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Cosmi worst a8 developer?

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Red Rat software gets my vote, any potential Atari 800XL/65XE purchasers seeing a Red Rat game on display monitors would pay the extra and get a C64 (Sinclair machines are not of the same class as A8/C64 at any price but you needed the 128k Spectrum which cost MORE than the 800XL just to get some freakin sound hardware).

Not having ever tried C64 versions of Red Rat software, I find it a 50-50 ratio of good vs. poor software. My favorites are Screaming Wings and Technicolour Dream. But there are others I like too. Remember that most Red Rat software, is BUDGET software that could be had for a few Quid, like Silverbird and Americana and Mastertronic, Code Masters, etc. You do get what you pay for, with some lovely low-budget surprises once in a while.

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I look at the Cosmi thing differently, yes their stuff was a little mixed in quality (being kind) but at least they bothered and with that encouraged more people to try, either to do one better or just support the Atari and earn a little coin too.

 

If you want to really see some AWFUL stuff, look at the C64, I'm a big fan of it but the dross that is in its ranks far outweighs what we got on the Atari BUT without the dross you may not get the greats..

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It stays off the 'worst' list for Caverns of Kafka alone, that was one of the most played games on my 800 back in the day. Aztec Challenge wasn't awful either.

I find Gebelli software much worse than Cosmi.

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@DavidCalgary29: Buy yourself a 1010 and load Gauntlet from tape! (Hint: Complete tape with all levels has approx. 1200 sectors on a single-density disk, I know, because I transfered the data from tape to disk.) Alternatively, load Nightmares from tape (complete tape with all levels has approx. 800 sectors on a single density disk.) You will never say again, that Aztec Challenge takes too long to load... ;-)

 

Actually, for fun these days I load up my Dorsett Educational tapes and slowly watch the screens fill with garbage ATASCII characters as the tapes misfeed. Good times! :grin:

 

I've got to unpack my XC12 and find myself a tape copy of Yoomp! to play with. I've never had good luck loading programs with my 410.

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I've got to unpack my XC12 and find myself a tape copy of Yoomp! to play with. I've never had good luck loading programs with my 410.

 

Actually, there was an official tape release of Yoomp; I'm surprised nobody has made a dump of it yet.

 

post-6369-0-93935500-1551116397_thumb.png

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perhaps they put their best guys on the C64 team.

 

It would seem that Cosmi to a big deal was a two or three person company:

 

Robert T. Bonifacio made several of the Atari games (e.g. Aztec Challenge 1982, Caverns of Khafka 1983) but also Aztec for the VIC-20 and later on some of the C64 games.

 

Paul Norman only released C64 games like Aztec Challenge 1983 (which credits Bonifacio on the title screen) and Caverns of Khafka 1984 (which doesn't mention Bonifacio, as it is an entirely different game which only has the name in common).

 

Vance Kozik also got to port some of Norman's C64 games to the Atari.

 

So in the case of Aztec Challenge, it wasn't a sloppy port from C64 to Atari, but an enhanced port from Atari/VIC to C64. Whether Cosmi's games on the Atari had been any better if Paul Norman decided to program them himself instead of letting a colleague do it is hard to tell.

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Actually, there was an official tape release of Yoomp; I'm surprised nobody has made a dump of it yet.

 

attachicon.gifYoomp.png

 

I know. I have the cart version, but it didn't come with the tape with the cool load music. That's why I'd buy the tape version, too. We need a "twelfth anniversary" re-release. :)

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I know. I have the cart version, but it didn't come with the tape with the cool load music. That's why I'd buy the tape version, too. We need a "twelfth anniversary" re-release. :)

 

I didn't know it had the load music. That's cool.

 

Come to think of it, I don't think the official cart was ever dumped either. I guess people were honoring the developers, since they only ever released the Disk/XEX version themselves.

 

Hard to believe it's been 12 years already...

Edited by MrFish
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Oh, I have the complete Yoomp package with cart, disk and tape (as well as manual and other stuff). The tape was still hidden in the package and never used in the last - what, 12 years ?!? But I also rarely use the cart, since it only shows a black screen for several seconds, whereas the disk version shows a nice animated ball while loading and a depacking screen...

 

Will try to do a tape2disk (Howfen, CasDIS, etc.) conversion and a tape to CD-RW recording (then WAV and MP3) tomorrow. Let me see, if the tape uses a standard *.COM file with a bootloader (e.g. the "!" exclamation-mark loader, which the Laura tape and several other programs used) or something else. Since my CAS files almost never work, I will give the tape to Fred afterwards, so he can create the CAS then in a few weeks...

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Well their quality was a little hit and miss. I did like Slinky, a Q*bert-type game.

 

When my friend and I got our Atari 8-bits, we got 410 Cassette players on clearance, but it was a couple years until we got disk drives. At that time it seemed most software was coming on disk, but Cosmi was selling several titles on cassette, so we ended up with more than our share of Cosmi games :)

 

The worst commercial 8-bit game we ever encountered wasn't from Cosmi, it was some "Snake" game that turned out to be about 100 lines of BASIC code. That felt like a rip-off!

