Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Remaking, Rebooting, Reimagining and more (Ud 16/05/12)


*The remake section has been heavily updated, as the 'original' was pretty bare to what it could have been so after rifling through my DVD collection and flicking the brain into gear, this is now much better.

I can safely say that the original was somewhat deciduous, now I'm back with an evergreen effort.

I haven't * things as there was a helluva lot but shouldn't take too much to notice the aggressive expansion.

Mainly in the 70s to 90s, there were original films (maybe not in content or genre but definitely in title), that were simply billy no mates but if demand was warranted, that film would spawn a number of sequels.

As time passed, other directors would go on to make a film that looked strangely familiar and would 'remake' an accepted classic.

Nowadays, we have moved on from remaking as directors use more innovative ways to reinvent a particular franchise and then add sequels.  Before discussing those, let's focus on the only thing we had.

Remake

A remake is basically the process of taking the original, keeping all the recognisable and well known scenes and predictably have different actors portray the roles.

Depending on the film, the benefit of also using better effects is also a given.  However, these 'better' effects can be a double-edged sword as the classuc look can be ruined as CGI is usually adopted.

The harsh would accuse Hollywood of been fresh out of ideas.

It is very rare for the modern version to emulate the original.

Titles are usually retained but sometimes not.

Take the 50's film High Noon.  This was later remade in 1981 as Outland starring Sean Connery.

The remake of scary Spanish horror REC became Quarantine and Let the Right One was renamed Let Me In.

Quarantine 2: Terminal was not a remake of Rec 2 and although the same principle, was an original film.

Surprisingly, it's rather good.

We go back to the past with Kurosawa's classic The Seven Samuari (1954) and later in 1960, we know it The Magnificent Seven.

Assassination thriller The Jackal was released in 1973 and became The Day of the Jackal in 1997.

Hitchcock classic Vertigo (1958) got a makeover in 1976 with Brian De Palma's Obsession.

The Uninvited (2009) is a remake of 2003 Korean horror A Tale of Two Sisters.

Also, Japanese terror Ju-On - The Grudge would become The Grudge.

Spanish sci-fi Open Your Eyes (1997) would be remade as Vanilla Sky (2001), which was a forgettable Tom Cruise effort.

The 1974 classic Burt Reynolds sporting drama The Longest Yard had two remakes.

Before we continue with more, The Longest Yard was originally called The Mean Machine (I know this as I watched it on TV years ago).

First came Vinnie Jones and his Mean Machine in 2001 (using football instead of American Football) but apart from that unsubtle change, most of the script was recycled and quoted word for word, just in slightly different situations.

It was basically an excuse to reunite most of those who starred in Lock, Stock and Snatch.

Unlike the latter and former, this wasn't directed by Guy Ritchie.

Whatever, it was pretty awful stuff.

In 2005, Adam Sandler took the lead role along with the annoying Chris Rock and was an official remake, but this was just The Longest Mile from being as good as the original.

Reynolds did co-star and take on the different role as Nate Scarborough (portrayed by Michael Conrad in the original).

Back to more remakes with a different name.

Hong Kong classic Infernal Affairs (2002), yes that's not a typo, became Scorcese's The Departed in 2006.

Korean horror Into the Mirror (2003) would become Mirrors in 2008, which also had an unrelated sequel in 2010.

The House on Sorority Row was shortened to just Sorority Row in 2009.  Why?

The Thing from Another World (1951) became The Thing in 1982.  Fairly stupidly, the prequel was also called The Thing.

Spielberg's Always (1989), was called A Guy Named Joe in 1943.

Kairo is a 2001 Japanese horror and would become Pulse in 2006.

Michael Mann would later remake his own made for TV movie L.A. Takedown as Heat in 1995 which was the first time De Niro and Pacino shared the same scene together.

Still, in 2008 they would be reunited again, but this time for an entire film in Righteous Kill.
Unfortunately, it was a shite cop thriller and proved that shoving two Hollywood heavyweights together in the ring doesn't always guarantee a good film.

Another Hitchcock effort in 1954 was Rear Window and later became Disturbia in 2007.

