Best Amiga and C-64 Games

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Matt Barton
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Just for fun (and following in DavyK's footsteps), I decided to see what I could come up with as far as the best games for the Amiga and C64 were.

According to MobyGames, these are the top 25 for Commodore 64:

Maniac Mansion
Bubble Bobble
Sid Meier's Pirates!
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar
Commando
Archon: The Light and the Dark
Boulder Dash
Wizball
California Games
M.U.L.E.
Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
Elite
Winter Games
Project Firestart
Ghostbusters
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The
Defender of the Crown
Gauntlet
Paradroid
Uridium
Great Giana Sisters, The
Pac-Man
Dig Dug
R-Type
Wasteland

Here are the top 25 for Amiga:

Lemmings
Cannon Fodder
Pinball Dreams
It Came from the Desert
Alien Breed
Turrican II: The Final Fight
Moonstone: A Hard Days Knight
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
Eye of the Beholder
Shadow of the Beast
Wings
Defender of the Crown
Marble Madness
Prince of Persia
Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf
Out of This World
Street Fighter II
Flashback: The Quest for Identity
Pinball Fantasies
Loom
Battle Chess
Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty
Turrican
Dune
Rainbow Islands

These lists seem more or less reasonable to me. What do you think? I guess we could compare these to the top lists on the lemon 64 and Amiga sites.

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yakumo9275
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a c64 list without last

a c64 list without last ninja 1 or 2? perposterous!!

also adding HHGTTG, a text game on the c64? infocom games rock my world but seriously.... playing infocom games on the c64 were a drawn out affair due to the VM and swapping pages to and from disk. infocomgames on the c64 were painful.

the lemon64 list is far better imo.

id put arcade ports in only in comparison to other ports, ie some ports on the c64 were downright BAD and others were genious. sometimes the speccy had better ports...

and as good as it were I dont know if I'd have MM and Zak, same engine different graphics... does it really count?

to sum up in a different way, there is nothing on the lemon64 list i _really_ object to, but I have real objections with the moby rated list ;)

-- Stu --

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Mark Vergeer
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Confused a little

I didn't have access to all the systems in the day - but could it be that I like the C64 of M.U.L.E better because I experienced playing it as a kid? I am intrigued by the Atari version though but for me it does deserve a spot in my personal 'best of c64 list'.

Anyways, all these lists are of course very subjective and laced with personal taste and experiences. Of course a 'best of list' of any system would be best if it mainly consisted of platform-originals particular to that system.

Perhaps it is time for a new form of chronogaming - named parallel-portal-gaming where you enjoy all various ports of the same game on as many platforms as possible. I sort of did that with all the arcade classics: Digdug, Defender, Arkanoid, Zaxxon, Pacman, MsPacman, Asteroids, Galaga, Galaxian, Gyruss, Frogger, Frogger Threedeep, Gauntlet, Bruce Lee, Boulderdash, Rastan Saga, Head over Heals, Hunchback, Uridium etc. Perhaps food for an article....? I remember that the quality of various ports out there (especially in the European home computer market) often did sway a person to buy that particular home system. There's tons of ports out there for ZXSpectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX, C64, Atari 800 and early PC that are very very similar and perhaps deserve a parallel-portal-gaming review type of article.....

========================
Mark Vergeer - Editor / Pixelator
Armchair Arcade, Inc. Gamertag
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Bill Loguidice
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More fine-tuning of the best "best of on a platform" concept
Matt Barton wrote:
adamantyr wrote:

Jumpman and Jumpman Jr. were excellent 2D "platform" games... as was the rather obvious clone "Wizard". And none of them made any lists?

I was thinking the same thing! I always thought Jumpman was one of the best platform games for the C64. You may be interested in an old AA article I wrote about classic C64 platformers.

Anyway, as far as the ports issue go, I can safely say that I can see where both Bill and Mark are coming from. It definitely doesn't make sense to me to have Bubble Bobble on any list, since you can download the ROM and play the arcade version in MAME. I can't imagine anyone saying that one of the ports is better than the original game played via MAME.

However, there are plenty of arcade games where the ports are better, or, if not better, somehow distinctive on a platform. For instance, Commando. The arcade version is pretty lousy in my opinion, but the C-64 version is great. Likewise, the C64 version of Arkanoid has some incredible music by Martin Galway that you don't find in other versions (at least to my knowledge).

