Ok, so not quite finished for 2020 yet – I fibbed a bit!
Many of you will have played the wonderful Barbarian 2 by Rob Stevens, and maybe even read the excellent feature with him in FREEZE64 about the game.
Whilst talking to Rob, Vinny Mainolfi of FREEZE64 discovered that Rob was sitting on a complete game that never saw the light of day called Trooper. This was Rob’s first proper C64 development when he was around 17/18 years old and likely what he showed to Palace to get his position at the company and the gig on Barbarian 2.
Rob kindly dug out a copy of the game and sent to Vinny to try and get up and running again and preserve. After several attempts, it finally backed up. Vinny would release the game as part of a special Christmas Eve release to FREEZE64 subscribers. He has also very kindly allowed GTW to release the game a few hours later on the site for non-subscribers, so here it is!
Everything in the game was done by Rob, and you control a robot soldier caught behind enemy lines and trying to escape. There is a huge mothership that chases you, and if it catches up, then you’re dead. So keep moving forward and don’t hand around too long.
For a first development, Trooper is impressive, and its great to see Rob’s work preserved so it can shared with you. We will add more details soon over time about the game and get Rob’s input, but for now check out a wonderful game thanks to the brilliant efforts of Vinny Mainolfi at FREEZE64.
In early 2021, it was discovered that a second copy had sneaked out too and was picked up in December 2020 by a Daniel Ratcliff. Attempts were made to preserve the game by scener Icon, but unfortunately the tape was corrupted. We’ve added new photos and the damaged archive attempt to the download section here for posterity. Dan plans to sell the game sometime in the future.
Contributions: Vinny Mainolfi, Daniel Ratcliff, Icon
22/05/21 – News and photos from another copy and preservation attempt.
I do not know if this the a real thing (the link does work for me):
Yeah, it should be – I think Rob confirmed that it was one of his original copies that were given out. The Ollo tape looks familiar.
Is there a way I can get physical access to this particular cassette and eventually return it to Daniel Ratcliff? If my idea does not sound possible, I strongly recommend asking Daniel about buying the model tape recorder that I have along with all of the materials that I use to transfer the tapes into digital recordings. It’s *cheap*, fairly *reliable*, and *gets the job done* in terms of a total transfer. Just be weary of the volume setting though and avoid stereo cassettes. It’s very sensitive on the volume adjuster (it IS a 20-year-old unit after all) and it’s a mono-channel only device. Upon buying them, install Audacity on whatever computer he uses and change the recording device to the automatically-detected USB Microphone to record the program onto the computer. There should be no dropouts if correctly set at the appropriate volume and frequency (set the Project Rate to 48000 hz for the highest possible quality recording). It may be crude and cumbersome, but it does the trick for me every time, and as a result of using this method, I saved a simple program that I made in 2015 from my Commodore 128 manufactured in November 1985 (not a game) from being lost into obscurity!
Sony TCM-929 ($22.99 US):
3.5mm Headphone Double-Ended Male Jack ($2.95 US):
Headphone/Microphone port to USB adapter ($7.90 US):
You should not pay any more than $33.84 US aside from Taxes and Shipping, or international fees depending on where you live. Have Daniel email me at the provided address I gave you if he is successful. I will not force you or Daniel to do any of this, but I feel like this is imperative in rescuing the tape properly, in case this uploaded transfer session just happened to be an unlucky coincidence brought on by other factors. Better safe than sorry to make double sure nothing is wrong with the tape! :)
I think unfortunately he’s sold it Elijah. If the buyer happens to see the post here, then i’m sure they will get in touch. Thanks for the kind offer.
Hi there Dan, here, I still have the tape in my possession and happy to assist.