Of direct title remakes, here's a yummy selection.  There is of course more than I'll mention and the remake will probably be more famous than the original and inevitably, some may not even know that there was an original.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 and 2008)
Alfie (1966 and 2004)
Scarface (1932 and 1983)
Night of the Demons (1988 and 2009)
The Eye (2002 and 2008)

The 2006 remake of cult 1973 classic The Wicker Man is up there with the worst.  It's really fucking awful.

Others include:

Shutter (2004 and 2008)
The Omen (1976 and 2006)
My Bloody Valentine (1981 and 2009)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977 and 2006)
Black Christmas (1974 and 2006)
I Spit on Your Grave (1978 and 2010)
The Last House on the Left (1972 and 2009)
The Ring (1998 and 2002)
Bedazzled (1967 and 2000)
3:10 to Yuma (1957 and 2007)
Straw Dogs (1971 and 2011)
The Italian Job (1969 and 2003)
It's Alive (1974 and 2008)
The Crazies (1973 and 2010)
Clash of the Titans (1981 and 2010)
Insomnia (1997 and 2002)
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976 and 2005)
The Fog (1980 and 2005)
The Firm (1989 and 2009)
War of the Worlds (1953 and 2005)
Cape Fear (1962 and 1991)
Sisters (1973 and 2006)
The Amityville Horror (1979 and 2005)
True Grit (1969 and 2010)

Jaws wannabe Piranha appeared in 1978, then later in 1995 and 2010.

The 2010 version is called Piranha 3D.  Sequel Piranha 3DD saw more nasty fishes chomping on busty beauties and other unfortunates.

To wrap up.

The Fly (1958) and then in 1986.  This is one of the few exceptions where these effects triumphed over the original as Cronenberg's remake was deliciously gruesome.

Get Carter was a Michael Caine classic but replacing him with Sylvester Stallone, was like a Natalie Imbruglia song - Big Mistake.

The Hitcher (1986) is a great cat and mouse thriller, with Rutger Hauer portraying one of the best villains of the 80's and beyond.  He was replaced by Sean Bean in 2007.

Oh dear...

They even made a sequel to the remake which again was totally unrelated to the original.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three was subject to a 1998 TV remake of the 1974 classic.

To be different, the third remake was only known as The Taking of Pelham 123 and was released in 2009.  It starred John Travolta as the baddie.

Reservoir Dogs famously used colours to describe the dogs in Tarantino's brilliant directorial debut including Mr Orange, Brown, Blonde etc but Pelham would use these first as codenames such as Mr Brown and Blue.

Brown and Blue were the only colours 'copied' in Dogs so I guess Quentin ran out of colours?

Here's a strange one, Michael Haneke made Funny Games in 1997 which features a pair of youths terrorising a couple.

A decade later, he remade it for the American audience.

It's an unusual slant as you'd expect the remake to be remade in America by an American but not so.

Still, Mr Pink (Tim Roth) stars so that can only be good.

Romero zombie classics and his hordes of undead would be remade a few times.

His iconic first, made on a shoestring budget in 1968 would be updated in 1990.

Night of the Living Dead 3D was quickly forgotten in 2006...

Day of the Dead was remade 23 years later and would see Rhames star again but unlike Dawn, he would receive some fatal love bites.

The original maestro would continue his decaying damnation that so far, remain 'untouched' with Land, Diary and Survival of the Dead.

There's apparently more to follow...

So that's a whole load of remakes but who would shoot and score as the best from the definitive original?

I suppose Last House and Straw Dogs are decent candidates.

Ironically, both were infamous 70's hot spuds but even though classification has been relaxed, films are still cut.

Before we steamroll on, have you noticed how many foreign horrors have been remade?

I wonder why...

I reckon The Ring and Rec are the most famous remakes and hence, some may have braved the subtitled world to appreciate these (even if they’ve seen the American versions).

So far, there are loads of horrors and thrillers that exist in world cinema that haven't been remade (yet).  Of these, Oldboy, The Chaser, I Saw the Devil, Inside, The Horde, Switchblade Romance and Frontiers to name a few.

