The 8-Bit Book - 1981 to 199x ... available now from Golem Books!

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

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Katzkatz
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Post by Katzkatz » Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:11 am

Looks good. I am getting the C64 book for Xmas.

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jerellis1
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Post by jerellis1 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:35 am

I really need a TRS-80 / CoCo / Dragon expert to help me out here. We're approaching the final stages of piecing together the book now and we've reached the point where we need to gather cover artwork scans and screen shots for all of the games featured. In view of the fact that we wanted to include titles for pretty much all of the original 8-bit machines, there are around half a dozen TRS-80 and Dragon 32 games covered in the book, which I've had to research from scratch (I was always more of a C64, Beeb, Electron and Spectrum man, so the TRS-80 and Dragon computers were a bit of a mystery to me back in the day).

Discovering the games themselves and the history surrounding them didn't prove to be too much of a challenge, and with the help of an emulator I've already managed to find most of the screen shots I need. However, when it comes to box art, it's a totally different story; I've been completely unable to find any scans, photos or even cryptic clues which might lead me to the images I need for the book, to the extent that I'm beginning to wonder if these games were actually released in traditional boxes with cover artwork in the first place. I've even bought myself a nice TRS-80 collection via eBay with a whole stack of cartridges, but none of them have any boxes or manuals at all (there's some distinctive label artwork which I suppose I could use as a last resort, but even then I still don't have original examples of all of the games featured in the book).

I'm so close to finishing the book that this last hold up has the potential to drive me completely potty, especially as we're still expecting it to be published in May, so hopefully someone out there can come to the rescue!!

Thanks in advance...

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Post by Antiriad2097 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:44 am

Dragon cames will come in a mish mash of packaging - they share some of the same publishers as the Oric and other early 8-bits. The larger ones like Microdeal released their games in big carboard boxes, plastic clamshells etc. There were also places like Severn Software that did traditional cassette boxes with colour inlays. The really early stuff and indie publishers may have just come in plastic bags with photocopied instructions.

Deffo at least a few big Dragon publishers will have proper packaging.
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Post by jerellis1 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:37 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:Dragon cames will come in a mish mash of packaging - they share some of the same publishers as the Oric and other early 8-bits. The larger ones like Microdeal released their games in big carboard boxes, plastic clamshells etc. There were also places like Severn Software that did traditional cassette boxes with colour inlays. The really early stuff and indie publishers may have just come in plastic bags with photocopied instructions.

Deffo at least a few big Dragon publishers will have proper packaging.
You're absolutely right - it's specifically the TRS-80 covers I was having trouble finding though...

I actually have the Dragon covers I need already, but for the TRS-80 games featured in the book (Star Blaster, Phantom Slayer, Time Bandit, Clowns & Balloons, Android Attack, Zaxxon and Donkey King) it looks as though I'm going to have to use the cartridge label artwork after all. An rllmuk forumite has just confirmed that CoCo ROM carts were sold in clear plastic bags with cardboard headers - no wonder I couldn't find any box artwork anywhere!

That said, I have managed to unearth box artwork for the original TRS-80 version of Popcorn, so I guess that was just one of the rare exceptions that shipped in a box (although the box was nothing more than a plain grey window box through which the cover of the manual could be seen).

Of course, I could always use the inlay artwork for the Dragon version of Donkey King, which was renamed 'The King' for copyright infringement reasons...

Ah well, at least I know what I'm (not) looking for now. All aboard - we're on the move again!! :)

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Post by slaanesh » Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:03 pm

I could possibly get a Time Bandit Dragon 32 cassette scan for you.
Close enough to the TRS-80 version, right?
Also, any reason why TRS-80 did not get Dungeons of Daggorath?
Time Bandit and Dungeons of Daggorath are THE games on this system.

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jerellis1
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Post by jerellis1 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:32 am

The Time Bandit scan could come in very handy if it's no trouble - I'm now toying with the idea of tweaking some of the TRS-80 entries to make them Dragon entries instead. As well as Donkey King / The King (mentioned above), I may also go with Talking Android Attack for the Dragon as opposed to the original Android Attack for the TRS-80, and if I had to change Time Bandit slightly as well then it would be worth it if I could be certain of finding the cover artwork.

I think my original decision to go with the TRS-80 versions was that they were released in 1982, rather than the Dragon versions which were released a year later; I wanted to make sure each chapter of the book was sufficiently 'meaty' and that certain years didn't end up with just two or three games. But the total for 1982 currently stands at 24, which is quite respectable given that 1983 - one of the busiest years - has 34, so it wouldn't be too much of a problem now to shift two or three titles out of 1982 and into 1983.

As far as Dungeons of Daggorath is concerned, I have mentioned it in the Phantom Slayer entry as one of the earliest examples of a 3D game (after 3D Monster Maze of course), so it is in the book after all, even though it doesn't have its own dedicated entry. To be honest, I kind of wish I'd gone for DoD in the end as I've got the original cartridge here and I could have just scanned the label for the book, leaving me with one less image to search for! :wink:

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Post by slaanesh » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:56 pm

Can the Time Bandit scan wait a few days? I've got the cassette but got to get it out of storage. Will have it for you soon.
As for the front cover of the book, had you thought about keeping it in the same style as the others?
I know that this book covers "the rest" - why not have a montage of the remaining keyboards

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jerellis1
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Post by jerellis1 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:01 am

slaanesh wrote:Can the Time Bandit scan wait a few days? I've got the cassette but got to get it out of storage. Will have it for you soon.
As for the front cover of the book, had you thought about keeping it in the same style as the others?
I know that this book covers "the rest" - why not have a montage of the remaining keyboards
Of course! And thanks for helping out, it's greatly appreciated. :)

We've given lots of thought to the cover over the past twelve months. At first I was very keen on having an Amstrad CPC 464 on the cover, but Andrew and I soon agreed that it wouldn't really be appropriate as an 'all formats' cover image. We then tried to cobble together an amalgam of as many different 8-bit keyboards as we could, but none of the results looked particularly good, so we abandoned the idea and tried to come up with something completely different.

My first solo effort was an adaptation of the BBC Micro version of Elite's title screens - the results should still be on display at the top of this thread. Responses to this were mixed - some loved it, others loathed it - so we started again. I tried a Beatles Sgt. Pepper album cover inspired design, and whilst I was very pleased with the result, Andrew and I again agreed that it wouldn't be quite right for the front cover. In the end we settled on the digital display that you can now see above. It's not to everyone's taste, but there seem to be more who are pleased with it than those who don't like it, and it's actually one of those images that seems to grow on you (I wasn't 100% certain myself at first, but now I can't imagine having anything else). Also, the Elite and Sgt. Pepper efforts aren't going to be completely abandoned, as they will still appear somewhere inside the book.

And that's the story of the cover so far... better stick to that May '09 publication date or we'll probably end up changing our minds again! :wink:

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jerellis1
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Re: The 8-Bit Book – 1981 to 199x... coming soon!

Post by jerellis1 » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:02 am

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, there's an online review of Andrew Fisher's Commodore 64 book in the latest edition of Video Masters TV. Click here, skip forward to 26 minutes, and enjoy.

:)

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Sigma
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Re: The 8-Bit Book – 1981 to 199x ...pre-order now!!

Post by Sigma » Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:42 am

It only covers 8-bit computer systems then? I'm a quite a big fan of the Atari 800 though seeing as it was the first system I owned.

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Re: The 8-Bit Book – 1981 to 199x ...pre-order now!!

Post by markopoloman » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:30 pm

Sigma wrote:It only covers 8-bit computer systems then? .

What a strange question to ask about an 8-bit book! :?
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Sigma
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Re: The 8-Bit Book – 1981 to 199x ...pre-order now!!

Post by Sigma » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:32 pm

markopoloman wrote:
Sigma wrote:It only covers 8-bit computer systems then? .

What a strange question to ask about an 8-bit book! :?
I meant it doesn't cover 8-bit game consoles and handhelds.

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Re: The 8-Bit Book – 1981 to 199x ...pre-order now!!

Post by markopoloman » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:34 pm

:oops: ahhhhhhhh I see where you were going with that now!
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Re: The 8-Bit Book – 1981 to 199x ...pre-order now!!

Post by jerellis1 » Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:31 pm

Sigma wrote:It only covers 8-bit computer systems then? I'm a quite a big fan of the Atari 800 though seeing as it was the first system I owned.
Definitely computer systems only for The 8-Bit Book - that was one of the ground rules Andrew Rollings and I established right at the start. Of course, the MSX and MSX2 both qualify as computer systems, so we've been able to include a decent selection of titles that a lot of people might only ever have considered to be console games before, such as Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Snatcher, Vampire Killer and Dragon Warrior.

You'll be pleased to hear there are plenty of Atari 400/800 games featured - roughly 25 as I recall, including Alley Cat, Gauntlet, Koronis Rift, The Goonies, Spelunker, Dandy, Miner 2049er, and plenty of others. :)

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Sigma
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Re: The 8-Bit Book – 1981 to 199x ...pre-order now!!

Post by Sigma » Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:11 pm

I don't suppose you've covered any of these games? I'd be strongly inclinded to buy it if you have.

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Atari 800 games from the late 80s tend to be a little more obscure by that time though seeing as I think many people still played them by that point.

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