A quick entry to cover part of a series of games which DK’Tronics were looking to release in late 1984, early 1985.
A news item in the December 1984 edition of Personal Computer Games suggested that following on from a Popeye game, DK’Tronics were looking to do a series of Thames Television based games including Minder, The Sweeney, Benny Hill and Rainbow. There were also plans for a game starring Hagar The Horrible.
The games were to be released across the Spectrum, C64, MSX and Amstrad and sold at £5.95.
It is not quite known what happened to Minder, but it seems that the Spectrum, Amstrad and MSX versions were actually released. Don Priestly was behind the Spectrum version.
So what of the C64 version? Did DK’Tronics go under just before it could be released?Popular Computing Weekly 9-15 Aug 1984 had a news item which suggested that it was early days for the DK’Tronics deal.
Thanks to Sean ONeill, a C64 review was printed in issue 21 of Commodore User magazine. The screenshot seems very Spectrum like, so we’re not entirely sure if it is a geniune C64 shot. So was the game was actually complete? DK’Tronics may well have gone under just before it could be released.
It is very likely that Don Priestly was behind the conversion as well – so hopefully if we can find Don, then we might be able to recover the C64 version.
Contributions: Iain Black, Maxmirni, Sean ONeill
Popular Computing Weekly 9-15 Aug 1984
Thames goes soft
“THAMES Television is negotiating with Dk’tronics to develop computer games based on its successful TV programmes like Minder and The Sweeney.
No details have yet been finalised, but we are experimenting with various characters on screen, to ensure that they will be satisfactorily represented in the finished game,” said Nick Jones, Thames’ publishing manager.
“œWhile we are dealing with Dk’tronics at the moment, it is too early to say yet whether it will be an exclusive deal to produce games for any particular shows.
“œWhile programmes like Minder, The Sweeney and so on seem obvious candidates for a computer game, we have not settled exactly which will be used.
“œWe will probably be using more than one machine “” launching the games on one and then converting. The Spectrum, Commodore and BBC are all Dk’tronics territory’, so we wouldn’t be too restricted.”
Thames are also planning to merchandise TV shows to be used for educational computer material.
Programmes such as Rainbow are under consideration. “œWe are interested in anything that proves a worthwhile extension of our material,” Nick continued. He hopes that the first Thames computer titles will be available in time for Christmas. “œBecause of the Christmas peak, we are aware that there is some urgency to finalise the deal.”
This will not be the first such deal in which Thames has been involved. Thorn-EMI has already acquired a licence to develop the character of Dangermouse for the micro, and a Dangermouse game should be available this Autumn. “œThe deal with Dangermouse is slightly different in that it is a cartoon character, and is much more straightforward to convert to the computer,” said Nick.
“œWith mainstream entertainment programmes using real people we need to be more careful with characterisation.” However, the idea of using ITV programmes as a basis for computer games has already been taken up by Central TV who commissioned Tynesoft Computer Software to produce Auf Wiedersehen Pet, a strategy game for Spectrum, Commodore 64 and BBC, which involves building a brick wall, and getting safely home from the Bierkeller. Other Central programmes are also due to appear as computer games before Christmas.”
23/09/13 – Added PCW article notes and integrated a mention in main review.
Here is the CU review
Thanks Sean! Added and updated page :)
Great game, im trying to find more like it. theres a copy on http://www.worldofspectrum.org
I know there’s another game on this site where two apparent C64 copies have been found containing the Spectrum version actually recorded onto the tape – I forget which game but it doesn’t seem to be any of the other DK’Tronics titles on GTW. Maybe this was the same distribution plant screwing up?
Can’t remember which one that was again – but it was an early 1984 ish game I think!
By moving back through all the comments I’ve found it – The Tripods from Red Shift software, 1985, also a license. With what Bepp’s posted below, I just wonder if the same thing happened here?
Ah, that’s the one! And yes, that would make sense with Bepp’s comments. Shame he never got back to us about the scan/game :(
Minder was reviewed in Commodore User (issue 21, 1985) with screenshots + one would think DK’tronics sent a copy to CU for testing? Can send the scan if it’s of interest.
That would be fantastic Havar! Thank you!
I have a copy of Minder on tape, which I found on eBay in the belief that it was the C64 version, but the tape can’t be read on a Commodore. So this might be a version for any of the other mentioned computers. Can scan the cover if anyone’s interested!
Yes please, that would be great! :) Could you check the instructions to see if there are any C64 specific instructions? Thanks!