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That Amstrad-itional Feeling!

04 Dec
NSSLS

Ninja Scooter Simulator, fun for the discerning covert mercenary.

“Don’t let me get in the way of your blogging” said Christina to me, as she notices the credits to Ninja Scooter Simulator flashing up on my screen.  For a split second, undeniable burning shame enters the fray, otherwise known as my face before withering in the path of defiance and nostalgia which quickly formulate a clever plan  that will lead to the inevitable blog post ‘research’ excuse.

Now that I’m actually thinking – and writing – about it though, it is a decent idea for my latest musing, as reliving   your youth is sometimes fun…especially when you can rewaste your time on all those old games you thought would be nothing but fond memories in your head.

Who knows if Chess will still be around in the year of hover cars and robots that do the housework, 2000AD?! Perhaps only Chessmaster Kris Kristofferson knows the answer....

Who knows if Chess will still be around in the year of hover cars and robots that do the housework, 2000AD?! Perhaps only Chessmaster Kris Kristofferson knows the answer….

Technology, the greatest amasser of wasted time in history, has happily evolved to the point where the thoroughly stupid loading times of 10 minutes plus are redundant.  So it’s time to crack out the Amstrad emulator and get involved in some 8-bit heaven.  On a side note those young people who complain about the loading times of these new fangled modern games, don’t know they are born….and other old person cliché ranty stuff.

And what a pleasure it is to instantly load up a pixellated passion of yesteryear, there’s a proper front end loading screen and everything!  If only it came with a green screen option, it would be the ultimate manly skip down Memory Lane.

For those of us that started life with the classic Amstrad monitor (of which only one colour was available…green), life was difficult.  Not just any green though, consulting my Dulux colour chart, this particular shade comes under the label Unhelpful Green…probably.

SPD1

An egg, killer bees, a runaway mine cart, and an umbrella underwater…in a cave. With only three lives to save a bunch of your motley friends…welcome to Spellbound Dizzy

It was so notorious, the magazines of the day would put up two ratings one for colour and one for well…the other colour.  I didn’t know for years that the Blues Brothers game was actually all in blue…who would have guessed?

When I finally got a colour screen, I was introduced to loads of searing, not to mention gaudy primary colours.  After the initial shock I then spent my time doing many various things like being an elf taking part in such dramatic fantasy quests as Barak Tor, Barrow of the Witch Lord, drilling on an alien planet in 3D and then completing Turbo Outrun with a hot blonde in the passenger seat, the first game I ever completed, hotly followed by fighting Soccer.

The cutting edgeness of technology and how quickly it has changed and updated over the last 30 years is phenomenal and now I can love all these old games again and STILL be in awe of my latest downloaded ROM which takes less than a second to procure.  I still get all excitable about a new game and the graphics, so let the joy continue and when I’m ready to move on to say, the Playstation in another 20 years time I’m sure history will repeat itself again.

Now this will seem sad to a lot of people, in fact the mere thought of me actually suggesting it is a bit odd but if any of you are interested in experiencing or just for the heck of it reliving the old loading time ritual, the AMAZING graphics, then this totally mental YouTube video that allows you to watch the loading screen,however keep the YouTube volume at around half way as the sound for some reason only works when that happens and boy are you in for a treat.

Now I’m off to check out the keys for Myth: History in the Making and Laser Squad because it’s been a while and my memory fails somewhat…

Colony

Robots, giant carnivorous ants that shoot pixellated two colour shurikens at you and some solar panels, it can only be the playable robot harvesting and protecting stuff on an alien planet in Colony.

NSSAS2

Ninja watch smashing in a weird Checker board assault course type garage.

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46 Comments

Posted by on 04/12/2013 in Gaming

 

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46 responses to “That Amstrad-itional Feeling!

  1. Al

    04/12/2013 at 12:41

    Commodore 16
    > Spectrum 48
    >> Spectrum 128
    >>> [Use of a Commodore 64]
    >>>> Commodore Amiga 1.2
    >>>>> Commodore Amiga 1200
    >>>>>> PC

    Loading Gunship onto the Spectrum and going down the shop to buy dinner whilst it loads, coming home and eating it, finishing it just as the game finishes loading

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      04/12/2013 at 12:45

      Some fine machines there…I love the memories of the dinner, it’s that sort of thing that makes gaming in the ‘olden days’ special. These days you wouldn’t be able to do much between rounds of Mario Kart or whatever. The worst thing was finding out that the game had crashed and you had to reload the tape all over again!

