Lyonsden Blog

Tag - Retro

Eight Bit Magazine

Eight Bit Magazine

In this post I’m taking a look at Eight Bit magazine, another new (to me at least) retro computer magazine. I actually ordered these 6 issues 4 months ago as part of a Kickstarter campaign but they took a fair bit longer to arrive than expected. I’ve only had time to read through the first issue so far but things are looking promising. The magazines are well written and interesting to read and feature multiple contributors rather than being written by just one person.

 

Eight Bit Magazine

Genesis article

 

Issue one weighs in at almost 70 pages so there’s plenty to keep you occupied. As the title suggests, the content is spread across all 8-Bit formats. There’s a very interesting and in-depth look at the ‘Genesis’ of gaming. Here they delve into the history of the first arcade machines and home consoles that appeared in the 1970’s and early 80’s. This is a very long (14 pages) and text heavy article, but thankfully the font and colours used in the printing make it easy to read. Having lived through the entire period the article covers I found it to be a great trip down memory lane. I particularly enjoyed reading about long forgotten software companies such as Imagine (which was based in my home city) – as a child I used to dream of getting a job with them and razzing around in a flash car!

 

Eight Bit Magazine

Commodore 64 Collectors Guide

 

Elsewhere in the magazine the article ‘Collectors Guide: The Commodore 64’ caught my eye. This is a brief introduction to the machine, what it can do and some of the most popular peripherals available for it. I hope to see more in depth articles about the 64 in future issues as this one didn’t really tell me anything new. However I think the point of these features is to give non-owners of such systems an idea of what the machine is capable of and what is available for it. The article did hint that they would be looking at GEOS in a future issue so I’m really looking forward to that!

 

Eight Bit Magazine

Commodore 64 Collectors Guide

 

Also in issue one there is a brief (and I do mean brief) look at BASIC programming and machine code. I really hope they expand on this in future issues as I’ve got a strong hankering to get back into programming on the C64 and would love to see some proper tutorials. There’s also an extensive look at the early Apple 8-Bit computers, a quirky computer from Yugoslavia and even a couple of short game reviews. All in all I’m very pleased with this magazine and look forward to getting stuck into the other five issues. I’ll definitely be subscribing to future issues too.

If you would like to find out more information about the magazines or order your own copies then you can visit their webpage here: Eight Bit Magazine.

Freeze 64 Issue 23

Freeze64 Issue 23

The latest Freeze64 Issue 23 dropped through my letterbox yesterday. This one features a photo of the late Ben Daglish on the cover rather than the pixel game art that I’ve become so accustomed to. In case you are not aware he was a legend in the C64 music scene and composed some amazing music for many great games including The Last Ninja.

As always there’s plenty to read inside including my personal favourite, a ‘Talkies’ article looking at games that featured speech. I always used to love games with speech – it was just so cool to hear your 64 talk, no matter how scratchy or poor quality it may have been. The fact that they were able to do this with just a few kilobytes of memory still amazes me to this day!

Most of the regular features make a welcome return including Zzapback and a look at new and upcoming games in the Commodore 64 scene.

This fanzine/magazine continues to go from strength to strength and really deserves your support. If you would like to get hold of your very own copy of Freeze64 Issue 23 then take a look here.

 

Amiga Future Issue 135

Amiga Future 135

Plenty of reading material this week as in addition to K&A Plus 11, Amiga Future 135 is also out now. This edition is packed with all the latest news from the entire Amiga scene…

 

Amiga Future 135

Amiga Future 135 News pages

 

…including an in depth look at Gamescom 2018 that took place in Cologne back in August this year.

 

Amiga Future 135

Gamescom 2018 Feature

 

There are also plenty of reviews of both old and new Amiga games including the newly released ‘Extended Collector’s Edition’ of Rocket Ranger.

 

Amiga Future 135

Rocket Ranger Extended Collector’s Edition Review

 

A little late for me personally (having installed this about 6 months ago) but still of great interest, is a detailed review of MorphOS 3.11, the latest iteration of the long running replacement Amiga OS.

