Archive for the Video Games Category

“Secret of Qwerty” Version 1.6 Release on Itch

Posted in Game Development, Video Games on August 2, 2015 by cannibalcat

We have recently released an updated package for “Secret of Qwerty”, our typing game inspired RPG. You can check it out on our new itch.io page:

http://cannibalcat.itch.io/

Spread the word, donate and support our future efforts… we thank you in advance!

Secret of Qwerty 1.6Secret of Qwerty 1.6 Combat

Unsung Heroes (Part III)

Posted in Video Games on January 5, 2015 by cannibalcat

For this installment of unsung heroes, I will be presenting Bill Williams, a game developer and visionary who lost his battle with Cystic Fibrosis at the early age of 38. Bill is probably most remembered for two amazing titles produced originally for the Atari 8-bit computer line: Necromancer and Alley Cat. To me, he is the author of many other brilliant and innovative designs as well, including the revolutionary abstract productions Mind Walker and Pioneer Plague for the Commodore Amiga.

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Alley Cat (Atari 8-Bit Computer)

Necro

Necromancer (Atari 8-Bit Computer)

Bill started his short career in video games after learning to program in assembly language in college. His father had given him an Atari 800 on which he produced his first game, Salmon Run. Not sure if anyone would be interested in buying it or publishing it, Bill submitted it to Atari Program Exchange (APX) which distributed software through a quarterly mail order publication. APX ultimately published the game launching Bill’s career.

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Salmon Run (Atari 8-Bit Computer)

Bill’s next release was probably his career highlight, at least for me it was! Necromancer was a dark tale of life and death battling an evil Necromancer (Tetragorn) who was intent on taking over a graveyard with his minions. You played the wizard Illuminar who had to (among other things) raise an army of trees (screen one) to take root over crypts containing spider eggs to break through and crush them (screen two). The final battle is between Illuminar and Tetragorn in the graveyard that is under assault (screen three).

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Necromancer – The final battle!

Bill went on to create games in the 16-bit era as well, including two amazingly innovative and abstract games for the Amiga: Mind Walker and Pioneer Plague.

MindWalker

Mind Walker (Amiga)

PioneerPlague

Pioneer Plague (Amiga)

Bill also wrote Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon (Amiga) and Knights of the Crystallion (Amiga) before moving onto console development for the NES (Monopoly) and SNES (Bart’s Nightmare) in 1991 and 1992 respectively. It was here however, that Bill became disenchanted with the industry due to the ever increasingly oppressive and corporate atmosphere that was taking hold. He walked away from game development in 1992 never to return to it again.

Bill Williams passed away in 1998 from Cystic Fibrosis leaving behind a small but amazing digital legacy. Bill hid the message: “MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU” within the source code of Alley Cat… so RIP Bill, may the words you wrote hold true.

Unsung Heroes (Part II)

Posted in Video Games on November 28, 2014 by cannibalcat

Haven’t posted for quite some time on here, let alone the fact that I have severely neglected this topic series of the unsung heroes in classic game development. I’ve been busy working on “Space Madness” which is a clone/reboot of the classic shooter “Bandits”. With that being said, what better subject matter than to present an overview of the Ngo brothers (Benny Ngo aka “Aik Beng” and Tony Ngo) and their fabulous early digital creations.

As a Commodore kid, first starting with a VIC-20, then moving on to a 64 in ’83, I was already an avid gamer and was also learning to program (in BASIC) on these machines at the same time. One game came along on the 64 that totally derailed my programming progress for a period of time, that game was called “Bandits”. Not only was Bandits nice to look at graphically, it had super smooth motion and great playability. Somehow, someone had found the perfect balance of arcade difficulty and varied enemy delivery as to never get boring. The balance of enemy specialization was refreshing, with a constant mix of foes all with unique attack patterns and abilities. I was hooked!

Bandits (Atari 8-Bit Version)

Bandits (Atari 8-Bit version)

I remembered their names, as I would whenever something amazed or impressed me to the point of inspiration. Tony and Benny Ngo… those names I would look out for now. It wasn’t until a visit to my cousins house (who also had a 64) that I would come across another Ngo creation… Drol.

