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"Old Skool Fanbyism"

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Wed 16/04/03 at 10:53
Regular
Posts: 787
There seems to be a lot of 'Fanboyism' chat around at mo'. I thought you might be interested in knowing what is was like back in the day, when the Commodore / Speccy /Amstrad wars raged...

Date:1986.
Location: 1st Year of High Scool

THE COMPUTERS WE PLAYED:

Commodore 64, (Price £250)
had the best graphics, sound, processor, lots of superb games (I had well over 1,000 games by the end of the era). Games slightly more expensive, (average £9.99, budget games from 99p).

Spectrum 48 (Price £89-129) (later +, later 128),
had terrible graphic, squeaky sound, bad processor, the widest selection of games. Games cheaper, (average £7.99, budget games from 99p).

Amstrad (Price £250+)
Had ok graphics, but atrocious colour palette, ok sound, fewest games. (Games price as C64).

There was also the Atari 800, which was, like most Atari systems, had far superior technology, but very few games, which you could only buy mail order, or from very specialist shop (average £15-£20, later budget games from £2.99). Also like all Atari systems, the marketing was wrong and no-one bought one.

I had a Commodore 64, as more most were friends did, which was strange since Spectrum's were initially far more popular.

I personally never liked Spectrum games because the graphics were so flickery, the background (i.e. most of the screen, was always black with the graphics in bright colours over the top). I have enjoyed a few Spectrum games for a few hours round a friends, but I could'nt ever want one.

One boy had an Amstrad, which was an ugly machine, games came out 1yr later, if ever, had a very bad colour palette, and the 'tape machine' (games came on Audio tape back then, making copying very, very easy) was joined onto the computer (all the others had a seperate tape machine, so if it went wrong {which used to happen often} it was easy to replace). I believe he secretly knew, and was ashamed, but he'd never hear a word against Amstrad, some may say like X-Box Fanboys today.

With tapes machines, each game tool 5-15 minutes to load, many games were 'multi-loaders', meaning they had to load each level, each cut-scene (a few years later). On some games, (this was before 'continue' or 'save; had been dreamed of you'd have a 25 minute game, of which 20 minutes could be loading time, 5 minutes gameplay.

Only the very best multi-load games could be played seriously. The loading time between action was too long, and then you might only have 3 lives and no Continues. Games were very hard, and you only finished a few games. Now people are angry if they can't finish a game in 20 hrs.

One boy had an Atari 800, but not many games, but seriously, ever game he had was absolutely solid plameplay, and the smoothest graphics and sound (though the colour palette was very limited, but still always looked good), so it was very pretty to play on.

There were 2 schools of Software development, some developers mainly developed some Spectrum and Amstrad, because the code was similar, some developed mainly for the C64 and Atari because they were the best processors, some delevoped for Spectrum and C64 because they were the most commercial.

One time I had a long-running dispute with the Amstrad fanboy, because he insisted there were loads of games for it, I said there weren't, a prime example being Boulderdah once of the best games ever made, a challeging Puzzle game that was, maybe the Pimkin of it's day. Developed on for Atari and C64, it was once those games that everyone who has it talks about it, whenever, 1 yr later, whatever the new big game was.

I said it wasn't out on Amstrad, (which was a reason for it being s***e), he said it was, and he said he had a mag with a reveiw for it. We argued for months, he was always saying he was going to bring a magazine in to prove it. But he never did, for months and months.

One day I was ill (very rare) and had the day off school, and what happened, that day? He brought in the magazine to prove it to me, The one day I wasn't there.

He was proved right, but he never proved it to me, and in his desperateness degraded his 'machine of choice'. He actually never mentioned the incident of him showing his magazine to me, but everyone else told me about him bringing the magazine and showing them.

After this he became an absolute console geek, buying a PC Engine, (supreme old school console, very expensive, games only import mailorder), and a Master System (and all the terrible SEGA conversions of games like OUTRUN,SPACEHARRIER and ENDURO RACER, games that worked as Arcade machines with stunning graphics, but were atrocious on a poor home console with flickery graohics), and lots of games for both.

That's the main points,

A Few Classic C64Games
(How many names do you recognise from Modern games)
Boulderdash
International Karate (IK & IK+)
Dropzone (a 'Defender' game, which was also big)
Impossible Mission
Spy Hunter
Gauntlet
Tetris (first ever version)

What do you think...

How much as changed?

V.
Wed 16/04/03 at 17:28
Regular
"past,present&future"
Posts: 171
Happy days.

Bruce Lee (C64) was the first game I ever completed, back when most games couldn't be completed, just had endless waves and levels.

My brother finished Action biker, but I never managed.