There's a French horror called Martyrs and I'm being totally honest, it's possibly the most upsetting film I've ever seen.  That emotion and/or feeling didn't change after a second viewing.

It really is a harrowing experience.

Reboot

This is a great idea.  Take a well known franchise and throw everything you know out of the window and start it all again as basically your own film.

In short, take all the continuity out and hey presto - it's a brand spanker.

As it's intended to be completely different from the original, it allows directors a greater freedom of originality.

The only thing that will remain true will obviously be central characters.

There are of course others but the best example is Christopher Nolan's Batman.

I'm hopeful it will be a truly astonishing conclusion with The Dark Knight Rises in July which nicely fits in and around my birthday.

The Mrs may not know it yet, but she might be taking to me to the pictures.

If it's not truly awesome, it'll be a big disappointment.

The Dark Knight was sometimes boring but the screen truly sizzled when the demented Joker nervously twitched his panda eyes.

Could Bane better him?  I hope so.

Others include Daniel Craig's first outing as invincible secret agent 007 in Casino Royale and J.J Abram's Star Trek.

We also have Predators, Conan and the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man.

An interesting animal was Fright Night in 2011 as Colin Farrell replaced original bloodsucker Chris Sarandon.

Sarandon would also make a cameo in the reboot as a driver who also gets bit by the new Jerry.

Credit junkies will also note his char is credited as Jay Dee.  Get it?

Oh never mind.

Anyway, apart from recreating certain scenes, it is decidedly much darker than the original and with it being a reboot - why not?

Up and coming challengers see Total Recall and Robocop.

I have grave reservations about both and fear they’ll destroy the originals, even if they’re not remakes.

Reimagining

This is the most awkward one to describe of all as this it involves a new take on the original flick, and often have references to the original in terms of plot development, classic scenes and images but nevertheless, have been significantly altered.

Examples include:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 and 2003) which also had its own prequel in 2006 (The Beginning) and Ocean's Eleven (1960 and 2001).

Danny Ocean's gang of thieves would expand from Twelve and finally Thirteen (2004 and 2007 respectively).

Again, the original is known as numerals...

Mr Krueger would also be reimagined in 2010, who first entered our nightmares in 1984.

Dawn of the Dead was also chosen in 2004 to go up against the 1978 Romero satirical classic which surely remains as the ultimate example in shuffling.

It was of course very different (apart from the shopping mall setting) as the undead ran and didn't just wander aimlessly in classic drunken style.

Hotty Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames would take on the zombie masses during the 'going for the jugular' action.

Despite shedding its satirical skin, it would be a very decent reimagining and even squeezed in the madness of the survivors having fun in their own unique ways - in homage to the druggy original.

I'll finally mention Friday the 13th which crammed events of the first four films into its own setting.

Derek Mears and co did a great job.

Of those, I'd go for DOTD and Jason as been the most worthy rehashes.

Combinations

While not an official term, combinations of the above is when it gets really confusing and debatable if a film really fits into this category.

I'd suggest a good example being Rob Zombie's Halloween as all continuity was axed with a whole new angle and delved deeper into Michael Myers' psyche (reboot) and referenced classic bits and bobs from the original, hence applying the 'reimagining' tone.

It's good to see that although much unoriginality exists among directors, at least there are new angles that can be taken and therefore adding a new slice of pie.

Some remakes should be left well alone but I'm all for reboots and reimaginings as it's fun to notice clever refs to the original.

Games to Films

Mediocrity points to Hitman, Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat and Max Payne.

Almost inevitably, Resident Evil would infect the silver screen and rightly or wrongly, was successful as so far, four films have been churned out, all featuring some monsters from the games in one form or another.

Dare I say it, the best effort was Silent Hill.

It wasn't brilliant but it was good enough to capture the foggy atmosphere of 'not knowing what was real and reality' Jacob's Ladder inspired setting.

The rest were shat into the devil's public convenience and horrendous efforts include Doom, Alone in the Dark, Street Fighter and Super Mario Bros.

