Commodore 64: A Visual Compendium Kickstarter

Commodore 64: A Visual Compendium Kickstarter

The “Commodore 64: a visual Compendium” is a Kickstarter for a high-end, coffee table book that celebrates the visual beauty of the worst best-selling computer the Commodore 64.  This will be the first book by new publisher Bitmap Books who specialise in high-end books all about computer games. Created by lifelong Commodore 64 fan and Graphic Designer Sam “MrSID” Dyer to combine his passions for visual art and retro gaming.

The final book will be 200 pages and ready to be posted in September 2014. It will showcase loading screens, graphics, maps and cover art along with information such as facts, a small review or even a quote from one of the developers.

The book will start with a foreword by legendary Sensible Software Graphic Artist, Stoo Cambridge. Whilst at Sensible, Stoo created artwork for games such as Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder and Mega Lo Mania. The book will start with the very early games such as Juniper Lander and work its way through games being released now by companies such as RGCD and Psytronik Software. Featured throughout the book will be double page spreads full coloured illustrations by Oliver Frey, a selection of game maps, and loading screens.

A pledge of £25 will secure a copy of the book along with one of five ‘Loader’ postcards

Other rewards include

  • Personally signed books by Stoo Cambridge
  • The chance to own your OWN spread in the book. You choose the game to be featured and even write your own mini-review to accompany the image.
  • A full page advert placed in the book next to the campaign supporters.
  • One of 100 exclusively copies of the PAL only game Micro Hexagon on cartridge. 50 will even be signed by programmer Paul Koller and musician Mikkel Hastrup.


The Kickstarter has already achieved over 75% of his target in just over 5 days. You can find out more about the book and the campaign here.

6 Great Flappy Bird Clones

6 Great Flappy Bird Clones

Flappy Bird was the King of mobile gaming, but now the king is dead. Here are some Flappy Bird inspired Games that will fill that void in your life.

Maverick Bird (Web)

This Flash game was written by Terry Cavanagh the Indie Game legend behind VVVVVV, Don’t Look Back and Super Hexagon. It has great music and visual and is like Super Hexagon it’s super difficult.



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This is a bit of a cheat as it isn’t out yet, but it looks amazing and is by Paul ‘madgarden’ Pridham. He has previously worked on Punch Quest, Sword of Fargoal (iOS) and forthcoming Death Road to Canada.

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Link: Coming Soon

Flappy Doge (Web)


If there one Internet meme even bigger (and possibly more annoying) than Flappy Bird, it’s Doge. Such Game, wow.

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Quack (ZX81)


If you require any proof of Flappy Bird simple gameplay, how about this conversation which is available for the 30 years old Sinclair ZX81 which boasts a whopping 1k memory.

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Flappo Bird (Atari 2600)

Flappo Bird (Atari 2600)

If the ZX81 is too British and Obscure for you, how about this flipscreen version for the Atari 2600 instead.

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CrappyFly (Windows)

crappy fly

Finally there is this. I’ve only added the Windows only game because I made it for FlappyJam, which is a Game Jam for creating even more Flappy Bird clones to support game developer Dong Nguyen. They are now over 150 games and the jam doesn’t finish until February 24th



You can find even more clones at the FlappyJam.

Sword of Fargoal 2 Revamps Classic c64 game

Sword of Fargoal 2 has got a kickstarter. Although the game is almost 80% complete they just need a little help to finished the game off. The Kickstarter campaign is there to help that last 20% run as smoothly as possible, adding new animation, music, graphics and features to the game.

Sword of Fargoal 2

It is a sequel to the original Sword of Fargoal which was as a dungeon crawler for the Commodore 64. It featured random dungeon generation, permadeath and an absolutely monstrous challenge for players to take on. It has been listed as one of the top 8-bit games of all time.

