Ninja

My childhood friend had this game and we played it quite a bit. I

The gameplay is very simple: collect idol statues and defeat your enemies. This game has some incredible music! Stay on the opening screen for a while to listen to the whole thing. It’s not some short little loop, it’s actually a full song. The graphics are pretty good, too, with a unique background rendered on each screen.

In addition to punches and kicks, we have shuriken to add some range attacks, and a sword, which is very powerful but leaves you a bit at risk.

As you get closer and closer to the room where the last idol is stored, the enemies tend to increase, with five enemies to contend with on the last screen. If you defeat them, grab the last idol and return to the main screen. Winner!



Knight Games

The next game slated for auctioning is Knight Games.

The setting is Medieval England, and the task at hand is one-on-one battle. Choose from five different medieval weapons (swords, axes, etc.) then let the battle commence. If you experience battle fatigue, you can also compete in archery to test your skill.

The game has beautiful graphics, smooth animation, and music befitting the environment. It was not very popular because the AI was so weak that it didn’t present a challenge. But it has a lot of good things going on for it, too, so I still quite like it!

Seven Cities of Gold

Next game up for auction is Seven Cities of Gold. I used to enjoy this one as a kid. As an adult, nostalgia drove the purchase for this.

I recently played a game on my Sharp X1 called Uncharted Waters (大航海時代) and it reminds me a bit of this game. You make preparations for a journey from your home country in search of fortune overseas.

When you find new territory, you can try to barter with the natives or colonize the area. The goal is to return with more gold. When you go back to your home country, you can visit your home and see a visual map of what areas you have discovered.

The next game up for auction is Paperboy. I remember thinking this game was so cool as a kid! And I wasn’t wrong.

This game is legendary, but just in case you don’t know it, you ride around your bicycle, delivering newspaper and potentially breaking windows of your non-customers for bonus points. Repeat this Monday through Friday (I think? I never got past Wednesday).

This time I managed to make a perfect delivery for the first time in decades I guess!

Realm of Impossibility

I enjoy the box art for these classic games, so I started collecting them for a while. I was super excited to receive them, but after a short time, they just get shelved and never looked at again. I use a 1541 Ultimate to play software, so I never use the disks, either. I had hoped to display them around the room, but I don’t really have a place for that.

So, although it is a bit difficult, I’ve decided to start selling them. One thing I do to make parting with them a bit easier is taking these photos and having one last go on the real software before reverting back to disk images.

The first game I have decided to part with is Realm of Impossibility. I especially love these folder-type boxes from companies like Electronic Arts and Mindscape. Great artwork on the front and spread.

I never got particularly good at this game, but I have a fondness for it. You can read the instructions or choose a dungeon from the opening menu.

It’s a 3D isometric game where you explore dungeon mazes and avoid enemies. You don’t have any weapons, but you can also find single-use spells to eliminate your enemies or other effects to make the game a bit easier.

I found the right key for this dungeon so I was able to unlock it.

Doom on the VIC-20!

This is not recent news, but I still find it pretty impressive – it’s Doom on the Commodore VIC-20. It won’t work on a standard VIC-20, you need a RAM expansion of, I believe, at least 16KB, and it apparently does better with up to 35KB. It looks exactly as you’d expect, very pixelated, but it is undeniably Doom!

Tremendously limited in resolution and using a seemingly 4-color palette, It doesn’t look all that beautiful. But the gameplay is more more or less fine, certainly better than I’d initially imagined. And despite the fairly crude VIC-20 sound capabilities, it manages to capture some of the essence of the original experience.

It contains the complete shareware map to play through. It seems the photos I took only went through the first map, but shortly after this I played all the way through to the end of the shareware version, something I’d never even done on the PC version of the game!

Alternate Reality Newsletters

Do you know this game? This is the second of a two-game series called Alternate Reality: The Dungeon. The first game was Alternate Reality: The City. This game was formative in my view of video games. It took me from a general gamer to an RPG-heavy gamer, in a way that not even The Bard’s Tale series could.

It was an ambitious project. The concept was that there would be seven games, and you could make a character that could go in and out of the seven games at will, with transfer points that were established in each scenario. Quests in one game would be solved in others, and some games were planned to sharpen certain skills more than others.

