an hour ago, the first RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition concluded with 11 brand new games for the C64!

And without further introduction... here they are (in original .CRT and .BIN rom format) :)

Blok Copy (Cosine Systems)
C64anabalt (Paulko64)
Fairy Well (Wide Pixel Games)
Fortress of Narzod (TRSI)
Get Em (Endurion)
Jars' Revenge (TRSI)
Panic Analogue (Goin' Sideways)
Rong - Ron's Pong (Software of Sweden)
Space Lords (
The Mollusk (Achim Volkers)
Woolly Jumper (16KB Version) (The New Dimension)

More news will follow soon... I've been ill for the past week, so there's a backlog of review posts awaiting my attention (and publishing) - but for now I'll have a beer and raise my glass to all the entrants who managed to beat the deadline. Cheers guys!