A quick entry to cover part of a series of games which DK’Tronics were looking to release in late 1984, early 1985.
A news item in the December 1984 edition of Personal Computer Games suggested that following on from a Popeye game, DK’Tronics were looking to do a series of Thames Television based games including Minder, The Sweeney, Benny Hill and Rainbow. There were also plans for a game starring Hagar The Horrible.
The games were to be released across the Spectrum, C64, MSX and Amstrad and sold at £5.95.
It is not quite known what happened to Benny Hill, but thanks to contributor Juganawt, we find that the Spectrum version was actually released under the name of Benny Hill’s Madcap Chase.
The game used the same engine pretty much as Popeye by Don Priestley, so it is entirely possible that the C64 conversion was being done by the same people who converted Don’s game to the C64…. Was it Five Ways Software?
It is possible that the game may never have been fully started on the C64 and could have just been at the planning stages when DK’Tronics went under. We’ll need to find out more!
We hope to learn more soon!
Contributions: Iain Black, Maxmirni, Juganawt
Popular Computing Weekly 9-15 Aug 1984
Thames goes soft
“THAMES Television is negotiating with Dk’tronics to develop computer games based on its successful TV programmes like Minder and The Sweeney.
No details have yet been finalised, but we are experimenting with various characters on screen, to ensure that they will be satisfactorily represented in the finished game,” said Nick Jones, Thames’ publishing manager.
“œWhile we are dealing with Dk’tronics at the moment, it is too early to say yet whether it will be an exclusive deal to produce games for any particular shows.
“œWhile programmes like Minder, The Sweeney and so on seem obvious candidates for a computer game, we have not settled exactly which will be used.
“œWe will probably be using more than one machine “” launching the games on one and then converting. The Spectrum, Commodore and BBC are all Dk’tronics territory’, so we wouldn’t be too restricted.”
Thames are also planning to merchandise TV shows to be used for educational computer material.
Programmes such as Rainbow are under consideration. “œWe are interested in anything that proves a worthwhile extension of our material,” Nick continued. He hopes that the first Thames computer titles will be available in time for Christmas. “œBecause of the Christmas peak, we are aware that there is some urgency to finalise the deal.”
This will not be the first such deal in which Thames has been involved. Thorn-EMI has already acquired a licence to develop the character of Dangermouse for the micro, and a Dangermouse game should be available this Autumn. “œThe deal with Dangermouse is slightly different in that it is a cartoon character, and is much more straightforward to convert to the computer,” said Nick.
“œWith mainstream entertainment programmes using real people we need to be more careful with characterisation.” However, the idea of using ITV programmes as a basis for computer games has already been taken up by Central TV who commissioned Tynesoft Computer Software to produce Auf Wiedersehen Pet, a strategy game for Spectrum, Commodore 64 and BBC, which involves building a brick wall, and getting safely home from the Bierkeller. Other Central programmes are also due to appear as computer games before Christmas.”
- 21/10/13 – Added details of the Spectrum version that was released
- 23/09/13 – Added PCW article notes and integrated a mention in main review.
…and Minder was also on the Amstrad CPC
Thanks Juganawt, updated the entry and put a link in. Can’t believe I missed the World of Spectrum entry!! :)
Also, Minder came out on the ZX Spectrum in 1985 as a strategy / management game, that I could never get my head around as a kid.
World of Spectrum link: http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0003210
As far as I’m aware, the game never made it to the C64, but did see a release on the ZX Spectrum in 1985, under the name “Benny Hill’s Madcap Chase”, for £1 more than the anticipated £5.95 price tag.
World of Spectrum link: http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0000507
It wasn’t a bad game on the Speccy, with nice, big, bold sprites. It would have been nice to see what the C64 version would have looked like.