Issue 1 sold out overnight, the stats are in, I’ve fudged the figures and Amigo Scour is unofficially the best selling fake Amiga magazine on the planet! With celebrity endorsements flooding in from around the globe, how could I possibly deny you a second issue?
Letter of the month – Ah, the good old days
I’ve been the owner of so many computer systems it’s unbelievable, and I would love to see some of the ‘old classics’ appear on the Amiga. I know there have been letters on the subject before, and that it has been made known that software houses won’t spend money on converting old games that won’t sell when compared to new licenses, but this seems a dreadful waste. Take Ocean, for example. During my time with a Spectrum and C64, Ocean were responsible for some real classics: Batman, Head Over Heels, Green Beret, Hypersports, Yie Ar Kung Fu – the list is endless. Now if they were to bung them all on a compilation, with, say, five games on it for twenty-five quid, then I’m positive that they could make a fortune. Also, The Edge have released some real rubbish recently and others just haven’t appeared. Why don’t they just release Amiga and ST versions of Fairlight and Bobby Bearing. Both these are just crying out to be updated and enlarged, as are past hits, such as Palace’s Cauldron II, The Secret Armour of Antiriad, any Ultimate game, and Delta.
I’m not just looking back and sighing whilst writing off all the new titles, as the wealth of good Amiga software is getting larger all the time – Gods and Chuck Rock, are perfect examples. But I honestly think that the wave of dire licenses and conversions need a kick up the backside, and the older, more playable games could do it. So come on Ocean, U.S. Gold and Mirrorsoft, there’s a wealth of good back catalogue stuff out there, use it.
Dean Machin, Canterbury
This is a major gripe of Mr. Merrett’s who has been a fan of games almost as long as he could hold a joystick (since last week). He is always spouting on about ‘oldies but goldies’ and often sits there with a cup of sweet tea reminiscing about some of the better C64 and Spectrum games. I must admit, too, to thinking that some of the older stuff could do with being released, and that the hype needed to sell it would be fairly unnecessary as the games would be playable enough to sell themselves. After all, the Amiga is now competing with the likes of the Famicom and the Megadrive, and with playable and addictive games it would be an easy win for the Amiga.
CU Amiga issue 17 (July 1991)
Whatever happened to innovation?
I’m one of those jaded computer owners, who went from Acorn Atoms, on to BBC Micros, C64s, Spectrums, Amstrads, STs and Amigas, and what I want to know is: whatever happened to innovation? I use my Amiga for everything from Word Processing to games, but I would love to use it for more obscure things. One of my fondest memories is of a Spectrum game called Surf Champ (I think), and rather than using the joystick or keys, the player actually had a little plastic surfboard which went over the control keys.
OK, so we still get silly looking control devices, but all the useful and weird gadgets, Like Logo Turtles and the Surfboards seem to have died a death. I know there’s only so much you can do through the Amiga’s ports but with a little bit of imagination, I’m sure something different could be achieved.
Darren Kennedy, Finchley
CU Amiga issue 26 (April 1992)
My sense of nostalgia for retro gaming didn’t kick in until many years after I’d left behind the Amiga in favour of ‘progress’ and a boring beige box. Which is why it struck me as odd to see people talking about the ‘good old days’ in 25-year-old copies of Amiga Format and CU Amiga. The grass was as green back then as it ever would be, we didn’t need to look over the fence at anyone else’s lawn.
Yet here were these people who’d followed a similar path to myself, growing up with the Speccy or C64, grappling with the frustration of their limitations, before being enticed away by the intoxicating allure of the Amiga revolution.
This was no more than a scant 5 years on from the acoustic blips and blops, and unwieldy blocktastic pixels that defined the 8-bit systems. Could it be that technology advanced so swiftly during that era that dewy-eyed reminiscence was already warranted by that stage?
Perhaps it’s a reflection of natural relativity. Time-warping back through 5 years in the lifespan of a 17-year-old is always going to seem like a weightier prospect than it would for say a 40, 50 or 60-year-old harking back to the distant days of their youth. So many firsts delineate that coming-of-age time that it will seem like an apocryphal, epic journey of discovery, one that our rationalising minds aim to account for by stamping it with grandiose terms like ‘epoch’ or ‘aeon’.
