© 2000,2001 Peter Karlsson. As published in Go64/Commodore World issue 8/2000.
The glory days when Commodore 64 games were available in thirteen by the dozen in computer stores everywhere are unfortunately over. Yet, it was not that long ago (in a historical point-of-view), and most of the authors of the once (and in Commodore fans often still) so popular games are still around.
by Peter Karlsson
Have they all turned their backs on their early production, ashamed to be connected with such "ancient" games, which are so very "primitive" with today's standard? No, many of them still take pride in having been part of this computing generation, and there is even a number of them that have made web sites on the Internet about their games. Here is a short presentation about three of them:
One of the more bizarre software producers in the early 1980s were Llamasoft, creators of such weird classic games as Attack of the Mutant Camels. The master-mind behind most of the games, Jeff Minter (who prefer to go by the alias of "Yak") is also the creator of a bizarre web site, of which I am not going to give a full review, but it is sure worth to have a look at.
For us gamers, you can get some insight in why he wrote games starring such unorthodox leading parts as camels and llamas (and other furry animals), an obsession that he has kept since, even though the game productions seems to have died down with time. His site features a download page, where he has posted several of his original games for a number of different platforms, as well as links to assorted emulators. For Commodore owners, the C64 and VIC-20 Game Packs are the most interesting ones. Among the games you will find in there are Attack of the Mutant Camels, Llamatron and Ancipital.
To find the download page, remember to press the "Love Zoo" button on the front page. Did I mention that the site is bizarre?
Scott Adams was famous for his many well-written adventure games back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, not only on the Commodore 64, but on several other platforms as well. He wrote adventures both in text-only style, and games that came with integrated graphics, a genre that unfortunately is not as prolific as it once was, in these multi-media-dominated days, where anything without cool 3D graphics and animations seem not to be worth playing. Scott is now in other business, but has devoted a part of his web site to his adventure games.
According to the page, he is planning a adventure game revival by creating follow-ups to some of his old titles, but alas only for Windows-running PCs. However, he is still actively allowing his old shareware adventures being distributed, and for such a low fee as five US dollars for a game, it is quite worthwhile. His web site currently (at the time of this writing) only carries PC versions of his old adventure games, but the Commodore versions should be easy to find on the standard download sites, such as Arnold.
In 1984, Ian Bell was the one of the authors of a game that by many still is regarded as the best game ever written, Elite (the other author was David Braben). In Elite, you are a space-trader without money, who by trafficking goods (both legal and illegal) are trying to make a fortune. The duo continued to write an Elite follow-up which did not sell as good as the first one, but has since broken up in personal disagreement, a shame for such a good pair of game writers.
The game was originally written for the BBC micro-computer (a 6502 based machine produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation), but was shortly thereafter converted to many different platforms, including the Commodore 64. On his Elite page, Ian is offering downloads of all of the official versions of the game (for both 8-, 16- and 32-bit machines), as well as several unofficial versions, such as the Commodore 128-improved version, and other Elite related material, such as mp3 music files from a rock musical based on Elite, called Elite The Musical.
The three web sites discussed above are only a few of the many sites written by Commodore software authors and publishers, but they do prove the point that the Commodore 64 software industry is still something that people take pride in having been part of.
This article in Deutsch (German).
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