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Fred_M

Dixons pack releases (UK)

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Thank you so much Kr0tki!

 

Your findings tell me that the tapes are (a bit) different. Not in software, but it seems like a different recording.

 

I was hoping that they were completely the same, so I could skip all Dixons rereleases ;)

 

So if you are willing to help, we can compare more original and Dixons rereleases ;)

Edited by Fred_M

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By simply looking at the photos, I would say, that the Dixons release uses CSAVE format (short IRG), while Microdeal uses SAVE"C:" format (long IRG)... but I have not tested the CAS files in any way. At one time I had three different Mr. Dig versions, all with a different tape length on the tape counter, but could not see any differences in the game itself...

 

The difference of tape length in the physical cassettes is very big. But although the Microdeal cassette has a lot more tape, it actually is not used. When the game is loaded, still about half of the tape length is left and is blank.

Edited by Fred_M

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I've just picked up 'Special Delivery' it says Dixons Pack on the cassette! Would you like me to post a picture of it? :)

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Hi Adam,

 

Yes please :)

 

Sorry i've only just noticed your reply :-D I'll take some pics in the morning and post them for you ;)

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Thank you so much @adam1977 !

 

That is definitely a Dixons rerelease :) Not only because of the tape label, but even the inlay is similar: flimsy paper, a white border at the bottom and no backpart. I have downloaded your pictures to be used on a8preservation.com :)

 

So besides Microdeal and Adventure International releases I have to look for Creative Sparks (Thorn EMI) releases.

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I'm really pleased I could be of help to you, I also have'Sunday Golf' but this hasn't got Dixons Pack on it at all ;)

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I have Sunday Golf too. Not always is "Dixons pack" stated on the cassette label. See the pictures in my first post.

 

My copy of Sunday Golf has the same flimsy cover, no cover "backpart" (the original release has a backpart, just like an original special delivery) and a simple cassette label. I am sure that this is a Dixons pack release too ;)

 

 

Thank you so much adam1977. Hopefully other UK users will check their tapes too :)

Edited by Fred_M
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Posted (edited)

I have 2 copies of Electric Starfish (Dixons Pack) and they have different inlays too.

 

Sadly I did not get a lot of response to this topic. At the moment a8preservation still lists Adventure International UK as publisher, but it is possible only the Dixons pack releases exist in Europe and no official Adventure International UK release of Sunday Golf. But because the research is not (yet) 100% I have not changed the publishers name yet.

 

Looking at the labels and the way the inlays have been made (very cheap), I think there might be a link between Paxman Promotions and the Dixons Pack tapes. Sadly not a lot of info can be found on the internet about these releases :( But Paxman was a label of Prism Leisure and they had the distribution rights for these games in Europe.

Edited by Fred_M

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Sadly I did not get a lot of response to this topic. At the moment a8preservation still lists Adventure International UK as publisher, but it is possible only the Dixons pack releases exist in Europe and no official Adventure International UK release of Sunday Golf. But because the research is not (yet) 100% I have not changed the publishers name yet.

 

It's difficult to know for sure and the only more or less reliable source would be sales on eBay UK. Though the games were officially imported, it's possible the older titles were just left in the original US packaging with unchanged tape label.

 

On the other hand, higher profile programs like Preppie! or Sea Dragon were sold in the UK with US box, an Adventure International (UK) warranty card and tapes had the "local" blue / green label.

 

--

Atari Frog

http://www.atarimania.com

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It's difficult to know for sure and the only more or less reliable source would be sales on eBay UK. Though the games were officially imported, it's possible the older titles were just left in the original US packaging with unchanged tape label.

 

On the other hand, higher profile programs like Preppie! or Sea Dragon were sold in the UK with US box, an Adventure International (UK) warranty card and tapes had the "local" blue / green label.

 

--

Atari Frog

http://www.atarimania.com

 

I have an UK release of Mystery Fun House. It has the blue/green label, but the package is a small clamshell.

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The UK adventures are usually completely different as they were rewritten by Brian Howarth.

 

What we'd need to know is whether:

- all US text releases have specific UK / Brian Howarth versions

- all UK tapes with blue / green labels which have been found are Brian Howarth versions

 

I haven't found out about this yet.

 

--

Atari Frog

http://www.atarimania.com

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Thanks for the info! I did not know that. I never played those text adventures ;)

 

I compared my UK version with the US version and there are quite a lot of differences indeed!

 

US version:

post-6711-0-26118100-1559645085.jpg

 

UK version:

post-6711-0-16752300-1559645135.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I have Adventure No. 3 - Secret Mission on my pile of tapes that need to be dumped.

 

Adventure International probably deserves a dedicated thread. There are so many packaging variations and releases from the US and UK divisions that it's easy to get lost!

 

--

Atari Frog

http://www.atarimania.com

Edited by www.atarimania.com

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The correct genre name for those is Interactive Fiction or could just call them text adventures ;-)

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Posted (edited)

Hello @Fred_M, I've been looking into these Dixons releases from the ZX Spectrum side and I think you might be interested in some of the information I've discovered.

Firstly, your Ten Little Indians is not a Dixons release - it's an original Paxman Promotions. As shown here, Paxman re-released all the Mysterious Adventures but they made their own artwork for them rather than re-using the Channel 8 Software covers.

