Monday, 30 April 2012

‘Screen Stars’ Game Review – Aliens (1988)

This Time It’s War... Actually, this time it’s a game that involves getting lost in lots of similar-looking rooms whilst trying not to be killed by marauding xenomorphs!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

‘Screen Stars’ Game Review – Droids (1988)

This is actually the only game in this series of reviews that wasn’t a re-release of a full-price game. One for Star Wars fans!

‘Screen Stars’ Game Review – Ghostbusters (1988)

Moving to the big screen with another Activision re-release, but this time a really classic game!

Unfortunately the speech didn't come out too well on the video, but I'm sure you all know what was being said anyway!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

‘Screen Stars’ Game Review – Knightmare (1988)

Time for another themed mini-series of reviews, this time featuring games based on Movies and TV shows. Kicking things off is the re-release of Activision’s game based on the classic British children’s programme.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Collection Update – So much for slowing down!

Despite my best intentions to ease off on the purchases, the collecting bug has bitten hard and I continue to find deals too good to pass up...

First up this time is another trade with Retro Gamer forum member simes. I sent him half a dozen unwanted games from some of my earlier C64 bundles, and in return I got no less than 14 Mastertronic titles, including a few of the harder to find ones. The net cost to me worked out at a very generous 30p per game!

The bulk of the bundle was games in standard Mastertronic packaging, including The Captive, Munch Mania, Prowler, Rollaround, Starlifter, Super Nudge 2000, Super Trolley and Vegas Jackpot.

Also in the lot were four M.A.D. titles - Angle Ball, Superstar Ping-Pong, The Wizards Pet and Zub – and rounding things off came FA Cup Football (Ricochet) and Yes, Prime Minister (Mastertronic Plus).

I also picked up some more games from Ebay, mostly from the same seller thus saving money on postage costs. Again this was a mixed bag, covering most of the different brands. In Mastertronic packaging came Beat It, Street Beat and Treasure Island, and there was also Fighting Warrior (Mastertronic Plus).

Finishing things off for this update were Ball Crazy and On Cue (M.A.D.) and Las Vegas Video Poker (Entertainment USA). None of these games cost more than £2 so my average price paid has actually dropped below a pound again!

Even more games are on their way, so this won’t be the last of the collection updates this month!

Total games: 155
Average cost: £0.98

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Game Review – X-15 Alpha Mission (1988)

Moving over to the Ricochet brand, but another ‘cockpit view’ game offering a mix of flight simulation and arcade action.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Game Review – Orbitron (1984)

Another early offering that carries all the characteristics of a Darling Brothers game aside from their actual names!

In the interest of fairness I feel I should also post a screenshot of this game as the graphics are better than the video shows them to be!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Month 1 in Review

It’s been just over a month since I started this blog so I thought I’d do a little summary of the highlights of my first month of collecting. If you’re new to the blog, just click on the links to jump to the original posts for more info.

Month 1 Highlights

Games-wise it’s been a real mixed bag, so here’s my Top Ten and Bottom Five of the games I’ve reviewed so far. Expect the Top Ten in particular to change dramatically over the coming months…

Top Ten

  1. Kikstart (Mastertronic, 1985)
  2. Rock n' Bolt (Ricochet, 1988)
  3. Bomb Fusion (Mastertronic, 1989)
  4. Gemini Wing (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)
  5. Kane (Mastertronic, 1985)
  6. Speed King (Mastertronic, 1985)
  7. Mindtrap (Mastertronic, 1989)
  8. Protector (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)
  9. One Man and His Droid (Mastertronic, 1985)
10. Action Biker (Mastertronic, 1985)

Bottom Five (in reverse order, worst at the bottom)

  5. Sweep! (Mastertronic, 1988)
  4. Rockford: The Arcade Game (M.A.D., 1988)
  3. Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (Ricochet, 1987)
  2. Double Dragon (Mastertronic Plus, 1990)
  1. Sport of Kings (M.A.D., 1987)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Game Review – Duck Shoot (1984)

This game from Shaun Southern looks to be the very first Mastertronic release based on its catalogue number...

Game Review – Ice Palace (1986)

An early M.A.D. offering here, an interesting action/adventure hybrid with a rather peculiar control system.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Stuff We Collect – a ‘show and tell’ blog for grown ups!

I was recently interviewed about my Mastertronic collection by a relatively new blog called Stuff We Collect. The blog aims to showcase all kinds of collections (and collectors) from video games and movie memorabilia to music and magazines so if you have a collection of any kind, why not contact the blog owner Nick and show your stuff off to the world?

Collection Update – More Ebay buys and a big bunch of rarities!

Yet more additions to the collection, starting with a small selection of Ebay purchases and ending with a great bundle...

As the collection grows, the chances of getting large bundles of games to fill in the holes is diminishing, so instead I’m looking at reasonably priced one-offs. Where possible I’ll try to get them from the same seller to save on the postage costs.

So from Ebay this week I’ve received three packages. The first had two games that cost just 50p each plus postage – Rapid Fire (Mastertronic) and Continental Circus (Mastertronic Plus). The other two featured one game each from the Ricochet range, the re-releases of Aliens (£2.00) and the first Dan Dare game (£1.74)

My other purchase this week was quite substantial. I discovered the online store Retro Gaming World had a vast number of games from my hit list for £1.99 each, including quite a few of the hard to find titles. It turns out that the store is based just down the road in Stafford, and although the stock isn’t on display there, I agreed to pick the games I wanted up from there to save myself the cost of postage. So a few days later and with the help from my better half (who works in Stafford) I received a bag of ten games, several of which I haven’t seen on Ebay yet!

In Mastertronic packaging came Phantom of the Asteroid and Rogue, while from the M.A.D. range I got Grand Prix Tennis and Jeff Minter’s Revenge II.

