Lyonsden Blog

Tag - Commodore 64

Vegetables Deluxe Review

Vegetables Deluxe

Vegetables Deluxe is a sequel of sorts to the Vegetables game that was released on itch.io early last year by Mike Richmond. It’s a ‘match 3’ type of game similar to Bejewelled or Candy Crush, a genre I don’t think even existed back in the 80’s. Thanks to this game that’s no longer the case and you can now enjoy this genre on both a C64 and Amiga (see end of post).

 

Physical Presentation

The game is presented in a vibrantly coloured glossy green box with some great artwork on the front. The back of the box includes some nice clear screenshots of the game in action along with a description of what it’s all about.

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Opening up the box reveals an instruction manual and the game on a 5.25″ floppy disk with a snazzy matching label.

 

Vegetables Deluxe

Vegetables Deluxe manual and Game on a 5,25″ disk

 

The instruction manual is nicely illustrated and in full colour throughout. It clearly explains how to play the game and describes the four different game modes on offer.

 

Vegetables Deluxe manual

Vegetables Deluxe manual

 

Loading up the Game

 

Upon loading the game  you are presented with a lovely title screen complete with music.  Pressing the fire button on your joystick starts a game straight away. I did find this a little odd as you’d normally expect to choose the game mode first.

 

Vegetables Deluxe title screen

Vegetables Deluxe title screen

 

To actually get to the menu screen you need to pause the game by pressing ‘P’ on the keyboard and then press ‘Q’.

 

menu screen

Vegetables Deluxe menu screen

 

From the menu screen you can choose whether to have music or just sound effects whilst playing. You can also select from one of four different gameplay modes (more about these later).

 

The Game

I’m sure most people are aware of what a ‘match 3’ game is but just in case… Basically you have a grid full of randomly coloured objects, or in this case vegetables. You must match 3 or more of the same coloured vegetables either vertically or horizontally to remove them from the screen and earn points. You do this by moving the little selection box around with a joystick, holding the fire button and then moving the stick in a direction. When a group of vegetables disappear, the ones above fall down and new ones randomly appear from the top to take their place. If you run out of matches the game will use one of your available ‘shuffles’ to randomly rearrange the vegetables on the screen so you can carry on. However, if you no longer have any shuffles remaining then the game will end.

 

Vegetables Deluxe ‘Classic’ mode

 

To mix things up occasionally an immovable block will appear that impedes your progress. You can also match more than three vegetables for extra bonuses. Matching 4 in a row will cause an entire row to be removed and this is a great way to clear those immovable blocks. Matching 5 in a row will cause every matching vegetable on the screen to removed and will earn you an extra shuffle.

 

Vegetable Delxue

Watch out for the grey immovable blocks, let too many accumulate and you’ll run out of moves!

 

The screen is broken up into 3 main sections. On the left there is a kind of shopping list which either tells you how many of each vegetable you need to collect, or how many you have collected so far. (More on this later). The centre of the screen is where all the action takes place whilst on the right is where the timer, score and number of shuffles are located.

 

Vegetables Deluxe

Game Over! (This was my ‘shopping’ High Score)

 

Game Modes

 

There are 4 different modes, each catering towards a different play style.

Casual is for those that want a relaxing experience that keeps the ‘unmovable blocks’ to a minimum. The instructions reckon it’s still possible to reach a game over state in this mode. However during my time playing the game I found this to be more like an endless mode as I kept racking up extra shuffles.

Classic is the default play mode and has you battling to reach a high score whilst dealing with plenty of immovable blocks.

Shopping has you collecting the vegetables shown on the shopping list. If you manage to collect them all then you complete that level and move onto the next with a bigger shopping list.

 

Vegetables Deluxe

Shopping mode has you collecting items off the list on the left

 

Countdown is the hardest mode and has a sliding countdown timer (the coloured bar on the right). This gives you just a few seconds to make a match or you lose a shuffle.

