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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Ports. PT1 the Wishful Thinkening.

Hello and welcome. We don't have a particularly exciting trip to go on about this week but we will talk once again about video games.  Or more accurately video games that should have been released on other consoles / computers back in the day.  We can remember writing out back in sixth form a long list of games that they should have ported to the NES and without any way of knowing if they had done so or not.

My defence is that it was 1993 and they was no mass market proliferation of the internet back then for fact checking.  So I had to rely on CES show release lists in popular gaming magazines for all my news and reviews.

Please note that what we are asking in the games we would like to see are not by and large modern titles but, something which could be capable on host hardware of the day albeit maybe with some extra ram in the case of a few titles.

First week will cover 8bit Consoles and Computers. Also please note we haven't checked whether they have actually ported versions of these games or not.

Atari VCS.

This is possibly the only game where an Atari VCS version would be considered arcade perfect.  This was our first ever console, bought from Argos cheap and as a guy down the market actually still had games for this which he sold for £10 of his stall, we managed to grab a few titles.  We never saw a version of Pong for 2600, ever, and this is a system that had a few arcade conversions, such as Pacman and Space Invaders. 

Ideally it would use paddle controllers for that authentic feel and as its possibly the most basic of games ever, it shouldn't tax the host hardware much. Our next VCS choice is however possibly not doable.

Taito's 1981 arcade game where you had to fill in an area whilst avoiding the Qix (an ambulatory assemblage of lines) and its mutant offspring, the diamond shaped Sparxx, was a popular 8bit choice appearing on many of the home computers of the day either as clones or as variants, indeed we remember a pretty decent  version of this called Styx for the old Videotron cable boxes we had in our area as well as the boss gameboy version.  The closest thing I've seen for the VCS is Amidar by Konami but has grids already outlined so we don't know if this could be remotely doable on host hardware.

However if its not, I'm pretty sure that the 5200 could more than handle it.



For a computer that had 1K* of RAM and ASCII graphics only, there are a lot of ports that just wouldn't work on the humble proto speccy.  So we give you a game which is just numbers, in a grid with simple rules to follow. 

*it was expandable to 16K via a wobbly ram pack at the back.


Chase HQ.

To be honest a version of this exists but is so horrible that it should be remade.  The ZX Spectrum version of this is a work of genius, and is a monochrome conversion of the arcade game, which although missing some bits was insanely playable.  The C64 could do great driving games such as Buggy Boy so a version of this optimised for host hardware would be cool.


A side scroller that a mate of mine had on Speccy (released by Firebird) that inexplicably was never ported to anything else.  

C64 / Amstrad CPC

Parasol Stars.

To be honest this was in the works from Ocean, who would go on to deliver 8Bit console ports for the NES (Good) and Gameboy (Dire) and had a version in the offing for Commodores beige box, which was subsequently canned.  Ocean claimed the code was stolen but the true story can be found here.
 Our heart was set on a C64 version and judging from what I read it was a really strong conversion
However, looking at BB4CPC  we think that an expanded Amstrad could possibly do a passable job of a conversion.


That list of games for conversion is long gone sadly, written on a blue folder during boring moments in class, we remember none of the titles added but over the years we have added a few things that they should port.


Though a lot of arcade games were ported to the NES back in the day including a cut down version of Donkey Kong and Altered Beast (via Tengen).  However they never had a version of Mr Do!.  Classic dig em up via Universal was possibly one of the best classic arcade games and even the VCS had a version, but the NES never received a port.  Same would go for Mr Do's Castle which at least appeared on C64 as a covergame called Top Duck.

Manic Miner.

As a European this is probably the one idea that started it all off.  Spelunker I guess fills the rock hard platformer role on the NES, but damn I would actually love to see this happen.  Its a single screen platformer in which you have to grab all the keys and get to the exit without all the random stuff killing you or you running out of oxygen.  I would love this to have been ported for FDS like Monty on the run was only not in such a bastardized way.

More next week as we probe 16 bits and beyond.

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