 

Amiga Future 135

MorphOS 3.11 Review

 

There’s plenty more to read about besides the few things I’ve highlighted already so if you are interested in finding out more about this long running Amiga magazine take a look here.

K&A Plus Issue 11

K&A Plus Issue 11

This magazine is only published a couple of times a year but is always packed with great content and K&A Plus Issue 11 is no exception. This is probably the biggest magazine both in terms of thickness and content there is for the Commodore range of machines in 2018, packing in a whopping 81 pages and none of them are filled by adverts!

 

K&A Plus Issue 11

Single Button Games & Exploding Fish Reviews

 

This issue has a fairly even split of content between the Commodore 64 and Amiga computers which is fantastic for me as I actively support both formats. There’s news, reviews, tutorials and retrospective articles covering both machines and even some stuff for the Vic 20 and the post Amiga MorphOS and AROS systems.

 

K&A Plus Issue 11

Mini reviews of C64 Racing Games.

 

The star of the whole issue for me is the included (if you pay a little extra for it) 5.25″ Coverdisk featuring a brand new game for the Commodore 64 – ‘Tower of Rubble’. This is the first 5.25″ Coverdisk I have seen since Commodore Disk User ceased publication back in 1991.

 

K&A Plus Issue 11

Tower of Rubble Coverdisk

 

There’s loads of content, far too much to list but some of the highlights for me are: A look into the Spy vs Spy franchise, H. R. Giger’s Dark Seed, reviews of ‘Retro Radio Stations’, an article about the pro’s and cons of modifying/upgrading retro machines and an ‘Amiga in your pocket’ tutorial showing you step by step how to convert a windows tablet into a portable Amiga!!!

 

K&A Plus Issue 11

A look at Dark Seed on the Amiga

 

If you want to find out more, or order yourself a copy, head on over to the Komoda & Amiga Plus website. The magazine is produced in Poland and shipping to the UK only takes a few days.

 

Worthy

Worthy Amiga game

It certainly took quite a while for Worthy to arrive, at least in physical form, but it was well worth the wait. This is the first new (physical) Amiga game I’ve bought in about 25 years! It includes both a CD and Floppy Disk copy of the game plus a digital version too so all bases are covered! It’s an OCS game so will work on the original A500 no problem.

 

Worthy Amiga game

Back of the box

 

I have to say I was really impressed with the physical presentation. The packaging is very faithful to the type used back in the Amiga’s heyday with a large cardboard box and glossy outer sleeve. Inside is the more modern and mundane DVD case that houses the floppy and CD.

 

Worthy Amiga game

The DVD style case inside the big box

 

I won’t bother reviewing the game as there’s plenty of info here but I will say I’m thoroughly enjoying it and it’s great to see new games making an appearance in 2018!

 

Worthy Amiga game

Contents of the DVD case with instruction manual, floppy and CD versions of the game

 

Anyway, here’s one final photo showing the game on a shelf alongside a few of my other Amiga games. It certainly doesn’t look out of place next to its much older forebears!

 

Worthy Amiga game

Worthy next to popular games from the Amiga’s heyday

Zzap 64 Annual 2019

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

How cool is this, just received the brand new Zzap! 64 Annual 2019 through the post! This really takes me back to my childhood when every Christmas I would get at least one annual in my stocking. I used to love receiving these as they were always crammed with content that I could while away the hours reading in my bedroom. This is no exception, in fact it may be the most jam-packed annual I’ve ever had with nearly 130 pages bursting at the seams with fascinating 64 related articles, reviews and information.

 

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Oliver Frey artwork on the cover

 

I backed this project on Kickstarter earlier this year and am so very glad I did. It’s probably one of the quickest (to finish) campaigns I’ve ever backed with the whole thing taking around 6 months from backing to receiving the goods. The cover had been kept under wraps so that it would be a surprise and features original artwork by Oliver Frey. Oliver’s work seems to be popping up all over the 64 scene of late, but needless to say it’s another quality illustration. There’s also a 2019 calendar included that’s packed with more of Oliver’s handywork and I can’t wait to display that on my wall come January.

