Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Batch : Oh ! Really ?

Several weeks have passed and there has been silence, maybe whispers, but mostly silence. So, what has been happening then? Well, not much really, apart from I have had to make a regretably decision to sell my Commodore 64 Mastertronic collection. I could go into detail about it, but I'd rather not bore with the reasons why. Perhaps some may have seen this coming? Money is always the thing, isn't it? Oh! Space and time as well! Let us not go all sci-fi and get down to the photo and YouTube video of the collection in all it's glory!
This has to be a first, a photo of all the Mastertronic Tapes laid out nicely on a table. It took about two hours to haul them all off the shelf they were placed on and put them back. But it was also nice to see them all out and together in one place. So, now we come to the YouTube video ...

Collecting the Mastertronic Tapes has been a real joy and I don't every regret doing so, but there comes a time or a scenario that makes decisions like this difficult. This *whole* collection is on eBay for those that are interested and may want to have the chance to bid on it.

I would personally like to thank all those that have followed me during this All Things Mastertronic Blog and helped me out during the process.

Until the next time, better times ...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Batch 42 : Move those Goal Beams !

Whoa ! A few weeks have passed again and there doesn't seemed to have been much activity. But with only a few titles left, it is quieter than normal waiting for them to pop-up or not in some cases. So, here's to the lonely one in this batch ...
To score is the aim of this game Ballblazer, originally by Lucasfilm / Activision. A short played, but memorable title played by myself. The unforgettable music, which has been remixed by none other than Romeo Knight, legendary to the demo scene for many tunes, including Red Sectors - Cebit'90 demo. Title track called - " Cream of the Earth ". Well worth a load and play.

Ricochet ::

Creeping ever-so slowly to the finish ...

5 A Side Soccer ( Mastertronic Added Dimension )
Ultimate Combat Mission ( Mastertronic )
How to be a Complete B*stard ( Ricochet )

I have seen the remaining titles on other platforms like, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad, but as yet not on the Commodore 64. So, the wait could be a long one !

If anyone has seen or has spare copies of these games, please let me know. Many thanks !

Monday, May 14, 2012

Batch 41 : Play it like there's no tomorrow !

So, when was the last time you played it like there was no tomorrow ? A game is a game and although I don't play many of the games that are around today, I certainly played a fair few back in the day. Well, that was a number of years ago, but it was fun then and still is now. Here's to retro computing !

Here we have three titles that have come my way, including two that I missed an opportunity to get at an earlier date ...
We all know Raid Over Moscow, in this instance it has been called Raid. It is still the same game, but with a slightly shortened name. This is another classic game by Bruce Carver of Access Software. Spore and Tunnel Vision two titles that I don't remember playing. Spore is quite a perculiar game, but with a fair modest David Whittaker title tune and sound effects. Whilst Tunnel Vision has a classic piece of music " Bach - Toccata in D Minor " and some speech " Attention - Get Ready ". The game isn't too bad and I quite like the 3D Tunnel effect in the game. Worth a look !

Americana ::

Bulldog ::

Rack It ::
Tunnel Vision

So, how many are left to get now ?

5 A Side Soccer ( Mastertronic Added Dimension )
Ultimate Combat Mission ( Mastertronic )
Ball Blazer ( Ricochet )
How to be a Complete B*stard ( Ricochet )

Are they out there ? Who knows ? Until the next time ...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Batch 40 : Trailblazing towards Anarchy !

I can't believe it is a month since my last blog entry, but we do have six rare titles from a collecting point of view, one of which was kindly found and offered to me as a trade. Also, don't be alarmed with the difference in photo sizes, I recently upgraded my HTC Desire for a Samsung Galaxy S2 on Android. A still, very functionable phone, but with better memory and extra features.
So, a nice mix arcade adventure, shoot'em up and a little bit of strategy with this bunch. Three of the most known titles for me where, Anarchy, Herobotix and Trailblazer. Although, I think Trailblazer was played more than anything by me and also, great re-release programmed by Shaun Southern of Mr. Chip Software fame. This title was kindly found and offered to me by Mat Corne from the great blog / vlog - " Mastertronic Chronicles ". Mat also kindly pointed out, that Alcazar was on the Mastertronic Label and not Americana or Ricochet. At the point of 13 titles listed on my last blog entry, it was difficult to judge then what sub-label it could have been on. But now we know !

