Part of a series of Power House titles which never quite saw the light of day.
Battle Ball was deemed another shoot ’em up in which the Battle Ball of the title must destroy a world defence computer gone haywire. This was all the information given out on this interesting title.
The game was an enhanced SEUCK effort done cheekily by Stoo Cambridge, using a tool which was done by the development team that he’d later be a part of!
It was done mainly as a laugh at the time to make some quick money using a well proven game production tool. In the early days of SEUCK, it was becoming fairly common for people trying to submit SEUCK games to be released as commercial efforts. This particular SEUCK effort was hacked a lot by Stoo to ensure it didn’t look first off like a SEUCK game – though a look under the bonnet would surely prove it used the engine.
Stoo sold the game to Power House, got paid, but Power House went under just before they could release the game. Battle Ball never actually got reviewed, but only mentioned briefly with a series of other Power House titles which were on the way.
In March 2014, Stoo posted all of his disks to GTW64 and we were able to preserve the title in full!
You can now download the entire game, including variations where Stoo was playing with the title screen configurations. There is also a unused loading screen, but there may have been another loading screen on the disk, but it corrupts when trying to decompress. Not sure if anyone fancies a look at that? Also there was a disk called Cyba-Ball, which was an earlier version of Battle Ball – but sadly the disk would not read at all after many attempts to save it.
In 2020, Stoo dug out some development notes and a print out of a loading screen which seems to be lost. Also, a letter from The Power House with a first offer for the game.
Then inspired by the Alpha Omega/CRL loader, Richard Bayliss has created a tape version of Battle Ball with the proper loader. This is likely a very close replication of how the final mastered tape game could have been. Check it out!
This is yet another commercial title saved from obscurity, thanks to the efforts of Stoo Cambridge. Check out this cool early SEUCK title from one the Sensible boys!
Contributions: Stoo Cambridge, Richard Bayliss
Stoo Cambridge speaks to GTW about ‘Battle Ball’…
“The only one I can think of is a game I did on SEUCK called Battle Ball which was just a laugh at the time. I did manage to flog it to a rather dodgy company called Power House. They unfortunately went under just before it was about to be released. However I did manage to bank the cheque before they gasped their last breath and the funds paid towards my A1000, which I still have. I remember hacking the code so it didn’t look like a SEUCK game.. oh the shame of it all.. lol
I used to have a shit load of C64 WaReZ and Demo disks so there might be a few lost treasures on there somewhere. No idea even if they still work. I’ve got one of those 1541 to PC leads so will have to have a C64 disk copy session one weekend I think.
The game was just a standard shoot’em up, created in SEUCK but hacked about by myself so I could get it published. Most if not all publishers would not publish SEUCK games at the time so I had to alter the front end so it was not a standard SEUCK front end. All work on it was done by me, and it wasn’t a bad game as SEUCK games go. Ahh them were the days! LOL
I’ll let you know if I find the disc.”
Then in June 2020….
“Included is the original offer letter from Powerhouse Publishing , I don’t think this was the final letter, I may be mistaken but I’m sure there was another one with more money on the table as I “had other offers” ;) If it turns up I’ll let you know.
Also included are the A4 sheets I used to reference the sprite numbers within the game as it was a pain trying to remember them all. Also the loading screen I did for the tape loader , printed out from a Commodore MPS 803 dot matrix printer. This screen was created in Koala Painter using nothing but a joystick as I couldn’t afford the tablet – the pain was real!
I also found a colour map reference sheet for the front screen in the game. I think this was related to the raster effects on the font… so I could work out which cell was supposed to be which colour. Or something like that.”
- 16/06/20 – Added specially created TAP image by Richard Bayliss
- 03/06/20 – Added scans + notes thanks to Stoo Cambridge