From the Forum question for issue 22

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forestville
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Post by forestville » Sun Jan 29, 2006 12:30 pm

my favorite from the 1980s 8bit era, was Hewson simply because they made great games inc "exolon, cybernoids 1&2" and other cool 8) games on the zx specrum, and on the 128k had cool 8) sounds and music.
Press play on tape

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Devin
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Post by Devin » Sun Jan 29, 2006 1:13 pm

The Vision Factory which was the publishing label from the Games Division of a company called SPC Vision. At a time when typical CD-i games included very boring "BOARD" game conversions with the likes of Connect Four, BackGammon and Sargon Chess the outlook was bleak for CD-i gaming and probably has alot to do with the fact this system is very obscure to the RetroGaming community today. By some twist of fate Philips find a bunch of bedroom coders familiar with the 68000 core used by the CD-i who turn out a demo which blows these games out of the water. The first is a very simple ShootEmUp by the name of Alien Gate which became a big commercial hit for the system, so soon after a follow up was made and released as Steel Machine.

This cemented a relationship which would last until the formats commercial demise several years later. With a string of games including Dimo's Quest, Lucky Luke -The Video Game and The Apprentice, SPC Games became well known to the CD-i community for the use of vibrant, brilliant colours and animations. The pinnacle of this style could be seen in The Apprentice without a shadow of a doubt the crown and glory of SPC Vision.

Although these games were probably standard to the critical eye of an avid gamer, this quality had never been seen before on Philips CD-i machine and is testamount to the talented yet underrated people behind SPC Vision. As with most game companies throughout history the rise is inevitably followed by the fall and SPC Vision is no exception. After these commercial hits a few other games were released including Accelerator, Golden Oldies Volume 1 and Golden Oldies Volume 2. Whilst the later two were very playable they all lacked the polished product that fans had become accustomed to seeing from an SPC Vision Game. By the time these games were finalised and published most of the talented game development team had left SPC Vision probably owing to the improvised nature of the games.

If you doubt my claim that this is a talented combination of developers because they only worked on CD-i games then think again, many have gone onto be very successful in the video game industry. Leaving you with one example, The Apprentice is credited as being programmed by Tim Moss... fast forward ten years and the lead programmer on the PS2 game God of War which was incidentally awarded by IGN "Game of the Year" is one Tim Moss. The phrase "from small acorns large oaks grow" seems appropriate in this case!
Last edited by Devin on Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jax
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Post by Jax » Mon Jan 30, 2006 5:14 am

ooh thinking Hewson, how about

Shaun Southern and the superb Mega Apocalypse on C64 8)

still play it often

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merman
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Re:

Post by merman » Mon Jan 30, 2006 5:52 am

Jax wrote:ooh thinking Hewson, how about

Shaun Southern and the superb Mega Apocalypse on C64 8)

still play it often
PERSON NOT FOUND ERROR!

It was actually SIMON NICHOL who did Crazy Comets and Mega Apocalypse. And it was published by Martech. But it was still a great game ;)

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Jax
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Post by Jax » Mon Jan 30, 2006 5:58 am

::smacks side of head:: doh!, what the hell was I thinking of?!?

I just see a post about Hewson and that came to mind, I blame it on
it being Monday and a lack of caffine :lol:


still a goog game though

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revgiblet
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Re:

Post by revgiblet » Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:13 am

NorthWay wrote:
revgiblet wrote:OK, in future everyone needs to PM Mayhem with your answers so that he can veto the ones that are publishers and not developers. Then he can submit the ones that pass his stringent tests.

:wink:
Wink all you want, but I think this is a very serious issue: Publishers and not developers getting name recognition.
Would you go out and buy the new album from Universal, or see the latest film from Warner Brothers?

No offense, but this business is seriously F'ed up IMO. (Go Archer!)(Oh, now there is another fine developer to nominate.)
I'm too scared to post in this thread anymore. If anyone wants me I'll be in the corner weeping silently.

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Szczepaniak
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Post by Szczepaniak » Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:36 am

I agree, a lot of developers, like Toys For Bob, are not even credited properly in games, either on the boxes or manuals.

It's a sad turn of events, that the publishers take all the glory. Some of the best games from well known publishers (Nintendo, Konami, et al), were not actually developed in-house, but were licensed out to 3rd parties.