Of course, this logic flies right out the window when you factor in that not everyone reading these magazines in the early ’90s was a kid. The ones that combined games with coverage of productivity pursuits in particular attracted a diverse readership in terms of age, if not gender so much.
Whatever the explanation, the Amiga catered for our rose-tinted needs back then, much as the contemporary PC does today.
PD Selection of the Month – ZX Spectrum Emulator
Nick Veitch reckons he’s spent more time playing Bomb Jack on the Spectrum than he’s spent breathing oxygen. Probably why his eyes lit up and his face looked less blue when he realised we had a Speccy emulator.
Whether it’s for drippy-nosed sentimental nostalgia or hard-faced historical research, or even just for piqued curiosity, no self-respecting Amiga owner should be without a ZX Spectrum emulator for their machine.
Antonio’s emulator is one of the best currently doing the rounds of the PD houses. Please note though, that it isn’t strictly PD. It’s Shareware. If you like the program, send Antonio the requisite amount – stated on the read-me file – and he’ll send you the latest update which includes a Spectrum 128 emulator (some people will tell you that this was the best Speccy ever).
There are several versions of the program on here, as well as a few games for you to try straight away. If you happen to have a load of old Speccy tapes, Antonio has constructed his own interface so that you can load them into the Amiga direct from tape.
You need an 020 processor in order for the emulator to run properly. Sadly, the games only run around half speed, marginally faster if you’ve got Fast RAM installed. Add an accelerator and you’re talking historical excitement city.
Re-live the tension and terror of 3D Ant Attack, the adrenalised action of Jet Pac and gaze in awe at the beauty of Sabre Wolf’s 8-bit attribute clash.
Antonio can be contacted on the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amiga Format issue 71, May 1995
The PD circuit had our emulation bases covered with regards to transforming 16-bit machines into temporary 8-bit ones. You could even order large collections of dubiously legal classic games by responding to the ads in the back of computer magazines… while the journalists preached the sanctity of their zero-tolerance stance on piracy just overleaf.
It should come as no surprise to learn that this really took off with the advent of CD technology; who could refuse an offer of the entire back catalogue of Spectrum or C64 games on a single frisbee?
Fairly regularly you’d see reader’s letters requesting advice on emulating the computers of yesteryear, or ruminating on the regrettable, current innovation drought.
Rose-Tinted Spec Pt 2
I have an A1200 and I would like to know if anyone can supply me with a Spectrum 128K+2 emulator.
While I was at a friend’s house, I noticed his old Spectrum poking out from under the bed. We set it up and had a go on some of the games. Because of this I had a nostalgia attack and I want to play some of the old classics (in particular Target Renegade and Chase HQ) on my A1200. Do you know where I could find an emulator?”
Ben Carter, Old Lynn Road, Norfolk
There are a few PD ZX Spectrum emulators. Check out the ads in this issue for details (try the United PD one), and you can fulfil your nostalgic fantasies.
Amiga Format issue 70 (April 1995)
Others would mourn the loss of the bedroom coder, and bemoan the new corporate direction that had befallen the games industry.
While the big-name developers focused on all that was new and shiny, some lower-profile teams took the opportunity to jump on the retro revival bandwagon, pumping out clones of classic IPs for a bargain-basement price tag.
In a world where things that we’d rather were held static in carbonite forevermore are constantly in a state of flux, it’s quite reassuring in a way to know that being firmly rooted in the past is nothing new, and despite the ancient joke, nostalgia is exactly what it used to be.
Stop Press! Ocean cast a shadow
News has just come in that Ocean have grabbed the game license for The Shadow, a soon to be released film starring Alec Baldwin. Apparently it’s based on a fifties series of the same name featuring a dark and brooding vigilante with a penchant for the right. Sounds familiar – give him a pointy-eared costume and you’d have Batman. Let’s hope that this license turns out better than the Bat’s outing onto disk. There are no details available at the time of going to press. As The Shadow himself might have said ‘Who knows what gameplay lurks in Ocean’s heart.’ We’ll keep you posted.
CU Amiga issue 45 (November 1993)
Based on the 1994 movie starring Alec Baldwin, which was in turn based on a series of pulp fiction novels from the 1930s, The Shadow – developed by Ocean – was originally destined for an Amiga release set to coincide with the box office event.
The second-rate superhero franchise movie tanked, so with little optimism that the game would fare any better, the project was quashed despite being 95% complete.