Sword of Fargoal was remade for iOS and Mac OS by developer Paul Pridham (who created Saucelifter and the upcoming Punch Quest), Emmy award-winning animator Charlie Canfield, and noted British composer Daniel Pemberton (LittleBIGPlanet) to bring the game back. The remake won numerous awards, including “Best Retro Game (iPad division)” for the “2010 Best App Ever Awards” (“Sword of Fargoal Legends,” published by Chillingo/EA). Fargoal has even been recognized by the Guinness World Records 2012, Gamer’s Edition as “Most critically acclaimed ‘Roguelike’ for iOS”.

Sword of Fargoal 2 screenshot

Sword of Fargoal 2 will be for Mac/PC/Linux/iOS (and Android of they make enough money). It will have all new level types and dungeon textures with more spells. More monsters. More traps. Better graphics. More music. Animation. New characters types. New quests. A new dungeon-generation system, and much more.

Funding ends Oct 13, 2012 so go and fund their kickstarter now.

Punch Quest

Punch Quest

Endless runner games are very popular at the moment, especially on mobile devices. As they seem to be very sutied to the format but still provide a fast arcade like gaming experience. Punch Quest is an Endless runner game, but with a twist. It dispenses with the simple run and jump format and adds punching, graphics that hark back to games like Double Dragon and Golden Axe, punching, explosion, punching, monsters and so much more punching.

Punch Quest

Punch Quest, is collaboration between RocketCat Games and Madgarden. It features varied, randomized dungeon with branching paths. customization unlockable special moves and abilities and Monsters. Take a look at the trailer to get a better look;


Punch Quest is slated to arrive this autumn on iOS. I can’t wait, but here’s the link to website in the meantime;

Amiga Classic Battle Squadron now available for iOS

Cope-Com have releassed their classic Amiga hit Battle Squadron for iOS and it’s now now available on the App Store.

The original Amiga Game was very highly rated, with one magazine, Amiga Computing, rating it at 109%.

The game the developers converted the code from the game line by line from 68000 Assembler into C++. They had this to say

For the iOS version we have conserved the highly praised gameplay exactly like on the original, while at the same time adapting it to excellent play on mobile devices. Further improvements, not possible in the original, include Game Center to compete against your friends, and Daily Leaderboards updates with player comments.

The game plays, sounds and looks just like how I remember it on the Amiga, so it’s well worth checking out.


Independent GAMER: ALEX ARIS

Here at Obsolete Gamer we like to check out games no matter if the developer is a huge global company, or just a single programming working away in his bed room. Definitely in the second category is Alex Aris, here are some of the games he has developed.

Check out his main site here.



01 - Bugsy - In Game

Confused in an insect world, Bugsy must travel his way through four seasons, 16 levels in total. So that he can reach the comfort of his own domain. Life is not that simple though, before an exit to the next level is opened, Bugsy must collect all Coins to open it. Others Insects will try and stop him, only food can sustain his energy levels to progress forward.


Elastic Band Warrior

02 - Elastic Band Warrior - In Game02 - Elastic Band Warrior - Title

The aim of the game is to collect all of the Karma Crystals, whilst trying to avoid, Ghosts, Zombies and Bouncing Balls ! If you study the level, you will notice that the Ghosts are one of the keys to the Game. Shooting an Elastic Band at them will cause a replication reaction, producing more Enemies and the chance of a Karma Crystal in being dropped. You may also move off the screen and appear on the other side, e.g. move right and appear on the left. Useful, but be careful not to bump into an unsuspecting Enemy !


Office Worker

03 - Office Worker - In Game03 - Office Worker - Title

Office Worker Greg grew tired of the daily grind and needed a change, help him collect various items and solve the ultimate puzzle to get through the week and find devine happiness.


Light Bulb Luke

04 - Lightbulb Luke - In Game04 - Lightbulb Luke - Title

Jobs are second nature to Luke, with thanks to his varied talents at everyday jobs. No task undertaken is difficult to him ! Rock ‘n’ Roll is his favourite musical preference and likes to listen to it, whenever he can. With your guidance, you will be able to help Luke in his quest for great achievement, by completing a job and gaining a most respected reputation, no matter how big or small a task is !


