Friday, December 28, 2018

EPISODE 10: Todd's Adventures in Slime World


PLAY EPISODE 10 HERE

#PA2029, Published by Atari Corp.
In this episode, the longest (and the latest) episode of The HandyCast so far,  I cover one of the last games originally developed at Epyx, Inc., Todd’s Adventures in Slime World, released in October of 1990. I’ve included vital statistics, credits, gameplay, reviews and ratings, some fun facts and trivia, and some listener feedback about the game. And with the ComLynx cable it’s an eight-player game, so grab seven more of your friends for a gooey, messy Slime-O-Rama!
TODD’S ADVENTURES IN SLIME WORLD VITAL STATISTICS
Release Date: October of 1990 (originally scheduled for July of 1990).
Initial retail price: $34.95.
Cartridge: 128kb stereo curved lip-style cartridge.
Genre: Multi-level platformer for one player, or two-to-eight players using the ComLynx cable.
Screen/playfield orientation: landscape (horizontal).
Other Ports: The Sega Genesis (1992) and The TurboGrafx 16/PC Engine (1992).
Sequels: None.
Levels: Twelve single-player or multi-player levels, or “adventures:” #1: Easy, #2: Exploration, #3: Action, #4: Suspense, #5: Logic, and, for #6, either Arcade for single-player games, or Combat for multi-player games.
Carton:  Full-color standard-tab regular-size carton (5 3/8″ by 4 3/8″ by 7/8″). There were also French and Japanese versions of the carton sold, as well as a blister pack.
Manual: A 24-page (including front and back covers) stapled regular-sized booklet manual in monochrome, measuring the usual 4 7/8” high by 3 ¾” wide.
Languages: As far as I can determine, the manual was available in the U.S. in an English version only.
TODD’S ADVENTURES IN SLIME WORLD CREDITS
Developer: Epyx, Inc.
Game and Code: Peter Engelbrite
Art: Matthew CrysdalePhillip Vaughan, and Peter Engelbrite
Sound Design: Christopher Grigg
Music: Eric Van Rhee
Testing: Secret Underground Labs
LYNXED IN

“Consolizing” the Lynx (Project 1)
There are not one but TWO projects that “consolize” the Atari Lynx. The first one comes from StarForcePilot on the Atari Age Lynx forums, also known as Marcel J. de Haan on Facebook. He installed the McWill screen and the VGA output jack into his Lynx I, then he decided not to stop there. So he created a handy (see what I did there) stand for the Lynx I, and he also installed a DB9 connector on the Lynx to allow an external controller to be used to play games on the static console. More recently, he also replaced the battery compartment with a generic rechargeable lithium-ion battery along with a generic variable step-down converter. It’s really a clever design, and StarForcePilot documented his progress in completing the project beautifully with a pictorial essay on his blogpage. I highly recommend that my listeners check out the blog here.

“Consolizing” the Lynx (Project 2)
The second Lynx consolization (yes, Monty, that IS a word) is a joint project from YouTube channel Retro RevolutionsHistoric NerdExtreme Consoles, and Neon Vision, in response to a challenge from the Press Play On Tape podcast. This project involved taking an old 4-switch woody Atari VCS (2600) console, gutting it, and rebuilding it to accept Lynx cartridges, with an HDMI output display. The console has also been trimmed in bright yellow paint, and the result is quite breathtaking. There are three parts to the video of the project, all of which can be found here: Part 1Part 2Part 3.

Songbird is Restarting Production of After-Market Titles
Songbird Productions, a 20-year provider of original and re-release after-market Lynx game cartridges, is re-starting production and distribution of several homebrew and after-market game cartridges, many of which have been out of production for years. Among the titles planned for an re-release, beginning as early as October of 2018, are Championship RallyCrystal Mines II: Buried TreasureCyberVirusLexisLoopzPonxRemnant: PW3Dand SFX. Carl at Songbird confirms that the cartridges will be curved lip-style, and they’ll be packaged in CD jewel cases, but with better quality labels and inserts this time around. Also, as of this recording, Songbird still has a limited number of copies available of the SuperFighterTeam classic homebrew title Zaku, considered one of the best games for the Atari Lynx ever. It goes without saying that Carl Forhan at Songbird is definitely helping out a whole new crop of Lynx collectors to add to their game collections, so kudos to him for ramping up production again on titles that would otherwise be unobtainium (yes, Monty, that IS a word, too). Interested Lynxters should check out Songbird Productions website to place their orders; a link to the website can be found here.