Americana ::
Masters of the Universe

Jackie and Wide

Mastertronic ::

Rack It ::
Anarchy and Herobotix

Ricochet ::

Now there are only seven titles left to collect and I wonder how many of these will be easy to get ?

5 A Side Soccer ( Mastertronic Added Dimension )
Tunnel Vision ( Rack It )
Spore ( Bulldog )
Ultimate Combat Mission ( Mastertronic )
Raid ( Americana )
Ball Blazer ( Ricochet )
How to be a Complete B*stard ( Ricochet )

I have seen a few of these titles on other formats / systems, e.g. Amstrad and ZX Spectrum. Both Spore and Raid have appeared in bundles on eBay, but were unfortunately not obtained due to being outbid on or sold out on an online store. I have never seen a copy of 5 A Side Soccer on tape, but there is a disk version on the Mastertronic label through eBay from the United States. I wonder ?

Until the next time ...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Batch 39 : Rogue or Romantic ?

It is Friday and it's good ! Quite literally ... " Good Friday " and after a bit of a pause, I am back with another title for the collection. At this point in time SlayRadio - " The home of Commodore 64 remixes and original SID's " is playing in the background. I do like listening to other what most people would call, normal music. But basically, Computer music is my favourite. Even the Atari Pokey chip has become a good bit of aural stimulation as well.
So, Rogue, a Gauntlet type of game with nice graphics and unsual game makes it worth a look. A quick load time as well, 55 counters ( 2m 45s ). I am not really a fan of these types of games, but certainly gives you some form of strategy whilst play it.

Mastertronic ::

Okay ! So my collection is almost ( sort of ) complete, just a few more titles to go. 

Here is a list of the ones I have left to collect :

5 A Side Soccer ( Mastertronic Added Dimension )
Dr Jackel and Mr Wide ( Bulldog )
Anarchy ( Rack It )
Tunnel Vision ( Rack It )
Spore ( Bulldog )
Masters of the Universe ( Ricochet or Americana )
Herobotix ( Rack It )
Ultimate Combat Mission ( Mastertronic )
Trailblazer ( Ricochet )
Raid ( Americana )
Ball Blazer ( Ricochet )
How to be a Complete B*stard ( Ricochet )
Alcazar ( Americana or Ricochet )

Let us hope that these titles are out there, somewhere ...

Until next time ...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Batch 38 : Well I never ...

Who would have of known it ? There was me thinking that I'd never come across a copy of this title and then suddenly it appeared in a bundle on eBay. You may have read one of my earlier posts where I had a theory, but now this proves copies are still out there.
Pigs might fly, but they are still around in this sense of the word with Pigs in Space. As it stands, I am fairly certain that this version is not in the Commodore 64 archives. Not even as a .TAP file for use with Emulators. What makes this version unique, is the Turbo Loader and the first or front section with the Mastertronic logo, also with David and Richard Darlings pixel handwriting.
The above YouTube video shows me loading Pigs in Space and having a little game, which isn't spectactular, but funny at the same time. The overall load time is farily quick and under two minutes.
I had been looking around for Pigs in Space for over six months and luckily now, I have it. So, with this title, it completes my Blue Gridded 199 Range of Mastertronic games. I hope to get a Photo or perhaps even a video of these for my next blog post.

Mastertronic ::
Pigs in Space

Fellow collectors ::
It isn't just me out there, no ! We have a small band of fellow collectors of Mastertronic Titles and over the last few weeks, I have had requests for a Master list of titles. For the next blog post, I will place a link for this list, so anyone can download it and know what titles to collect.

I would also like to mention the Mastertronic Chronicles Blog hosted by Mat Corne, which not only notes what titles he is collecting, but it also contains some great gameplay videos so you can see a chosen title in action.

If there other collectors of Mastertronic titles out there who would a mention about there blog or website, just let me know.