Secondly, some of your tapes don't say "Dixon's Pack" - that's because they're not from Dixons packs, but they are otherwise identical. For example, here's a Waxworks that's not Dixons:
post-68585-0-40649700-1559899359.jpg
So, there's a company that was providing titles for Dixons and selling standalone versions. There's an overwhelming amount of evidence that that company was Tynesoft.

The Dixons Pack titles I've found are:
from Artic Computing:
Bear Bovver (SPEC/C64), 3D Combat Zone (SPEC), Spectrum Chess II (SPEC), Mr. Wong's Loopy Laundry (SPEC), Mutant Monty (SPEC), Monkey Biznes (SPEC), World Cup Football (SPEC), Millimon (SPEC), Engineer Humpty (C64)
from Tynesoft:
Bingo (SPEC/C64), Fireman Fred (SPEC), Super Gran (SPEC/C64/AMS), Climb-It (AMS), Munch-It (AMS), Olympiad (C16), Rig Attack (C16), Zap Em (C16)
from Micromega:
Codename MAT (SPEC/AMS), Haunted Hedges (SPEC), Starclash (SPEC), Braxx Bluff (SPEC), A Day in the Life (SPEC), Jinn Genie (C64)
from Walltone Software/Callisto Computers:
Cybo Run (SPEC), Frog Hopper (SPEC), Wally Kong (SPEC), Artist (ATARI), Cannibals (ATARI), Electric Starfish (ATARI)
from Alligata:
Here Comes the Sun (SPEC), Son of Blagger (SPEC), Blagger (C64), Eagle Empire (C64), Bat Attack (C64), Bug Blaster (C64/ELK/AMS), Haunted House (C64), Killerwatt (C64), Panic Planet (C64)
from Adventure International UK:
Waxworks (SPEC/ATARI), Sunday Golf (ATARI), Tutti Frutti (ATARI), The Golden Baton (ATARI)
from Samurai Software:
Castle of the Skull Lord (SPEC/C64), Rooster Run (AMS)
from Microdeal:
Pengon (ATARI), Mr Dig (ATARI), Cuthbert Goes Walkabout (ATARI), Danger Ranger (ATARI) Bug Off (ATARI)
from Software Invasion:
Vortex (ELK), 3D Bomb Valley (ELK)
from Creative Sparks:
Special Delivery (ATARI)

plus double packs for the Spectrum of:
Combat Zone + Spectrum Chess II, Cybo Run + Super Gran, Frog Hopper + Codename MAT, Haunted Hedges + Waxworks, Millimon + Wally Kong

Tynesoft themselves re-released titles from Alligata, Artic Computing and Software Invasion so they certainly had licensing agreements with them.

They were distributors for Adventure International UK, which was Mike Woodroffe's company - and he also owned Callisto Computers. Tynesoft also re-released the Mysterious Adventures "Escape from Pulsar 7" and "The Time Machine" on the Spectrum, the rights for which had been bought from Channel 8 by Adventure International in 1985.
post-68585-0-81873100-1559902806.jpgpost-68585-0-95877500-1559902814.jpg
Just like Waxworks, they've re-used the Channel 8 Software artwork, but removed the "from Channel 8 Software" part. Very cheaply produced, like the Dixons Pack titles, but it's easy to print very cheaply when you own a printing works like Tynesoft did.

Dixons Packs also included three Micromega titles from Derek Brewster, a known associate of Tynesoft, who went on to set up Zeppelin with ex-Tynesoft programmer Brian Jobling.

 

If that wasn't enough, Tynesoft provided Dixons with titles for their ZX Spectrum +2 bundles in 1986:
post-68585-0-05759400-1559902425.jpgpost-68585-0-92620200-1559902449.jpg
On the left is Tynesoft's Witchfiend/Odd Job Eddie double pack, on the right is the Dixons Haunted Hedges/Waxworks release. Certainly very similar!

Then there's the Atari Tynesoft catalogue:
post-68585-0-47061200-1559903712.jpgpost-68585-0-13241900-1559905003.jpg

The C16 and Electron catalogues also have the same titles for sale that were bundled with their machines "Dixons Packs".

 

 

All of this is circumstantial, there's no definitive proof that Tynesoft were behind the Dixons titles, but I'm convinced they were!

Edited by stoob
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Posted (edited)

Thank you so much @stoob!!

 

Paxman promotions was a label of Prism Leisure. I don't know if they are related to Tynesoft? In the Tynesoft Atari catalogue are a lot of non-Tynesoft titles too (mostly US Gold titles) like Mercenary, Leaderboard, Spy Hunter, Tapper, The Goonies, Asylum, Bounty Bob and so on. I am not convinced yet that Tynesoft had the distribution rights for these, maybe they were just resellers for these titles....

 

I was thinking towards Prism Leisure. Prism Leisure already had the rights of all Adventure International games and Callisto games and released them in different packaging in the UK. And Prism Leisure was a very big company that was specialised in rereleasing older games, music and movies (from the Wikipedia page: Prism Leisure Corporation was a distribution and publishing company which primarily focused on reissues and compilations, often at low prices.).

 

example:

post-6711-0-07517500-1559917251.jpg

 

I will study your findings and do some further digging. Thanks again! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Edited by Fred_M

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