 

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Contents page looks like it’s been lifted straight from an 1980’s copy of Zzap! 64

 

The art style and layout is instantly familiar. I’m delighted to see they’ve revived the little caricatures of the reviewers although they have ‘aged’ them to reflect the fact that these guys are now some 30 odd years older! But then aren’t we all…?

 

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

Example of some the content

 

It doesn’t just cover stuff from the past though. There are plenty of articles and reviews about the current the Commodore 64 scene including an in depth look at The C64 Mini that released earlier this year. All in all it’s a fantastic read and one of the best projects I’ve backed on Kickstarter so far. If they decide to make another annual next year (which they are already talking about) then I’m all in.

 

Zzap! 64 Annual 2019

The C64 Mini gets an in-depth looking at!

 

Now that the  Kickstarter is over it looks like you can buy the annual directly from the Fusion Retro Books website for £15 although how many extra copies they made over and above the Kickstarter ones I don’t know.

Fusion Issue 2

Fusion Magazine Issue 2

Just received Fusion Magazine Issue 2 in the post. If you’ve not heard of this yet it’s a great little UK produced A5 magazine that covers a mix of retro and current generation gaming.

 

Fusion Magazine Issue 2

Aliens Arcade Game

 

It contains almost 60 pages packed with articles and reviews about games old and new and hardware too. I particularly enjoyed the review of retro joysticks and was glad to see that my favourite joystick of all time (the Zipstick) got a much deserved 9/10 here!

 

Fusion Magazine Issue 2

Retro Joysticks Review

 

There are a great many interesting articles and features in the magazine but I especially enjoyed ‘A Sensible Tale’. This describes how the Amiga Format coverdisk ‘Cannon Soccer’ came to be made. This really took me back to Christmastime living with my parents in the early 90’s. It also brought back very fond memories of getting coverdisks in the age before everything became instantly available over the Internet.

 

Fusion Magazine Issue 2

A Sensible Tale

 

Another great article covering a more recent game was the ‘Last of Us Revisited’. I remember this really pushing my fat PS3 to the limit – the fans used to run at full pelt while playing this game and made my PS3 sound like a vacuum cleaner!

 

Fusion Magazine Issue 2

The Last of Us Revisited

 

This really is a great little magazine and I’ll definitely make a point of subscribing now that they offer this as an option. Anyway if you haven’t yet got your own copy and would like to know more then head on over to the Fusion website.

Freeze64 September Issue out now!

Freeze64

Looking forward to reading this during my lunch break – it’s the September 2018 edition of Freeze64 and as always it’s packed with diverse and interesting C64 content.

All the regular features make a welcome return including the Mouldy Cupboard, Secret Squirrel and Pokes & Codes. In the now pretty regular “We Don’t do Reviews” section there’s a cracking review of the recently released game ‘Yoomp! 64’.

There’s plenty more inside to while away your time including Zzapback with Julian Rignall, a big interview with Karl Hornell, latest news snippets, cheats and a whole lot more.

This fanzine is simply a must buy for anyone with even a passing interest in the Commodore 64 and is well worth £3.99 of anyone’s money. If you’d like to get your very own physical copy (and this fanzine doesn’t do digital copies) then head on over to Freeze64 now!

Hunter’s Moon Remastered

Hunter's Moon Remastered

Nearly a year after backing it, Hunter’s Moon Remastered finally arrived through my letterbox today! This is not a game review, just a quick look at the physical game and what is included.

 

Hunter's Moon Remastered

Hunter’s Moon Remastered – Sleeve Front

 

The game comes on a brilliant white cartridge housed in a clamshell case. The cover features gorgeous artwork by Oliver Frey (the guy that used to do the covers for Zzap!64). There is also a high quality cardboard slipcase for it featuring the same artwork but set against an alternative black background.

 

Hunter's Moon Remastered

Hunter’s Moon Remastered Sleeve Back

 

Packaged with the game are the following extras:

  • A very high quality instruction booklet
  • Snazzy Thalamus bookmark
  • Postcard featuring that Oliver Frey artwork again
  • 2 Thalamus stickers.