During play if you are struggling to find a match the game will briefly highlight a potential (though not necessarily the best) move you can make. This is a great feature and is one commonly found on modern variants of the game. It’s no use in Countdown mode though, for that you really need to be on the ball!

When you are not playing in shopping mode, the list on the left works the other way round. It actually keeps a tally of what you’ve collected, up to a point anyway. You see the counters only go up to 99 and then reset back to 0. It’s not a big deal and in Casual mode where you could potentially be collecting a mountain of vegetables, entirely understandable.

 

My thoughts on the game

I tried all the game modes but found the ‘shopping’ mode the most fun. It gives you something extra to work on besides just matching vegetables. I didn’t really enjoy ‘countdown’ mode as the timer destroyed the relaxation side of things. Games started in casual mode simply lasted too long. Without a save option I was never able to actually finish one. I guess people playing it on an emulator or C64 Mini would have the option of using save states but that doesn’t fly on the real thing. Leaving my ageing C64 on until I can come back to finish a game certainly isn’t an option either!

For a game that is all about reaching and beating a high score I was disappointed that there was no way to save a high score to disk. Many C64 games offer this facility now and it’s a shame that Vegetables Deluxe hasn’t followed suit. Of course it’s not the end of the world by any means. You can write your score down (proper old-school style) or snap a pic of the screen with a smartphone. Hopefully one day this feature might be included in an updated version of the game.

The game looks terrific though and all the better for utilising high resolution mode. The vegetables are clearly defined and very colourful and the overall aesthetic is very pleasing to the eye. If you choose to play with sound effects then you won’t hear much at all, just the odd ‘plink’ when you make a match. The music however is brilliant and if you enjoy SID tunes then this is definitely the way to play. I’ve played this game for hours and never  tired of listening to the soundtrack so top marks for that.

This is a terrific little puzzle game for the Commodore 64. It looks great, sounds fantastic and is a lot of fun to play. I have no reservations at all in recommending it to anyone looking for a casual gaming experience. It’s published by Double-Sided Games in Canada on cartridge, floppy disk or digital download. There is now also a cassette tape version available from Psytronik in the UK.

 

Standard vs Deluxe Comparison

I mentioned at the start that this is an updated version of the game. Below you can see a few comparison pics between this and the earlier version. There’s a number of marked improvements over the original game. These include the addition of in-game music and three extra gameplay modes. The Deluxe version also takes advantage of the Commodore 64’s high-res capability to deliver much crisper graphics than you get with the chunkier colour mode used in the original. It actually reminds me a little of a Spectrum game in terms of presentation, especially the font used.

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Amiga Version

Included as a bonus at no extra charge is a complete Amiga port of the game as well! This takes the form of a digital ADF disk image that you can either use in an emulator or on a real Amiga via a GOTEK drive. (I think this bonus is exclusive to the Double-Sided Games release).

 

Amiga Vegetables Deluxe

Amiga Title Screen

 

It’s the exact same game with the same choice of game modes, optional music and so on. The music is terrific but I personally prefer the C64 tune. The title screen is also infinitely better on the C64 version with the Amiga’s being text only.

Amiga Vegetables Deluxe

Amiga Vegetables Deluxe game screen

A big benefit of the Amiga version is mouse support which feels like the natural way to play a game like this. It also benefits from the higher resolution and larger colour palette to create a more striking display. Both games are brilliant but I think the C64 version is better in the music department whilst the mouse support gives the Amiga version the edge in gameplay. If the C64 version supported the NEOS or 1351 mouse then that would make it a clear winner for me!

Even though the Amiga version is classed as a bonus addition to the C64 game I would still recommend this to Amiga only gamers as it’s a great game on either system.

Border Zone by Infocom – Classic C64 Purchase

Border Zone Infocom

Before Christmas I mentioned that I had picked up a few new Infocom adventure games for my collection. Well this is the second one, Border Zone for the Commodore 64. Again this is in very good condition throughout. The only blemish being that it is missing one of the feelies (a book of matches) but I’m not really too bothered about that.

