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Brain Breaker

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About Brain Breaker

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    Space Invader
  1. Birthday, 1981. 4-switch woody with Combat. I'm pretty sure my mother would have gotten it at the big Toys R Us in Totowa, NJ. That's where I bought most of my 2600 and Colecovision games back then, as they always seemed to have the largest selection around. I started gaming early, with one of the first Sears Tele-Games pong units that my father got in the mid '70s, when I was very young. I had started playing the VCS around '78/'79 at a neighbor's house and became increasingly obsessed with getting one. The problem was that I already had an Apple II+ in my house (and tons of games) that roughly cost what some people were paying for their cars at the time, so it was kind of tough to convince dear old mom that I needed this "toy" game console as well, but I eventually wore her down. One of the first games I got along with it was Fishing Derby. My family had a summer lake house, and my mother loved fishing and sailing, so it was one of the only video games she ever had any interest in playing. Playing that game with her is one of my fondest childhood memories... Luckily, I still have photographic evidence of that fateful day:
  2. Thanks for the tip. I'll wait and see if he chimes in on this thread. Otherwise, I'll send him a message.
  3. Yes, that's the one. Thanks very much! Now that I can finally see that Pirates of the Nile screenshot better, I can sync it up with the description a little more. It would appear to be a single-screen platformer where you collect treasure and avoid ghosts, but the screen layout is pretty weird. Almost like a giant honeycomb pattern. There seems to be only one ladder down to the boat (where you are supposed to return, it would seem), so it appears that the "walls" of the honeycomb sections are actually steeply-angled stairs. Reminds me a little of the pirate ship level of Nintendo's Popeye, actually...
  4. I'm involved in trying to catalogue and preserve the many "lost" (i.e. unknown and/or undumped) or unreleased Apple II games that are out there, and I was wondering if any of the Intellivison/Mattel experts here could provide me with any help or information regarding the company's own short-lived venture into the Apple II games market. The history behind this is pretty interesting, as you may have already read here: http://www.intellivisionlives.com/bluesky/games/credits/computers.shtml What I'm specifically looking for are any leads that could point to the possible recovery and preservation of the many unreleased Apple II games that they worked on, in either the Taiwan or California offices. "Pirates of the Nile" and "Heavy Artillery" are especially interesting, as they were apparently complete and shown at the 1984 Winter CES, and I've even been able dig up a couple of brief mentions of them from game magazine/newsletter articles of the time. But really, anything that could be possibly preserved, even from the uncompleted projects, would be invaluable to me. Does anyone know what became of the assets of the Taiwan office after it closed (which was apparently a while after Mattel pulled the plug on the home division)? Or the whereabouts of programmers like Rachel Wuu, Christina Huang or Victor Yu? Any leads or additional information would be greatly appreciated. Also, does anyone have a scan of this catalog? http://www.intellivisionlives.com/bluesky/media/84catalog.html I can't seem to find it online, and I'd really like to have bigger/higher quality images of the Pirates of the Nile and Heavy Artillery screenshots for the database I'm working on.
  5. The EG issues are all on the Internet Archive. Just search inside the August, September and October 1983 issues for "Solar Storm" and it will direct you to the appropriate pages. The ad in the August issue does seem to be the first mention of the game in EG, unless I'm missing something. https://archive.org/details/electronic-games-magazine The Logical Gamer issue is on Digital Press. The mention of the upcoming Solar Storm review is on the last page, I think. http://www.digitpress.com/library/newsletters/logical_gamer/ As for VGU/CE, here's a scan of the appropriate page from the August, '83 issue. As I mentioned before, the game never showed up previously in their "coming soon" lists, and this is the only time it was ever mentioned in the newsletter (as confirmed by the master index), so that really helps pin down that it actually became available around July, in my opinion.
  6. Regarding Solar Storm, I just did a quick search and here's what I came up with: Video Game Update/Computer Entertainer - August, 1983 (review) Electronic Games - August, 1983 (ad), September (mail order listing), October ("just released" mention and full review) Logical Gamer - September, 1983 (listed as being reviewed in the next issue) I always trust VGU/CE the most. They were painstakingly accurate, had the shortest lead times, ran a large mail-order service in southern California, and were really on top of things in the industry. Their August issue would have actually been mailed out in late July, I believe, and Solar Storm had not previously showed up on their very thorough "coming soon" lists before being reviewed. So taking that into account along with the other publications (and their typical lead times) and fultonbot's dates (the last being mid June) my best guess for actual release would be June or, more probably, July. The earlier dates (first use and filing) don't quite synch up with the published industry record, and in my experience that's pretty typical.
  7. I'd like to chime in on this one, as I'm kind of a nut for chronology. In my opinion, the best potential resources out there for accomplishing this are probably the "professional newsletters" like Video Game Update/Computer Entertainer, Electronic Games Arcade Express/Hotline and Logical Gamer. They tended to have shorter lead times than the actual magazines, and were more interested in covering the games quickly as soon as they came out. For the US 2600 releases, '77-'81 are pretty easy to chronicle, as are '84 and beyond. It's really the fever-pitched market of '82-'83, when over half of the original library flooded out all at once, that takes the most extensive research to get relatively accurate dates.