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      • Al

        04/12/2013 at 13:58

        No, it was a case of getting a different game lol. I remember I brought a game for my Amiga. It was called Beneath A Steel Sky. Or as we called it Beneath The Weight Of Fifteen Disks. When i eventually brought a hard drive for my Amiga, it was an 80mb (yes MEGABYTE) one and it took 2½ hours to install it, and 2 hours to complete it. lol

        Like

         
        • Ste J

          05/12/2013 at 10:03

          I remember that game! That was epic, a point and click where you had to save in case you met with a bad end. I played BaSS a year or so back, it was heaven remembering how two or three disks had to be exchanged sometimes and now…instant load. A great game and story, although I admit last time I played it, I missed a vital thing to pick up and that scuppered my whole game as I had forgotten the cardinal rule of that holy book Save.

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          • Al

            05/12/2013 at 11:53

            Yikes. Yes SASO. Save And Save Often 🙂

            Like

             
  2. renxkyoko

    04/12/2013 at 12:53

    Wow ! It took that long to load the game ?

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      04/12/2013 at 12:55

      Some would take fifteen minutes, that’s if they worked at all, games on cassette tape were notorious for not always working…it’s part of the charm these days though, when I look back on it. Those machines had character lol.

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      • renxkyoko

        04/12/2013 at 14:45

        According to Mom and my siblings ( Mom played a lot , believe it or not, she was a Mario expert, could finish it in a few minutes, running, jumping at the same time checking out the kids, and not dying, ha ha ) the games on cassetes loaded quite fast. The cassete tapes that were notorious usually had 5 games in it. LOL 5 in 1

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        • Ste J

          05/12/2013 at 10:18

          5 in 1 was great but the mighty Cassette 50 (50 fantastic games on one cassette!) was epic…going through each game 95% crap of course and marking off the times when you had to stop the tape so you could fast forward to a specific game if you wished…that was epic. Kudos to your mum for her Mario skills, I always lose it at the second Goomba.

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          • renxkyoko

            05/12/2013 at 10:56

            Waaa ! 50 games in one ? That’s awesome !

            Mom still plays, you know, he he. She’s my partner in Resident Evil. But we;re both bad at aiming. LOL

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            • Ste J

              05/12/2013 at 12:11

              The 50 games were usually terrible, like those 100 film DVDs you get free with your new DVD player.

              I do like a bit of survival horror myself, although you guys could be my human shields and I’d supply the mojitos!

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      • Themistocles Papassilekas

        05/12/2013 at 23:56

        Actually the Amstrad CPC had not quite the problems ration of other machines (hint, hint) when loading games… Very reliable tape decks. Loading didn’t take that long either, Gryzor above loads in less than five minutes (but some, like Commando, did take their sweet time. They were the exception though 🙂 )

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        • Ste J

          06/12/2013 at 10:05

          Having had a 6128 first, the tape player we had to hook up to it was archaic, so that make account for my game woes…I remember Werewolves of London was a fast game to get up as I recall. I never compared the machines to others, so good to know that we were right first time when picking a mighty 8-bit.

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          • Themistocles Papassilekas

            06/12/2013 at 10:10

            Ahhh yes, external tape decks may have been a totally different category, especially if they were not calibrated for speed, volume or even azimuth.

            When I moved from my trusty old 464 to a 6128 it felt like sci-fi…

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            • Ste J

              06/12/2013 at 10:18

              Such a leap to those floppy disks, with the added graphics, it still feels a bit Buck Rogers to me…I do have a penchant for tin foil one piece suits admittedly.

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              • Themistocles Papassilekas

                06/12/2013 at 10:21

                The moment Robocop spoke to me, courtesy of the 128KB… (though to be fair Trantor had done that with 64K, but not so impressively)

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                • Ste J

                  06/12/2013 at 10:27

                  Robocop was the first proper game I played…well not counting the 12 games that came free with the machine that is…although Roland in Time was great in its own cheesy way. I loved that game…in fact it is getting booted up ASAP for another run through, so many games to catch up on!

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                  • Themistocles Papassilekas

                    06/12/2013 at 10:33

                    At least 6128 owners had it somewhat better… pack-in games were nothing to write home about, but the 464 ones were probably worse. Well, there were, at least, Harrier Attack and Oh Mummy. Very primitive both of them, but awesome in their own right. Easi-Amsword was not a bad word processor either!

                    Here’s a nice page on them: http://www.thoseweleftbehind.co.uk/2008/07/what-were-games-bundled-with-cpc464.html .

                    I got mine with no game bundle, unfortunately, only the Into Oblivion title my dad bought for me -which was the first game I ever owned. I recently tracked down the developer and had a copy signed 🙂 It’s now framed and hanging above my desk 🙂

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                    • Ste J

                      06/12/2013 at 10:52

                      I did like the pack-in games though for the badness of them and the occasional gem…no one expected good games but spent hours on them anyway lol. I had a skim read of the site…when I get more time I will have a proper read through…Animal, Vegetable, Mineral…what a great game to put onto computer!