That is what I was saying. If there is a notable difference, then by all means include it, but in the case of Pac-Man or Dig-Dug, why bother since they're the same game? It's funny we both thought of Arkanoid for two reasons, one my liking its support of many different input options (in fact, more than any other platform I know of), including paddles, and yours for the unique music. So maybe Arkanoid should be placed on the list. I always liked Commando, but if I recall correctly the single fire button somewhat crippled the experience, with a quick press for shooting and a longer press for grenades (a lot of games did the short and long press thing). Of course arguable the "Who Dares Wins" games trumped Commando, so that would be a good topic for debate. I'd almost want to give it to the "Who Dares Wins" series just for being "original"

Matt Barton wrote:

Where the issue gets sticky with me is with games like M.U.L.E. True, it originated on the Atari 8-bit computers, and I don't think it was significantly enhanced for C-64. On the other hand, most people I've met who are familiar with the game played it on a C-64, and may not even know it originated on the Atari. Same goes for countless Apple II ports.

Ah, but the Atari 8-bit version was first and did offer four player simultaneous support with four joysticks, something the C-64 couldn't match. The NES version in turn kept the four player simultaneous support and added speech. I would say that in that case, the C-64 loses out in the battle of the versions.

Matt Barton wrote:

I mean, are we going to look at games like Sword of Fargoal and Telengard and look back to the PET and the VIC-20? Nobody wants to play those versions!

Again, it's logical to look at the superior version in that case. While the Vic 20 version of Sword is excellent, the C-64 version is a bit better. In the case of Telengard, no version was really a technical standout, so it's arguable the nod should be given to the original version. Of course there's no reason that you can't say a game like Sword is great on both the Vic 20 and the C-64, and should be on BOTH lists. The problem though comes in when you have games like "Zork", which are great all-time games and would clog up EVERY list for the dozen or so platforms it appeared on. What do you do in those cases? Maybe just give certain games, series or companies "All Time" awards or "Legends" awards and leave them off the lists. I think "Infocom's Text Adventures" could be retired in that manner.

======================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
======================================

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Matt Barton
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Missing Games
adamantyr wrote:

Jumpman and Jumpman Jr. were excellent 2D "platform" games... as was the rather obvious clone "Wizard". And none of them made any lists?

I was thinking the same thing! I always thought Jumpman was one of the best platform games for the C64. You may be interested in an old AA article I wrote about classic C64 platformers.

Anyway, as far as the ports issue go, I can safely say that I can see where both Bill and Mark are coming from. It definitely doesn't make sense to me to have Bubble Bobble on any list, since you can download the ROM and play the arcade version in MAME. I can't imagine anyone saying that one of the ports is better than the original game played via MAME.

However, there are plenty of arcade games where the ports are better, or, if not better, somehow distinctive on a platform. For instance, Commando. The arcade version is pretty lousy in my opinion, but the C-64 version is great. Likewise, the C64 version of Arkanoid has some incredible music by Martin Galway that you don't find in other versions (at least to my knowledge).

Where the issue gets sticky with me is with games like M.U.L.E. True, it originated on the Atari 8-bit computers, and I don't think it was significantly enhanced for C-64. On the other hand, most people I've met who are familiar with the game played it on a C-64, and may not even know it originated on the Atari. Same goes for countless Apple II ports.

I mean, are we going to look at games like Sword of Fargoal and Telengard and look back to the PET and the VIC-20? Nobody wants to play those versions!

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adamantyr
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No Jumpman?

Jumpman and Jumpman Jr. were excellent 2D "platform" games... as was the rather obvious clone "Wizard". And none of them made any lists?

Bill Loguidice
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Can't agree with the arcade stuff
Mark Vergeer wrote:

Don't agree with 'arcade ports don't belong' as the C64 has some of the best arcade ports of that era. They do take up quite a large part of the catalog. And quite a few of them are excellent. Besides, how else were people able to play pacman, digdug, mspacman, zaxxon, donkeykong, kongo bongo etc in their own homes or at all?

Don't forget that 'The Arcade' phenomenon is something typically Japanese/US for the most part. I've seen pretty decent Arcades in the UK in the day but that was about it.<**snip**>
========================
Mark Vergeer - Editor / Pixelator
Armchair Arcade, Inc. Gamertag
========================

That's fine and a good game is a good game, true, but the fact of the matter is, arcade games, which are readily available to MODERN players (this is not a list for people in 1985) on umpteen devices and emulators in practically their original fidelity, are not helpful on top games for a platform lists because there is nothing distinctive about them. While I can easily argue that certain ports are different enough from their arcade counterparts to stand as their own games (and this is true on many platforms, two of the best examples are NES Ninja Gaiden and Tecmo Bowl - very, very different from the arcade), generally speaking a port is a port.

Compare my meager list I quickly provided to the "official" lists filled with "Pac-Man" and "Dig Dug" and "Bubble Bobble" and even (C-64) "Defender of the Crown" and you'll see that I included games that either originated on the platform or were distinctive on the platform versus those elsewhere. Again, does telling someone that the C-64 version of "Dig Dug" is a nice port and one of the system's top games help ANYONE? It helped us back in the 80's when it was a joy to play, but today it doesn't help anyone get to know the platform. They'll think the C-64 was majoratively about the arcade ports, which equals boring to most people today. Give people a reason to investigate these platforms I say by pointing to the most original and most fun games, not the tired (by today's perspective of abundance and access) ports!!!

======================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
======================================

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Mark Vergeer
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don't agree with 'arcade ports don't belong'

Don't agree with 'arcade ports don't belong' as the C64 has some of the best arcade ports of that era. They do take up quite a large part of the catalog. And quite a few of them are excellent. Besides, how else were people able to play pacman, digdug, mspacman, zaxxon, donkeykong, kongo bongo etc in their own homes or at all?

Don't forget that 'The Arcade' phenomenon is something typically Japanese/US for the most part. I've seen pretty decent Arcades in the UK in the day but that was about it.

In the Netherlands Arcades never were big, either because the games were just to friggin' expensive to play in the Arcade or because there just were not many around. The ones that were to be found often had a very limited amount of games that would stay there forever. I remember Donkey Kong in a local lunar park called Avifauna that was there from the start of the small arcade hall until they closed it down many years later. That sort of takes the fun out of going there and I am not surprised to closed it down in the end. Today most arcades here house those horrible Gambling games and just one or two real games.

I can say that most of my Arcade-game experiences have started with the c64 version of the arcade-games. I have never even seen a Zaxxon arcade machine in my life! And the local snack-bar 'Het Geveltje' only had a very limited amount of games (they swapped games around in one Arcade Cabinet). So perhaps being able to play games on the real arcade isn't something that 'all of us' were able to experience and the argument about 'no arcade ports' is less valid for other parts of the world.

Then there's the people that do love old games but only have the one old system around - so their ability to play the old games might be a tad limited as well. So what if MsPacman on the Spectrum was good and is on the 'best of'- list on that particular system, then it should be on it! Regardless whether the 'real arcade', atari or c64 versions were better and when you put them next to each other one will no doubt be superior - and that should perhaps be noted.

I say a good game is a good game whether it is a port or not!!!!.

Anyways,
Hewson games should be on anyones favourite c64 list in my opinion because these games are solid!
Uridium is one of them!

Ocean was also a good producer of good c64 games!

========================
Mark Vergeer - Editor / Pixelator
Armchair Arcade, Inc. Gamertag
========================

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Bill Loguidice
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We're getting somewhere; Plus, my top-of-head C-64 list
Matt Barton wrote:
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Someone who was not a fan of the platform might go, "Dig Dug"?, ho hum, I've played that a million times, why should I bother with the C-64? But if they see Datasoft's "Mancopter" on the C-64 list, they might be intrigued by the title enough to check out the actual game and discover a truly inventive Joust and racing game offshoot. That's the point. Again, with systems like the C-64 and Amiga with an embarrassment of classic games, it blows my mind that games like "Bubble Bobble" get included.

That is a good point. I agree, certainly. One has to wonder, though, how many C64 fans would have heard about and played Mancopter back in the day, though. I'm sure the arcade ports were probably in greater demand. Heck, I must admit spending quite of a time playing Great Giana Sisters on my Amiga just because I wanted to see what all the Super Mario Bros. fuss was about. I did enjoy Mancopter, but I am sure there must have been droves of people who would have rejected it out of hand as "some game I never heard of" and reach straight for Bubble Bobble.

