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Comitoid (SnailSoft/Greg Zumwalt)

DoctorSpuds

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Alright guys this is the final non-game I’m looking at for a while I promise but this one is just so strange. I won’t actually be talking about the game all too much since there is almost nothing to talk about in the first place. Comitoid is absolutely mind boggling, it is the textbook definition of confusing. All you do is fly a little spaceship around as it automatically shoots at large flashing objects. There are so sounds, there are no points, and most importantly you cannot be destroyed, so therefore this is moreso a glorified screensaver than an Atari game. Okay now that the game is out of the way I really have to talk about its creator, or lack of one. Whoever compiled my ROM pack attributed this game to SnailSoft, I cannot find anything on the internet about SnailSoft other than they created the Greeting Carts, and Meteor Smasher the only NTSC version of Astro War. What was odd is that when I grabbed a screenshot for the review the publisher/programmer in the file extension listed a guy named Greg Zumwalt as the creator not SnailSoft. After searching for ‘Greg Zumwalt Comitoid’ on Google I found a page on Github that listed him as the creator of several hacks of popular games, he is listed as the creator of Jungle Jane a Pitfall! hack, WacMan as Ms. Pac-Man hack, and Fish Revenge a Space Invaders hack. On the same page Meteor Smasher is listed under SnailSoft which leads me to believe that these two are actually separate entities, though they could be one and the same.
 
I seriously cannot find a single scrap of information about these guys, they are phantoms. If anyone has any information about either SnailSoft or Greg Zumwalt please feel free to share, but when you’re this deep down the rabbit hole it’s unlikely that your questions will ever be answered.



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I found a book by Bill Loguidice about the TRS-80 CoCo computers where Greg Zumwalt appears.

https://books.google.com/books?id=9oJcAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA121&lpg=PA121#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Quite possibly this is the same person on MobyGames:

https://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,86223/

 

It seems nowadays he designs various thingamajigs:

https://hackaday.io/gzumwalt

https://hackaday.com/2019/03/11/learning-through-play-hack-chat-with-greg-zumwalt/

https://www.instructables.com/member/gzumwalt/instructables/

https://www.youtube.com/user/popzct0214/videos?disable_polymer=1

 

While he mentions Atari in his summar on Hackaday, it doesn't say SnailSoft. I suppose he's having enough online presence to look him up and ask about those games and hacks. Given that the Miniature Golf hack is dated in the 21th century, quite possibly he used to (or still does) hang around here as well?

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Well this answers who Zumwalt is, but the final two questions remain unanswered: Who are SnailSoft, and who actually programmed, halfway and gave up on, Comitoid.

 

The world may never know...

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I know Greg, he is a bit of a recluse anymore and lives in the woods somewhere in Michigan. Last I spoke with him was May 29th and since his phone is disconnected. He goes long periods without internet, I think, but always answers my emails eventually.

I hosted a saturn emulator for him on my web server, years ago.

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20040804014410/http://www.barnitos.net/cassini/

 

It is still listed on Zophar!!

 

https://www.zophar.net/saturn/cassini.html

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Greg is an incredible and inspiring programmer whose been writing awesome video games since the 70's! Greg sent me the source code for the final edition of The Parlog Building, one of my text adventures from the 80's when I couldn't find it.

 

fwiw bitd programmers were friendly, fans wanted our autographs and everyone smiled - some of the newer programmers on AtariAge could benefit from this mindset; it goes well with the retro games! :)

 

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Stumbled across this blog post today, and that ship in the screenshots looked familiar...

It turns out that "Comitoid" is nothing more than a slight hack of an early WIP by Piero Cavina which eventually became that little gem that is "Oystron".
Thie binary posted by Piero in this old message of the "Stella mailing list" is the original rom that has been hacked. Only 25 bytes differ between the two!

 

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