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Matt Barton's picture

New Freeware Sword of Fargoal Remake

Fans of Jeff McCord's classic Sword of Fargoal will be pleased to hear of a new freeware remake called Dungeons of Fargoal. I'm not sure how this version stacks up with the authorized shareware remake ($10 for Mac or Windows), but if you're up for some fairly addictive hack and slash, here's your chance. I'll never forget those creepy sounds on the C-64 version...Duuuunnn dum. Duuuuuun dum. Try out the remake and let us know what you think! Link via Indepedent Gaming.

Matt Barton's picture

Remembered Realms: Revisiting SSI's Legendary Gold Box Games

Gold Box Games. It’s hard to exaggerate the kind of nostalgic reverie that these words are able to evoke in true fans of SSI’s legendary computer role-playing games (CRPGs). Incredibly, it’s been 18 years since SSI released the ground-breaking Pool of Radiance (PoR) in 1988, but contemporary CPRG makers are still trying to live up to the standards it set. What I want to do here is take you on a brief tour of the SSI’s legendary Gold Box line, starting off with the classic and best-known Gold Box games, which are set in the Forgotten Realms AD&D universe. From there we’ll take a glance at the Dragonlance games and, lastly, the Savage Frontier series. Along the way, I’ll try to offer as much commentary as I can from my own experiences playing these games, both as a youth and as an adult. Hopefully, what will emerge is some understanding of what made these games so wonderful, and why it’s still a challenge even nearly two decades later even to match their appeal, much less exceed them.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Protovision Update for the Commodore 64 (C-64, C64) - English and German

Advanced Space Battle (C-64): Galaxy ViewAdvanced Space Battle (C-64): Galaxy ViewThe latest updates from Protovision regarding some of the latest and greatest developments in the ongoing world of the Commodore 64 in both English and German follows:

(German version below)


ADVANCED SPACE BATTLE has been reviewed in the German magazines Cevi-aktuell 6/2006, GO64! 03-05/06 and Digital Talk #79.

Matt Barton's picture

A History of Stupid Superman Games

Superman's Buns of SteelSuperman's Buns of SteelIn honor of the newly released movie, 1up has a very colorful feature up called Gamer's Kryptonite: Superman's 10 Worst Games. The article starts with Superman for the Atari 2600 and covers titles from many computers, consoles, and arcade machines. It's really curious how easy it is to take a big budget and really make a cringe-worthy game based on a mega-popular franchise. I mean, how hard can it be to get a Superman game right? I distinctly remember playing Superman: Man of Steel on my Amiga and thinking how lousy it was. Then again, Superman's powers don't necessarily lend themselves very well to a videogame--he's simply too powerful. It's hard to translate his powers into compelling gameplay. About the only challenge left would be strategic ones--assuming Superman can only be in one place at the same time (an assertion challenged in the movies). Should you save a bus from going over a bridge or Lois Lane from an earthquake?

Matt Barton's picture

Castlevania Thrash Metal Live

It seems like more and more amateur bands are doing covers and re-imaginings of classic computer and videogame themes. The latest such band gaining some attention is The Minibosses, a Phoenix act that has even made it on on NPR. The Minibosses specialize in Nintendo classics. What a perfect blend of dark and dork: Heavy metal versions of 8-bit tunes! I'm in heaven--or, Valhalla, at least.

My favorite game cover band is Press Play On Tape, a group from Copenhagen that do some pretty outstanding C-64 tunes. If you haven't seen their fabulous Boy Band Video, do yourself a favor and check it out now!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Prophet64 SID Music Software System Cartridge Released for the Commodore 64/128

Prophet64 SID Music Software CartridgeProphet64 SID Music Software CartridgeAs readers of Armchair Arcade know (see Matt Barton's "The Rise and Fall of Game Audio"), the Commodore 64 (C-64/128) is a unique sound machine, not out of place itself as an instrument with its powerful SID chip. The Prophet64 has finally been released and it looks to help take the venerable Commodore system to a higher level of audio integration in today's world (click here to see another interesting modern C-64 sound integration option).

Matt Barton's picture

Early Commodore 64 Platformers: Jumpman, Spelunker, Ultimate Wizard, and Pharaoh’s Curse

Author and Screenshots: Matthew D. Barton
Editing: Bill Loguidice
Online Layout: Buck Feris
Notes: All screenshots were taken directly from a Commodore 64 emulator

Platform games are those in which gameplay consists of jumping, climbing, (and, too often) falling from platforms that hover mysteriously between the player’s avatar and the goal. Probably the most popular platform games are either Donkey Kong (Nintendo, 1981) or one of Nintendo's near-ubiquitous Mario Bros. games. These are, of course, legendary games and worthy of considerable study, but I would like to focus my attention on four lesser-known platform games that were widely available for the Commodore 64 (C-64) computer: Epyx’s Jumpman (1983), Synapse Software’s Pharaoh’s Curse (1983), Broderbund’s Spelunker (1984), and Electronic Arts’ Ultimate Wizard (1986)1. All of these games offer unique features that dramatically affect the gameplay. In the last issue of Armchair Arcade, I discussed Nintendo's Metroid and Rainbow Arts' Turrican and how these games differed in terms of complexity. In this article, I will be revisiting that theme, but this time showing how increased complexity does not always allow for a more involving and replayable game.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Exclusive History of Commodore Computers Poster Now Available

History of Commodore Computers PosterHistory of Commodore Computers PosterOver at The Vintage Computer Forums, user "billdeg" posted about the current availability of his new poster, which was three years in the works, "History of Commodore Computers". While it's not really all-inclusive, it's apparently of a very high production quality, hits the important points and would be a nice addition to any enthusiast's collection. Of course, it also gives me an idea to put something similar together for my 200+ system collection, but since that would probably take me years to get to, I suggest you plunk down the money ($19.99 plus shipping and handling, which is not bad for a "homebrew" full-size poster) for this Commodore-specific one now... ;-)

Bill Loguidice's picture

Individual Computers Newsletter - New C-64 Cartridge Cases and Clockport-hardware for the Amiga (Commodore)

New cartridge cases for the Commodore 64/128: It's always great to see initiatives to mold new cartridge houses so old cartridges - no matter how common - don't need to be cannibalized for new homebrew releasesNew cartridge cases for the Commodore 64/128: It's always great to see initiatives to mold new cartridge houses so old cartridges - no matter how common - don't need to be cannibalized for new homebrew releasesThese guys make and distribute some of the most exciting new products for the classic Commodore computer lines. I'm a particular fan of the MMC64, which is an invaluable flash memory card adapter for the C-64/128. Here is their latest news, direct from the source:

30.05.2006: New C64 cartridge cases, special prices for clockport-hardware


New C64 cartridge cases
Our cartridge cases for Retro Replay, MMC64 and other standard C64 cartridges enjoy great popularity, therefore we have made a new production run with a few improvements. The cases that we delivered previously were made out of the fairly soft plastic polystyrene.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of Doom Demo - First Look; Test Drive Unlimited; Ridge Racer 6

I had some time tonight to update the downloads on my Xbox 360 with the latest demos and Xbox Live Arcade stuff. Three games in particular that I got to try were "Test Drive Unlimited", "Ridge Racer 6" and "Blazing Angels: Squadrons of Doom". Only one truly stood out, and from the title of this posting, I think you can figure out which one...

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