Bit By Bit

Status: Full Game, Findability: 5/5

Thanks to Scott Julian, GTW is proud to present another game saved from oblivion in the shape and form of Starsat. An Australian RPG style game, fully completed, but sadly never released.

I’m not too sure of the story behind the game, but upon loading you are greeted with a level design with the same aspect as with Spindizzy.

Here you can take control of one of three vehicles, which have differing strengths and weaknesses such as speed and weapons. You navigate your tank, ship through various screens with the ability to destroy other enemy craft.

There is likely to be much more to it, but due to not being much of an RPG fan, I haven’t had chance to really explore the game fully. We will get a better description of the game sometime soon.

The game does not seem bad at all, and one which many of us would have no doubt bought had it been released. So why did it not get a release?… Well, Australian distributor Pactronics was offered the game, who often dealt with Utilities rather than games. Unfortunately, just as the game was completed, no deal could be agreed, and so the game was not released.

For reasons unknown, the game doesn’t seem to have been released elsewhere. Maybe it was attempted, but no-one wanted the game. Very strange.

This is what Scott had to say about the game, “It is called Starsat by Bit by Bit software in Australia. The game was offered to an Australian distributor called Pactronics (very large during the 80s and early 90s). I worked for them in various rolls including programming (mostly Atari ST stuff) and some C64 utilities.

This game was offered but failed to reach agreement and unfortunately never released, Sorry I couldn’t find any instructions, but I seem to remember that you move around STARSAT by pressing keys 1 thru 8.”

It’s now thanks to Scott that the game has been found and saved, but we hope to speak to the game’s developers in the future and get their side of the story on the game. Not much is really known, and we’re sure that there is a few stories to tell about this game.

Interestingly to add, this is labelled as Version 1.02… We therefore assume that there could have been more done, but we doubt it. We feel this is pretty much it. Though we will try to find out once contact has been made with the developers.

In March 2022 – Dan Warren created a video showing the game ending. Here is the link if you’d like to see it.

In October 2023, author Jeff Pritchard revealed that they had trusted someone with connections to represent them to get the game published, but they didn’t have the experience. The deal with Pactronics was not known about or communicated as being offered, let alone any discussion. Sadly they were not kept advised at all and it was likely never offered to anyone else.

A sad end to the title, that thankfully it was saved for people to enjoy as Jeff intended. Check it out and enjoy, and a big thanks to Scott again for helping save this game.

Contributions: Scott Julian

Supporting content

Available downloads

Update history

23/10/23 – Added notes from author Jeff Pritchard

Posted in: GTW64 archive | Tagged: | 6 Comments

6 Responses to Starsat

  1. Just a word about why it wasn’t published. We trusted someone who had some connections to represent us to get it published. We didn’t have the experience. What happened with Pactronics we don’t know as it was never communicated to us that it had been offered, let alone any discussion about any offer. Very disappointingly for us we were not kept advised and it probably wasn’t offered to anybody else. This was at the end of the C64 era.

  2. Well, its a small world. I’m the developer of this, along with my wife.
    Even I would have trouble working out the game play now. Too many years have passed.
    I must look to see if I have anything left on it.

    • Hi Jeff, great to hear from you. We would love to learn more about the game and would happily add a “Creator Speaks” tab to the entry if you would like to share anything about the game.

  3. There is actually a lot to this game – I played it for probably a solid week when we reviewed it for game over(view), and I’d say it’s quite worth the effort, if you get a chance. Somewhere I made some notes on what all the keys do, but I seem to have lost that now. That said, the gimmick of the game seems to be that you actually play all 8 levels at once, similar in a way to batalyx – you can switch floors with the number keys at any time.

    I’m kind of shocked that they didn’t find a publisher for it at the time – the presentation of it is superb, lots of little touches and animations, and the gameplay is also pretty fun, if a little confusing without instructions!

    Oh, don’t hit the F7 – it’s the instant quit button :)

    • Thanks Jaymz, when things calm down i’ll try and check it out again. It is criminal that the game didn’t see some kind of release, but its such a familiar story with a lot of the games we find.

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