Until the next time ...


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Batch 37 : It's rare, but definitely not the Last Ninja !

Today weather forecast is, definitely warmer than of late and with no surprise snow flurry like last weekend. I am generally glad somethings are starting to look up and it looks like I have found another rare one, well for a Mastertronic sub-label that is. Even if the original version is still out there !
A strange, but fairly addictive ... The Eidolon first published by Lucasfilm Games ( Activision ) ! This 3D maze, shoot'em up certainly keeps you wondering and on your toes. Loading from Tape is a little bit of a bind, but the Disk version certainly makes up for a lot. Well worth a look, especially when the Dragons appear !

Ricochet ::
The Eidolon

Atari ::

Well, it's not the Last Ninja, but worth a play and quite similar to the Commodore 64 version. Collect energy, Shuriken Stars and give the enemy a taste of your martial arts and away you go.
Another thing that makes Ninja on the Atari especially good, is the music, as it's composed by Rob Hubbard. It's always nice to hear his renditions on other platforms.

Entertainment USA ::

The pace of collecting All Things Mastertronic may have slowed up, but the eyes and ears are still looking out there !

Until the next time ...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Batch 36 : Who wants to be a Millionaire ? I do ?

We have rain today and it is not so cold as a few weeks ago. Despite that, we all dream of having lots of money and visiting America, going to Vegas and blowing an obscene amount of money at the Casino's. Well, now you can do part of this in the safety of your own home without losing a penny and getting scared about long haul flights.
Vegas Jackpot on the Atari plays and feels the same as the Commodore 64 version. The loading time is modest and you can still have a lot of fun with it. Again, this is another Atari addition, there maybe a title or two for the Commodore 64 coming up soon.

Atari ::

Mastertronic ::
Vegas Jackpot

For those that are curious and interested to know how many and what titles are left ( 19'ish ) to collect for the Commodore 64 platform :

Americana ::
Alcazar, Raid and Tunnel Vision

Bulldog ::
Dr. Jackel and Mr. Wide and Spore

Mastertronic ::
Pigs in Space, Ski Writer, 5-a-Side Soccer and Ultimate Combat Mission

Rack It ::
Anarchy and Herobotix

Ricochet ::
Masters of the Universe, Trailblazer, The Eidolon, Rogue, Ball Blazer, How to be a Complete B**tard

Until the next time ...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Batch 35 : Get some Action on your Bike !

Another sunny sunday and a little Atari love coming your way. Nothing on the Commodore 64 front this week, but a cracking conversion from one of the classics. I have decided to combine the different platforms together, so you will have Atari and Commodore 64 blogs together. It's quite simple and will add some variation.
This version of Action Biker on the Atari 800/130 is a great conversion, which even has a rendition of the in-game tune by Rob Hubbard. Despite the slight colour differences, it plays, looks and sounds just the same, as much as the Commodore 64.

Atari ::

Mastertronic ::
Action Biker

With regards to totals collected for each machine, I will mention them whenever I can. So for this time and so far ...

Atari 800 : 11
Commodore 64 : 220

Until the next batch ... Pending delivery !

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Batch 34 : A couple of Americanas, plus a dried up puddle !

Well, the sun is out and the temperature has risen by at least 10 degrees since last weekend. Quite a relief really, it was getting pretty cold in the study of my headquarters. And so onto our intriging batch for this time. Saracen and Talladega, both rare finds on the Americana label for me. Plus, if you remember from a couple of posts ago, I found a copy of Talladega, but on the TopTen label. At least I have the official release now. Saracen is a great maze type game in two parts, both can be played independently, which is pretty good.
Now we move onto a story in itself really, a story with humorous ending and not so much as a warning, but just a taste of how bizarre collecting can be. It all began with the finding of Aqua by Mr. Chip Software on a cover tape by Mastertronic, to date I cannot remember what Computer Magazine this appeared on. I had completely forgotten about the existence of this, but do recall owning the tape at some point in the early years of my Commodore 64 life experience.
On Friday 17th February 2012, I decided to video my experience with this find and recorded a YouTube video for you to watch and enjoy.
As I explain in the video, you do sometimes encounter unexpected perils and surprises during collecting.