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Unless I'm forgetting one, back in the day I only had two original Cosmi games; Forbidden Forest and Richard Petty's Talladega, both cassette. I still have the Talladega tape, but it is broken in the middle. I've been saving it just to re-use the cassette tape housing. Record the game to a new tape and transfer it over to the old housing. I just haven't done it yet in all these years because it's not a very good game. But I just couldn't and can't bring myself to just toss it because it's Atari memorabilia from my youth, and one of the few Atari items in my possession since the 80's. Most of what I have is replacements these days. In fact, it's the only item (Atari) I can think of right now I still have from back then...Oh yeah, I still have my original AR Dungeon disks too and several manuals of various software.

 

But I didn't get my first Atari computer until '85 with the 130XE, by then, in the states, most publishers had moved on from publishing stuff on tape completely and I had to get a disk drive within a year, or be relegated to only early 80's software on tape from bargain bins, which were drying up fast, so it was a disk drive or no new software. I only ever bought about a dozen cassette programs. I had Temple of Asphai on tape, I remember that...these days part of my hobby is collecting vintage British releases on tape, since it seems the cassette drive remained the standard for Atari's over there throughout the era.

Edited by Gunstar
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Cosmi provided some of my first games for my 800XL.  The Crypts of Plumbous and the E Factor were two I liked.  Atarimania didn't rate them well, but Crypts was fun.  In fact, I just played the original cassette just now.  Still fun.  Like the action and the sounds.  Impossible to master at higher levels.  

Edited by gilsaluki
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The C64 Aztec Challenge looks way more complex than our version.  But still very unpolished and monotonous.

 

 

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okay you proved a point, the sound was terrible, static filled, buzzy, and repetitive, and the game segments themselves were the same... this could be better by taking the segments in shorter length and stitching them together for and changing up the chasms so they aren't in the same place all of the time for starters.

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29 minutes ago, Rybags said:

The C64 Aztec Challenge looks way more complex than our version.  But still very unpolished and monotonous.

Like I mentioned above, Aztec Challenge was a game for VIC-20 and Atari 8-bit, that somehow Paul Norman decided to "improve" on his C64 port. Apparently he didn't come up with a lot more to add to it, or there was a time limitation. Actually what I wrote above about Caverns of Khafka might have been incorrect, in that the Atari and C64 games do have more in common in terms of level designs and gameplay than what it first looked like, except that the graphics are completely different, the C64 having much bigger graphics and plenty of scrolling.

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17 hours ago, gilsaluki said:

Cosmi provided some of my first games for my 800XL.  The Crypts of Plumbous and the E Factor were two I liked.  Atarimania didn't rate them well, but Crypts was fun.  In fact, I just played the original cassette just now.  Still fun.  Like the action and the sounds.  Impossible to master at higher levels.  

My friend got Crypts from the discount bin at Kaybee and I remember we all actively hated and called it the worst game ever.   But in retrospect, it wasn't that terrible, especially considering it was a budget title.

Edited by zzip

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On 2/25/2019 at 11:21 PM, CharlieChaplin said:

Oh, I have the complete Yoomp package with cart, disk and tape (as well as manual and other stuff). The tape was still hidden in the package and never used in the last - what, 12 years ?!? But I also rarely use the cart, since it only shows a black screen for several seconds, whereas the disk version shows a nice animated ball while loading and a depacking screen...

 

Will try to do a tape2disk (Howfen, CasDIS, etc.) conversion and a tape to CD-RW recording (then WAV and MP3) tomorrow. Let me see, if the tape uses a standard *.COM file with a bootloader (e.g. the "!" exclamation-mark loader, which the Laura tape and several other programs used) or something else. Since my CAS files almost never work, I will give the tape to Fred afterwards, so he can create the CAS then in a few weeks...

CC, did this ever happen?

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22 minutes ago, zzip said:

My friend got Crypts from the discount bin at Kaybee and I remember we all actively hated and called it the worst game ever.   But in retrospect, it wasn't that terrible, especially considering it was a budget title.

I still have my Crypts cassette.  Looks like I copied Aztec to the B-Side (naughty me).  Was one of the first games I got for my 16K 600xl.  I do remember being a little disappointed with it.  Khafka did impress me at the time.

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1 hour ago, Sinjinhawke said:

I still have my Crypts cassette.  Looks like I copied Aztec to the B-Side (naughty me).  Was one of the first games I got for my 16K 600xl.  I do remember being a little disappointed with it.  Khafka did impress me at the time.

Yeah my friend and I got a 600XLs for Christmas 83 and both of us bought 410s on clearance a week later.   So we both started snatching up whatever cheap cassette games we could find.  Found some gems and some stinkers.   Crypts was the kind of game we'd have played on the 2600 and had fun with.   But IDK I suppose maybe the fact it took like 10 minutes to load what amounted to a 2600 game is what put us off.   Not worth the time to boot it.  It soon became a punching bag to us unfairly.  Because honestly the worst cassette game he ever bought was something that was written in about 30 lines of BASIC code

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20 hours ago, miker said:

Maybe not the best games but still...

