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Sunday, 1 March 2015

From Bedrooms to Billions The Amiga Years

It seems like only two minutes since Nicola and Anthony Caufield's "From Bedrooms to Billions" project, telling the story of the UK video games industry from 1979 to the present day, was finally completed, but already the pair are looking towards their next production.

Entitled "From Bedrooms to Billions The Amiga Years", this newly proposed 90 minute documentary aims to;
"explore the influence of the Commodore Amiga and how it took video game development, music and publishing to a whole new level and changed the video games industry forever!"
As with "From Bedrooms", the "Amiga Years" production is being financed through Kickstarter donations. Check out the promotional video below.


Nicoloa and Anthony's plan is to release the film in January 2016. Clearly this is a much shorter timescale than that taken to produce the original "From Bedrooms" production. Nicola and Anthony explain why this release will appear much sooner than the original did;
"From Bedrooms to Billions took more time due to the huge amount of research, contacting and sourcing of archive and interviewees. However for The Amiga Years! we have a huge head start on that due to how much work has already been done so we aim to film all our new interviews by September 2015 with an intensive post-production of 16 weeks to follow".
For more information, and to sign-up/donate to this project point your web browser over to the "From Bedrooms to Billions The Amiga Years" Kickstarter page.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Results of the 2014 Amiga Games Award

For the past few few years the Obligement web site have been running their annual Amiga Games Award, which aims to chart the most popular games released in the previous 12 months for either Amiga OS 68K, Amiga OS4.x, Morph OS or AROS platforms.

Each of the four charts are kept separate, meaning that there's no overall winner across all formats, and as this blog concentrates its coverage on the classic Amiga platform I'm only interested in the Amiga OS 68K chart.

In third place was the much-discussed (and pulled from download) "Smurf Rescue", by Mikael Persson. I must admit to not having tried this, as links to download this title were swiftly removed once Peyo's solicitors got involved.

In second place was "Renegades Deluxe 2014", a remastered version of Wayne Ashworth's original two player shooter, originally released way back in 1995. As with the initial release this is a two-player only title, so you'll need someone to play with.


Finally, in first place is the only commercially released game in the chart; "Tales of Gorluth: The Tearstone Saga". This Legend of Zelda-like RPG pushes the Backbone game creation software to its very limits. Featuring over 5 hours of gameplay, 64 colour graphics, and over 40 pieces of music, this is one of the most ambitious games released for the Amiga in many years.


Minimum specs for Tales of Gorluth is an ECS Amiga with a 68020 CPU, 2MB of graphics RAM and 1MB of FastRam. Recommended CPU is a 68030.

The game can be purchased for £10.99 from the Amigakit web site.

We're now well and truly into 2015, and it'll be interesting to see what games will be released for the Amiga this year. With the recently released "Solomon's Key 2" now available for download we're off to a very strong start. Here's hoping the trend continues!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Fire & Ice: Solomon's Key 2 Released!

Back in April 2013 I reported that the Atari ST version of Techmo's platformer puzzler, "Solomon's Key" had been converted to the trusty Amiga. The team did a smashing job porting over the ST version, and it played brilliantly. (If you've not yet installed it then you really should do so at once!)

Fast forward almost two years, and I was pleased to see that a couple of weeks back the prequel, "Solomon's Key 2: Fire and Ice" had been released for the Amiga, having been converted from the humble Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) version.

Released by Techmo back in 1993, the object of the game is to extinguish all fires on each level in order to proceed to the next. To do this you need to either melt ice blocks or kick them into the raging infernos.