Phantom Millennium

05 - Phantom Millennium - In Game05 - Phantom Millennium - Title

Shoot your way through five action packed levels, whilst trying to avoid the enemy at all costs. During your mission, you will come under attack from Submarines, Dome Gunners, Missile Launchers, Jet and Propelled Aircraft, and terrifying Fireballs being spat from nearby Volcanoes etc. You must head for the Nuclear and Fuel installations based at the end of Level five to achieve and complete your mission.


Coin Mania Remix

06 - Coin Mania Remix - In Game06 - Coin Mania Remix - Title

Bounce your way through 25 puzzle packed levels, whilst collecting Coins against the Clock in order to reach the end Tile. On route, you will encounter obstacles along your path, like Glue – giving you a delay in penalty Time. Although, you will have Directional Arrows and Teleport Pads to put you on the right route with Bonus Extra Lives as well. Each level will have it’s own route and sometimes there will be more than one route to complete a Level. There are two types of Tile, Non-Solid and Solid. Non-Solid Tiles will last for three seconds before they break up and Solid Tiles are there to serve as a firmer base. Watch out for the Extra Time Clocks to give you more Time to complete a level.

Remake and Reboot

Video Game Remakes

Hollywood is going through a phase at the moment. The “reboot” of films such as Batman Begins, or the remake of titles including “The Taking of Pelham 123”, demonstrates a lack of original ideas and voices. And the games industry seems to be following suit, relying on summer blockbusters and sequels as much as the cinema.

Prince of Persia is a good example. Jordan Mechner’s classic had already undergone an ill-advised leap into 3D before Ubi Soft’s Sands of Time rebooted the story and added the amazing time rewinding feature. The two sequels added little, even with a Wii remake of the Two Thrones giving motion control. And so it was rebooted again, adding a controversial new game mechanic and dividing opinion.

Tomb Raider has also had its share of remaking and rebooting, with Legend and the 10th Anniversary editions. By handing the series over to Crystal Dynamics, Legend got closer to a true 3D world and Anniversary revisited the old locations with new polish.

The Wii is also seeing several of these new “interpretations”, as evidenced by Klonoa. The original game of the series appeared nearly ten years ago on the original Playstation, and was a 2.5D platformer with the player’s movement controlled along set paths. Fast forward and the graphical makeover is very good (the dreadful Americanised character voices less so), but the movement restrictions remain. The old-school game mechanics may feel uncomfortable to the new audience drawn to Wii, but there is a real challenge in there.

Other titles such as Resident Evil Files have had little done to improve them for the new hardware. The Play Control range has featured some gems brought up to date with Wii controls – Pikmin, for example – but Nintendo would be advised to cherry-pick the best titles to update.

Perhaps the most successful reboot has to be Call of Duty. Arriving first on PC, the console-specific versions (Big Red One) were followed by the unusual idea of two developers alternating work on the franchise. But the biggest surprise was waiting for Call of Duty 4. The subtitle Modern Warfare gave it all away – the franchise moved from its World War II setting (and its competitors Medal of Honour and Brothers In Arms) to the present day. However, despite plans to call the 2009 sequel Modern Warfare 2, Activision has gone back and put the Call of Duty tag in front to avoid losing sales.

So rebooting is not all bad news. In the end it would be nice to be swamped with new and original ideas every time we looked at the shelves in our local game store, but the companies cannot be blamed for the fact that the familiar titles (and gameplay styles) will sell more.



Bravo’s series Deadliest Warrior got me thinking about all the great games over the years featuring ninjas, from the classic System 3 game The Last Ninja to various beat ‘em ups. But there is one series I am not a fan of – Ninja Gaiden. It’s just one of several similar games on the way.

I am not a fan of the “dojo game”, the genre typified by Devil May Cry and the God of War series (which is making its way to PS3, along with HD versions of the first two games). However, let me make it clear from the start I am not saying that they are “bad” games – I’m saying that they are not my cup of tea. That’s down to two main factors – the difficulty level and the button combos.

I do not see the challenge in mastering 100-button combos and posting a video on YouTube about it. One of the biggest problems seems to be balance. There is a fine line between rewarding high levels of skill and letting the player get through the game. Too often it seems easier to button bash than to time and execute moves, particularly when the combos rely on exacting timing. And hacking your way through wave after wave of the same enemy soon loses its appeal.