 

And what about games made by this guy?

I know, his games were bad, real bad. I do like "Leapster" though. And "Castle Top" grew on me...

 

"Domain of the Undead" http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-domain-of-the-undead_6166.html was so bad that it inspired a book that you may or may not know about:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Attack-Flickering-Skeletons-Terrible-Probably/dp/1783524138/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=attack+of+the+flickering+skeletons&qid=1636719893&sr=8-1

 

You can see more from Ashens here: 

 

 

 

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I just read up on Wikipedia and learned that Cosmi was founded in 1982 by George Johnson.

 

The C64 game Forbidden Forest was intended to be released by another company named Synchro which went out of business 75% into the development of Forest, at which point Cosmi obtained the rights from Paul Norman. Thus unlike what I assumed, it never was Norman's own company but probably they hired him shortly after to make C64 versions of Aztec and Khafka.

 

Cosmi ValuSoft Corp still seems to be in business but their website now links to Ziggurat Games, a change that appeared two years ago. Ziggurat has obtained the IP to around 140 classic games, Cosmi and others, and are planning or have already released remakes of Forbidden Forest, Super Huey etc. Exactly how much the IP has shifted hands over the past 40 years and for how long periods it has been entirely dormant is beyond my knowledge, but if it was a proper company merger it is one of few companies next to First Star Software that has lasted for this far (and yes, most of FSS titles would be considered top of Atari rather than worst).

 

By the way, Paul Norman turns 70 years old on December 18. I remember that he made a remake of Aztec a couple of years ago - not sure if it was published through Cosmi or self published - that featured a topless girl as the protagonist so somewhat NSFW.

 

I also found an interview with Robert Bonifacio where he mentions the game "The Bonifas" which was released through APX before Cosmi picked it up and rereleased it as Aztec Challenge. He was a high school student around 1981-82 which I suppose puts his birth year to 1965 or so, almost 15 years younger than Paul Norman. I suppose for being made by a 16-17 old student, it isn't all that bad?

 

It is interesting that both Meltdown and Caverns of Khafka started as existing box art at Cosmi for games not yet programmed, so Bonifacio got to create Atari games inspired by the box art, and later Norman ported at least Khafka to the C64.

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I love the fact that this homage to crappy software houses is still going strong neary three years later.

 

Aztec Challenge (version one) is terrible, but somewhat playable. But Hypnotic Land is such a trainwreck of a game that it doesn't even qualify as entertainment. My choice for worst commercial A8 release of all time!

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On 11/12/2021 at 7:13 AM, carlsson said:

I just read up on Wikipedia and learned that Cosmi was founded in 1982 by George Johnson.

 

The C64 game Forbidden Forest was intended to be released by another company named Synchro which went out of business 75% into the development of Forest, at which point Cosmi obtained the rights from Paul Norman. Thus unlike what I assumed, it never was Norman's own company but probably they hired him shortly after to make C64 versions of Aztec and Khafka.

 

Cosmi ValuSoft Corp still seems to be in business but their website now links to Ziggurat Games, a change that appeared two years ago. Ziggurat has obtained the IP to around 140 classic games, Cosmi and others, and are planning or have already released remakes of Forbidden Forest, Super Huey etc. Exactly how much the IP has shifted hands over the past 40 years and for how long periods it has been entirely dormant is beyond my knowledge, but if it was a proper company merger it is one of few companies next to First Star Software that has lasted for this far (and yes, most of FSS titles would be considered top of Atari rather than worst).

 

By the way, Paul Norman turns 70 years old on December 18. I remember that he made a remake of Aztec a couple of years ago - not sure if it was published through Cosmi or self published - that featured a topless girl as the protagonist so somewhat NSFW.

 

I also found an interview with Robert Bonifacio where he mentions the game "The Bonifas" which was released through APX before Cosmi picked it up and rereleased it as Aztec Challenge. He was a high school student around 1981-82 which I suppose puts his birth year to 1965 or so, almost 15 years younger than Paul Norman. I suppose for being made by a 16-17 old student, it isn't all that bad?

 

It is interesting that both Meltdown and Caverns of Khafka started as existing box art at Cosmi for games not yet programmed, so Bonifacio got to create Atari games inspired by the box art, and later Norman ported at least Khafka to the C64.

Thanks for posting Bonifacio's interview.  Interesting.  I still like Crypts, no matter what the crowd says.  It's frantic, gets crazy, impossible to do at higher levels, but I spent some good time with it.  AND, I actually like the sounds effects that most say are annoying.  I never have march to the beat of the crowd.  I also like games like Qix, which is often panned by some Atari-ists.  The pattern here is I like to just play a game, not have to fiddle with multiple buttons, controls, and plethora of keyboard stroke combinations (not to mention 80-page instructions) to play a game.  DBM. 

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