Here's hukka with the details;
"I have released my Amiga remake of the underrated NES puzzle platformer Solomon's Key 2 aka Fire'N Ice. Written in 100% assembly and should run on any setup.
Features include [a] built-in level editor and saving/loading [of] your progress. Some features from the original are missing: levels containing lava or enemies; some cutscenes and sound effects; final boss battle. Still, the game can be completed normally and bonus worlds are included. 
The game can be played using either the keyboard, normal joystick or 2-button joystick/gamepad (tested using Megadrive pad). This version will run from Workbench. 
More info and ADF download: http://hukka.yiff.fi/sk2/"
Check out the game in action below, and then get yourself over to hukka's Solomon's Key 2 page to download the brand spanking new Amiga version.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Homebrew Amiga Game Brings Out The Lawyers

Released on new year's eve 2014, Smurf Rescue was yet another Amiga game produced using Backbone; a games creation system that seems to be gaining some degree of popularity at the moment.

Unfortunately, what started out as a bit of fun and a gift to the Amiga community quickly got nasty as Studio Peyo's solicitors sued the author, hipoonios, for creating an unlicensed videogame of their blue coloured creations.

Here's hipoonios;
"Yes, it is true! 
Remember my crappy Smurf game I made in Backbone just a few weeks ago? "Studio Peyo" (the owners of The Smurfs trademark) have sued me for have creating an unlicensed video game of The Smurfs. 
Now I know pretty well that you are not allowed to make unlicensed video games or use others work without permission, but this is just a game made in BACKBONE for a 30 year old computer. LOL... this is insane! I'm sure they don't even know what an Amiga is. And I doubt more than 50 people have downloaded it. 
How much do you think I must pay for this? ... (see the attached screenshots)"


Initially hipoonios assumed this to be a scam, but that was until a huge pile of legal documentation was delivered to his house.

While the game does infringe on Peyo's copyright, you'd think that a simple email to the author asking him to take the game down from his web site would be enough. This really is a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

Hopefully this story will have a happy ending and no money will be required to change hands, as this is quite clearly an over the top reaction to a Public Domain game on a computer platform that's not been commercially available for around 20 years.

You can follow the progress of this sorry tale in this thread over on the English Amiga Board.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Retro-Style Platformer "Boxx 2" Now Available!

If you're fans of oldskool platform games you could do a lot worse than downloading and firing-up Boxx 2 on your trusty Amiga.

Developed by English Amiga Board member Lemming880, Boxx 2 is similar in style to the original platformer released in September of last year, but features many enhancements including a greater variety of platform 'blocks', more sprites, carefully selected chiptunes, bosses, turrets, ropes and more.

While the original game was made from scratch in just two weeks this sequel has had a much longer development time meaning this latest title is far more polished than the previous release. Here's Lemming880;
"Boxx was my first game and I made it in just 2 weeks. I was quite surprised to see it popping up on Amiga fan sites and forums and I never expected it to be mentioned by print magazines like Amiga Future and Retro Gamer! If I had known I would probably have spent more time on the first Boxx. So to make up for that I've spent extra time on Boxx2. It took me about 3 months so it got a little out of hand but I hope it paid off."
Both the original Boxx and the follow-up were created using Backbone game creation system, which gives those of us without strong coding abilities the chance to create our very own Amiga games.

Lemming880 explains;
"When I made the first Boxx game I wanted it to run on my real Amiga 500 but I already knew about Backbone games being slow so I used very low settings like a screen resolution of 256x176 and only 8 colours.
Well, it runs on an A500 but not as fast as I wanted, it's quite sluggish. But using low settings wasn't for nothing. At least both Boxx's now run smooth(ish) on an A1200 and if I hadn't used 8 colours the game wouldn't have it's "distinctive likeable look" like Graham said in Amiga Future magazine."
As the game's been created in Backbone it does mean that system requirements are rather high. For the game to be playable you'll need an Amiga 1200 with an 030 processor. Those of you running your Amiga set-ups though emulation, you'll need a WinUAE configuration of an A1200 with an 030 processor, with it set to Fastest Possible and no Cycle Exact.

Check out the game in action, below...


If you'd like to download and try the game out for yourself you can get it from the following locations:
Once you've played the game, please consider giving the author some feedback on his latest title by contributing to this thread over on the English Amiga Board.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Coffee on the Brain - Maxwell Mouse Updates

The team over at Remainder Software have either been too polite to say anything or simply haven't noticed that all my recent references to platform adventure Maxwell Mouse have actually referred to it as Maxwell House.