Then there are the puzzles – they rarely progress between simple switches or moving something from A to B. A sequence from the original God of War highlights why Nintendo’s new Demo-play feature (designed to give tips as you play) could work. And if you have not played God of War, consider this next piece a spoiler. A room with a gate can only be left by activating the large pressure pad in the middle of the room, which opens the gate for a short time when Kratos stands on it. But there is no way to get past the gate before it closes again (since you have moved off the pad). The answer is hidden in your inventory – the head of Medusa can be used to turn an enemy to stone, making it easier to kill. Freezing an enemy on the pad lets you get past the gate, but it wasn’t immediately apparent to me and I spent several minutes before the idea dawned on me. If Demo-play can highlight an area of screen or give a clue by suggesting you look in your inventory, it could help guide players through such a puzzle rather than relying on an online guide.

The most promising of this new wave of dojo games looks to be Bayonetta from Platinum Games. The team were responsible for bonkers PS2 beat ‘em up God Hand and the more recent Madworld on Wii, and with a heroine whose hair is a weapon it seems they are trying something different again. But will it get good reviews and sales to match? It seems unlikely, given the competition, and that could be disappointing and discouraging for a team that dares to be different.


Top Ten Platforming Cliches

Coinworld Gameplay

It’s no joke being the hero in a platform game. Once you’ve died a few thousand times you know there are still so many clichés standing between you and success. Here then are the top ten…

No matter how carefully you tread, that bit of platform/bridge is going to drop away as soon as you step on it.

No matter what the scenario, the evildoer’s comedy sidekick will try, several times, in vain to stop our hero with a mechanical device that backfires.

No matter how big the hill or tower, your character is going to have to climb that, all the while risking being knocked off the platforms by the enemy sending you plummeting back down to repeat a section.

No matter what the power-up, it will run out just before the end of the stage.

No matter where the game is set, the designers will find a way to incorporate a stage full of snow and ice.

No matter how many enemies you kill, there’s always more of them in the next stage.

No matter how powerful your character, a small spike is deadly.

No matter how safe you think you are, fire will kill you too.

No matter how good you are, there will always be one jump in the game that you cannot master and fail repeatedly at.

No matter how far you fall, gravity always wins in the end…


A Swipe At Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe

Gameswipe logoFor those of us on this side of the pond you can learn more about Gameswipe here.

Charlie Brooker used to review games, and in his BBC4 programme Gameswipe (part of the BBC’s Electric Revolution season) he took his usual acerbic and satirical view at the games industry – and in particular how the media has represented games over the years. And while it was good, there were a few things that could have been better.

Let’s start off with the good things. It was great to see the genre definitions with their silly mimes, and the Consolevania segment dealing with retro games (complete with a glimpse of Jeff Minter’s classic Hover Bovver and the Mario imitating Great Giana Sisters). It was also good to see footage from Micro Live, which represents some of the BBC’s best content dealing with video games. But since that is over twenty years old, it does show one of the central tenets of Gameswipe – that the mainstream media does not take gaming seriously.

The Screenwipe and Newswipe programmes made good use of guests to provide short segments of the show, and Gameswipe followed that trend with some interesting names. Dara O’Brian described his ineptitude at Gears of War and Rock Band, Graham Linehan bemoaned the quality of writing in games and Rebecca Hayes from The Escapist appeared with her singing review of Madworld.

The recreation of Charlie as an Xbox avatar was also cleverly handled, and in particular the sequence showing him flying in a Super Mario Galaxy style. And yet it felt very hollow (and shallow) when the show presented fake footage of a “neighbourhood simulation” game. The title sequence was superb however, a clever combination of a retro-sounding version of the Screenwipe theme tune and pixellated visuals culminating in the descending boot inspired by Jet Set Willy (itself inspired by Monty Python).

