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Games: Commodore 64 old-timers may remember Andrew Braybrook’s classic Paradroid, easily one of the best games for that platform, and a classic by any standards. Here’s a copy of the Zzap! 64 review from 1986. Many thumbs up, and the bottom line was that Paradroid ranked as ‘THE classic shoot-em-up’.

Paradroid trivia: in the days before .plan files, Zzap! 64 published a development diary by AB! Here’s the birth of one of the game’s key mechanisms, the ‘transfer game’:

Tuesday May 21: An average morning’s contemplation until …ZAP WHIZ POW ! An idea for a game within the main one, fighting for control of a new robot. Instead of just a graphical sequence showing the takeover of a new robot, why not have to play for it, you against the robot’s brain? Base it on logic circuits and use some existing routines. A whole new game segment in a small space!


The authors’ company, Graftgold, has a website, detailing its history. Sadly, it maps the decline of the 80’s-style small games company, and ends on this note: ‘I would recommend the games industry to anyone wanting an exciting career buts its certainly not an easy ride. Most publishers we worked with either went bust, sold out or simply did not publish the game to our expections despite tight contracts. The trouble is the developer does their bit first then the publisher can choose the level to do their bit. Unless you can get real commitment by way of big advances you cannot rely on a publisher.’

Shame. Anyway. I’m not the only Paradroid fan out there — it seems a bunch of fellow enthusiasts have come up with FreeDroid, a homage to Paradroid which seems to be evolving into an RPG! It’s quite impressive — the gameplay is virtually identical to the original. Fedora Linux users can install it using apt-get install freedroid.

BTW, related: here’s two attempts at a canon for computer gamers, at and the Ludologist (of which I’ve played 121). What I find interesting about them is how clearly one is American and Apple-II-based and the other European and Commodore-64/Amiga-based. Stay tuned for the third, Spectrum-based canon. ;)

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