 

Border Zone

Infocom Border Zone back cover

 

This adventure is a little bit different as you actually play three different people during the course of the game. The idea being that you get to see the story unfold from different viewpoints. At certain points in the story the paths of the characters intersect too which should prove interesting. Border Zone is basically a cold war spy thriller which was all the rage back in the 80’s. In a nutshell there’s an assassination plot and you must either try to prevent it, or ensure it succeeds, depending on who you are playing as.

 

Border Zone

Border Zone opening screen on my Commodore 64

I have to confess that after I started to play this I realised that there is a timer that ticks down while you are playing. This is a real-time timer… it ticks down whether you type a command or not. This is a real turn off for me as I like to take my time, examine everything, draw a map, make myself a cuppa or whatever… I don’t want to be stressing about running out of time. This may well prove to be a deal-breaker on this particular game, only time will tell.

It is actually possible to slow the timer down by entering the command ‘slow’. This certainly helps things but still doesn’t stop my anxiety levels whilst playing…

 

Border Zone ‘Feelies’

 

As with all Infocom games there’s plenty of extras packed inside the slide out tray.

 

Border Zone

Sliding out the box insert

 

Border Zone is no exception here with lots of extra goodies tucked inside the box insert.

 

The Border Zone box insert

 

Starting with the standard stuff first, there’s the instruction manual, a reference card for the C64 version of the game, the game on a 5.25″ floppy disk, and a registration card.

 

Border Zone

Feelies galore…

 

Also included is a map of the border between Frobnia and Litzenburg and a business card from ‘Riznik’s Antiques’. Additionally there’s an ‘I am Frobnia – Fortunate Tourists Guide and Phrasebook’ to help set the scene. As I mentioned earlier there should also be a little book of matches but unfortunately that was missing from the box.

All in all this is a fantastic item and another worthy addition to my Infocom collection, albeit one that I may never finish due to the timer.

If you enjoyed looking at this page then here’s a look at some of the other Infocom games in my collection that I’ve posted about.

Freeze 64 Issue 33 Fanzine is out now

Freeze 64 Issue 33

Arriving much earlier in the week than is the norm, Freeze 64 Issue 33 glided onto my doormat today. This is the first issue of 2020 and I hope that there’s many more to come.

 

Freeze 64 Issue 33

Freeze 64 Issue 33 comes with a ‘Mikie’ cheat card (no. 28) .

 

Issue #33’s featured game and interview is Head Over Heels and its coder, Colin Porch. There’s also a bumper crop of cheats and pokes for Frostbyte, Dragonspire, Freeze64 and Crazy Blaster. Meanwhile, creeping out of the Mouldy Cupboard this time around is the shameful Night Rider Niterider from 1984.

 

Freeze 64 Issue 33

Freeze 64 in its native habitat…

 

In another interesting interview, Chris Stanley delves into the making of his recently released ‘Mancave’ game. Of course all the regular sections like Zzapback!, Secret Squirrel and My C64 Heaven make a return too. We also have the 2019 Freeze 64 Game of the Year awards to enjoy.

 

Quick peek at the contents of this issue.

 

If you fancy your own copy then head over to the Freeze64 website and show your support by purchasing this issue.

 

I need your clothes, your boots… and your copy of Freeze 64!  (Sorry couldn’t resist – my T800 model has finally reached a point where it’s starting to look like a Terminator and I wanted to show it off!)

 

Here’s a link to my previews of several earlier editions of Freeze64 if you’d like to check out what you’ve been missing!

Audio Tape Cassette Storage Solution

audio tape cassette storage

My audio tape cassette storage problem has been bugging me for quite some time now. Over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of cassette tapes (both music and games) and that number is constantly increasing. I’ve been storing a lot of them in those old drawer units (the ones usually covered in tacky looking wood effect vinyl). Whilst this is an effective storage method I’ve always found them a bit of a pain to use and also my tapes are hidden away out of sight. I’ve also got loads of tapes stacked on top of each other on a shelf and this is far from ideal too. Forty year old tapes are not something I want to risk playing Jenga with!