For me, the worst sequence was the piece on games that caused outrage. While it gained brownie points for mentioning Turbo Esprit as an inspiration for Grand Theft Auto, it didn’t push home the point adequately. Many of the scandals, such as Night Trap, have been fabricated or exaggerated. It should have highlighted the fact that games have voluntarily had age ratings for many years, and it was irresponsible parenting that let children play unsuitable material. The selection of barely articulate vox pops undermined the message too. Archive footage of Gamesmaster and Games World was shoehorned in with little appreciation for what worked in those shows. The fact that we still lack a regular show dealing with gaming on a mainstream channel could have been hammered home.

There is no doubt I am sat squarely in the target market of such a show, as a fan of Brooker’s writing, a fan of his previous series and a gamer. But paradoxically, because it did exactly what I was expecting – a review of Wolfenstein with strong language, the self-deprecating humour about gamers being losers – it left me feeling slightly disappointed at the missed opportunity to go beyond the obvious.

So, as a one-off Gameswipe managed to hit some targets and miss others. Could it be commissioned for a full series? Based on the overnight ratings of 361,000 – higher than for any individual episode of Brooker’s previous Wipes – people were watching. There is scope there for a series, but ultimately it would need a forward-thinking editor to do so.


The Whine List

whine motivational poster

Gaming forums are not a good place for the faint-hearted, but just recently there seems to have been a lot of whining and misplaced angst. While there are easy targets – Sony’s poor handling of the PSP Go – there have been some misguided campaigns of hate that deserve to be shot down in flames, ridiculed and dispatched to the darkest corners of the Internet.

Nintendo have regularly been updating the system firmware of the Wii, most notably to include SD card support (a feature the gaming community was calling for, no less). But when the most recent update was found to “brick” a small number of consoles, even rabid Nintendo fans were up in arms. “How can they do this to us?” came the protests, as the update designed to prevent homebrew and such esoteric mods as the USB loader working took hold. While I applaud the ingenuity of the hackers, the fact remains – modifying a console like this is illegal and opens up the possibility of piracy. Obviously Nintendo cannot allow that, and are well within their rights to stop modified machines working in a way they were never intended to. This was a cheap whine.

Similarly, I read a plea to get rid of software licensing agreements and to stop people having to click/push buttons to get past them “because no-one ever reads them”. Again, the companies would be within their rights to prosecute someone modifying their software or making illegal copies. More fool you if you fail to read the small print. (It does remind of a bizarre paragraph in a standardised licensing agreement that told me not to use graphics editing software for the Commodore 64 in the running of a nuclear power station, but I digress…)  This is a low-quality whine, blended from different varieties of gamer.

When Valve announced a sequel to the best-selling Left 4 Dead, you would imagine that the fans would be ecstatic. But no, a developer once renowned for being slow was putting out a sequel too quickly, and worst of all was the perception it would be “abandoning” the original and plans to release new content for it. Signing a virtual petition against Left 4 Dead 2 was a daft idea. But the campaign hit new lows when two leading objectors were given the chance to see the game at Valve’s headquarters – suddenly the two in question were “traitors” and Valve was brainwashing them into liking the game. This is vintage whine, distilled from the finest sour grapes and labelled fact-free.

For those who do not keep up with gaming forums, for a long time EA were the baddies. Now it seems the focus has switched to Activision, thanks in no small measure to the press statements of Bobby Kotich. After the rumoured pull-out from PS3 development (which never happened, given the recent PS3 price cut, and was unlikely anyway), further statements about what fans would buy and the future for the company after its merger with Blizzard did little to quell the online flames. Another bizarre boycott, asking fans to only buy Activision’s games second-hand, would seem to do more harm to the gamers themselves than to the company.

Sure, the price point for certain peripheral-based titles may seem high. The bizarre Modern Warfare 2 bundle with night vision goggles comes across as a company expecting fans to buy anything because of the name on the box (and the game it contains… hopefully). But, like EA before them, Activision are a company that have given a lot more than they take. Few could argue that the Guitar Hero games do not give hours and hours of gameplay for the money. And while it may seem strange to launch more expensive games in the midst of a recession, that money is going back to a company that works well with developers. So, this is another vintage whine, one that should be put on the shelf and left until there is genuinely something to complain about.