 

Hunter's Moon Remastered

The full Hunter’s Moon Remastered package

 

Sadly my C64 is off limits at the moment whilst I redecorate the study so I can’t even load it up and have a go! Needless to say, once my 64 is back in action this will be one of the first things I get stuck into!

 

Hunter's Moon Remastered

Close-up of the Hunter’s Moon Remastered cartridge

 

I believe Protovision will be stocking the cartridge version of the game at some point in the future, whilst a digital version is available now from itch.io.

CD32 Scene – A Brand new Amiga mag is out!

CD32 Scene

Just in time for the weekend the very first issue of a brand new Amiga CD32 magazine; ‘CD32 Scene’ arrived in the post, complete with a Cover CD and a cool fridge magnet. The cover CD features the full game ‘Lumberjack Reloaded’, demos of ‘Heroes of Gorluth’ and ‘Zerosphere’ plus some PD games and a video from the former editor of Amiga CD! magazine.

CD32 Scene

The magazine along with the cover CD and fridge magnet

According to the blurb on the cover this is the first new physical CD32 magazine there has been in the past 22 years! I don’t even have a CD32 yet but felt an endeavour like this needed to be supported so bought a copy. Besides there is a massive overlap between the Amiga and CD32 – the CD32 basically being a stripped down A1200 with a CD-ROM drive. It’s a system I would like to add to my retro collection at some point in the near future anyway.

CD32 Scene

Worthy Review

Inside the A5 sized magazine there’s plenty to read such as reviews of brand new Amiga games including Worthy, Reshoot and Lumberjack Reloaded. There’s also a look at several Public Domain demos that have been released recently.

CD32 Scene

Article looking into the troubles Commodore experienced before the launch of the CD32

There are plenty of articles about the history of the CD32 itself too alongside an interview with Martyn Brown, co-founder of Team 17 about his experience of making games for the system. There’s also current news and previews of upcoming games and more to get stuck into.

CD32 Scene

A-Z of CD32 Games

Of particular interest to me was the A-Z of CD32 Games. Given that I don’t currently have any games for the system at all this will be a great reference source for me when I inevitably start to build up a collection 😉

If you’d like to find out more or purchase yourself a copy (issue 2 is being worked on now) then head over to the CD32 scene store page.

Commodore Amiga – A Visual Compendium

Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Probably a bit late to the party with this one as it has been out a while but I spotted this on Amazon a while back and just couldn’t resist ordering it. Published by Bitmap Books, ‘The Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium‘ is just that. Every page features a lavish illustration of something from the Amiga’s history. There are screenshots of games, game artwork, hardware and more. It is presented in a lovely zoomed-in pixel art type of aesthetic which works really well for the subject matter.

 

Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Feature about Turrican 2

 

Every single page (and there are over 400 of them) is packed with nostalgia. I can pretty much guarantee that you will be transported back to the late 80’s or early 90’s in no time – I definitely was!

 

Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Lotus 2, one of my favourite games of all time on the Amiga!

 

If you were into the Amiga scene back in the day then I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s a cracking trip down memory lane and a great source of inspiration if you’re looking to expand your Amiga game collection.

 

Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Nice shot of the Amiga 500…

 

I purchased the hardback edition but there is a cheaper paperback version too. I’m actually not sure if the hardback version is still available now to be honest. Its definitely a book that you need to own physically – it just wouldn’t really work as an ebook.

 

Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Unfortunately (kids eh?) this was probably the most used bit of software I had!

 

It incorporates a couple of very useful ribbon style bookmarks in the spine and a matching paper jacket to protect the hardback cover underneath. If you are interested in finding out more about ‘Commodore Amiga – A Visual Compendium’ you can have a look on Amazon here. There is also a Commodore 64 version which I intend to get too!

 

Commodore Amiga - A Visual Compendium

Another 2 classic games

 

Single Button Games for C64 – Mini Reviews

C64 Single Button Games

Here’s a quick look at the new C64 ‘Single Button Games’ collection from K&A Plus including screenshots of each of the 5 games on the cassette.

