Before you say it – yes, technically the Further Adventures of Alice in Videoland was released by Bug Byte in 1987 on budget, but not quite all of it! The following is all thanks to the eagle eyes of GTW team member Gary Spence.
Firstly – it seems that the magazines of the time confused the game as a budget release of the first game from Audiogenic, which had actually been released by Top Ten software (a label set up by Martin Maynard, who had left Audiogenic in 1987). This was in fact some kind of sequel to the original game, not produced by John A. Fitzpatrick, but an unknown programmer called Keith Priestley. Music was also produced by someone else unknown called Peter James (other sources suggest Peter Jamers – but this is probably incorrect).
The problem was – the release from Bug Byte was not complete. Only the first level had been frozen and saved onto the tape, with the rest of the game completely missing. The game would try and access the second level by accessing a non-existent disk. It was a complete shambles, and resulted in a score of 3% from Zzap-64.
The game contains copyright to Audiogenic, but there seems to be no evidence of an original release at all. Is it possible that both Keith and Peter decided to do a hack of the original game and sell it on to Audiogenic as a sequel? Why did Audiogenic not release it and how did it come to be sold on to Bug-Byte?
We asked Peter Calver from Audiogenic, who explained that Alice in Videoland had been sold by Audiogenic Ltd, which stopped trading in early 1985. Peter’s company (Supersoft) acquired most of the assets and set up Audiogenic Software Ltd. He doesn’t recall there being any stock of the first game, and certainly never released a follow-up game.
Peter suggests that if they had a follow up and it wasn’t released, it was either because it wasn’t finished or simply not good enough. He had no idea how or why the Audiogenic name came to be associated with the program. Perhaps it was from the early Audiogenic days and before Peter’s time at the company, and maybe the 1986 date isn’t accurate?
Whatever the reasons – it means that the full version of this official/unofficial sequel is currently missing and was never released. Interestingly, there are screenshots on the back of the Bug Byte inlay which show other levels that were not present in the original game, and are certainly not present on the tape for the sequel. There is clearly more to find!
The levels shown seem to depict a slightly 3D version of the chess game with Humpty Dumpty, a field scene and one that seems to be inside a hen house with a character holding a magic wand. None of the screens show the sideways scrolling level that was actually shipped on the tape.
More research and digging needed – but can the full version ever be found? Initial searches for Keith and Peter have proved fruitless so far, but we will keep trying. If you know more, please do get in touch!
Contributions: Gary Spence, Peter Calver, Gamebase64, Marco Das (Exile), Hartmut Pachl