Portable problems

PSP - Playstation Portable

Sony had the chance to shake up the portable console market and to maintain its grip on gaming. Somewhere along the line things went wrong after such initial promise. The latest iteration, the PSP Go, has boosted sales but does it have a long-term future?

When Sony announced a portable Playstation the specs were interesting, promising PS2-quality games in the palm of your hand, wireless multiplayer and much more on a clear, wide screen. Many experts did see a potential flaw in the plan, Sony’s new UMD format. The much-maligned optical disk brought technical problems and slow access, and the film companies did not fall in line to support it.

Sony also fought a running battle with the hackers and the homebrew specialists. The processing power gave the chance for great emulation, and the use of memory sticks opened the door to illegal downloads. Firmware updates were met with fast responses from the hackers, the process aided by replacement batteries and other hardware hacks.

Giving the console a make-over quickly proved both a good idea and a drawback for Sony. The PSP Slim models (the 2000 and 3000) both gave a brief increase in sales but made very little real change to the hardware. Sales of games slowed whatever the model, with many stores discounting them and UMD movies soon after release.

More problems hit Sony as its marketing plans backfired. Graffiti ads in America caused controversy, ads for the white PSP were considered racist and the “All I Want for Christmas is a PSP” campaign was embarrassing. The ad company started blogs and put up supposedly amateur videos of kids who wanted the machine for Christmas – only for the gaming community to pour scorn on the whole thing.

One of the biggest problems for Sony was tailoring games to the handheld console. Too often developers tried to shoe-horn a large game more suited to playing at home into a UMD. Gems such as Loco Roco and Patapon were hard to find among the predictable movie licenses and multi-format failures. The Monster Hunter series did wonders in Japan but was slow to propagate worldwide. Gamers bemoaned the lack of a second analogue stick, but did appreciate the ability to download old PS1 games.

The PSP Go was a badly guarded secret that was finally given substance at E3 in 2009. Gone was the UMD drive and in came a new wave of games. The likes of Rock Band Unplugged and LittleBigPlanet showed some ambition. There was still no second stick, the screen was smaller and the sliding mechanism (to hide the controls) seemed like a gimmick too far. Another nail in the coffin came from retailers who refused to stock it due to the lack of additional game sales – since all the games have to be downloaded from the PSN. Room (the PSP equivalent of Home) may just be another bad move. Will existing owners upgrade? Sony threw another spanner in the works by announcing plans for users to trade in UMDs, only to cancel the idea and generate a lot more bad press.

So does the PSP have a future? It will be up to gamers to provide it, but Sony needs to look carefully at its strategy.


Points Make Prizes

Nintendo ClubWhen Microsoft launched the Live Arcade, I was very sceptical about the Points system. While in theory it makes transactions easier, being forced to buy in set amounts puts the purchaser at a disadvantage. It saves them money on organising small credit card transfers, and lets them keep your money for longer. Nintendo then adopted a similar scheme for the Wii, which did not amuse the hardcore Nintendo fans.

Like a lot of Nintendo users, I am a Club Nintendo member and have been frustrated by the service for a long time. First there was the short length of time the good stuff was available. But then, did I really need a Zelda statue or a storage rack shaped like Mario’s cap? (Ignore that small voice from inside me; I call him the Collector and often have to over-rule him). Then came the announcement that points earned from visiting the website (a massive five per day) and adding games to your collection would expire.

I lost a fair few points at the end of that fateful first month, but when I purchased a Wii I had enough left to trade in for some Wii Points. I had even been lucky to pick up some extra points from second-hand purchases. Fair enough, Nintendo set the exchange rate quite high and in its favour – 4 Club points to 1 Wii Point. That makes each first-party game with the little silver panel to scratch off worth a staggering 62.5 Wii Points. But then came the trials and tribulations of actually purchasing the Wii Points, with only a limited number of “cards” available each day.

