One you may not of heard of until now, but Bits for Bizmo was listed on Pete Baron’s CV page and was described as:
"2D Scrolling platformer based on an AD2000 character in a Judge Dredd story".
In an interview with C64.com, Pete also said the following about the game:
"I did some C64 coding for The Lord of the Rings and then I was set to programming an original Mario-esque side-scrolling platformer named after an 2000 AD Judge Dredd story called Bits for Bizmo. It was a fair way into development when I left the company, but I guess that’s where I got to try out all of the ideas I had about ways of making good games."
Pete mentioned later in the interview that collisions had been a problem sorting out with the game, but it sounds very exciting that there is a Mario-esq game of Pete’s out there waiting to be discovered. We were hoping that Pete will still have the game like he still had Starglider 2 and Devious Designs. What seems odd is that the game was very vaguely known about, with a brief mention in "Illegal" pirate fanzine, where one of the writers flagged it up as a game coming at Christmas 1988 from Melbourne House. Could well have been mentioned at the PC 1988 show that year.
We caught up with Pete in New Zealand who said the following about the game to shed more light on it and his brief stint at Beam Software:
"When I left Beam Software the game hadn’t been released (or even finished yet) so I was only permitted to take away a source listing and no assets. The listing was dumped many years ago… in case you were hopeful there :)
The game idea was that you start off as a disembodied head, your only move is a bounce which you can control by holding the fire button down longer. The levels were to be Mario 2 style platforms made of tiles and various similar features were planned like blocks you can bounce into to release treasures/power-ups. We hadn’t decided yet whether to use a Mario style "jump on their heads to squash enemies" or not.
Pretty soon after you start, you encounter some tricky jumps and are rewarded with a pair of legs that connect to the bottom of your head and permit you to run quickly and jump higher. Other bits were arms (you could operate levers and maybe pick up some of the square tile-blocks), a body (you can take more damage because it’s armoured), a tail (I can’t remember what this offered) and basically anything else we could think of – possibly alternative pieces too to provide fast swimming or flight (replace the legs with flippers and arms with wings). The prototype was at a level where you could bounce along in the levels and pick up the legs and there were several enemies too.
I lost touch with most of the company when I left – this was pre-internet so the only way to stay in touch was snail-mail or expensive phone calls – so I have no idea if the concept was taken any further or just abandoned. I vaguely recall the ‘head’ had a long beak or nose and was yellow… it’s been so long I don’t really recall anything more about it."
It seems sadly that this could be a game lost to time now, with Pete possibly being the only person who would have had a copy. This game overall could therefore be very close to being a closed case.
We live in hope that this one will be found! :-)
Contributions: Pete Baron, C64.com