New Title Space Wars Coming from Luchs Soft
AtariGamer.com is reporting that Germany company Luchs Soft, publisher of such classic homebrew titles as HanoiEjagfest SlideshowAlpine GamesYastuna-The Alchemy of Cubes, 2017’s Reiko’s Robot Run/Always Winter, Never Christmas cartridge, and the just-released Unseen cartridge, is planning to release a new title, Space Wars, sometime soon. In addition, Luchs apparently plans to move ahead with previously announced plans to re-release the Beta Phase Games title Quadromania. You can check the status of the Luchs Soft releases here.
               
Six More Lynx Homebrews On the Way!
The interest in the Atari Lynx continues to climb as the console is being recognized more and more by retro game collectors. Evidence of this growing interest is the continued development and production of new homebrew titles. Several sources (AtariGamer.comAtari Age and Kieren Hawken) have recently published news about no less than five new homebrew game projects for the Lynx. The first one is a new isometric RPG game called Lacim’s Legacy, in development by Martin Wendt, Kamil Wolnikowski and Dan Thoreson. The second one is a new Joust-Donkey Kong-style platformer called Bentley Bear’s Honey Hunt,currently in development by Benjamin Mewes. The third one is a port of the classic SNES action title Bomberman called BomberCats, now being developed by Alex “LordKraken” Genoud and Turbo Laser Lynx. The fourth one is a horizontal scrolling space action shooter called Captain Harlynx being developed by Albine Marlier. The fifth one is a version of Italian checkers called Dama by Atari Ager MVirtuale that, after a year and a half, is near completion. And the sixth one is an action/shooter called Grime 6502, currently in development by Chibi Akuma. With these six new homebrew games, along with the previously mentioned 8 new and re-released titles from Luchs Soft, and with the distribution of no less than 10 previous after-market and homebrew titles by Songbird Productions, there will have been at least 24 Atari Lynx games planned or in production during the course of 2018. There can be no doubt now that the 29-year-old Atari Lynx console, along with its still-expanding game library, is experiencing a renaissance of popularity. And this Lynxter for one is very happy about that indeed.


