Adam Caveman

Databyte

Status: No Download, Findability: 1/5

By the creators of Polar Pierre, comes Adam Caveman, another platform game in the same style.

Bizarrely this title never had a release, and still remains at large today. What happened?

We are desperately without information on this title, and therefore hope to dig up a lot more on the game. We assume that the game was by the same developers as Polar Pierre, but we need to chase up this possibility first. The game style looks a little different.

An advert was shown in issue 19 of Zzap 64, but then never appeared again. It appeared alongside Polar Pierre and was advertised as being available for both the C64 and Atari. You can check out the advert here.

The game itself seems like a BC’s Quest for Tires style of game, mixed with a bit of Frak for good measure. Maybe it was for that reason that the game was canned?…. Not even the Atari version exists. Maybe Databyte went under just before this one could get a release? (This and Mumbles Super Spy didn’t quite make it.. and only Polar Pierre did).

Art Huff confirms he had nothing to do with this game – so he was removed from the credits.

Thanks to Fabrizio Bartoloni, the game was found to have been reviewed and listed as available for both Atari 800 and C64 in MC Microcomputer (See scans – interestingly showing Galivan as a screenshot and also Mumbles Superspy), which Fabrizio reports was a usually reliable magazine.  The magazine suggests it was good graphically and played well.   Apparently the game was available from Mastertronic, an Italian distribution of the UK company.   Computer Boss International also listed the game as available on both cassette and disk in an advert within Swedish magazine Dator Magazin (see scans).

So it seems quite possible the game was actually completed.  So what happened to it?  And who was behind it as well?

Contributions: Art Huff, Fabrizio Bartoloni

Supporting content

Update history

19/12/19 – Magazine details added thanks to Fabrizio Bartoloni.

12 Responses to Adam Caveman

  1. The game got reviewed and listed as available for C64 and Atari 800 at page 88 of MC Microcomputer, an usually reliable Italian magazine, issue 59/1987: https://archive.org/details/MC_microcomputer-059/page/n87 It says it’s extremely refined from the aesthetic point of view and quite playable. A bottom note says all the game reviewed in the same page are available from Mastertronic (it was an Italian distributor founded in 1986 by John Holder, a local branch of its British counterpart).

  2. Just to clarify; I meant the “box art” style was different in style to the reused US-release artwork one would typically expect.

    But the in-game graphics themselves are different too, yes. They look like they *might* be impressively cartoonish, though it’s hard to be sure given the lowish resolution of the printed image.

    FWIW, I had a game for my Atari 800XL called “Nuclear Nick” by Ron Rosen, which was (AFAICT) only ever released via US Gold’s “Americana” label, i.e. a UK market budget release. This is odd given that his other games appear to have been originally published in the US as full price releases (some later distributed in the UK by Databyte). Maybe they decided not to release an Atari-800-only game into the fast-changing US market?

    So it’s possible that Databyte might have picked up a game that wasn’t already distributed elsewhere, but… it’s all still somewhat odd!

  3. Well, i’ve dug as far as i can into it, hit dead ends.So other than posting up on here plus Atari Age and hoping Tim or someone who knows him will see and Tim gets in touch, there’s sadly no more i can offer.

    Shame as Tim would make an ideal person to interview.

  4. Update time:The Atari User article writer never replied…

    But, thanks to a recent interview i carried out that’s just come in (won’t say anything on just who it was until it gets a home 🙂 ) i can update people on the Datatbyte situation:

    Databyte was it seems, in effect just Tim Holland and his girlfriend Karen.He’s ‘gone dark’ as it were and totally dissapeared off the radar from both the person i interviewed and a contact of his that also knew Tim.

    Other than knowing that Tim loved his Atari 8 Bit hardware, the trail has sadly gone very cold.

  5. 🙂

    Well, just found Andre, emailed over question of wether he actually saw A8 version running at that ATARI show or wether it was just based on PR release, along with scan of actual article.

    Lets see what response, if any i get….

  6. 🙂

    I’m starting to take a different route with ‘Lost Games’ these days. Rather than trying to find coders of…i’m looking into who wrote the articles claiming games were on show etc.

    So, With Adam Caveman, which i believe was never released on A8 or C64, i’m looking for:

    Andre Willey, as he wrote:

    ‘Databyte launched Montezumas Revenge, Adam Caveman and Polar Pierre’ (At the London Atari Show, in the Jan’87 issue of Atari User.

    Article headline is: ‘Seen at the show’.

    So, did he really see it? or was he just re-printing what was on a PR release?.

    I know which my money is going on…..

  7. As far as I knew, Databyte were only the UK distributors for games originally released by American companies (e.g. Polar Pierre was released by Datamost in the US).

    Unlike US Gold, who later went on to do their own stuff, I’m not sure that Databyte ever did any games of their own (though they may have had some of those US games converted to UK formats like the Spectrum?)

    Bearing that in mind, it seems odd that Databyte’s demise would affect this; also, they were around for some time after 1986. It seems unusual that the “Adam Caveman” artwork is a somewhat different style, and more primitive, even with more basic lettering.

    • Thanks Michael for that useful info. It seems then that Datamost is the route we should be chasing. Yeah, Adam Caveman does look a little odd… I did wonder at some stage if maybe the graphics were just mock ups. I guess time will tell! 🙂

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