Platform: Commodore Plus/4
Back when Lemmings was being converted to every platform under the sun, the poor old Plus/4 was being neglected, having long been abandoned commercially.
That however didn’t stop Tamás Sasvári (code) and Csaba Kémeri (graphics) from having a go at trying to bring the title to their beloved machine back in 1993. Several months were spent putting together a solid unofficial conversion within the limits of the Plus/4, which would take a bitmap based approach compared to the C64 edition (which used sprites for the backgrounds), due to the lack of hardware sprites.
Csaba, still active on the PC and Amiga scene today, used the Multi Botticelli tool to produce all of the graphics, which is the equivalent of Koala on the C64.
An early preview was believed to be showcased at the 1993 Debrecen party, but then technical problems were hit early on. Tamás had utilized a buffering system for the bitmapped approach (see below), which as things progressed – he hit memory issues which he couldn’t resolve. As a result, all development was halted. Sadly Tamás tells GTW that all source code was lost long ago due to disk failures. Here separately is what Tamás had to say back in 2006 (thanks to Luca Carrafiello for sharing):
“Lemmings = failure… I read into my code after ten-some years, which was just edited in monitor and vomited into the keyboard. So besides my soul my hardware is also in ruins. :-) Not to mention that I checked and there’s almost no memory left to implement any useful functions. The program itself is not too large, but the memory is taken up by all kinds of buffers. E.g. by default 4 graphics screen areas are used to display the double-buffered graphics.”
The cancelled game was then next shown at the 4ever03 party in Szeged on a projector screen, and then forgotten about once more. It remained as a GTW on the Plus/4 website for many years.
After seeing our recent post on 1942, Tamás got in touch with GTW and has given us and Plus/4 World permission to release the remains of their conversion for you to see for the first time. This is thanks to Luca Carrafiello from Plus/4 World, who has provided all the remaining files.
There are a number of graphic screens which you can check out, but also a very early and slightly playable build. Here you can control a large number of lemmings on a mock up level, using floater, bomb, bash, dig down and block features. The builder and pick-axe features are sadly not present at this stage. Also, you can just interact with the lemmings, with no exit for to reach.
Even at this early stage, it is an impressive feat to see and an interesting curiosity for the Lemmings world. It proves that the Plus/4 is capable of doing something, but may need a different approach to prove successful. Check out the download for yourself below: