Tales From The Code Front Stories in words and pictures

You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?

If you made it this far, I'll reward you with another early C64 game I loved playing - even though it was released on the dreaded Apple II first, but I didn't know that back then.

I'm talking about


You're flying a heli and collect people and return them to the base. That's about as much as I knew about the game after the first round.

Title screen and on the way to rescue the first batch of hostages.

Pressing fire on the joystick in port 1 starts the game, press up to go up and left / right to fly into that direction. Pressing fire lets you shot into the direction the heli is facing. Notable was the fact that the heli kept its orientation. You could change that by pressing fire and a left / right to turn the heli around OR facing the screen, which alows to shoot straight down and hit those pesky tanks.

Landing, eyeing the damn tank. Returning to the base and "unload".

Sooner or later you'll notice people on the ground, so land and let them get into the heli and lift fast enough to avoid getting shot by a tank. Then head back to the base and release them. Repeat. Once you've got 20+ of them to safety, you start the next level.

I hated the plane. ...and it hated me.

If you found the tanks annoying, wait for the first contact with the plane.

Overall, it's a nice little game, but tbh. I never made it "that" far, I'm not even sure if I ever managed to get beyond the second level (and I didn't try hard enough to get there this time).

I'd give it a 3.5/5 for replayability.

Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

Welcome to another week of "Oh what fun I had with early C64 games."

This week's game is ...

Wizard of Wor

You are about to enter the dungeons of the WIZARD OF WOR!! [...] As a "noble warrior", your mission objective is to descend deep into dungeon mazes, battle visible and invisible monsters, evil demons, and even the Wizard of Wor himself! Go as far into the dungeons as possible, beat the Wizard and his monster babies, while scoring as high as you can.

(from the game's manual)

Title screen and one of the basic dungeons.

First thing I noticed is that the dungeons are semi-random, and the manual confirms that there are 25 combinations, it also informs that the difficulty takes place on two levels: basic dungeons and Worlord dungeons (plus "The Arena" and "The Pit").

Ignore all the yadda-yadda, and it boils down to "shot everything that doesn't look like you".

The one thing that made this game one of my favourite games from the early tapes is that it also is a two player game, and boy, did we play it. For hours on end - sometimes when friends stayed overnight, for some hours more.

After you've killed the 6 blue things, you go for a yellow and orange one and then a giant ... fly?

We usually played as a team, but had a healthy competition when it came to the scores.

Another blue thing to shoot at.

Interestingly, it is a game that still works for me, even as single player game. A quick round from the couch (with the TheC64 mini or using Vice) is good for "wasting" some 20 minutes and with a second player around for some more.

I'd give it a 4/5 for replayability.

Soylent Green is people!

After last week's post, I decided it would be fun to replay some of the very first games I played on my C64. Thinking about it, though, "fun" isn't always something that hits you when you look at the early C64 games.

This week's game is ...

Warren Schwader's "Sammy Lightfoot"

Again, this game "came" without a manual, so no backstory to explain what's going on.

"Sammy Lightfoot follows the travails of a circus worker who jumps and climbs through a number of perilous situations."

Once you connected the joystick to port 1 and selected a one or two player game, you'd be thrown into fun. The game's goal is to cross a succession of "Scenes" and advance to the next one. Each "Scene" takes place on a single screen.

Let's start with some screenshots:

The title screen and Scene 1 in progress ...

In scene 1 you need to get to the top by using the trampolines at the bottom right, cross the gap with the swinging rope, use another trampoline, hit the button beneath the red platform and finally jump onto the last swinging rope.

Scene 1 done and Scene 2.

Scene 2 looks a lot more straight forward than scene 1, get your timing right to go from right to left jumping over the bottom row of platforms, to make this a little harder, the yellow things start to move. After this, the two outer platforms move halfway up the screen, and you go from left to right using the (moving) yellow platforms. The last step is getting to the right side again, after using what I assume is a flying carpet ... or something.

Scene 3 - by now you should know the drill ...

Scene 3 makes you go left to right, up, right to left, up, swinging ... and ... I gave up here.

I don't remember getting that far back then or playing for very long (not as long as I played "Burning Rubber", that's for sure). I checked a long play and there only seem to be 3 screens, which start over after this one, adding a few more perils, so it's not like I missed a great deal quitting here.

I'd give it a 0.1/5 for replayability.

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

[I posted this over at mastodon, but figured it might not hurt here as well.]

When I got my (used, from one of my mum's co-workers) it came with a and 4 or 5 60 minute tapes full of games (turbo tape format). With it came a printed list of what was on them.

As I didn't have a clue about any of them, I just played the first game that loaded from tape.

Here it is, the very first game I played on MY C64 [drumroll]:

"Burnin Rubber"

Title and help screen

It sported some fairly basic rules I could deduce without knowing a single word of English:
You scored points for:
- bumping other cars off the track
- jumping and landing on them (the only way to crash the "tanks")
- getting bonus points after each round (track)

The tracks were simple, straight "roads" changing in width and the occasional piece of water you'd have to jump over.

Ingame and level end.

I replayed it a few times, but always had to turn down the volume, as the track playing along is a 100% annoying and maddening.

I'd give it a 2/5 for replayability.