All this leads me to the reason for posting this article. After searching around for a while for a better solution I finally found one I’m happy with so I thought I’d share it.


Here are links to the two racks featured in this article.


 

The Solution

The audio tape cassette storage solution I found is a purpose made wooden rack that can hold 60 cassettes in their boxes. They’re manufactured by a company in Germany called ‘Protected’ and are available for sale on Amazon. They cost £25.90 and as far as I can see they ship all over Europe for a flat £9.90 fee. I initially bought three and still only paid £9.90 shipping in total. Speaking of which delivery took less than a week by DHL.

 

The packaging the racks arrived in.

 

The racks came individually packaged. Opening the cardboard box (carefully to avoid cutting into it) revealed the nicely bubble-wrapped rack inside.

 

audio tape cassette storage

My cat loves it when I open new parcels!

 

All three of mine arrived in great shape. I must admit I was a little wary about ordering at first as I wasn’t sure if these were getting knocked together in someone’s garden shed. There is only one (poor) photo on the Amazon website and precious little info provided. However I was very pleased to discover a high standard of both manufacture and finish.

 

audio tape cassette storage

Nicely finished woodwork

 

A Closer Look

The racks are constructed from solid strips of pine wood and the back panel is made of plywood. All the strips of wood forming the slots are perfectly aligned and fit perfectly flush. There are no sharp edges or splinters to worry about as everything has been sanded smooth and edges rounded off. The back is a little rough but once in use you’re never going to see or touch it again.

There are 4 pre-drilled holes in each corner so you can wall mount the racks. Somewhat disappointingly plugs and screws are not provided. However this is not that big a deal and most people my age have probably got loads in a jam jar somewhere in their shed or garage. I would also recommend the use of a washer as the holes are quite big. Using a washer will also prevent you from driving a screw right through the thin plywood back panel.

 

width…

 

Size wise the racks are approximately 20″ (51cm) long and 13.5″ (34cm) tall.

 

height…

 

I opted for the natural pine finish but they also offer a white one too. I’ve not seen that in the flesh so can’t comment on the finish of it. I guess you could also either varnish or paint them to suite your colour scheme too. I’m quite happy to keep the bare wood finish for my setup though.

 

Closer look at the slot construction

 

The slots are perfectly sized and I’ve not found any cassettes that wouldn’t fit into the them.

 

audio tape cassette storage

A selection of VIC20 games slotted in nicely

 

The rack is slightly shallower than a cassette is deep (2″ or 50mm) which means tapes stick out about 1/2″ (12mm). This allows you to easily get your fingers around them when you need to get them out.

 

audio tape cassette storage

Top of rack makes for a useful display area.

 

You can even use the top of the rack as a small shelf for extra storage or display purposes. I’m still experimenting with what looks best but will probably settle for displaying double-cassette boxes or the odd big box game.

 

audio tape cassette storage

Racks filling up nicely…

Finishing Words

I have to say I really love these racks and I’m glad I’ve finally found a storage solution that fulfils my desire to display my stuff too. I filled my three racks straight away so have just ordered another three. With six racks I’ll have the capacity to store 120 tapes in total. That’ll allow me to store all the tapes I currently own and hopefully leave me with enough empty slots to accommodate future purchases, fingers crossed.

The racks are available from Amazon and I’ve included various links to them throughout this article too.

  • Full disclosure – they’re affiliated links which means I receive a few pennies if you make a purchase using the link but it costs you nothing extra at all.

Once I get the other three racks and set them up I’ll post another photo or two of the completed project. Hope you found this article useful!

