A bit of a question mark over this title. Although eventually released by Audiogenic in about 1992, it wasn’t the same game at all which was first previewed in Zzap Issue #77. If you check the graphics, you’ll see there is a noticable difference to the game which was infact released. The game released was a slightly rehashed version of a cricket game by Audiogenic in the 80’s.
So what happened to this other version?…. Did Audiogenic decide the leave the C64, scrap the current game and cut their losses by rehashing the old game?
As you can see from the screenshots, the version which was reviewed in Commodore Format back for issue 12. The game is considerably different. So why review a full game and not have it released? What further makes it seem very odd is that Your Commodore issue 84 also reviewed the game. Surely two magazines couldn’t have reviewed an unfinished game?
We got in touch with Audiogenic, who are amazingly still going strong today. It has been found that indeed there was another Cricket game in development which was cancelled because the team weren’t apparently making progress. As a quick solution, the old game was recoded slightly and released at the end to make back some money. Was that really it?
Our biggest lead was that some ex-Tynesoft guys were behind the unreleased version we have shots of here. So looking at the credits of previous Tynesoft games, we have a few names to check out and try and find out more. Audiogenic did not recall any names sadly, and do not have any of the code from this better looking game. Recently thanks to Andrew Fisher, we can now confirm that the developer was none other than Kevin Franklin of Zybex fame. Graphics were done by David Peacock, who did some graphics for other Tynesoft games. No music was thought to have been composed – Adam Gilmore had no involvement.
David recalled that he went to Audiogenic after Tynesoft closed. He remembers tracing the bowling animation from a recorded cricket game on VHS using a sheet of paper taped over the screen. Graphics were done on DPaint on the Amiga nad then ported down. Sadly David was believed to no longer have anything of his work on the game. David also had no idea that the game wasn’t actually released.
Kevin’s knowledge of what happened to the game after it was stopped being worked on is very much non-existent. When he stopped working for Audiogenic around April 1991, the game was pretty much finished and the in-game screenshots from the CF review look very similar to what Kevin remembers about the game.
We have had confirmed that this is another case of magazines reviewing incomplete games. Audiogenic have told GTW that the game was never finished, so Commodore Format have reviewed an incomplete game in this case. But from Kevin’s evidence, we must give the benefit of the doubt that they reviewed a pretty much complete game … not a too early preview. Maybe Audiogenic sent it over saying it was done. Zzap previewed the game in their news section (see scans) and they state that they are playing an early version – which looks very close to the game that CF reviewed.
Overall it looked bleak for the game – with Kevin and David confirming they had nothing of the game. At best, David suggested he may still have the graphical assets to the game that he produced. Sure enough in 2014, David found some disks and passed them onto GTW64 for evaluation. All graphic disks were sadly PC formatted, so work continues on preserving them (which should be of interest across all formats).
However … there was one single C64 formatted disk which was labelled with 64 Cricket (Keep), which happened to be possibly the last remaining copy of the game! A frozen copy probably produced by Kevin to show David how the game was shaping up with his graphics in place. David didn’t even know that he had this, so it has been a surprise turn up!
Interestingly the main title screen has a different title of Graham Gooch All Star Cricket, which we’ve added as a sub title. Was the name later changed? It seems so… possibly this could be a build before Audiogenic decided to tie the game into the World Cup. So missing still is a slightly later version with a different title, but the rest of the game seems to be in place.
We are not 100% sure how incomplete the title is, but it does look very very close! No sound though, so we are keeping the entry as a preview. In the meantime, there is potential for a Spectrum, Amstrad set of graphics to also be saved in the near future. The complete and lost title screen could also well be on a 5.25″ PC formatted disk that we have with the C64 graphics on, so watch this space!
For now… for the first time in 23 years since we saw those fuzzy screenshots, here it is!
Contributions: Chris, Peter Carver, Kevin Franklin, David Peacock, Iain Black, Pugsy and Jazzcat
David Peacock recalls work on the game:
“After Tynesoft closed a handful of staff started working for Audiogenic. While Audiogenic found an office in Newcastle I was temporarily working in a colleague’s house. I remember tracing the bowling animation from a recorded cricket game on VHS using a sheet of paper taped over the TV screen.
I don’t know of any business decisions as to why it wasn’t released. In fact I had no idea the 64 version wasn’t released.
I don’t have any backups of old work. I used DPaint on the Amiga for the graphics. My only Amiga backup (on 60 disks) has a few disks missing which makes the whole thing useless and there is no guarantee it contains my Audiogenic work. It would be great to see that work again.”
23/06/14 – Final remains of the game found and saved thanks to David Peacock and with fixing work by Pugsy and Jazzcat!