LYNX LYNKS
Information about Todd’s Adventures in Slime World:
Atari Age title info/rarity guide for Todd’s Adventures in Slime World
Atari Gamer title info/rarity guide for Todd’s Adventures in Slime World
Digital Press title info/rarity guide for Todd’s Adventures in Slime World
Wikipedia article about Todd’s Adventures in Slime World
Moby Games article about Todd’s Adventures in Slime World
GameFAQs article for Todd’s Adventures in Slime World
Todd’s Adventures in Slime World Hints from Atari Age
Todd’s Adventures in Slime World Low-Res Maps from Diary of an Atari Lynx Developer (Alex Thissen)
“Atari Lynx Hint Book”, published by Atari in 1993 for Lynx game developers (the cheat codes for the first five levels, or adventures, of Todd’s Adventures in Slime World can be found on pages 63 and 64).
Reviews and ratings for Todd’s Adventures in Slime World:
Ratings and Reviews by The Review Crew in Electronic Gaming Monthly Magazine (Issue #12; July of 1990)
Review by Marshall Rosenthal in RAZE Magazine (November of 1990)
Review by Clayton Walnum in STart Magazine (December of 1990)
Review by Keita Iida at AtariHQ
Review by Robert A. Jung at IGN (1999)
Review by DanielThomas at GameFAQ (2003)
Review by John Harris in his Pixel Journeys column at GameSetWatch (2009)
Review by The Video Game Critic (2013)
Review by Jon Mc at Atari Gamer (2018)
YouTube videos about Todd’s Adventures in Slime World:
Playthrough and Review (CGRundertow)
Playthrough and Commentary (NecroVMX)
Playthrough and Commentary (VideoWulff)
Playthrough (Wasabim)
Playthrough/Final Boss (ZoneLynx Atari)
Retailers Selling Todd’s Adventures in Slime World:
B & C ComputerVisions: The price lists systems at B &C crashed on 8/3/18 and they have still not been restored, as of this recording date.
Best Electronics (last updated May 31, 2018; check website for availability): US$14.95 (CIB); US$9.95 (loose cart)
The Gamesmen (Australia): Not Available
The Goat StoreUS$19.94 (loose cart)
Telegames (UK): £14.99 or US$19.89 (listing does not include whether it’s a loose cart, cart/manual combo, or CIB)
Video 61 & Atari Sales: Not Available (website is down pending owner’s recovery from an accident)
Resources for Atari Lynx Console/Game-Related Collecting Materials/Tools:
Resource: Game Boy Color cases for Atari Lynx cartridges from Joom
Resource: 
2 1/2″ coin storage sheets from Amazon
Resource: 
Atari Lynx regular-size game carton sleeves from BuzzandBingosMoonCircus
Resource: Atari Lynx large-size game carton sleeves from CollectnProtect
Resource: 
Building a custom Atari Lynx game carton shelving unit from AtariGamer
ResourceAtari Lynx II display stand from Etsy
Other Lynks:
AtariGamer.com (Thanks to Igor for incorporating The HandyCast into his excellent website!)
Retro Video Gamer Forums (Thanks to TrekMD for helping to promote The HandyCast on his wonderful forums!)
Antic: The Atari 8-Bit Podcast (Thanks to Brad Arnold, Randy Kindig, and Kevin Zavitz for the shoutout about The HandyCast in Episode 50!)
The Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to The Podfather himself, Ferg, for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in both Episode 151 and Episode 154!)
The Atari Jaguar Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to Shinto for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in Episode 22!)
Please Stand By (Thanks to Zerbe and Ferg for helping to promote The  HandyCast on several episodes of this fun-to-listen-to show, starting with Episode 60!)
The RCR Podcast (Thanks to the Retro Computing Roundtable: Paul Hagstrom, Quinn Dunki, Jack Nutting, and Carrington Vance, for highlighting The HandyCast in Episode 167!)The Retro MacCast Podcast (Thanks to Retro MacCast hosts James Savage and John Leake for highlighting The HandyCast in Episode 475!)
PDF of Historical Atari Lynx UK Magazine Advert/Reviews Collection (Thanks to AmigaJay for compiling this compilation, and also to Bobbi Iddod Moore for alerting me to it on Facebook!)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Thanks go to everyone who contributed feedback about Todd’s Adventures in Slime World for this episode; I really appreciate it!
Also, I would like to thank the Free Music Archive for the following musical artists and songs that were used in this episode under the Creative Commons License: “8-Bit Core” by Tagirijus (opening and closing theme music), along with “And the Road Goes On“, “Cruisin’“, “Fields and Strings“, “Intermission“, “Intermission II“, and “The Void“, all by Ian Sutherland.
I would especially like to thank Shinto for submitting his memories of various Atari Lynx games he’s owned in the past to The Atari Lynx HandyCast…they are greatly appreciated. And you should all check out Shinto’s wonderful Atari Jaguar Game by Game Podcast; it’s definitely worth listening to, even if you don’t own or have never even seen a Jaguar console. You can find it here.
Many, many thanks also go to Zerbinator for his continued support. His encouragement and expertise are very much appreciated by me. You can find all of his fun-to-listen-to podcasts here, including my favorite, Please Stand By.
Finally, my thanks to Ferg of The Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast. His inspiration and dedication to covering every game cartridge ever made for the Atari 2600 (I think over 1000 of them!) is what gave me the courage to begin this podcast. Please, check out his don’t-miss podcast, even if you’re not an Atari 2600 collector; or at least visit his website here.
I hope you enjoy this episode of The Atari Lynx HandyCast. And please don’t forget to visit the official Atari Lynx HandyCast website by clicking here!
-Mark
Next Episode: “EPISODE 11: Zarlor Mercenary” (available January 2019)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

EPISODE 09: Chip's Challenge

PLAY EPISODE 09 HERE

#PA2028, Published by Atari

Here I cover one of the best-known games of all time, Chip's Challenge, released in September of 1989; it is one of the five launch titles for the original Atari Lynx. In this episode I've included a complete survey of the credits, gameplay, music, and sound effects for Chip's Challenge. Plus, as usual, I have reviews, listener feedback, current prices, some trivia, and some fun facts about the game. So grab a bag of chips and munch down while you listen; this game is a real puzzler!