Metroid Prime is not a Nintendo game, it's a Nintendo license. Metal Slug is not by SNK, it's by Naztac or whatever their name is. There are literally hundreds of other better examples.... but I'm too tired to mention any others. I'm sure Mayhem can name quite a few though, since he seems knowledgable in this area.

But this light-hearted question has raised a serious issue, that perhaps needs examining?

Who were the people behind the forgotten games that have been absorbed by publishers? Who are gaming's unsung heroes?

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CraigGrannell
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Post by CraigGrannell » Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:16 am

It is a strange and depressing change in the industry, and also something that's not that common in other media. You mostly hear about the musicians in the music industry, rather than the publishers or labels, and even movies tend to focus on the directors and the cast. This used to be the way with video games, in the era of Minter, Cecco and Braybrook, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside, so the all-encompassing EA ego can grow and grow.
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Mayhem
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Post by Mayhem » Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:06 am

It's not as if it's a new thing either. Way back in the mists of time in the early arcade days, many Japanese companies licensed their games to US companies to publish and manufacture in the West.

So you have Taito going to Bally Midway with Space Invaders, Namco to Midway for Galaxian/Pacman, Konami to Stern for Scramble, Konami to Sega (because you have to remember Sega were founded as a US company) for Frogger, and so on.

Nintendo are really the only company not to have gone down this route back then, by setting up a US office, and publishing Donkey Kong.

Having the license of Space Invaders and Galaxian is probably why Midway thought they could get away with having those stages present in Gorf.

Came to bite them in the arse eventually as Namco took back their rights in 1983 (I think) after Ms Pacman and other Pacman related games were made by Midway without asking Namco at all about doing them. I say 1983, because I believe Pacland was a solely Namco production worldwide and that was released in 1984.
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Devin
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Post by Devin » Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:39 am

Hit the nail on the head Mayhem!

I've found a few titles where the people that actually worked on the conversion are hardly a footnote on the games packaging or credits. An example can be found in Flashback converted by Tiertex for the Philips CD-i and I also gather since issue 20 of RetroGamer the SNES. Now i'm not sure about the SNES version but the CD-i iteration you would take on face value as a Delphine Software production. It's not until the game is closely scrutinised that the true developer of this version is found to be Tiertex. So who would you credit with the games development? Delphine Software who originally made the material or Tiertex who's expertise made the CD-i conversion possible?

Of course i'm sure better examples are to be found, off hand I would consider the CD-i Conversion of Pac-Panic to be far superior to any version available on RetroGaming platforms. The original intellectual property developed by Namco but the conversion was handled by Philips ADS (Advanced Development and Support). In this case would you consider Philips ADS the better developer?

It's an interesting question, kind of a "Chicken before the Egg" proposition!
www.blackmoonproject.co.uk - Philips CD-i Gaming... Honest!

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forestville
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Post by forestville » Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:25 pm

Two more cool 8) hewson games on the speccy "Zynaps, Eliminator"
Press play on tape

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backdrifter
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Post by backdrifter » Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:12 pm

Not really a 'retro' answer, but Introversion Software are the developers that single handedly restored my faith in gaming. The first development team in a long long time that I can be sure will release absolutely fantastic titles.

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Favourite developers...

Post by AEX » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:17 pm

Nice topic!

Novagen for obvious reasons - to this day my favourite developer/publisher, and also for giving us that fantastic Mercenary Compendium, now that was a great box of stuff!

I also liked FTL, purely because they made Oids (and DM of course!).

Zepplin Games and Red Rat Software for supporting the Atari 8-Bit when everybody else had wouldn't touch them with a barge pole!

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paranoid marvin
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Post by paranoid marvin » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:23 pm

Mastertronic were also fantastic for supporting machines others wouldn't

Is there any machine they didn't produce software for?
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kaiserpc
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Post by kaiserpc » Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:29 pm

my favourite developer/publisher was Origin (as I've already said in another thread a couple of weeks ago).

Chris Roberts, Richard Garriott & Warren Spector produced/developed loads of top notch games

The Ultima series (especially 4,5 & 7) - Ultima 7 is still regarded by many as the best ever rpg.

Ultima Online - The 1st and still the best online rpg

The Wing Commander series - maybe a case of graphics over substance, but we still upgraded our pc's to play it.

Ultima underworld I & II - beat doom to the FPS market

Privateer 2 The Darkening - My favourite space sim/trader game. Better than Elite in my opinion

Other notable games;

Times of Lore, AutoDuel, Knights of Legend, Strike Commander, Tangled Tales, Space Rogue, System Shock

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