You could play Kikstart for hours in 2 player.

I think Impossible Mission is one of my all time faves, I managed to finish it, but my brother once did it in under 1:20 of game time, he only died 3 times in the whole game!

Exploding Fist, how great was that, when most games just used left and right and jump!

I could never work out why a 2 button joystick wasn't developed, I was crying out for one (lunging for the space bar playing Green Beret, Dropzone etc!)

You mention Rob Hubbard, a genius.

There seemed to be more personality then (obviously when most games were the work of 1 or 2 people).

Andrew Braybrook

&

Jeff Minter

&

Chris (whatever his name was) who did Boulderdash & Infiltrator much later.


Happy times, and great fun to nostalge over...
Wed 16/04/03 at 16:47
Regular
"Bored, Bored, Bored"
Posts: 611
Those were the days….

I think that it was a little different back in the heady days of the Home Computer, it seemed way more innocent and a lot less vitriolic than it is now. Although there were definite camps at school for each of the three major competitors, we were generally not as defensive about our pride and joy as the raging fanboy is, spluttering and fussing across this, and no doubt many other forums, playgrounds and juvenile correctional facilities all over the world.

I think that one of the major differences between then and now, is the fact that there really wasn’t much in the way of the ‘Exclusive’ title, the bread and butter ammunition of the fanboy. Initially, the mainstream software industry was not anywhere near big enough to dare produce games specifically for one system, almost all of the larger houses produced titles across the board to start with – with only the smaller, bedroom games industries producing games for either Commodore, Sinclair or Amstrad.

This however, was probably the downfall of Sinclair, and then Sinclair/Amstrad collaboration – as the games industry grew in popularity, and people started down the sad road of comparing games across systems, it became blatantly obvious as to which system was the all round winner.

The Spectrum just couldn’t keep up – It’s poor colour palette, 2 channel sound (Compared to the Commodore and Amstrads 3, the Atari 800Xl had 4!), was exposed as people started to take notice that the same game was drastically different to that being played on the C64. That, and people became more aware of specifications; Which machine was better at producing vector graphics and how many floating point calculations your CPU could make, suddenly became more important than the game - or at least the gameplay itself.

Once this had happened, the Spectrum 48 was doomed. Sir Clive sold up, as Amstrad tried to consolidate is already low market share with a Spectrum that looked like an Amstrad, but without the need for a monitor. Even that was too little too late, and Amstrad stopped at the dizzy heights of 128k of memory and sloped off to concentrate on the PC. This left Commodore and Atari, bolstered by their coin op and console success, to make the incredulous leap to a massive half a megabyte of memory with the Amiga and ST.

It seems funny now, when people complain about loading times that can be measured in seconds, rather than turns on a tape counter. I had a football management game, ingeniously named ‘Football Manager’, by Addictive Games I think, it took 344 and a half-counter revolutions to load (I find it sad I can remember that), well over 20 minutes. And there was no guarantee that it would load first time either. Some early games for the ZX81 and Spectrum required that you had the volume setting at a certain level, or the game wouldn’t load. Just imagine the fury that would cause, if Halo II exhibited the same instability during the 20 odd seconds it’ll take to boot up!!

One part of the overall game experience that disappeared with the reduction of loading times, was the loading music. Rob Hubbard is a goddam genius, even if he does work for EA now. He mustered some truly great tunes, Crazy Comets, Zoids, Thanatos, Commando, I-Ball, Hunter Patrol, The Human Race, Star Paws (man, what a great game that was) just to name the ones I can remember, I’m sure there are plenty more of them.

Although not directly linked to the difference in playing games, I think this story highlights the change that the games industry has undergone in the last 15 odd years.

While I was at Senior school, one of my friends vaguely new Jullian Gollop , creator of many top Spectrum games, such as Chaos, Lords of Chaos, Rebelstar – which became Laser Squad – which became the X-Com series, in a convoluted kind of way. We thought nothing of walking into the small office in Harlow that was Target Games, and asking him how things were going and when The Laser Squad port to the C64 would be available? Not was he happy to answer (possibly not happy, but we weren’t thrown out or arrested), be he let us see the code he was working on! Of course, we didn’t understand it, but can you honestly imagine that happening now?

That aside, I think that Fanboys are a required part of the gaming industry, a lesson learnt during that golden age of game play. Golden for us, but not for big business of course. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft need us to argue and fight about which console is best, for if we ever made our minds up as clearly now as we did then, two of the three systems would fairly rapidly disappear. For arguments sake, lets assume that the Sony incarnation of the next – next generation console blows everything else out of the water, with only the die hard fans of the other two systems refusing to move over to the enemy. Apply it to whichever brand you like, it makes little difference to the other two. That would be it, game over. Nothing dies faster than an obsolete games system – just ask Sir Clive….