While a beta version of the Amiga data has yet to surface, the incomplete SNES ROM has been doing the rounds online for a number of years now. You can even buy the game on a physical repro cartridge, delivered in an authentic-looking cardboard sleeve, though I wouldn’t go out of your way to do so. These are usually original, re-purposed Madden or FIFA games that most people wouldn’t deem worthy of use as a doorstop, but we’re also now starting to see some dealers selling ‘burnt’ ROMs on brand new carts to avoid sacrificing vintage hardware.
The Shadow is a side-scrolling beat-em-up in the mould of Batman Returns, and is unsurprisingly a bit glitchy given that it was never finished. One adversary in particular appears on screen as a flickery mess of corrupt pixels, though can still be kicked into touch along with his more ‘wholesome’ buddies. Not much to write home about really so don’t feel too deprived.
Zool – the coin-op
With Zool 2 only months away from release (look for an In Development soon), news reaches our shell-like ears that Gremlin’s Ninja from the Nth Dimension is also set to star in his own coin-op game. Bell Fruit, the fruit machine and pub quiz giant, have snapped up the rights to the arcade license and are busy putting the finishing touches to the game. Watch out for it this summer.
CU Amiga issue 37 (March 1993)
From a game that wasn’t to a coin-op conversion that (only kind of) was. Gremlin’s definitely-not-an-ant ninja platformer, Zool, was revamped and extended for an arcade release, previews appeared in the magazines, and a prototype was even aired on Bad Influence (skip to the seventh minute and try not to snigger at Andy Crane’s bizarre overacting).
Nevertheless, the cabinets failed to hit the arcades, and judging by the PCB wish lists online, few people seem to have shed more than a tear or two over the loss.
Rumours are circulating currently concerning the future of our old friend James Pond, about to return once more in Operation Starfish. Apparently, Millennium’s next step is to make the move to CD in a bigger way, with large sections of the game using full-motion video, shot underwater at the recently reopened Ealing Studios. The cast is yet to be finalised, but current Hollywood darling Harvey Keitel is rumoured for the role of Dr. Maybe. Call Millennium on 023 844 894 for more details.
CU Amiga 50 (April 1994)
We never got to savour Harvey Keitel (or Mr White) channelling Dr Maybe for Pond’s third and final outing, and if you try to ascertain exactly why, you’ll find that the trail quickly runs cold. Glancing over his IMDb profile it appears that he follows a strict ‘no game’ policy so Millennium were really barking up the wrong blood-soaked abandoned warehouse here.
…or perhaps the month in which this news was published should be taken into consideration. 😉
Ban this computer death game
Ahhh, thought that would get your attention. The headline printed above recently adorned a highly-charged piece of investigative journalism by that fine upholder of moral standards, The Today newspaper. According to the tabloid, Ubisoft’s brilliant bomb ‘n’ run game, Dynablaster, encourages children to blow up their friends and is a thoroughly nasty piece of work, especially as ‘the IRA is poised to launch a bombing blitz’ this Christmas. I mean, look, this has got to be some kind of joke… doesn’t it?!
CU Amiga issue 34 (December 1992)
Proof that if you’re determined enough to find threats and offence lurking around every corner, you’re sure to find them.
Dynablaster, really? I suppose it’s always possible the IRA used the game as a recruitment and training tool, but then I’ve heard that roller-skates and bombs don’t make the best bedfellows.
Team 17 have got the licence to beat all licenses. Roll over Schwarzenegger, the Love Bug’s back.
Joyride is a diagonally scrolling driving game based on Herbie, the petrol-driven star of Herbie Goes Bananas and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo. It will feature 7,500 screens, hooligans, speed humps, police and other less predictable hazards designed to thwart Herbie in his quest to find his sweetheart. Help is at hand, though, as improved engines, gearboxes, headlights and nodding dogs (?) are scattered along the road to aid our beloved VW Beetle. Sadly the game will be 1MEG only.
What next we ask? The Sound Of Music?
CU Amiga issue 18, August 1991
Walt Disney’s Herbie the Love Bug is another license that never made it to the small (bedroom) screen. Starring in his first motion picture (remember that phrase?!) way back in 1968, you wouldn’t expect the anthropomorphic VW Beetle to resonate that strongly with ’90s kids, but then he did make a comeback in 1997 and again in 2005 (along with a tie-in GBA game), so who knows?