Even within each game, a tremendous amount of features and details were crammed into these 64K systems. The area is vast, it keeps track of all the basic stats and some hidden ones, as well. Your alignment is not just good, neutral, or evil, but a range of 0 to 255, with different things affected at different levels. Your hunger, thirst, weariness, and warmth are all monitored, with multiple levels of each condition, causing negative effects at the extremes. I could go on and on, I still manage to discover something new once in a while.

As usual, money got in the way. Only two games were released. Actually, those two games were supposed to be one, but the developers were pushed to release immediately, so the 8-bit versions of The City were left incomplete, making The Dungeon a far more polished game.

Anyway, any modern RPG I play gets measured by Alternate Reality. I often search for boxed copies on eBay, trying to find a good-condition boxed version of each game. Datasoft’s boxes have a habit of creasing and collapsing. I have a pretty decent City, but no Dungeon at all.

One day, my search led me to an unexpected find: these newsletters! I never even knew these existed. I have scanned them into PDF files for anyone who wants to read them.

Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
Issue 4
Issue 5

Super Mario Bros. on Commodore 64?!

A coder by the name of ZeroPaige worked for seven years to bring this classic gem of video game history to the Commodore community.

It looks nearly identical to the original NES version, although you can notice some subtle differences. The most noticeable I’ve noticed is the animated lava in the castle levels. The sound is quite close to the original, but one SID isn’t quite up to the task. If you happen to have two, however, this game can use it for improved accuracy. The game has a tendency to slow down a bit if there is too much action on the screen at once. But if you have a Commodore 128, it slows down a little less often. If you happen to have a SuperCPU, it can really keep up with the action!

Using a one-button joystick to control the game works as you’d imagine. The button for fireball/accelerate, up for jump. It’s not ideal, but it’s just how these things go. You can definitely still enjoy this game!

As this is not licensed by Nintendo, most download links have been disabled to avoid legal action. I think if you look around a bit for it, though, you can still find it without too much trouble.

Pets Rescue

I’d like to show you a new game for the 264 series of computers (Plus/4, C16, C116). Commercially released games for this system almost universally targeted 16KB even though the system could be upgraded to 64KB. As a result, they didn’t take much advantage of the 264 series computers’ expanded color palette, nor did they have very complex music.

This game, however, targets the Plus/4, or a C16 or C116 that have a memory expansion installed up to 64KB. I’m not sure if it leverages the entire 121-color palette, but with its smooth and colorful animation and substantially complex music, this is easily a contender for most amazing game available on this system.

The game is called Pets Rescue. It went on sale in 2019. The version pictured below was a limited collector’s edition which is already sold out (sorry!). It comes with tons of bonus items, but more than anything I just can’t get over this box. The manual is also quite nice.

My 264 series machines aren’t always hooked up, so first I had to set up the hardware.

All ready to go! Time to load the game and give it a whirl.

The game has some different environments, each set to their own music. The gameplay was hard at first, but after getting used to it a bit, things were going better. By world 1-3, though, I was tapping out and switched from the Plus/4 joystick sold by Commodore to the Epyx 500XJ, which I did a lot better with.

I’ve attached some additional screenshots to the bottom of the page.

If you’re interested in this game, there are three versions available for purchase. The digital download is not expensive at all, and lets the authors know you want to see more like this!

Digital Download – $2.99 USD – Purchase Link
(Digital download gives you access to the disk image. You can use it in an emulator that supports Plus/4 or C16/C116 (such as WinVICE), or you can copy it to a real disk with any disk copier capable of writing 40 tracks.)

Budget Expanded – £6.99 UKP – Purchase Link
(Includes the floppy disk and special sleeve plus instruction manual, all pictured above.)

Premium+ Expanded – £13.99 UKP – Purchase Link
(Same as Budget Expanded edition above, but in a clear clamshell case with full-color artwork insert.)



Magazine Scan: VIC! Volume 11

I borrowed this magazine from a friend long enough to scan it. I had no idea there was a Commodore Japan until I was in my 40s. By the time I heard about it, it was all from the lens of an unfortunate part of computer history. But at the time this magazine was published, things were very different so now I know a bit about it from the lens of a bright future. I sure wish I could have experienced this time period, even for just one day.

This file should be fairly suitable for viewing on a desktop or a smartphone screen with zooming. If anyone wants a substantially higher quality version, please let me know.

VIC! Volume 11

Update: commentor AndreaP has alerted me to the existence of Volume 5 of this magazine on archive.org. Thanks!
https://archive.org/details/VICVol5