As a sub-topic, if these were supposed to be comedies...

The King of Fighters and DOA (Dead or Alive)

...then I give up as somebody was having a really bad and sick joke.

These weren't even funny, even Ed Wood would struggle to raise a smile.

The ultimate travesty was not even worthy of the Trainspotting toilet.

House of the Dead was brilliant, stupendous and awesome.

The sequel, Dead Aim was fantastic, fabulous and incredible.

Hang on a cottin' picking minute, that can't be right as I've used used six complimentary words so let's rewind to reality.

The sequel, Dead Aim, was atrocious, offensive, hideous, dreadful, harrowing and dire.

What drugs were taken during the production of these calamities?

Honestly, these desecrate the principle of films in general.

I'd even verse HOTD with Jaws: The Revenge in the ultimate battle of badness.

Who'd win?  Now you're asking....

If HOTD movies were balls of dung, the namesake beetle wouldn't even entertain the notion of rolling this deplorable disdain.

Of all the examples I've given, that's been generous to the tortoise's head.

For the future, selected franchises are also in development:

Uncharted, Bioshock, Halo and Castlevania will apparently be made.

To be fair, Uncharted has the production values to be great as he's basically a young Indiana Jones and if handled correctly - could set the standard.

Who should be Drake?  Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Matt Damon?

If it ever becomes reality - make sure it's somebody either young or evergreen.

Books to Films

To mop up, film adaptations from books usually work – if it’s a Stephen King novel.  Misery, The Shining, Thinners, Carrie, Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption et al.

In the right hands, Cliver Barker does pretty well and of course there’s C.S Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien and Peter Benchley.

Other gems include adaptations of Stieg Larsson and John Ajvide Lindqvist novels (of The Girl With The…. trilogy and Let the Right One fame respectively).

Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Irvine Welsh all have had their famous writings on the big screen.

There are of course others but the above are among the most famous authors to have their penned fantasy transported to film.

Finally, I'll state a chilling and promised threat.

"See you... soon."

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Artypieces Upd 26/04/12

This is another personal post as the following etchings were drawn by my good self and I believe they're not half bad.

The amount of hours and effort put in these almost cooked my brain and only escaped, because I didn't allow myself to come to the boil.

One piece in particular did enough to make me hate one particular animal, and that poor animal is an elephant.

The lion is the said to be the king of all beasts, but these miserable looking beasts are w/o a doubt, surely the most difficult animal to draw.  That's official.

To even think about taking a project like this on, be prepared to experience frustration beyond your worst nightmare of hell and damnation.

The animal itself, is difficult enough but why are they so selfish in having more wrinkles than the entire membership of a Bingo club?

The very idea of creating another would send my frustration factor exploding above beyond the most unscalable peak, and then some.

It remains my greatest drawing achievement as at many junctures, I found it so hard - I nearly gave up but like the tenacious behemoth I am, I take pride in not letting anything beat me and eventually, I was victorious.

When I'm set a challenge, I don't believe anything can be beat me, apart from winning an argument with a woman....

Us men know that's impractical - even as an experiment :)

So other than that, I really enjoyed putting many a pencil to expensive paper and creating Dumbo and his mate.

For what it's worth, my favourite is the seal but the elephants are a better drawing due to the extremities of difficulty and frustration I went through.

There are others but I'm yet to acquire photos from those who own them.

I don't know (even after these added extras) if I'll do any more as they take so long to do....

I've added another Disney and animal piece.

They were all done (on request) for my daughters and from other admirers lol.
All of which can be seen below.

Those that have colours may have deteriorated somewhat due to their age but the pencil efforts are very recent.

Yes I was too lazy to take the elephants and seal off my daughter's pink wall hence the very 'pink' glow but it really doesn't detract from the quality of the photographs.

Anyway, I hope they're appreciated by somebody and these aren't the visual posts I'm planning.

Stay with me.

Enjoy.


















8 bits, 1 byte - Part 2 (1/2) Ud 17/08/12

*This isn't really a proper update as all I've really done is improved the English, amended stuff and hopefully eliminated spelling mistakes as I did notice some.  It does read a lot better now.

Due to reasons beyond my control, the games now exist in another post.  Oh and I'm working on fixing the spaces between paras too.*

Sorry :)

Well it’s been a long time coming but I’m finally back to do the sequel to my epic Speccy feature.

This was also an important aspect of my childhood and personally for me, was the final slice of 8-bit I ate, before I put a lovely dollop of HP on 16 bits.

To me, one of the most important and influential games machine ever created.

I know it’s a computer (a personal one at that) but that’s what it’s remembered as.

It was the Commodore 64, the C64, the Commy or to some, the CBM 64.  CBM was used to represent Commodore Business Machines.

The technology would be quickly outdone by its senior (the Amiga) and others but wow, the games on this thing could be nothing short of extraordinary.

However, those 16 bits didn't arrive until years later and in the 80s, this baby would happily fight it out with its main rival – the Spectrum.

As I’ve said, I loved and still love the Speccy, but the Commy was unquestionably better on each and every level.

One of those levels was mainly graphics and colours.

The Speccy largely had that undeniably classic and cult monochrome look but with the C64, as well as being extremely colourful, would banish the in-joke of colour and/or attribute clash.  But many games would still glitch and have all sorts of fits when action got a bit hectic

Go baby, go baby, go – don’t upset the rhythm, don’t you dare.

It, like the Speccy, was released in 1982.  Its name was uncomplicated and also had various models such as the C16 and C128.

There were some pointless models too.  This would be in the form of a console which was a perverse idea in itself.  This was a desperation measure to fight against consoles such as the NES and came out in 1990 (when the C64 began to flat-line).

It was called the C64 GS (Game System) and was cartridge only.  This was, and unfortunately proved to be an instant and doomed failure.  As it was a console, you’d assume it would be a more powerful machine, but instead it remained just a good old C64, but just slightly redesigned.

This was a ridiculous premise and idea as there wasn’t many cartridge games out there.  I'd say probably less than twenty, so what were they thinking?

Going backwards, a hardware peripheral would be a lot more popular, the chunky Commodore 1541 floppy disc drive.

Yes, floppy discs.

Later 16 bit computers would also use such storage mediums but take Viagra.

Damn, the history and sometimes depressing subplot to this cream coloured beast nearly led me to slide down the slope of digression but no more, the C64, the games and my recollection of it – all in one epic super extended, POTY edition.

What’s that I hear you mutter, what the fuck is POTY?

Well of course, it’s Post of the Year.

I will do my level best not to keep mentioning the Speccy, but I can’t promise this.
I got mine quite a few years after my Speccy and was not shop bought, but given to me by my Uncle, via my Dad with a whole bunch of games.

The first game I ever loaded was Ikari Warriors, don’t ask me how I remember that, I just do.  Will I go back over old ground with this one, dunno as I heavily covered this in my SNK war feature.

It had a switch on side (near its joystick ports) and once fired up, you were presented with this curious screen.



When it came on (which wasn't always guaranteed) – ah primitive technology eh, the block below Ready would be flashing and then what next?

Well to load up a game, you would need to do this – Hold Shift and then Run/Stop would result in Load, Press Play on Tape and bingo.

So not too stressful or cryptic.

There were other combinations such as typing  the word Load and using the Commodore key with Run/Stop.

The games (in the past at least) came on tapes and usually contained information on both sides.  For Microprose simuations, you're missing a tape if there was only one.

The essential piece of hardware used to play C64 games was the 1530 datasette.  This was a farily small (for the time) object and looked decent.  This was the clever bit, years before memory cards and internal memory, the only way to save a game was to use a blank tape and when activated, a red light could be seen.

Again, Microprose should have provided blank tapes with their games...
Anyway, after doing as you were told, the screen would go blue, the tape would be whirring and after a few seconds, the tape would pause and it would display Searching, Found [insert game]. 

It may even just display the name of a game in a brilliant white against a blue square, but the principle remained the same.  Other changes would also evolve like [Game] Now Loading... in a Word style border box.

How nice of that game to tell you that progress is been made...
Oh, make sure you reset the counter as this would be important on the common multi-load games.

You could then, leave it to automatically continue, or use the space bar or Commodore key to achieve the same effect.  Whatever you chose, back to the blue screen.

Loading would be very, very briefly displayed.

You could also crash a game on purpose using Run/Stop.  Each to their own.

All through this, the counter (using any combination of numbers from 000 to 999) would be cycling though numbers (unless it was faulty) and then you’re fucked.

What I mean is that when on multi-load games, it was difficult to remember what number you need to rewind to reload the game and of course, when continues had ran out - to the game's main title screen.

It's great nowadays, as you can afford to be lazy as any console does it for you.
As mentioned, many and most were multi-loaders so that’s when the pause function really helped but that still didn’t cancel the need to make a note of when a level ‘loaded’.

So when attempting to continue, it would tell you something like, Please Rewind To Tape Position X.  You can see the advantage of writing equipment and a working datasette....

Trust me - that counter was your friend.

So after a further few seconds, psychedelic loading lines could appear across the screen.

Games used many different forms, ranging from fat multi-coloured ones (some covering the entire screen and others would surround a loading screen), some horrible looking primary coloured mess and also small thin lines covering a differently coloured screen.

Like these:




Not stopping there, sometimes loading screens were surrounded by squares of colour – like Bubble Bobble.

To really fuck your head up, sometimes nothing – no music and just a loading screen which inevitably led you to doubt that it was actually loading at all.

Creatures – I love you but you were guilty of this....

Wait - there was no insane, high pitched bleeping.  This silent approach was so much more comforting and instead, your ears were usually treated to some kind of loading music.

This loading music was a massive deal to me in the 80s....

Even though all seemed well, the games could crash, and sometimes for no apparent reason.

This was more annoying when playing a game as when this happened, there was no other option apart from turn-off time.

Imagine this happening when you were at a point and/or level you'd never reached before, how fucking selfish.  Although, it never stopped me going back for more.

The Azimuth screwdriver was (as it was with the Speccy) an essential unwritten tool as you sometimes needed to adjust the heads and/or volume in order for a game to work.

Just imagine needing a CD or Blu-ray screwdriver for the consoles of today?

One of the single most brilliant things (apart from the games) was that when a game loaded, the tape deck stopped, as opposed to the Speccy that just kept on running.

Now you could go for a comfort break in the firm knowledge that it wouldn’t ruin multi-load situations.

I’m sure you’ll agree, very useful.

Nearly forgot, some games even featured a playable game while you was waiting for that game to load.  OMG, what an amazing idea and as far as I’m concerned, it remains unique.

As far as I can remember, you had Pac-Man clones and this strange drawing block ‘em’ up.  I think the latter involved you drawing blocks around shapes to make them complete, while avoiding chasing ‘sparks’.

I seem to remember Players using the Pac Man gimmick and there may have been others but I don’t know.

Strangely, when I played these games, they tended to crash.  Maybe it was a psychological jinx I created in my own mind...

A tell tale sign of a game crashing was loading music sounding very different to what it should be like 


If you was a C64 junkie, you could evenget to know when a game was due to load (via the tape counter) and although that sounds extremely sad,  take a second why ahem I did this.

Don't know?  Okay I'll explain.  If you knew this game loaded at [Insert Counter Number here] and didn't, it's a dead cert your C64 has had another accident.


So when a game finally loaded (which to be fair, happened often) and providing you had a joystick slammed into Port 2, you was ready to rock.

I always found that odd, as you’d think for a 1P game, it would be Port 1 as in for 1 Player.  Instead, this Port was used for a second player.

Of those games, the boxes were nice and compact and even featured many goodies (only in the original big box releases of course).

When you paid for a C64 game, you really felt you were getting your money’s worth as apart from the box, the contents were sometimes insane.

The best examples were Microprose simulations and I’ll use Pirates as the best example.  You got a mega instruction manual with an actual history lesson on Piracy and best of all – an authentic looking map.

Other Microprose games had an obligatory cardboard qwerty layout fold-out thing that fit snugly around the C64’s qwerty.  These first appeared in Elite... as I’ve previously mentioned.

Last Ninja Remix was perhaps the most controversial of all as you were generously given a cloth ninja mask and a plastic shuriken.  Nowadays – imagine the controversy and newspaper headlines?  It would automatically be banned as there would be a sudden spate of muggings by amateur ninjas....

Creatures gave you a free fuzzy wuzzy with amusing adoption instructions.... Brilliant!

It had to come with a PSU, and as far as I know, there was a brick and a strange triangular thing.  I owned the earlier model so I had the latter.




The missing part of the Giza Pyramid got very hot after a few hours play but was dead handy for keeping your feet warm.  I swear, I thought on many occasions that it would start snoking and blow up.

The newer brick didn’t have this central heated luxury.

Now we come to loading screens and music that usually accompanied them.

The C64 used VIC-II and SID chips for its graphics and sound respectively.

So much C64 music is now considered classic (and rightly so) and SID was exploited by many musicians.

Very famous composers of so many lovelies were Rob Hubbard and David Whittaker. Geniuses in their own right.

While brilliant, the graphics took a back seat to the sound – even now, it’s still ‘pretty’ good.

The loading screens mostly looked awesome and they sort of scrolled as they were created.  I got so excited as it made me think “If this was just the loading screen, what’s the game gonna be like?”

‘Cyberload’ made a regular appearance...

I usually wasn’t disappointed, but sometimes pretty loading screens masked a very shit game.

Of course, some games didn’t have a loading screen and that could be a double-edged sword.

I’ve mentioned how awesome the music was and still is, and it didn't stop there.

There would be many variations but the most famous to me (and hopefully to others) was the Ocean loader by Jonathan Dunn.

It had such a memorable beat and is still brilliant.

Okay, some Ocean games were shit but at least you could be virtually guaranteed in hearing ‘that’ music.

Audio and visuals isn't as important as the game itself and even if some didn’t have the wow factor, or in some cases - lack of it, that didn’t matter as it’s all about the in play.

Let’s not beat around the bush, any C64 game only used a single fire button.  Classic sticks were many variations of the Quickshot made by SpectraVideo and the Competition Pro.

Many also had suction cups that with a touch of saliva, allowed you to stick it securely to an appropriate surface.

Sounds yucky but the option was there.

These came in many bizarre designs, shapes and sizes, and there was one which looked like it was ripped from a fighter jet cockpit.

This was the Megaboard by Quickjoy.  This thing had to be seen to be believed.

Okay, I’m not gonna tease you, so here it is:



I mean look at the thing - it had a digital display and more buttons than a Jaguar controller.  I believe the digital display was used for stopwatch, slo-mo and autofire functions.

Why would you need a stopwatch to play a C64 game, in fact – why would you need a stopwatch function for any sort of game?

It had so much irrelevance and was really, a right royal waste of time.

Batteries were not included so that caused extra and unnecessary expense.  If you were that way inclined, you'd be regularly spending some extra cash.

Many joysticks were micro-switched which not only sounded hi-tech but more annoyingly, caused no end of problems.

Many tended to break easily, which of course wasn’t an immediate problem as you only needed a single button but if you used that particular button or wanted to look cool, you could take it apart and fix that button by swapping a working microswitch.

You could repeat this x amount of times but when the movement stick itself started to go, you were in real trouble.

As with any joystick, as you moved the stick or pressed a button, a small bit of plastic connected with the switch and sent a signal to the computer telling it you wanted to perform that action.

Taking these unnecessary button hungry beasts back was a real bitch and I had real problems achieving a replacement so in the end, I just used sticks that weren’t hi-tech and they tended to be much more durable.

Joystick wars ensued amongst friends but we all found that bigger was not better.

Of course, many joysticks were compatible other computers but I only used them with the C64.
A Megadrive pad was even compatible.  Amazing eh!

So that’s your fill in the C64 itself, the troubles you needed to overcome and some titbits on peripherals.

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