Well, they do say that any publicity is good publicity, and perhaps I've given them and other Amiga users some amusement at the same time.

Regardless, I can only apologise to Remainder Software for getting this wrong. Sorry gents!

Ahem! Moving on...

Following Remainder Software's recent announcement that a 29-screen work in progress version of the game have been released for public beta testing, the feedback has been coming in thick and fast. The comments seem to have been almost universally positive, with the main bugbear being that the collision detection is a little off. Here's Remainder Software's Graham Humphrey;
"The biggest issue by far seems to be the collision, which is causing some frustration.
I've used Blitz's collision commands but they do seem a bit stingy so I might need to work on using my own collision routines to make it more accurate."
Other players seem to be reporting of control issues which seem to be resolved by aborting the game and then running again. Thankfully Graham was quick on the development updates, and the addition of offering a standard joystick or CD32 controller option at the start seems to have resolved the issue.

Version 1.1 was released on Wednesday (14th) and is available to download from http://maxwell.mikendezign.com/

Updates in this version are:
  • Bug that mistakenly detected normal joysticks as CD32 pads removed, now both modes selectable on title screen 
  • Collision detection on ladybird fixed 
  • Manual updated with changes, and memory requirements fixed (needs 1MB RAM but not all of it needs to be Chip 

Here's Graham;
"I won't be adding any new features to this version. Basically it's a dress rehearsal for the game proper, we built an engine and figured we may as well bolt on a small game to test it out.
There were things that could be improved even before release but it got to the stage where I just wanted it out there.
So basically: the full game will have a different title, a different storyline and some new features, some of which we have discussed even before release and one or two that have been suggested here.
The basic engine and gameplay won't be dramatically different but hopefully the things we add will improve things somewhat and we can then fully concentrate on the actual game design"
The game will have a different title? Perhaps Maxwell House isn't such a bad name after all? ;)

More news on this as and when it surfaces.

Unreleased Amiga Conversion - Mutant League Hockey

Due for release by Ocean in the final quarter of 1994, Mutant League Hockey was one of a number of games the Manchester software giant had licensed from Electronic Arts for conversion from Megadrive to Amiga. Unfortunately, this was one of the many games cancelled following the demise of Commodore.

Between August and November of that year the game was previewed in a number of Amiga magazines of the day including Amiga Power, CU Amiga and The One (see this link on the Amiga Magazine Rack site for the full lowdown and links to the reviews).

CU Amiga commented in their preview;
"EA have a superb reputation for their sport sims and hopefully this will come across in the conversion process. 
Mutant League is an ideal two-player game and the A1200 version should be fast enough to prove to the console buffs that the Amiga is still a force to be reckoned with."
The One, meanwhile, devoted a whopping two pages of their magazine to previewing the game and interviewing one of the programmers, Adrian Brown. Adrian commented at the time that two versions were in the works - one for Amiga 500/600 machines and one for A1200/4000 systems.

The A1200/4000 versions were to include extra features including action replays, smoother animation, and a greater roster of characters in a match at any one point. The A1200/4000 version was also planned to be hard drive installable. If the game was installed to hard drive further enhancements were planned, which were removed from the floppy version due to excessive disk swapping.

So, why the blog post? Well, in a recent posting to the Amiga Facebook group Adrian commented;
"Unreleased Amiga conversion - MUTANT LEAGUE HOCKEY... Well I got the copylock removed, 
Can't remember if this was fully working or not. If not I'll have to reverse engineer it to fix the bugs, but it seems good :) 
Only about 20 years late :D I'll have to sort out the ADF files."
Check out the game in action below...

As soon as any further information surfaces regarding Mutant League Hockey I'll post the details up in a subsequent blog post.

My thanks go to the Amiga Magazine Rack web site for references and images.