1991 Nick Pelling
Platform: Commodore Amiga
Frak! is an absolute classic on the BBC Micro, starring caveman Trogg as you navigated across various trecharous levels with your trusty yo-yo.
It is no surprise then to learn that there had been plans to bring Trogg to 16-bit platforms at some stage, and Commodore User magazine would report this back in August 1991.
Nick had apparently wanted to bring the game to 16-bit platforms for some time, but it would kickstart into life thanks to his friend Justin Garvonovic who had the same idea.
Within just 10 days, Justin had got a basic version of the game up and running, simply using the BBC micro level data ported over. Everything just now needed Nick to start work on new levels and a level designer. Justin would focus on the coding duties, with Nick doing the levels overall.
Although the original was made up of three worlds (each three screens wide), the Amiga version was to have four worlds, split into five levels of four screens each. The team were inspired by what Paul Shirley had recently done with Spindizzy Worlds and wanted a similar kind of update with Frak!
The backgrounds were to use fractal and colour cycled effects, with each screen playing host to around seventeen hardware sprites (nine more than the Amiga could usually handle).
What the frak happened to it?
The game was set to be complete by October 1991, with very little left to do apart from the levels and beefing up the main character. Interest was even being shown by the likes of Virgin and Audiogenic as well.
However, it seems that the quick progress and interest wasn’t enough, and the game would disappear without a trace and no further mention. Was it perhaps that no publishers showed any interest in the end, or did the team move onto other productions instead?
Nick confirmed he had big ideas for wonderful parallax backgrounds (having some glorious old French encyclopaedias, sepia maps for example). However, in the end they felt that Frak wasn’t really an Amiga kind of game at all – so it was put to rest. It is likely that any demos are now long gone, but if anything ever surfaces, we’ll be sure to add it here.
With thanks to Karl Kuras for the heads up about this conversion and Nick Pelling for confirming what happened.