  8. Yes, I've found some interesting stuff, both released but seemingly lost/unknown and apparently unreleased. I'd like to put a list or database of it together at some point, but I have a lot more research to do first. The best resource out there right now (to my knowledge, at least) is TanruNomad's list, but of course that's a work in progress and is missing many items. Stephan Racle's Gallery of Undiscovered Entities was doing great work in this area as well, but is sadly defunct now, it would seem. Aside from combing through the various file archives, you can also find some obscure items shown or listed on sites like the Giant List of Classic Game Programmers, MOCAGH, etc. But still, compared to stuff like Atarimania, GB64, WoS, etc, the state of Apple II games cataloging/preservation is a mess. A comprehensive referencing of all the available old magazines. books and newsletters is the best way towards a more complete cataloging and historical record, but then actually implementing it all online is a whole other story... Regarding Lady Tut, there are a couple of interesting facts about it. One is that the Progame version is actually a re-release, with Mockingboard support added, I believe. The original came out some time earlier via California Pacific. Progame seemed to be an outfit that simply licensed and re-released older software, including a few California Pacific titles. They even re-released Akalabeth! The other interesting thing is that if you've ever seen the end sequence of the game, it says something like "coming soon: Lady Tut II". So add that one to the "unreleased" list. As for the infamous "Greggy", he remains a mystery. There seem to be few extensive printed references to the game, so I think at this point the only way to find him would be by tracking down and jarring the memory of someone who worked at California Pacific back then.
  9. Bandinelli was located in Opelousas, Louisiana. Their only other game that I know of was Sigma 7, by Ian Douglas Agranat. It's basically a blocky, slow-moving Asteroids derivative. It was referenced a few times in Softalk and Softline, circa mid/late 1983. Agranat himself seems to have been based in Weston, MA, as he shows up again a bit later with the Echo Plus copy utility, released by his own Agranat Systems. His name comes up again in the context of web development in the late '90s, but that's about it. As for Auto Gyro, I also can't find any other reference to it other than the manual you referenced and that it's mentioned a couple of times on Mockingboard-compatible games lists. Please let me know if you're able to dig up anything else about it. I'm always finding lost/unknown/unreleased games like this when combing through the old mags and newsletters. Despite various efforts over the years, the state of Apple II games history/cataloging/preservation is quite deplorable compared to most of the other important retro platforms, which is pretty sad...
  10. Sure, no problem. The text in the red circle is "hisshouhou", which basically means "how to win" or "sure way to win". Here's a translation for Space Invaders: "Space Invaders - 4,900 Yen The invaders are coming. Can you withstand the terror?! How to Win - Wait for the last invader to descend to the bottom, then finish it off!!" Nothing too exciting, I'm afraid. The more interesting material in this book comes later on, when they go in-depth on one game for each system (Phoenix for the Atari), along with some fairly insane manga. The one for Pick Axe Pete has to be seen to be believed...
  11. I'm a collector of '80s Japanese computer and video game magazines and books, and I have a number that feature small pieces on the Atari 2800. I thought I'd post a few of them here, as I finally get around to scanning them. This one is a simple catalog-style listing of most of the initial 2800 titles, from the book "Terebi Game Daizukan", published August, 1983 by Tokuma Shoten. It covers most of the available consoles and "game pasocoms" of the day, with each system's game lineup receiving brief individual descriptions and basic gameplay tips. One interesting thing about this particular book is that it was designed by most of the same people behind the first real Famicom magazine, "Family Computer Magazine", which launched two years later. After that. Nintendo of America contracted them to design the "Official Nintendo Player's Guide", and then the early issues of Nintendo Power. The stylistic similarities among all of these publications are quite noticeable. Here's the Atari 2800 section. Please click on the scans for larger images. If anyone would like translations of any of the text, just let me know.
  12. Oh yes, I remember the TRU "wall of games" well. It was an awe inspiring sight back then, at the height of the classic gaming era. I also remember being crushingly disappointed when I would literally sprint over there as soon as we entered the store to grab whatever new release I was desperately seeking, only to find that all of the tickets were already gone! I'm guessing now that's what actually happened that Christmas when my mother went to get the games on my wishlist. The ColecoVision Mr Do!'s Castle was out, so she had to get the 2600 version, and whatever was actually in that box must have been the very last copy they had in stock, either a recently returned one or perhaps the actual display copy, as you said. She did tend to put off getting some of this stuff until the last minute, as I had a bad habit of raiding every nook and cranny of our house in the weeks leading up to Christmas looking for all the hidden gifts. Thanks for all the info, guys! I just wish I could read the writing on that box...
  13. Ah, that probably solves it then. Perhaps one of the games I had asked for that Christmas was sold out, but they still had a recently returned copy that had been repackaged in one of those boxes. So, it could have been either a 2600 or ColecoVision game then, actually.
  14. Interesting, thanks for the info! I didn't have a 5200 though, so it couldn't have been for one of those. Have you ever seen it used for 2600, ColecoVision or even Apple II games? And what would have been the purpose for it? As I mentioned, I don't remember ever getting any used games for my systems back then...
  15. Hi everyone, I've recently been cataloging and scanning in many of my childhood photos from the '70s and '80s, and this one struck me as a bit curious, so I thought I'd post it here and ask the experts. As you can see, it's a typical Christmas shot (circa '83 or '84, when I was around 10 years old) of me holding up a couple of my new games. On the left is Mr. Do!'s Castle (I remember actually wanting the ColecoVision version, as I had both consoles, but according to my mother it was sold out everywhere she looked), but check out the one on the right. It's some kind of odd, generic "Software" packaging. There are several spots of writing on it, but unfortunately they're illegible (even after I blew the photo up significantly). At first, I thought it might be an Apple II game (I also had an Apple II+ at home), that had been repackaged for some unknown reason. But upon further examination, I started to doubt it. When Apple II games were boxed, they were generally bigger, and back then many of them actually just came with the disk and instructions in a plastic ziplock baggie. This box seems to be almost identical in size and type to an Atari box, but I definitely don't remember ever getting any used or repackaged games at the time. So, any ideas on what's going on here?
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