Bloo’s Magic Trip

Gareth Taft

Status: Full Game, Findability: 5/5

Updates made

16/03/16 – Removed broken web link

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

A tragic loss to the commercial C64 scene is what is probably the best way to describe this neat “Jack Attack” clone.

Gareth Taft developed this new updated clone with the intention of finding a publisher back in 1991. And he almost had some luck when he recieved response from Zeppelin Games.

Sadly it wasn’t the approval he was hoping for, and the game was rejected.. and also by other companies. They felt that the game didn’t quite feature the elements which apparently most C64 gamers looked for. Essentially it was turned down because it was a kind of puzzler. Silly really when you see the likes of Tilt, Puzznic etc being released on full price labels.

And so as the game was rejected, it sat on Gareth’s disks for eternity, until he one day dug out his work and released it for free on the net for other people to enjoy. At least this way he would finally get the credit he deserved which he never got back then.

Although its been out there for a while, it has long been overlooked and now GTW is home for another lost title from the commercial world. Hopefully very soon we will hear more from Gareth about the game, and possibly see some scans of the letters that Gareth recieved from Zeppelin and other companies.

A game that requires no searching for, but one that will be built up as much as possible to give a complete shrine for it, as we try to do for all other GTW titles. More soon we promise 🙂

A game which deserves recognition for its hard work…

Contributions: Gareth Taft, Kurt Sallner

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Gareth Taft speaks to GTW about Bloo’s Magic Trip…

“It’s called Bloo’s Magic Trip and is basically an update of the classic (IMHO) Commodore cartridge Jack Attack. It suffers from a lack of music but plays quite smoothly and looks OK.

It’s available from my site and I’d be honored if you felt it worthwhile of inclusion on the GTW site – but considering the high standard of recent finds I’d understand if you didn’t!

I’ve managed to find the rejection letter that I received from Gareth Briggs of Zeppelin Games in which, whilst they say it’s playable, they site one of the problems with the game as (and I quote):

“The other problem concerns the nature of the game. Puzzle games are very difficult to sell especially on the C64 where the users seem much keener to use their trigger fingers than their grey cells.”

Can anybody argue with that?!

<On the recently submitted photos>

I still have a (rather battered) folder of hand written source code and other nonsense and these are the, er, ‘highlights’. In chronological order:

Final scan is the research result of many long hours playing Jack Attack. It’s a map of all 64 levels with notes on the main features.

Scans 2 to 4 are the level designs for Bloo’s. The crossed out ones didn’t make it into the game (including Jack and Head levels shown on Scan 2).

levels_plan.jpg (Not seen yet) shows the order of the levels and the various stats associated with each of them. As in Jack Attack, each of the levels were originally named too. The levels inserted at the end as A through G (looks like I hadn’t learned my alphabet!) must have been added after I’d ditched using level names as replacements for levels that were also left out.

Scans 5-7 are pictures of the logo designs. As you can see the game was originally called “Dem Mushrooms Got De Bloo’s” which alluded to the ‘storyline’ (Bloo’s family having been kidnapped by an evil witch with Bloo having to battle her evil animated mushrooms through 64 rooms of her magic castle…). It got changed because I felt the name was too long…in hindsight I’m not sure the cheap, drugs reference joke of a name was such a good idea but, hey, I was young and I thought it was cool…

Scan 7 is a close up of the logo used to draw the pixels on screen.

Going through the folder reminded me that I also had a level editor planned along the lines of the Boulderdash Construction Kit but that got ditched as I was rapidly losing interest in the project towards the end – and, purely co-incidentally, computers in general.

I couldn’t find any other rejection letters or any records of who else I sent it to. I’m pretty certain I targetted the budget companies such as Rack-It, Players, Codemasters and Mastertronic – I guess it’s remarkable I still have that rejection letter! Once that didn’t come off I definitely remember sending it to a magazine (Commodore Format?) for inclusion on a cover tape to simply try and get it published – but even that didn’t work out.

Nevermind, Jack Attack was always an acquired taste (even Zzap only gave it 58%!) so add to the fact that it required music adding (I have no skills in that area whatsoever) and that the Commodore 64 market was on the wain it’s not really surprising that my clone of an obscure, marginally popular, early 80s platform game didn’t get published!

Anyway, I’m glad that there’s some people playing it and enjoying it now.

As for other stuff; I’m afraid Bloo’s was my first and only assembly language project. I remember messing around with a parallax scrolling routine part way through but there was nothing that could ever remotely be called a game.”

Gareth Taft .

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