JollyDisk – a Merry 8-Bit Christmas

JollyDisk

I spotted this little festive treat quite by chance just a few days before Christmas. It’s called ‘JollyDisk’ and is basically a series of animated Christmas cards along with some nice SID based Christmas carols. There’s also an animated Yule Log ‘Jukebox’ thrown in for good measure too.

From time of ordering to delivery from the USA to the UK took ten days. Given the time of year I thought this was pretty good. What wasn’t so good was the £13.11 customs charges I got stung for. Only £5.11 of that total was actually import duties, the other £8 was tacked on by Royal Mail for ‘handling fees’. Anyhoo… them’s the breaks as they say so I won’t hold that against it. As for the Royal Mail… you robbers…

 

JollyDisk

JollyDisk Contents

 

Anyway my JollyDisk came neatly packaged inside a ZipLock bag with a colourful card inlay showing what it’s all about. There was also a nice ‘Stirring Dragon Games’ sticker, a keyboard overlay (remember those?) and of course the actual 5.25″ JollyDisk itself!

The JollyDisk is actually double sided. The first side is devoted to the multimedia Christmas cards whilst the flip side hosts the Yule Log Jukebox.

 

Christmas Cards

 

JollyDisk Title Screen

JollyDisk Title Screen

 

After a few moments you are greeted with a nice title screen before moving on to the Christmas cards. The cards are beautifully presented in full multi-colour graphics featuring a number of animations that help bring the scene to life.

 

JollyDisk

Pay attention to this one to spot a special appearance…

 

In one scene for example, Santa’s sleigh streaks across a moonlit sky (closely following by E.T. if you pay attention!). Others feature animated animals, snow falling, twinkling lights and much more. It’s clear that a lot of love went into creating each scene.

 

JollyDisk

A fox gazes into a moonlit sky…

 

Accompanying each screen is a Christmas carol performed gracefully by the C64’s SID chip. There’s a different carol for each screen ranging from Silent Night to Deck the Halls and of course Jingle Bells is in there somewhere too!

 

JollyDisk

Winter scene featuring a deer taking a drink

 

Once each music track has finished the next scene is automatically loaded off the floppy disk.

 

JollyDisk

Traditional Christmas scene

 

Once the final Christmas Card has been displayed it loops right back to the start. This means you can leave it on for as long as you like and have it constantly cycling through different scenes and carols.

 

JollyDisk

A kid playing on a C64 in their bedroom at Christmas – something most of us can probably relate to!

 

It’s the sort of thing a computer shop in the 80’s might have left on display during the festive season.

 

JollyDisk

The last scene before looping back to the beginning

Yule Log

 

The second side of the JollyDisk features a fully animated Yule Log created entirely from PETSCII graphics. This ‘Jukebox’ is where that keyboard overlay comes in handy.

 

JollyDisk Keyboard Overlay

The keyboard Overlay in use

 

The keyboard overlay sits over the function keys and reminds you which keys do what.

  • F1 turns the sound off.
  • F3 changes the fireplace design (there are 2 to choose from).
  • F5 selects a crackling fire sound.
  • F7 skips to the next song.

The songs that play are the same Christmas carols that featured on side one. However there do seem to be a few more on offer here. I think there’s ten in total. In addition to moving sequentially through them with F7 you can also directly access each one using the number keys. Playing the songs like this causes them to play on a loop, particularly handy if you have a favourite.

 

JollyDisk

JollyDisk Yule Log menu screen

 

The crackling fire sound enabled by pressing F5 is quite effective. I assume it’s been created using various snippets of white noise but it’s pretty effective and definitely relaxing. In fact I’ve actually got it running in the background whilst I type this article!

A static photo wouldn’t have done the Yule Log justice so here’s an animated GIF…

 

Here’s an animated GIF I created of the crackling fire. You’ll just have to imagine the Christmas carols playing or the sounds of the log crackling – either that or buy a copy for yourself 🙂

 

All in all this is a delightful little product. It’s definitely something I will look forward to digging out every year to experience some 8-bit Christmas cheer.