Americana ::
Saracen and Talladega

Mastertronic ::

The grand total of titles collected so far, is : 220 ... Less than twenty to go ?

Atari ::
We have two additions for the Atari this time, Grid Runner and One Man and His Droid. A real nice couple of gems indeed.
Grid Runner is your typical shoot'em up from the stables of Jeff Minter with great sound effects and visuals. One Man and His Droid is very similar to the Commodore 64 version, but with what sounds like the soundtrack to Finders Keepers for the Title. 

I quite like collecting Atari 800 Mastertronic titles, even though there maybe less to collect than the Commodore 64, it's all good fun anyway !

Until the batch ...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Batch 33 : Additions, replacements and tales from the darkside !

It's officially cold outside again and there was a little snow during the week, just to make things more interesting. With all that in mind, it's warm inside and the coffee is on and away we go with another post.

I managed to get a replacement for Beach Head II, it loads on both sides, against the other copy that doesn't load at all. The only downside, is the tape label is torn on the right side. Probably due to a sticker being there and it was ripped off.
When you are collecting rare items, especially in this instance, you will encounter different qualities. There are a number of tapes out there, that are very good condition and there will be those, that are not. None of the tapes in my collection are mint, they are used and all work very well, apart from a few. For a tape to last nearly 30 years and still work after being stored in varied conditions, is simply, quite remarkable.

We have two more additions, Blackwyche and Subterranea. Both great games, Blackwyche being an arcade adventure and Subterranea being a great little shoot'em up with some cool music by Jonathon Dunn.
Rack It ::

Ricochet ::

Tales from the Darkside
There really isn't anything to concern or worry yourself here, but just to inform you, that I am now collecting Mastertronic titles for the Atari 800. Are you still there ?
Far from the squabbles over many years ago at school, when we would all brag about whos computer was better than the other and all that jazz. Today, it's all about retro computing and having a play at those machines that we once saw, but never had the change to own or use. Luckily, I obtained this Atari 800 XL through a good friend, but not until a few months ago, did I have a place for it. By chance of fate, I was lucky enough to get donated a bundle of tapes for different computers and quite amazingly there was some Mastertronic titles amongst them as well.
I was also kindly informed by someone on the Atari Age forum, that there is around 30 tapes for the Atari 800, so not as many as the Commodore 64. You maybe asking yourselves now, will I be collecting for additional machines ? My answer at the moment would be no, only the Atari now. I think lack of room and storage space for one, but I'd love to have more machines in a special retro study or room.

Bulldog ::

Entertainment USA ::
Los Angeles S.W.A.T.

Mastertronic ::
Attack of the Mutant Camels, Despatch Rider, Henry's House, Kikstart and Universal Soldier.

Mastertronic Added Dimension ::

Until the next batch ... Coming soon !

Friday, February 3, 2012

Batch 32 : I am ... The LAW !

Whether we like it or not, there always has to be laws and rules. Some follow and others ignore ! But if you have someone like Judge Dredd and his fellow officers around, you are sure to be in for quite an experience. This nice bundle of seven tapes for the collection, really gives a broad range of gaming styles and quality.
Outlaws is fun rootin' tootin' Cowboy game with classic double-sized sprites and pretty good gameplay as well. A typically classic game, when first released by Ultimate Play the Game. As mentioned before, Judge Dredd is great little game with all the production traits of Melbourne House on its re-release on the Ricochet label. Most, if not all games always had colourful graphics, big sprites and very distinctive music. You really must check out The Legend of the Amazon Women, again, a re-release on the Mastertronic label. The game is okay, if a little slow at times.

Some of these titles are rare, as in, I haven't seen many copies floating around on eBay or other online stores. But never give up any chances of checking out charity shops, car boot fairs or the like, because you never know what might crop up. Even if most of these outlets sell Console games.

Bulldog ::

Mastertronic Added Dimension ::

Mastertronic ::
Legend of the Amazon Women and Rollaround.