CHIP'S CHALLENGE VITAL STATISTICS

Release Date: September of 1989
Initial retail price: $34.95
Cartridge: 128kb stereo cartridge available in all three styles (flat, ridged, and curved lip)

Genre: Puzzle/maze game for one player.
Screen/playfield orientation: landscape (horizontal).
Other Ports: The Amstrad CPC (1990), Atari ST (1990), The Commodore Amiga (1990), The Commodore 64 (1990), DOS (1990), The ZX Spectrum (1990), Windows 3.x (1991) and Windows (2015).
Sequels: Chip's Challenge 2 for Windows (2015), Chuck's Challenge 3D for Linux (2014), Macintosh (2014), Windows (2014), Android (2016), iPad (2016), and iPhone (2016)
Levels: 144, plus 4 undocumented special levels.
Carton:  Full-color standard-tab regular-size carton (5 3/8" by 4 3/8" by 7/8"). There were two styles: one with the gray vertical band of Lynx font faux embossed broken x's along the right side of the carton, and one without the band.
Manual: A 24-page (including front and back covers) stapled regular-sized booklet manual in monochrome, measuring the usual 4 7/8” high by 3 ¾” wide.
Languages: As far as I can determine, the manual was available in the U.S. in an English version only.

CHIP'S CHALLENGE  CREDITS
Developer: 
Epyx, Inc.
Original Design: Chuck Sommerville
Art: Paul Vernon
Sound and Music: Alex (LX) Rudis

Level Design: Bill Darrah, James Donald, Peter Engelbrite, Victoria Hanson, R.G. Gowdy, Stephen Jungels, Scott NelsonChuck Sommerville, Pete Wierzbicki
Testing: Dung Dang, Bob Friesen, John McGowan, Tom Schumacher, Cynthia Sommerville, Glen Yamakawa, Robert Zalot

Additional Art: Arthur Koch
Special Thanks: Steve Landrum, Robert J. (RJ) Mical, Dave Needle


LYNXED IN

New Podcast for the Atari 8-Bit Computers!
There’s another Atari podcast in town, and that town is actually in New Zealand. The XLXE Podcast covers Atari 8-bit computers and other shenanigans. It is hosted by Adam and Bob, and they’re very informative and a lot of fun to listen to, especially with those funny accents. It really is great to hear a podcast about Atari from someplace other than the USA. Plus they’ve already got two episodes up on the feeds already. But be warned: it’s not NSFW. So plug in your earbuds and give this wonderful podcast a try. You can find the podcast at their Twitter page here.


Let's All Give the Retro Video Gamer Forums Some Love!
The administrators of The Retro Video Gamer forums has sent out a call to arms to all of the retro video gaming community: I would like to appeal to those who are real retro supporters. Surely a retro forum is now a rare breed. Unless we continue to use the site [and] strike up convos, then sadly the RVG forums will continue to decline and I want to stop that. Once its gone that will be too late. So please take a moment, as I can't simply allow constant promo threads of your YouTube channels or podcast feeds (but you’re more than welcome to bump them). Please put your expertise into the site; there are a million and one topics for you all to participate in so please come and keep a retro forum about your retro gaming hobby alive. P.S.: Along with the above we will be performing a zero poster cull, so any new members who have yet to do an intro thread please pop on and post one now to avoid the cull. Cheers all. So to all of my listeners, please consider supporting Eugenio, Jamie, and others at the Retro Video Gamer website at www.retrovideogamer.co.uk. Thank you!


LYNX LYNKS
Information about 
Chip's Challenge:

Atari Age title info/rarity guide for Chip's Challenge
Atari Gamer title info/rarity guide for Chip's Challenge
Digital Press title info/rarity guide for Chip's Challenge
Wikipedia article about Chip's Challenge
Moby Games article about Chip's Challenge
GameFAQs article for Chip's Challenge
Blogpage/map of the Final Level of Chip's Challenge at Diary of an Atari Lynx Developer
Chip's Challenge Notes, published in 1990 by Jaime Villacorte on Atari Age
“Atari Lynx Hint Book”, published by Atari in 1993 for Lynx game developers (the fractal generator program cheat for Chip's Challenge can be found on pages 18-19; the codes each of the 148 levels can be found on pages 20-23)