There were also two games from the Mastertronic Plus range, Fist II and Micro Mouse, and another three from Ricochet – Blackwyche, Judge Dredd and Skate Rock Simulator.

Last but by no means least came a real rarity – a promotional cassette featuring a rolling demo of Darling Brothers game screenshots on one side, and an exclusive game on the other side from Mr Chip Software, called Aqua. I’m not sure if this was originally a covermount or was given away at computer shows, but it’s a really interesting addition to the collection featuring a game that was never released at retail!

So that’s another 14 games added to the collection and some of the uncommon titles crossed off the list. Clearly I have plenty to be getting on with now so I expect to slow down on the buying for the next couple of weeks unless I see something too good to miss.

Total games: 134
Average cost: £1.01

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Game Review – One Man and His Droid (1985)

Up next is a game that clearly originated on the Spectrum and is frustratingly difficult, but worth every minute of gameplay thanks to the wonderful music!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Game Review – Voidrunner (1987)

My latest review takes us on a trip... to the psychedelic world of Jeff Minter!

Apologies for the occasional focus problems on this one - all those colours cause funny things to happen with the camera!

Game Review – Agent X II (1987)

This game looks and sounds great but is let down by some confusing gameplay and possibly the least informative instructions to date!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Game Review – Sweep! (1988)

This 1988 release has some brilliant music on the title screen, but that’s definitely the high point!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Game Review – Los Angeles SWAT (1986)

My first review of an Entertainment USA branded game, and some mediocre run and gun action...

Collection Update - Various Bits and Bobs

Over the past week I’ve received a number of small bundles through the post, including some of the harder-to-find Mastertronic titles.

First up was a copy of the M.A.D. re-release of the classic Manic Miner. This was an Ebay purchase costing £1.99 including postage. Also on the same day came a donation from Retro Gamer forum member Bub&Bob. There were three games in the package, all from the Mastertronic range – two new additions in the form of Motorbike Madness and Wing Commander, plus another copy of Kikstart that had a better quality inlay than the one I already owned. These cost me absolutely nothing!

A few days later came three packages. Two were Ebay purchases, containing two games in each. First were titles that I’ve thus far only seen on Ebay once (and these were them!) – Street Hassle from Mastertronic Plus and Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge from Ricochet. They cost £1.99 each with free postage. The second pair were more common but the Ebay seller had a 20% off sale so I picked them up while they were a bit cheaper than usual – Rebel (Ricochet, £1.59) and Pulse Warrior (Mastertronic, £1.43)

The third package contained five games courtesy of tachi from Retro Gamer forum. These cost £7.00 for the lot and included several uncommon titles. From the Mastertronic brand came Kobayashi Naru and Venom, the Ricochet range was represented by Dragonskulle and Little Computer People, and finally there was Bump Set Spike! from Entertainment USA.

And finally, yesterday came another couple of games via Ebay – Silkworm (Mastertronic Plus) and Scout (Mastertronic) which cost £3.28 for the pair.

So the collection grows once again and the average cost has increased a little, but with under 100 games remaining I’m well on course to keep below that £1.99 per game target.

Total games: 120
Average cost: £0.91

Monday, 9 April 2012

‘On Yer Bike’ Game Review – Action Biker (1985)

My little series concludes with more motorbike action and a very different type of game to all the others...

That's the end of my first mini-series but more will follow over the coming months.

‘On Yer Bike’ Game Review – Milk Race (1987)

How do you fancy a simulation of a 1,000 mile cycling race? The UK’s answer to the Tour De France from the mid-80’s is immortalised in this game.

‘On Yer Bike’ Game Review – Kikstart (1985)

Back to Motorbikes in my next review, with one of the most memorable Mastertronic titles...

Saturday, 7 April 2012

‘On Yer Bike’ Game Review – BMX Racers (1984)

Next up in the ‘On Yer Bike’ series we switch to pedal-powered bikes and an early production from David and Richard Darling.

‘On Yer Bike’ Game Review – Speed King (1986)

My next batch of five game reviews takes the form of a mini series with a recurring theme. The series is called ‘On Yer Bike’ and the theme is games featuring motorbikes or regular bicycles. First up is Motorbike racing simulation Speed King…

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Game Review – Kane (1985)

This Wild West action game is one of the classic early Mastertronic games. My review includes a comparison of the C64 game with its BBC Micro counterpart, which was incidentally the first game I ever bought with my pocket money all those years ago!

Game Review – Rock n’ Bolt (1988)

The Ricochet re-release of Activision’s challenging 1985 building site puzzler is the next title to get the review treatment.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Game Review – Sport of Kings (1987)

This game offers all the thrills and excitement of horse racing, apparently. Witness my most apathetic review to date...

Collection Update – A Century Reached!

Four more packages of games have arrived over the last week or so, taking the collection to well over 100 games...

From fellow collector and blogger Alex Aris came a bundle of five new additions plus a couple of bonuses. The new games are Amaurote, Magic Carpet, Squirm, Starace and Werewolves of London. Alex only charged me for postage on these so the cost for these games was just 60 pence each!

Next came a completely free donation of five games from Retro Gamer forumite Antiriad2097, although only one of these games was a new one. The other four were generally in better shape than my existing copies however, so have made their way into the collection, with the surplus to be passed on to other C64 gamers. The one new addition was Knuckle Busters, a re-release on the Ricochet brand and a relatively rare one too.

Also popping through my letterbox were two Ebay purchases. The first was Ninja, which cost £1.25, and the second was a pair of uncommon titles in the form of Bazooka Bill (another Ricochet offering) and Knight Games (Mastertronic Plus packaging). These cost £1.79 each including postage.

So that’s another nine games in the collection and yet the average cost hasn’t changed at all!

Total games: 106
Average cost: £0.85