I guess what I'm getting at is, what's more important in a list like this, the most innovative games, or the games that most people who actually owned the system actually played the most? What if the Atari 2600 version of Pacman was the best-selling and most-played game on that platform? Would it deserve a place even though it's pathetic?

We're talking about "best games" though, not "most played back in the day". As far as I'm concerned if a game was commercially released (even if it sold 1 copy and was only played pirated by a few dozen people), it can be counted for inclusion as a "best game". A great game is a great game regardless of the number of people who played it. I argue that that's EXACTLY what a "best of" list should provide - the games that NEED to be played on a particular platform. I offered "Mancopter" as an example because it's a personal favorite and I believe it still holds up today, not only as a relatively innovative experience, but also as a tremendously fun and competitive single player game. The very fact that it's obscure should mean nothing and may even work in its favor. It's good enough for the list. That's why it's important for true platform experts - those people who have played at least several hundred games on a system like the C-64 or Amiga (which is a reasonable percentage of total game population) - to create these lists. We don't need to "settle" for listing Pac-Man, which we know is a good game from the arcade. It helps nothing mentioning a game like that on the list. It's like wasting a precious spot on a too short list.

So, what's important to include on these lists? The best, most innovative, most fun-to-play games. Bonus points for originating on the platform or having the best version of the platform. Simple definition, should be simple to make the list.

Here are just a few of the titles I'll throw out there for the C-64 that would be on my personal list:

- Archon
- Beach Head series
- Bruce Lee
- Colonial Conquest
- Demon Stalkers
- Dragon's Den (not sure if this was an arcade game)
- Druid
- Elite
- G.I. Joe (though call since it didn't end, but it was a technical marvel)
- GBA Championship Basketball 2on2
- Ghostbusters
- Hardball!
- Hot Wheels (tough call, may leave it out)
- Impossible Mission
- International Hockey (lots of sports games to consider)
- Mail Order Monsters
- Mancopter
- Pensate (probably Apple II original makes this unecessary)
- Phantasie series (tough call due to multi-platform nature and personal bias)
- Pitstop 2
- Psi-5 Trading Company
- Racing Destruction Set
- Raid on Bungeling Bay
- Raid Over Moscow
- Serpentine (may have to remove depending upon Apple II original)
- Seven Cities of Gold, The (may have to remove in favor of Atari 8-bit, which I think was original)
- Space Taxi
- Spy vs. Spy
- Star League Baseball (another Atari 8-bit conundrum)
- Summer Games (or Games series)
- Survivor

Again, that's just my personal top-of-head list. I could easily remove certain titles given more thought, or add other titles, even arcade titles (like Arkanoid, for instance, which even though it was an arcade game, supported paddles on the C-64). I purposely left multi-platform titles off as much as possible if they had equivalent or better versions elsewhere.

======================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
======================================

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Matt Barton
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Lemon64 List

Just for comparison's sake, I checked out Lemon64's list.

Top 100 Commodore 64 Games according to lemon64.

Top 100 Amiga Games according to Lemon Amiga.

Quite comparable lists, actually. Many of the same games, only shifted around.

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Matt Barton
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Most Played vs. Most Original
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Someone who was not a fan of the platform might go, "Dig Dug"?, ho hum, I've played that a million times, why should I bother with the C-64? But if they see Datasoft's "Mancopter" on the C-64 list, they might be intrigued by the title enough to check out the actual game and discover a truly inventive Joust and racing game offshoot. That's the point. Again, with systems like the C-64 and Amiga with an embarrassment of classic games, it blows my mind that games like "Bubble Bobble" get included.

That is a good point. I agree, certainly. One has to wonder, though, how many C64 fans would have heard about and played Mancopter back in the day, though. I'm sure the arcade ports were probably in greater demand. Heck, I must admit spending quite of a time playing Great Giana Sisters on my Amiga just because I wanted to see what all the Super Mario Bros. fuss was about. I did enjoy Mancopter, but I am sure there must have been droves of people who would have rejected it out of hand as "some game I never heard of" and reach straight for Bubble Bobble.

I guess what I'm getting at is, what's more important in a list like this, the most innovative games, or the games that most people who actually owned the system actually played the most? What if the Atari 2600 version of Pacman was the best-selling and most-played game on that platform? Would it deserve a place even though it's pathetic?

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