Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Retro Gamer and the SAM Coupé

Invasion II

Many eons ago, as I progressed on the gradual ladder of computer ownership, I owned something known as a SAM Coupé. Regarded as somewhat of a failed cousin to the ZX Spectrum, the SAM Coupé was probably the last and most powerful 8bit computer to hit the market.

It was considerably more powerful than the Spectrum both generally and graphically, and marketed as a logical upgrade for those who still wanted to be able to play most of their Spectrum games, but own something more akin (but cheaper) to the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga, which had become the computer of choice by that time.

For varying reasons it failed to become a success, but managed to maintain a core of dedicated users. I was amongst them, and were it not for the SAM Coupé, I wouldn't be programming and designing educational software today. The ease with which it was possible to learn BASIC on the SAM, and its lack of mainstream game support were the best incentives I could have asked for. Perhaps I'll write something about that in the future...

So why am I suddenly waxing lyrical about this minor(major to me) stepping stone in home-computing history? I recently discovered there was an article in issue 74 (Feb 2010) of Retro Gamer magazine (Available at most major magazine sales locations) about the SAM Coupé. A retrospective article discussing its history. I'm a casual buyer, but I'd missed that issue first time around and decided to order a back copy out of curiosity. Little did I know, it contained a small and brief mention of my very own game, Invasion II, which was published a few years back on the cover-disk of a small magazine that is still published for SAM Coupé enthusiasts (SAM Revival).

A surge of pride ran through me, as I saw a screen shot from the game as one of the machine's top-ten, alongside a small description and my name in print (See above). Okay, it's a small thing, but it's enormous fun to still find one of my creations being mentioned and publicised after all this time. Although the game was never published until 2004, I wrote it way back in 1996.

The game was rather nicely mentioned back in issue 9 of Retro Gamer as well, but it's nice to see a second mention after all this time, especially now my name is attached. They mention that I was clearly influenced by games like Impossible Mission and Flashback. Oddly enough, I've never played Impossible Mission, and I never played Flashback till after Invasion II. Though on the SAM Coupé disk-magazine FRED, someone once created a few screen captures of Flashback, to show what it could look like on the SAM. I remember thinking “I can do my own version of that!” Probably the main influence I had was the SAM version of Prince of Persia, which was one of the few SAM games to be released with quite stunning animation. I wanted to do the same, but in a gun-toting science fiction game. The rest, as they say, is history...

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1 comment:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsjTpFR0oYQ

    nice sam coupe animation for you