I’m kind of surprised we didn’t have an entry for this game sooner in GTW64. This is another Paul Kubiszyn game which never saw the light of day and was being developed around the time Commodore Format were still going (just!)
Very strangely, this is very very similiar to Super Pac Twins which Paul was developing at the same time. That was a more simplistic game where you just ate dots in a maze like Pac Man, but Twin Balls expands on the idea by making it more of a Pengiun Towers clone with sliding tiles and other bits. It’s actually a far better game!
Well, basically Paul informs us that after CF put Super Pac Twins on the covermount without permission – he canned that game. The demo released was just for screenshot purposes, but CF may have been desperate for covermount content. Not to be put off, Twin Balls was a re-use of the concept that was canned, but with added elements to move it away from a standard Pac Man clone.
In total, two previews were released – and the game never got finished due to real life kicking in and other projects (See Creator Speaks). We assume that Paul just lost interest in the game before going onto doing the likes of ?Interlaced Pairs as his final swan song on the C64.
Nothing more was ever produced, so check out the creator speaks for input from Paul himself about the game…
Contributions: Paul Kubiszyn
Paul Kubiszyn talks about Twin Balls…
“SPT was being developed by myself with creative input from my brother Mark, and was the intension that the final full game would appear on the CF covertape. Although it was discussed that at some later stage in time we would provide CF with a demo, the one which they ran with was not the demo and no permission was given for them to use it, in fact we didn’t know anything about its inclusion until we saw it on the covertape like everyone else.
The very early developer preview which they were provided with was only for the benefit of allowing them to grab screen shots for inclusion alongside the magazine diary article. I guess by the last issues they were having trouble filling the covertape, or wanted to avoid paying out any money for the covertape.
I think it was either six months or a year afterwards that I thought of resurrecting the project. My thoughts were to sell the game myself. Although the advertising from the CF articles may have helped, I considered the demo inclusion on the covertape enough to put people off and therefore a name change was decided upon. I think at the time I may also have been worried about a title already existing with the name Super Pac Twins, but don’t quote me on that as we didn’t have the large internet archive we have these days back then.
Twin Balls was used as the game was intended to be for 1-2 players at the same time. At the time I was heavily influenced by the likes of Penguin Towers, Bomberman, and of course wanted to add in the Pacman element also of collecting pills. I still think that a game today would be great to feature all those elements in one go. My only real memories of developing Twin Balls were the music (which is available I think in the HSVC collection) and the wondering how I was going to program the handling of multiple bombs with multiple players and how each would interact with each other :) That’s why in the demo you can only lay a single bomb, I simply hadn’t got that far yet.
As for why it was shelved, I think it was around this time I started full time employment and gradually the C64 became less a part of my life. Today my work (and child) still consume all of my spare time, allowing only the following of the scene on Facebook, Twitter and online etc. In a small way though, through Facebook I still feel part of a scene and love the C64 community. One day the time will come for a return! – I hope soon to introduce my little 3 year old girl to the fun of the C64 :)”