Other top C64 Games:

Bruce Lee
Way of the Exploding Fist
Action Biker
Carrier Command
Kane
Ghostbusters
Barbarian
Feud
Wed 16/04/03 at 10:53
Regular
"past,present&future"
Posts: 171
There seems to be a lot of 'Fanboyism' chat around at mo'. I thought you might be interested in knowing what is was like back in the day, when the Commodore / Speccy /Amstrad wars raged...

Date:1986.
Location: 1st Year of High Scool

THE COMPUTERS WE PLAYED:

Commodore 64, (Price £250)
had the best graphics, sound, processor, lots of superb games (I had well over 1,000 games by the end of the era). Games slightly more expensive, (average £9.99, budget games from 99p).

Spectrum 48 (Price £89-129) (later +, later 128),
had terrible graphic, squeaky sound, bad processor, the widest selection of games. Games cheaper, (average £7.99, budget games from 99p).

Amstrad (Price £250+)
Had ok graphics, but atrocious colour palette, ok sound, fewest games. (Games price as C64).

There was also the Atari 800, which was, like most Atari systems, had far superior technology, but very few games, which you could only buy mail order, or from very specialist shop (average £15-£20, later budget games from £2.99). Also like all Atari systems, the marketing was wrong and no-one bought one.

I had a Commodore 64, as more most were friends did, which was strange since Spectrum's were initially far more popular.

I personally never liked Spectrum games because the graphics were so flickery, the background (i.e. most of the screen, was always black with the graphics in bright colours over the top). I have enjoyed a few Spectrum games for a few hours round a friends, but I could'nt ever want one.

One boy had an Amstrad, which was an ugly machine, games came out 1yr later, if ever, had a very bad colour palette, and the 'tape machine' (games came on Audio tape back then, making copying very, very easy) was joined onto the computer (all the others had a seperate tape machine, so if it went wrong {which used to happen often} it was easy to replace). I believe he secretly knew, and was ashamed, but he'd never hear a word against Amstrad, some may say like X-Box Fanboys today.

With tapes machines, each game tool 5-15 minutes to load, many games were 'multi-loaders', meaning they had to load each level, each cut-scene (a few years later). On some games, (this was before 'continue' or 'save; had been dreamed of you'd have a 25 minute game, of which 20 minutes could be loading time, 5 minutes gameplay.

Only the very best multi-load games could be played seriously. The loading time between action was too long, and then you might only have 3 lives and no Continues. Games were very hard, and you only finished a few games. Now people are angry if they can't finish a game in 20 hrs.

One boy had an Atari 800, but not many games, but seriously, ever game he had was absolutely solid plameplay, and the smoothest graphics and sound (though the colour palette was very limited, but still always looked good), so it was very pretty to play on.

There were 2 schools of Software development, some developers mainly developed some Spectrum and Amstrad, because the code was similar, some developed mainly for the C64 and Atari because they were the best processors, some delevoped for Spectrum and C64 because they were the most commercial.

One time I had a long-running dispute with the Amstrad fanboy, because he insisted there were loads of games for it, I said there weren't, a prime example being Boulderdah once of the best games ever made, a challeging Puzzle game that was, maybe the Pimkin of it's day. Developed on for Atari and C64, it was once those games that everyone who has it talks about it, whenever, 1 yr later, whatever the new big game was.

I said it wasn't out on Amstrad, (which was a reason for it being s***e), he said it was, and he said he had a mag with a reveiw for it. We argued for months, he was always saying he was going to bring a magazine in to prove it. But he never did, for months and months.

One day I was ill (very rare) and had the day off school, and what happened, that day? He brought in the magazine to prove it to me, The one day I wasn't there.

He was proved right, but he never proved it to me, and in his desperateness degraded his 'machine of choice'. He actually never mentioned the incident of him showing his magazine to me, but everyone else told me about him bringing the magazine and showing them.

After this he became an absolute console geek, buying a PC Engine, (supreme old school console, very expensive, games only import mailorder), and a Master System (and all the terrible SEGA conversions of games like OUTRUN,SPACEHARRIER and ENDURO RACER, games that worked as Arcade machines with stunning graphics, but were atrocious on a poor home console with flickery graohics), and lots of games for both.

That's the main points,

A Few Classic C64Games
(How many names do you recognise from Modern games)
Boulderdash
International Karate (IK & IK+)
Dropzone (a 'Defender' game, which was also big)
Impossible Mission
Spy Hunter
Gauntlet
Tetris (first ever version)

What do you think...

How much as changed?

V.

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