As I write this it’s still available physically for $24.99 or $14.99 digitally from Stirring Dragon Games if you are interested in getting hold of a copy yourself.

Plundered Hearts by Infocom – Classic C64 Purchase

Plundered Hearts

I was lucky enough to bag a few new adventure games for my collection in the run up to Christmas. One them was this, the big box release of Plundered Hearts by Infocom. I paid a little more than I probably should have as it’s quite a rare game and is in beautiful condition. It’s definitely been well cared for by its previous owner. It is resplendent with all the extra ‘feelies’ and paperwork inside its pristine box too.

 

Infocom Plundered Hearts back cover

Infocom Plundered Hearts back cover

 

This adventure tells the story of a young woman who sets sail for the West Indies in search of her sick father. Along the way you will encounter pirates, puzzles, vicious crocodiles and even romance.  This sounds like it could be a really good yarn and given the pirate subject matter has made its way into my play list quite near the top!

 

Plundered Hearts running on my Commodore 64

Ooer missus – Plundered Hearts running on my Commodore 64

 

Plundered Hearts ‘Feelies’

 

As always with Infocom games, a huge part of their appeal for me is the extras (feelies) tucked inside the box. All of these bits and bobs came as standard with each copy of the game sold. No premium priced ‘special’ or ‘collectors’ editions here designed to fleece the customer. No siree, everyone got the same fully loaded edition. How times have changed – you’re lucky to get a sheet of paper listing the game controls these days!

 

Plundered Hearts

Sliding out the box insert

 

Happily Plundered Hearts is no exception here with lots of extra goodies tucked inside the box insert.

 

Plundered Hearts Contents

The Plundered Hearts box insert

 

There’s the instruction manual, a reference card for the C64 version of the game, the game on a 5.25″ floppy disk, a registration card and a coupon book containing offers for other games and merchandise.

 

Plundered Hearts Feelies

Plundered Hearts Feelies

 

Incidentally there’s some great offers inside the coupon book but sadly it looks like I missed the expiration date by a few days…

 

Infocom T-Shirt Coupon

I’d definitely be taking advantage of this offer of a free Infocom T-Shirt if the coupon was still valid!

 

Opening up the blue velvet pouch reveals even more goodies… There’s a beautifully hand written letter from Jean Lafond helping to set the scene for the game. A 50 Guinea note from the Bank of St. Sinistra rounds off the list of feelies and looks pretty convincing although is sadly not legal tender in the UK.

 

Plundered Hearts Feelies

Letter and 50 guinea note contained within the blue velvet pouch

All in all this is a fantastic item and a very worthy addition to my Infocom collection.

If you enjoyed looking at this page then here’s a look at some of the other Infocom games in my collection that I’ve posted about.

Freeze 64 Issue 32 Fanzine is out now

Freeze 64 Issue 32

With the uncanny knack of being able to arrive in time for the weekend, Freeze 64 Issue 32 has materialised on my doormat. Sadly this is the last mag we’ll get in 2019 so we won’t get to see a special Christmas themed issue this year. Of course it will be returning in the new year though.

In the meantime subscribers have been told we can expect a special mini Christmas issue via email with some sort of surprise contained within it! Can’t wait 🙂

 

Freeze 64 Issue 32

Freeze 64 Issue 32 comes with a neat ‘Nodes of Yesod’ cheat card (no. 27) and a gift subscription order form.

 

Issue #32’s featured game and interview is CJ’s Elephant Antics and its’ developers Ashley Hogg and Jonathan Temples. There’s also some great cheats and pokes for Keystone Kapers. Crawling out of the Mouldy Cupboard in this issue is Ratsplat which dates back to 1985. Regular sections Zzapback!, Secret Squirrel and My C64 Heaven are all present and correct and this this time around there’s even a hardware review of the Tapuino Reloaded!

 

Freeze 64 Issue 32

Quick peek at the contents of this issue.

