Penguin Tower


Status: Preview, Findability: 4/5

After the games stopped being reviewed in Commodore Format, it looked like the end of the games scene.. Until a games explosion occurred where this little gem was all ready for release, and this one caused a major uproar on the scene which was left over.

Being coded in Finland, this Dynablaster clone was in my opinion going to be the game of the year. When Jon Wells tried to get hold of the coder to finalise distributing the game, he never replied and ignored all methods of contact.

This game received the highest amount of interest with about 700 reserve slips returned to Jon… A great shame.

Jani Hirvo, the coder of the game, had been in contact with GTW – saying the game was 90% complete with 100 levels and that he may one day finish it.

It apparently has new intros, outro, musics and high score compared with the demo version we all have. After sending me the PC version, Jani many moons ago said that he may finish the C64 version one day. Sadly it just has never happened, and it may still never happen as time marches on.

The confusion with Jani and John was very unfortunate, and Jani tells me that if he had known that 700 people had pre-ordered the game, then he would have certainly got it finished.

Interestingly a separate re-development of the game was carried out and started, which is slightly controversial, as it was never authorised by Jani. The development is essentially the same, with the same graphics and new contributed levels. It was started out of frustration of the original game never seeing release. It’s an interesting curiosity to check out:

Can we see the final game one day?

Contributions: Jani Hirvo

Supporting content

Creator speaks

Jani Hirvo speaks to GTW about work on Penguin Tower…

“I’m the one responsible for coding the game ‘Penguin Tower’ back in the good old days. The game was (sadly) never finished.

These things are years old so I cannot get mad about things said then. The sad thing is that I never knew that the game was received that well… 700 reserve slips. Man, that was a lot those days and probably would have motivated pretty well to get the product done. It is a pity that the whole thing ended up in problems with communication.

Just for the curious, I’ve actually been working with the game last summer (2000) doing recoding on the PC with a c64 compiler and emulator. What should be done is the endtro and some bugfixing….You never know if it someday gets released. ;-)”

FRANK – “So you plan to finish it?…..”

“Yes, but that’s been the plan for the last five years. ;)

I work as software designer/coder and sometimes I relax from work by, well, doing some more programming. It’s kinda relaxing to sit down and just tap code on a machine you know so well.”

FRANK – “Maybe the GTW team could finish it off for the site?”

“Thank you for the offer. I really have to think about this. At the moment all of my C64 development is done on the PC. The game takes currently 98% of the memory space so there’s no room for a (turbo) assembler in the memory. I hope the GTW team is familiar with coding on PC. And… I can watch TV through a TV-card or listen mp3’s while coding. ;)

When the game (PC/C64) is ready, you’ll be one of the first ones to know. …Don’t get your hopes up… It might take some time. ;p”

Update history

06/08/20 – Few details about second game added.

5 Responses to Penguin Tower

  1. I’d just brought a Commodore C64c now a year earlier after upgrading from an Amiga A500. I was so excited around that time to see new software and this was the one that I was looking forward to the most. With the re-emergence of the C64 as a viable gaming platform, thanks to THEC64 / Mini and the Ultimate 64, as well as other devices, there is no reason why Penguin Towers 2020 can’t be done if the developer is readinig – PLEASE finish it :-)

    • Me too but John just went quiet! Loved the Demo. Tried to contact Jani many years ago without success. Hope it does get finished, I,ll buy it.

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