I always enjoy getting packages in the post from foreign countries, seeing the strange looking stamps on them and of course trying to remember exactly what I’ve ordered from where to guess what may be inside! You know how it is with a lot of retro stuff – often it can be weeks or even months after you place an order before it  arrives.

Anyway, this time it was ‘Single Button Games’ from K&A Plus Magazine in Poland. As the name suggests this is a collection of games that you can play by only using your joystick fire button.

 

Single Button Games

The Cassette Case

 

Single Button Games

The Complete Package – includes some cool little stickers!

 

Amazingly there are 5 little games packed onto this cassette; 2 on side A and 3 more on side B. All of them utilise a turbo loader so you won’t have to wait too long for them to load. Even so,  they all feature loading music and loading screens to entertain you whilst you wait for the games to load – just like being back in the 80’s!.

 

Single Button Games

The Inlay Card

 

Taking a Look at the Single Button Games

As mentioned already there are five games included – let’s insert the tape and take a brief look at them all, in the order in which they appear on the cassette.

Single Button Games

Binatone Data Recorder with the Single Button Game Collection Inserted – Ready to Play!

 

SIDE A

Captain Cloudberry (Tape Counter – 000)

You control a small Bi-Plane and have to destroy weather balloons found around the screen whilst avoiding hitting the frozen clouds. The fact you can only use a single button press to control the plane ensures that this is nowhere near as easy at it sounds! Clicking the fire button causes the planes direction of flight to rotate 45′. Each subsequent press rotates it another 45′ until you have come full circle. Just imagine trying to play ‘Snake’ with just a single button to rotate the snakes head and you’ll get the idea.

 

 Single Button Games

Captain Cloudberry Loading Screen

 

Single Button Games

Captain Cloudberry Title Screen

 

Single Button Games

Captain Cloudberry Game Screen

Pixel City Skater (Tape Counter – 057)

This is a screen flipping ‘endless runner’ where you have to perform skateboard jumps over various obstacles to progress as far as you can before you inevitably collide with something and fall off.

 

Single Button Games

Pixel City Skater – Loading Screen

 

Single Button Games

Pixel City Skater – Game Screen

 

Side B

Fire To Jump (Tape Counter – 000)

This is very similar to the previous Pixel City Skater game but features very minimalist graphics with the same principal of jumping over objects in a screen flipping ‘runner’ style game.

 

Single Button Games

Fire to Jump – Loading Screen

 

Single Button Games

Fire to Jump – Game Screen

 

Flappy Bird (Tape Counter – 059)

This game surely needs no introduction? It’s a faithful reproduction of the frustratingly addictive game that took the mobile world by storm a few years ago. This version is a perfect recreation of the game right down to the same maddeningly difficult gameplay!

 

Single Button Games

Flappy Bird – Loading Screen

 

Single Button Games

Flappy Bird – Game Over Screen – Expect to see this within seconds of loading the game!

 

Flapper (Tape Counter – 102)

The final game in the collection should really be called ‘Chopper’ as it sees you trying to control a small helicopter. You have to navigate it through a side scrolling landscape very reminiscent of the old ‘Scramble’ arcade game. The faster you press the button the faster the rotor blades spin and the more lift you get. It plays a little bit like Flappy Bird but is easier to control.

 

Single Button Games

Flapper – Game Screen

 

And that’s it – a really great little collection of games that I’m very happy to add to my C64 collection. I enjoyed all 5 games but if I had to pick a favourite it would be Captain Cloudberry which has that ‘just one more go’ quality in spades. It’s presentation is top notch too and it has a delightfully quirky little rendition of ‘Lady Madonna’ as its’ theme music which I can’t get out of my head!

 

If you would like to get hold of your own copy then you should head right on over to the K&A Plus website here. They also produce a terrific magazine that covers both the C64 and Amiga computers which is well worth taking a look at whilst you are there.

 

A Closer look at the Cassette

Just to finish I thought I’d show a few close-ups of the cover and the cassette itself which has been really well produced.

 

Single Button Games

C64 Single Button Games Cassette Case

 

Single Button Games

Side ‘A’

 

Single Button Games

Side ‘B’