 

If you fancy your own copy then head over to the Freeze64 website and show your support by purchasing this issue.

Here’s a link to my previews of several earlier editions of Freeze64 if you’d like to check out what you’ve been missing!

A look at the new Zzap! 64 2020 Annual

Zzap! 64 2020 Annual

Who’d have thought back in the 80’s that in the far off future of 2020 we’d be getting a new Zzap! 64 annual for Christmas? But that’s exactly what’s happening here as I’ve just received my brand new Zzap 64 2020 Annual through the post following another successful Kickstarter campaign.

 

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This time around (they released a Zzap! 64 annual last year too) there were plenty of stretch goals that has resulted in a lot of extra goodies to enjoy besides just the annual.

 

Zzap 64 2020 Annual

Zzap 64 2020 Annual Goodies

 

Along with the Annual, for £22 I also received an A3 Tir Na Nog map/poster, an A5 50 page Fusion 64 magazine & collectors card, a Zzap! 64 keyring plus a Zzap! 64 2020 calendar. Didn’t he do well as Bruce Forsyth would have said.

 

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Below is a little peek at the contents page so you can get an idea of exactly what’s inside the annual this year.

 

Zzap! 64 2020 Annual

Zzap! 64 2020 Annual Contents Page

 

As you can see it covers a broad range of C64 topics from past to present including Perifractics ‘Brixty-Four’ off his youtube channel and none other than Vinny Mainolfi creator of the extremely awesome Freeze 64 magazine.

 

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If you’d like to get hold of your own copy (and if you like the C64 then you really should) you can buy the annual directly from the Fusion Retro Books website for £15. Please bear in mind that you won’t get all the extras described above as these were only for those who backed the Kickstarter campaign.

Moonmist by Infocom – Classic C64 Purchase

Infocom Moonmist

My Infocom collection continues to grow and this time it’s thanks to the greybox release of ‘Moonmist’. It’s a lovely addition to my collection and has been well looked after by its previous owner. It came complete with all the extra ‘feelies’ and paperwork inside the box.

 

Infocom Moonmist

Infocom Moonmist back cover

 

Infocom have classified this particular release as being of an ‘Introductory Level’ which basically means it’s one of their easier titles. Not that I’m expecting it to be any kind of a walk in the park. As I’ve come to expect now, the disk still loads just fine, despite it’s advancing age.

 

Infocom Moonmist

Infocom Moonmist running on my Commodore 64

 

 

Moonmist ‘Feelies’

As always with Infocom games, a big part of their appeal is the extras (feelies) tucked inside the box, all of which came as standard.

 

Infocom Moonmist

Infocom Moonmist box contents

 

Moonmist is no exception here with lots of extra goodies inside the box. First we have the ‘Legendary Ghosts of Cornwall’ book which forms part of the front inside cover. This sets the scene for our spooky adventure and also gives a few tips on how to play the game.

 

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Then we have two letters sent to you from you friend Tamara which also help set the scene. Next up is the Tresyllian Castle Visitor Guide which includes a handy map of the castle. There’s also an Infocom Passport (which is basically a product catalogue), disk loading instructions, registration card and of course the game itself on a 5.25″ floppy.

 

 

Infocom Moonmist

Infocom Moonmist Goodies

 

Oh and one other thing too – an iron on transfer of the Moonmist logo! I bet when they were putting that in the box they never envisaged someone excitedly opening it up 35 years later. Needless to say I won’t be putting an iron anywhere near it!

If you enjoyed looking at this page then here’s a look at some of the other Infocom games in my collection that I’ve posted about.

Retro Gamer Magazine #200 with Turrican CD!

Another absolutely brilliant couple of freebies with this months Retro Gamer magazine. First off there’s the A2 colour poster which contains the full image used on the front cover of this special 200th issue of the magazine. It’s like ‘Where’s Wally?’ only for retro geeks! I challenge you to find the C64 and Amiga 500 hidden in the poster!

