First Star are famous for some fantastic C64 games, such as the Spy vs. Spy and Boulderdash series and many more. Along with these fantastic titles there seems to be a few which got away too.
One such title that “got away” was Panic Button, where you control a factory worker who has to construct small houses together using parts from the conveyor belt. Not as easy as it sounds, with a huge amount of parts getting sent along the conveyor belts at one time. You have to be quick and get many houses built before the timer runs out.
It is a game typical of 1984, with simplistic graphics, but the great trademark First Star playability. It is essentially a cross of Toy Bizarre and Night Shift.
Strangely, although completed, First Star never released the game, and we are yet to find out why we are having to look at it via the GTW archives. Contributor Sean Everard (see comments) suggests that it may have been due to Tandy perhaps wanting to supress the C64 version to keep it a TRS-80 exclusive. It’s certainly plausible, though it doesn’t seem like a huge title that would have made much difference. Hopefully we’ll get to learn from someone at First Star about exactly what happened.
So, how did a release occur after over 20 years?
Well, First Star released a tribute CD called “First Star Software’s Greatest Hits” to celebrate all their releases around 2004, and put all their back catalogue onto the CD for people to play and enjoy.
Either way – we’re lucky that the game did sneak out in the end, and so you can enjoy the whole game for yourself! Case closed…
Contributions: Sean Everard