Reviews and ratings for Chip's Challenge:

Review by Keita Iida at AtariHQ
Review by Robert A. Jung at IGN (1999)
Review by Dorsola at JoseQ'sEmuViews (2000)
Review by The Video Game Critic (2004)
Review by Avery Score at GameSpot (2004)
Review by Josh Dollins at DefunctGames (2007)
Review by Dusty Old Games (2013)
Review by Jon Mc at Atari Gamer (2018)

YouTube videos about Chip's Challenge:

Lynx Lounge Review (Brian Thomas Barnhart)
Playthrough (Atari7800com)
Playthrough and Review (Fred Rojas)
Playthrough/Easter Egg (Laird's Lair)
Playthrough/Final Level (ZoneLynx Atari)

Retailers Selling Chip's Challenge:

B & C ComputerVisions: The price lists systems at B &C crashed on 8/3/18; I will update the info here once they've been restored.
Best Electronics (last updated May 31, 2018; check website for availability): US$14.95 (CIB); US$9.95 (loose cart)
The Gamesmen (Australia): Not Available
The Goat StoreUS$14.94 (NIB)
Telegames (UK): £8.33 or US$10.72
Video 61 & Atari SalesUS$24.95 (NIB)

Resources for Atari Lynx Console/Game-Related Collecting Materials/Tools:

Resource: Game Boy Color cases for Atari Lynx cartridges from Joom
Resource:
2 1/2" coin storage sheets from Amazon
Resource:
Atari Lynx regular-size game carton sleeves from RetroGameFreak

Resource: Atari Lynx large-size game carton sleeves from CollectnProtect
Resource: 
Building a custom Atari Lynx game carton shelving unit from AtariGamer

ResourceAtari Lynx II display stand from Etsy

Other Lynks:

AtariGamer.com (Thanks to Igor for incorporating The HandyCast into his excellent website!)
Retro Video Gamer Forums (Thanks to TrekMD for helping to promote The HandyCast on his wonderful forums!)
Antic: The Atari 8-Bit Podcast (Thanks to Brad Arnold, Randy Kindig, and Kevin Zavitz for the shoutout about The HandyCast in Episode 50!)
The Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to The Podfather himself, Ferg, for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in both Episode 151 and Episode 154!)
The Atari Jaguar Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to Shinto for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in Episode 22!)
Please Stand By (Thanks to Zerbe and Ferg for helping to promote The  HandyCast on several episodes of this fun-to-listen-to show, starting with Episode 60!)
The RCR Podcast (Thanks to the Retro Computing Roundtable: Paul Hagstrom, Quinn Dunki, Jack Nutting, and Carrington Vance, for highlighting The HandyCast in Episode 167!)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Thanks go to everyone who contributed feedback about Xenophobe for this episode; I really appreciate it!

Also, I would like to thank the Free Music Archive for the following musical artists and songs that were used in this episode under the Creative Commons License: “8-Bit Core” by Tagirijus (opening and closing theme music), along with "Worm War," by Podington Bear.


I would especially like to thank Shinto for submitting his memories of various Atari Lynx games he's owned in the past to The Atari Lynx HandyCast...they are greatly appreciated. And you should all check out Shinto's wonderful Atari Jaguar Game by Game Podcast; it's definitely worth listening to, even if you don't own or have never even seen a Jaguar console. You can find it here.


Many, many thanks also go to Zerbinator for his continued support. His encouragement and expertise are very much appreciated by me. You can find all of his fun-to-listen-to podcasts here, including my favorite, Please Stand By.


Finally, my thanks to Ferg of The Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast. His inspiration and dedication to covering every game cartridge ever made for the Atari 2600 (I think over 1000 of them!) is what gave me the courage to begin this podcast. Please, check out his don't-miss podcast, even if you're not an Atari 2600 collector; or at least visit his website here.


I hope you enjoy this episode of The Atari Lynx HandyCast. And please don't forget to visit the official Atari Lynx HandyCast website by clicking here!

-Mark


Next Episode: "EPISODE 10: Todd's Adventures in Slime World" (available December 2018)

EPISODE 10: Todd's Adventures in Slime World

PLAY EPISODE 10   HERE #PA2029, Published by Atari Corp. In this episode, the longest (and the latest) episode of The HandyCast so...