Rack It ::

Ricochet ::
Judge Dredd and Outlaws.

The total collected so far ... 216 ... is getting pretty close to the completed target !

There is another pending delivery is on its way ...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Batch 31 : Famous Five ... On holiday in the sun ?

When I first saw the title Famous Five in the list of Mastertronic titles to collect, I instantly thought it might be connected to a graphic text adventure with a similar name. Of course Famous Five is purely a compilation of 'Five Superb Games in One Mega Pack ' and has nothing to do with Enid Blytons title of works.
And with another cool sub-label title, we have Sunburst. A shoot'em up with nice 360 degree movement and sound effects. Watch out for the asteroid showers though !

Mastertronic ::
Famous Five : Amaurote, Invasion, Knucklebusters, Milk Race and Motos.

Rack It ::

The next batch may contain some surprises. All pending until they arrive !

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Batch 30 : Sport and Strategy ?

With sport, there is strategy. Both together, you have a winning combination, but that all depends on how you play.
Out of all the Tennis games on the Commodore 64, Grand Prix Tennis or Lawn Tennis as the Title Screen proudly states, is one of my favourites with cool music by Jason C. Brooke. Ironically, it is by Mastertronic as well. I think it's an easy game to get into and is fun to play. On Court Tennis by Activision is okay as well, but a favourite is a favourite. With Invasion, we have a sort of strategy type game. Again, I am not a big fan of these. But as with all the games, try them out ! You might just like them !

Bulldog ::

Mastertronic Added DImension ::
Grand Prix Tennis ( Lawn Tennis )

Currently in transit, another batch for next time ...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Batch 29 : Sign-up, get funky, is it this one and what ???

We've entered 2012 ( twenty-twelve ) and continue I go, collecting all I can with ... " All Things Mastertronic ". Just a couple of tapes this time and a what ? Yes ! A what ! Something that I am trying to work out and reason to myself why this happened and was seemingly allowed. Slipped throught net and then possibly hauled in again ?
So, we have ... Raw Recruit ! A nice little Combat School type-clone with some cool music by Tim Follin. The game doesn't feel as difficult to play as Combat School, but worth a load-up and listen to. As with Street Beat, it's really Ghettoblaster ! Just a bit of a change with the title screen and music, all for the re-release on the Mastertronic label. Funky music too !

Mastertronic ::

Mastertronic Added Dimension ::
Raw Recruit

Is it this one ?
Some of you might be aware, that I am collecting games occording to the list that Anthony Guter kindly sent me. Now that I have collected over 200 titles of the 230+, the availability of some are harder to come by. As with a concern from an earlier post, someone is bound to cash in on rarer titles knowing there are collectors out there or the title is rare because copies have been thrown out and only a few copies exist. Last week I found a copy of Talladega ( Richard Petty's ). It was originally release by Cosmi . U.S. Gold, but appears on the list. So, would this be on the Americana or Ricochet label ? Well, I found a copy of it on the " Top Ten " label. There is no Novaload or any other fancy loader, just a regular turbo loader with coloured lines.
So, perhaps Talladega was released three times or was it only twice ? Until another copy from a different label surfaces, I will never know or will I ?

What ???
Again, working through the list, I have been investigating some titles via emulation. One that took my eye was Ultimate Combat Mission. This was released by Mastertronic and coded by Richard Aplin, also famous for Island of Doctor Destructo and the fantastic loader games, Invade-a-load and Load'n Play. But what caught my eye more than most with Ultimate Combat Mission, was it had a few things that not many commercial games had, other parts of games or peoples work. What ??? Yes ! The Font from Rambo - First Blood Part II by Ocean and Sprites from Commando by Elite. There was also a bitmap font from another game, but the name passes me at the moment. The music was by Steve Barret. What a great tune it is !

The style of game and it's contents is rather like the Crackers Revenge style. Creative in taking contents from other games, but forming parts together into a commercial release is a bit cheeky. I would be very surprised that any software house would allow it, unless permission was granted ? I have a feeling the game may have been pulled off the market.

Just as I was finishing up this post, another tape arrived in the mail. Something for next time ...