 

Retro Gamer Turrican

Retro Gamer Issue 200 Cover

 

Secondly there’s an amazing Turrican soundtrack CD included, featuring 14 music tracks from the game.

 

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But these aren’t straight rips from the game, oh no. The first 8 tracks have been performed by a full orchestra and sound phenomenal. The final 6 tracks are remixed studio versions of the game tracks which sound terrific too. I’ve listened to this CD twice already now it’s that good. In fact I’d say the CD is worth the price of the magazine alone!

 

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There’s loads of great content in this months issue but I especially enjoyed the trip through the decades of gaming starting in the 70’s passing through the 80’s and ending in the 90’s. Plenty of coverage of both 8 and 16-bit Commodore machines too. I’d say this months edition is definitely worth a buy, even if it’s just for that epic poster and the Turrican CD!

More Commodore Magazines (on DVD in PDF format)

I posted about these magazine ‘compilations’ a while ago when I bought this bunch of Amiga ones off eBay. Well I was browsing again a few days ago and noticed the seller is selling some different Commodore magazines now so I bought a bunch more. Here they are:

 

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Here’s a look at the very first edition cover for each of the 5 magazines.

 

First Edition Covers!

 

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As with the last batch I bought, the presentation of these discs is first rate with nicely designed colour prints on the front of each DVD.

Unfortunately I discovered a few problems with two of the collections this time around. The first and least problematic was the source quality of the magazines used for the Zzap!64 collection. The pages were grubby and full of creases as you can clearly see in the Zzap! cover shown above. It’s a shame they weren’t able to procure better condition magazines for scanning. However the pages were still readable and given how old the source material is I can overlook some ropey quality issues here and there.

However with the Amiga Power collection there was a much bigger and unforgivable issue. Basically the magazine pages have been scanned at far too low a resolution. In some cases an entire magazine has been crammed into a 2mb PDF! This has rendered text unreadable on many of the pages as you can see with the excerpt of a Rainbow Islands review below.

 

Lousy scan quality – review text is unreadable!

 

As you can see the quality is simply unacceptable. Give the seller his due, he refunded me within minutes of contacting him about the issue and pledged to look into the problem and try to locate some better scans.

I’d definitely avoid the Amiga Power collection then but the rest are all recommended if you want to add these classic magazines to your collection.

The seller’s name is ‘another-world-games‘ if you fancy having a look at what they offer for yourself.

Freeze 64 Issue 31 Fanzine is out now

Freeze 64 Issue 31

It’s amazing how time appears to move faster the older you get. I remember waiting for the next issue of Zzap! 64 to appear in my local newsagent as a teenager and it felt like an eternity! Yet here I am sitting down with Freeze 64 Issue 31 but it only feels like a week ago I was reading issue 30!

 

Freeze 64 Issue 31

Freeze 64 Issue 31 comes with a cool Zybex sticker and a gift subscription order form to give to your significant other.

 

This issue does away with the usual collectors card in favour of a sticker instead. I love stickers so this is a good thing in my book. I’d be more than happy for this to continue in the future. Even though I’ve got an existing subscription to the mag I’ll still put that gift subscription leaflet to good use too. 😉

 

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So what’s in this months issue then?  Well the featured game and interview is Zybex and its’ programmers Kevin Franklin and Adam Gilmore. There’s also some cool level skipping cheats and pokes for a whole host of C64 games. A suitably icky sounding game, MaggotMania features in the Mouldy Cupboard section. Regular sections Zzapback!, Secret Squirrel and My C64 Heaven are all present and correct too. It’s probably no longer a surprise that Badlands is the featured game in the ‘The Diary of…’ series…

 

Freeze 64 Issue 31

Here’s a peek at the contents page of this issue.

 

If you fancy your own copy then head over to the Freeze64 website and show your support by purchasing this issue.

Here’s a link to my previews of several earlier editions of Freeze64 if you’d like to check out what you’ve been missing!