Drol (Apple II Version)

Drol (Apple II version)

This game had amazing graphics and smooth animation, which immediately drew me in. I was happy to see the Ngo name attached to this, “Aik Beng” aka Benny Ngo. The game had its merits, but kind of lacked in the replayability area. I mean, I did play it quite a bit, but overall didn’t wow me as much as Bandits did. Technically a great effort though, and I can reward someone on that alone.

Besides the amazingly cool Squish’Em by Tony Ngo (which I had only played on the VIC), I never had a chance to play their other titles, namely Gamma Goblins (an early Apple II space shooter) and Park Patrol which Tony Ngo had conceived.

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Park Patrol (Amstrad CPC version)

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Squish’Em (VIC-20 version)

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Gamma Goblins (Apple II)

Not much is known what happened to the brothers after this brief but successful run. I often wondered what became of them and if they are even involved with programming at all anymore. The good thing is they left behind a solid legacy that can still be enjoyed today.

New game “Tight Freeze”… a remake (of sorts) in the works!

Posted in Game Development, Video Games on December 11, 2013 by cannibalcat

Well, I got sort of distracted over the weekend and went through some early 80’s arcade games in MAME that I hadn’t played before and a couple early Stern and Universal games caught my eye. One Stern game in particular “Tazz-Mania” showed some potential but has some annoying flaws, so to make it fun again, I’m doing my own version! Tentatively titled “Tight Freeze”, you are a penguin who must collect fish, freeze (and destroy by kicking) your enemies before the ice walls close in, all the while fighting decreasing temperatures which make it harder to move! Stay tuned…

Tazz-Mania screenshot

Tazz-Mania in all of its color cycling glory!

Unsung Heroes (Part I)

Posted in Video Games on September 17, 2012 by cannibalcat

I decided to start posting about some of the game programmers that have inspired me in the past (and also in the present) along with some of their more memorable creations. For my first installment, I am putting the spotlight on 2 classic Jimmy Huey titles that appeared on the Commodore VIC-20, “Sidewinder” and “Scorpion”.

I remember as a kid (around 1982 if I recall correctly) walking into my local computer shop one day (actually this was an EVERYDAY routine), to drool over the TI-99/4A and the Atari 8-bit (400/800) computer brochures, etc. Looking down into the display case, something new had caught my eye…

  

What is this magic that I see before my eyes?? As a VIC-20 owner, decent games were few and far between, so this side scrolling defender-like clone had me all a tingle! I asked the salesman about it and he said it was awesome, highly recommended… I needed no further convincing! But wait… one problem, the game required the 8K RAM expansion cart… something I did not have (or could afford as a 12 year old). Well, my new mission in life was to convince my parents that I needed more memory for my computer, that I couldn’t do any “school” related stuff or “learn” anything new without it! Fast forward to them finally caving in and me purchasing the much sought after “Sidewinder” the very next day for which I must have played continuously for weeks on end that summer. The name “Jimmy Huey” and “Dragonfly” now etched into my brain… I was determined to seek out more of his work. I did end up buying his “Swarm!” title as well, which was decent, but it wasn’t until this baby that I really was blown away again by his technical expertise…

 

  

 

A multi-directional scrolling shooter with varied enemies and frantic gameplay… just what the doctor ordered. I love this game and play it on occasion even to this day! (Hint: a remake may be in order in the future) Jimmy was able to do some amazing things with the character graphics mode of the VIC-20… although somewhat lacking in the smooth scrolling and movement, the excellent game play made up for it.

Both these games provided endless enjoyment for me until I upgraded to a Commodore 64 the following year (’83). I’ll never forget these two titles as they inspired me to start programming my own games on the VIC-20. Some of the style elements from his work directly carried over to mine own creations, and even to this day I rank him up there with my other great influences such Jeff Minter, Eugene Jarvis/Larry DeMar/Sam Dicker, Soren Gronbech, Andrew Braybrook, Archer MacLean and Sean Cooper.

Leisure Time…

Posted in Video Games on March 16, 2010 by cannibalcat

Newly acquired shiny shooter here (Irukandji)…

http://www.charliesgames.com/wordpress/?page_id=399

Now go get it and donate as well! Charlie rules!

Ahh… What Could’ve Been!

Posted in Video Games on January 29, 2010 by cannibalcat

Williams color vector hardware?? With VidKidz developing for it?! Oh man… like a wet dream!!

http://www.rotheblog.com/2010/01/arcade-history/williams-vector-prototype-schematics-found-illinois-pinball/