Leander of the pack
Liverpool-based Psygnosis are set to release a sequel to their popular oriental platformer, Leander. Reusing the same sprite as in the first game, Leander II will he a larger game, using the same puzzle and platform style found in the original. Any niggles spotted in the first game will be weeded out, and there’s a possibility of adding even deeper puzzle elements. The game is only just off the drawing board, but we imagine that Leander II will hit your screens in time for next Christmas.
CU Amiga issue 25 (March 1992)
Oooh, you big fibberoozers you, Psygnosis. That never happened did it now? Naughty Psygy!
All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer. All lies and no truth make Psygnosis a long-nosed developer.
Sonic boom rodent
In a bid to bring cash-cow Japanese software to the UK computers, US Gold have picked up the licence for Sega’s latest creation, Sonic The Hedgehog.
Sonic is Sega’s challenge to the monopoly that Nintendo hold over the console market with the Super Mario series. The game’s hero, as you might have guessed, is a hedgehog who makes The Flash look like a paraplegic. He has to travel through a series of scrolling worlds collecting rings, avoiding traps, solving puzzles and impaling bad guys on his cast-iron spikes. No details of the conversion are available yet and, as the console version isn’t ready until autumn, Sonic, on the Amiga, looks to be a good year away.
CU Amiga issue 16 (June 1991)
Sega decided that it wasn’t in their best interests to dilute the value of the Mega Drive by letting their most lucrative cash cow, Sonic the Hedgehog, play with other computers or consoles, so pulled the plug on their tentative arrangement with US Gold at the 11th hour.
All these years later there’s still no Amiga version of Sonic, despite the spiky blue-rinse urchin breaking the cardinal rule of straying over to Nintendo’s light side.
More Sega games hit the Amiga
Virgin are currently in secret talks with both Sega and Acclaim and are on the verge of signing an exclusive contract to convert some of the Megadrive’s top titles onto the Amiga. This could open the floodgates to such games as Ecco the Dolphin, Terminator 2 – The Arcade Game, Joe Montana, Tazmania, Streets of Rage 2 and Mickey Mouse’s World of Illusion appearing on the Amiga.
Ecco is Sega’s ground-breaking arcade adventure which pits the main character, a dolphin, up against various underwater evils and ultimately a group of particularly nasty aliens. While this may sound a bit ‘off the wall’, it won critical acclaim from all the big Sega magazines, including sister mag, MegaTech.
Meanwhile Sega’s partnership with Disney also yielded the massively successful World Of Illusion, which stars Mickey and Donald. Apart from its stunning graphics WOL is actually three games in one with the action dependent on which of the two characters you’re controlling.
Away from the cute stuff and in the realm of rock-hard action is Streets Of Rage 2. This beat ’em up has been a massive hit on the currently Streetfighter-starved Megadrive. It features four main characters on a quest to knock seven bells out of the villains in their neighbourhood, armed only with a dazzling array of moves and whatever weapons come to hand. Joe Montana, on the other hand, is a spectacular American Football sim to rival even EA’s acclaimed John Madden game. It features absolutely tons of digitised speech and admirably straightforward game-play – even for those of us who haven’t got a clue about the real-life game.
Other impressive Sega titles that could find their way onto the Amiga include Acclaim’s Super High Impact Football, another American footy sim, only this time there’s the option to beat up the other team and play dirty, and Arch Rivals, one of the most realistic basketball sims ever!
Unfortunately, Sega’s flagship title and marketing life-saver, Sonic The Hedgehog, doesn’t look likely to appear on the Amiga. The blue hedgehog is most definitely going to stay Sega-specific for the foreseeable future.
CU Amiga issue 39 (May 1993)
If by ‘hit the Amiga’ they mean ‘here’s some more vapourware that’ll never see the light of day’, then this headline is totally accurate… well all except for Terminator II – The Arcade Game, which did make an appearance on the Amiga in 1993 and was based on the Midway coin-op of the same name. It’s an Operation Wolf style first-person target-em-up developed by Probe.
Well, all good things have to come to an end, and award-winning Amiga magazine issues are sadly no exception. Join me again next month for another feature-packed bonanza of Amiga trivia and waffle.