So it’s scratch, type, print out, point and press to fill out the form with that little string of numbers that represents virtual cash. And what did I do with my new-found wealth? Invested in two of the Art Style titles, Cubello and Rotohex. With the Wii’s rapid start-up time I can be playing them in seconds, enjoying the style and the pure gameplay. Getting them for “free” does not change my opinion – this is the sort of pick up & play title that Wii Ware is made for.

Wii Points Card

The scheme is undergoing a re-design, with the cards now branded Nintendo Points and available in different amounts. But once again, the corporate decision is to make life more difficult for the user. Yes, the Points can now be used on DSi or Wii – but once they are allocated to one machine they cannot be transferred. The region locking had already put me off the DSi to some extent, anyway. Of course, that small voice is back to tell me that I will miss out on DSi exclusives such as Wario Ware Snapped (announced at GDC 2009 and making use of the built-in camera) and the next wave of Art Style games. The other big announcement at GDC – the system update allowing games and channels to run from the SD card – is very welcome. It makes me more likely to invest in Virtual Console titles.

Why oh why haven’t Nintendo released a new Duck Hunt title for Wii? If ever there was a title crying out for an update, it’s that one. Or at least find a way to make a Virtual Console version work!




Exile title
Exile title


Exile is probably the best game most people have never heard of. It was first released on the Acorn Electron and BBC Micro in 1988. The game was designed and programmed by Peter Irvin and Jeremy Smith (the author of Thrust, another ground breaking game that was converted to all the computers know to man).

Like Thrust, Exile is a game based on cave exploration with a physics mode. But unlike Thrust instead of just having Gravity Physics, Exile also has features such as inertia, mass, explosions, shock waves, Water, Wind, Fire, Intelligent Animals (Frogs, Wasps, Frogman, Snail, Fish, Spiders, Birds and Imps), Automated Turrents, Serveral different types of Robots all with Artificial Intelligence, Teleportation, Gravity, Weighted objects, and different weapons. It was the most complex game available for the BBC Micro, and possibly all 8bit machines.


Exile Amiga Title Screen
Exile Amiga Title Screen


The game also offered an enormous and detailed world, which was perfect for exploration. This large map was inhabited by many different creatures, robots, and puzles. All this was explained in the plot as the crew of the Pericles having set up a base in a natural cave system, with Triax having his own base in caves deep below.

Exile’s AI programming featured innovative routines like creature strategy code that knew about noises nearby, line-of-sight vision through the divaricate caves and tunnels, and enemy’s memory of where the target was last seen.

The main game is an character astronaut with a jet pack. He cannot die, if he is attacked or injures himself when he reaches a point near death he is automatically teleported to safe locations previously reached and designated by the player, until he these locations run out and he is ultimately back to his orbiting spaceship. Despite this, the game was still very difficult to complete and could take hours to play through.

The story of game starts as follows;

The player takes control of a space-adventurer Mike Finn who is ordered by his superiors on Earth to divert his spacecraft to the planet Phoebus to investigate the distress calls broadcast by the members of a previous mission. Finn’s mission is to rescue any survivors of the mission from a psychotic scientist, Triax, exiled there many years before.


Exile Amiga Gameplay
Exile Amiga Gameplay


Exile was supplied with a novella setting the full background story to the game and the game objective. It also provides limited clues regarding the scenery, objects and lifeforms that are encountered in the game.

The game came out for the Commodore C64’s dying days in 1991, and it the last game I bought for my c64 before I sold it. I pre-ordered the game after being blown away by a covertape demo (given away with Commodore Format, I think). When I upgraded to the Commodore Amiga shortly after, Exile was my first purchase.

The Commodore 64 offered better graphics and sound than the BBC and Acorn versions, and the Amiga version which was also released in 1991, had even better graphics and sound including a an atmospheric theme tune containing a deep voiced Exile sample and some eerie strings.

Allthough most gamers have never heard of most people have never heard of Exile, those you have played it will never forget it. Amiga Power magazine voted the  Exile to be the best game of 1991. The multi-format magazine Edge retrospectively awarded it 10 out of 10, together with only 2 other games.