                      That’s a really cool idea, to get games signed…I bet some of the programmers are a overawed at the attention their games have gotten with the retro boom.

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                    • Themistocles Papassilekas

                      07/12/2013 at 01:09

                      Curtis, the Into Oblivion programmer, actually hadn’t gotten any attention in decades, so it was the more moving when he said “I may load it up and play it again”… 🙂 I even set up an interview with him, it’s on cpcwiki.eu 🙂

                      Like

                       
                    • Ste J

                      08/12/2013 at 10:07

                      Great interview…it inspires me to get out more of the emulators and research all those old games I know I have forgotten…May pick up a Retro Gamer magazine again as well. So many more amazing memories to rediscover!

                      Like

                       
                    • Themistocles Papassilekas

                      08/12/2013 at 23:15

                      Thanks 🙂

                      Yeah, the subject never ends really… and when you’re done with the games of your youth, there’ll always be another machine/platform to explore 🙂

                      Like

                       
  3. thejerseygal®™

    04/12/2013 at 13:08

    Lol my patience wouldn’t have handled that even back then! Kwalitee graphics! Xbox One puts it into true perspective. The comparison, uh right.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      05/12/2013 at 10:06

      Boo, to Xbox One with its new fangled graphics and 3Dness. I prefer a good all eye watering, dodgy collision detection pixelly experience lol.

      Like

       
  4. Steve

    04/12/2013 at 14:44

    I used to LOVE that game. What a blast from the past!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      05/12/2013 at 10:04

      I spent hours on the emulator, all to bring you guys some fond memories…I sacrifice so much, ha!

      Like

       
      • Steve

        05/12/2013 at 10:32

        Haha I remember typing in pages of code and all that happened was the screen changed colours.

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        • Ste J

          05/12/2013 at 10:35

          Ooo, yes and the free games that you could type in from the magazines, which wouldn’t work but then inevitably next month the magazine would say they made a mistake with the code and tell you the tiny bit to put right…why would that even be a fond memory for me…I am sick in the head no doubt.

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          • Steve

            05/12/2013 at 10:37

            And was there not something called “pokes”?

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            • Ste J

              05/12/2013 at 12:10

              Haha, yes! I remember that you had to have the poke interface machine in order to get them to work…now that has made my day!

              Like

               
              • Steve

                05/12/2013 at 12:22

                Ahhhh the good old days…

                Like

                 
  5. anna amundsen

    05/12/2013 at 02:30

    I wonder how many hours I’ve lost waiting for games to load.. Still, as you say, looking from this distance, those were sweet times..

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      05/12/2013 at 09:59

      I’d be happy for tape games these days as then I could read in the loading time. It is amazing how much patience we had back then. Happy days!

      Like

       
      • anna amundsen

        11/12/2013 at 09:47

        Wait for our nephews (I’m not sure about grandchildren) to hear these kind of stories of our happy days.. haha

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        • Ste J

          13/12/2013 at 11:34

          Yeah, easy on the grandchildren talk there! They were indeed fun days although if they will understand that is another thing entirely lol.

          Like

           
  6. Chatty Owl

    05/12/2013 at 08:49

    I remember throwing jealous looks at some of my friends, who had cassettes and games.. Oh the thrill if that beeping and ticking noise filling the room.. Yeah, definitely some fond memories of a very distant past..

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      05/12/2013 at 10:12

      A past you can relive in seconds thanks to the internet…yay! I still find all that stuff cutting edge…I will never accept the Kindle.

      Like

       
      • Chatty Owl

        05/12/2013 at 10:49

        Because kindle doesnt smell of book-paper.

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        • Ste J

          05/12/2013 at 12:13

          There is that as well. I do love a colourful book cover too.

          Like

           
          • Chatty Owl

            07/12/2013 at 01:48

            Oh the deceiving ways (sometimes) of a colourful cover..

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  7. RoSy

    05/12/2013 at 14:19

    Hi SteJ!
    I remember these types of graphics for video games.
    My faves back in the day were Asteroids & Frogger!
    I don’t play video games much nowadays. But – when I do – it’s usually a Wii dance game.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      05/12/2013 at 22:30

      Classic games those were and now you have furnished me with an excuse to hide behind my laptop screen and communicate in annoyed grunts to everyone lol. I can imagine you raving to a dance game now that you mention it…one can only imagine you with a glass in each hand on Christmas morning hehe.

      Like

       
  8. readinpleasure

    13/12/2013 at 08:43

    My 3 sons would really love you Ste J. 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      13/12/2013 at 11:30

      I am lovable, me…you should see my sad puppy eyes.

      Like

       

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