Cosmic Jailbreak

Derek J. Hipkin

Status: Full Game, Findability: 2/5


We’ve been treated to some great recoveries of late by Black Beard, and in August 2021 – we have got to see even more findings.

This time was a title that was originally released on the PET and VIC 20 in the early 1980s by Commodore. However, this strange C64 edition was found on a disk by Black Beard and preserved for release.

The game is a sort of Space Invaders clone with a twist. The invaders are not invading, but are trying to rescue their criminal friends locked up in a prison at the centre of the screen, and you must prevent them from doing so. Thanks to contributor Alan B, we have learnt that it was originally based on the 1979 coin-op Cosmic Guerilla by Universal.

What isn’t known just yet is where this particular conversion come from and if it was official or not. Was it potentially just a home conversion of the PET original?

Richard Bayliss picked up another copy of the game within a corrupt D64 image, and after tidying up and decompressing the files – he found that the source had 1984 as a possible year of development and “Cosmic Jailbreak, Author: DJH”.

The finding makes this even stranger – as if the game was developed in 1984, Commodore certainly wouldn’t have touched it. Perhaps it was just the author converting their old game to get familiar with the C64?

Early days, but in this case – you can play something of the conversion in its final and full form.

Contributions: Optic Freeze / Army of Darkness, Black Beard, David Becker, Richard Bayliss, Alan B

Supporting content

Available downloads

Posted in: GTW64 archive | Tagged: | 8 Comments

8 Responses to Cosmic Jailbreak

  1. Hi

    Cosmic Jailbreak and another title Cosmic something was written by my brother DJH Derek John Hipkin in the very early days of computers. The game was licenced by Commodore/launched by them and became a best seller at the time in the US. My brother claimed royalties for the game but Commodore said the game had not been launched. My brother send a copy of the advert published in the US detailing the best selling game and I believe Commodore made an out of court settlement. The game was only sold in the US

    • Thanks Keith. At present, we have only seen physical releases of the PET and VIC-20 editions of the game, though we’re unsure how this C64 edition came about. Does your brother recall anything about producing a version on the C64?

  2. I didn’t mean GTW would be in need in attention, but someone could make a simple game then pass it off as a 1982 game (it says 1982 Commodore in your header) whereas otherwise it wouldn’t get that attention as it is very simple.
    It could be a privately made game from the 80’s, but looking at Early Commodore games I very much doubt this was a Commodore game.

    • Hi David. Ah, ok apologies for the misunderstanding.

      That is true, but I don’t think the guys who found this would have done that. Even they have said that there is no evidence that a C64 version was ever planned. So that leads me to believe that it could very possibly be a homebrew conversion that someone did from the PET edition.

      As you say, it doesn’t have the quality of the early Commodore games, but then maybe that could be the reason why it wasn’t released. The original author may have just quickly converted his original game, but Commodore felt it was too simple. All details that we need to try and find out to solve the mystery behind it.

      But my mistake on the 1982 Commodore titling. I should have put a (?) next to Commodore until we know for sure, so I will fix that now.

  3. Is there any indication at all that this is a real 1982 game and not a recent hoax to get attention for a title bitmap and/or getting a crappy game on this site?

    • Hi David, firstly we haven’t added the game to the site to get any kind of attention. The game was added after being flagged to us as a new finding by a preservationist in the C64 scene a few weeks ago. The person who found it has been gradually going through a large collection of disks, and has already found a number of previously unpreserved and lost titles (including Mario’s Brewery). They usually create a custom new loading screen as a bonus addition, along with some bug fixes and tidy ups.

      Secondly – to me personally, there is no clear indication that it is a real 1982 game or official. Hence we conclude with the line in the write up: “What isn’t known just yet is where this conversion come from and if it was official or not. Was it potentially just a home conversion of the PET original?”.

      Hope that helps and thanks for getting in touch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *