Ok, firstly we haven’t gone mad, but after the recent recovery of a Scooby Doo game in 2014, the same author Peter Ward informed us that he also worked on a official conversion of the Atari ST classic Typhoon Thompson for the Commodore 64.
Now, as you’re probably aware – we already have an entry for a conversion being done officially for Domark by Chris and Tony West. Domark were the UK importers for a number of Broderbund titles, including Typhoon Thompson.
Interestingly, Domark were only ever aware of the Atari ST version – and went ahead to try and get C64 and Amiga conversions completed. For reasons still unknown to this day, the C64 version was never released. Domark never knew that Broderbund had a C64 version in production, and seemingly complete already by Peter Ward.
We spoke to Peter about the development, and he revealed that the game was a contract job offered to him before he was an employee. He worked remotely on the game through a contract acquired by Sculptured Software.
At the time of development, Peter had access to an almost complete version of the ST game, so was able to play that to see exactly how everything worked. It gave the perfect feel for how the game played (as well as also playing Airheart on the Apple 2). Peter recalls that he may have even been given source code for both of those versions.
What is quite surprising is that Peter had managed to cram the entire game into a single load, and everything apparently fitted “snugly” within the C64’s memory. He went on to say that the graphics of course were a lot lower in detail, but the play mechanics overall were very fluid and held up well to its Atari ST counterpart.
Tragically, the game was actually 100% complete, with no missing parts (even story telling sequences) and it was all good to go. Peter wasn’t sure why it was decided to not release the game – but he feels it was perhaps due to the declining C64 market in the US at the time.
Had Domark been aware of it of course, they may well have released it as is for the UK market, but it was never to be and now we are left with two complete conversions!
What is amazing is that the C64 conversion by Broderbund has been under our noses all along. On the back of the ST packaging for the US edition, there is a clear C64 screenshot – which depicts a very accurate looking conversion.
Peter is hopeful that he will manage to find a copy of the game, as he kept completed projects in their own case on 5 1/4 inch disks (source and latest builds). Although he found Scooby Doo, he is still missing Black Magic (Apple & C64), Typhoon Thompson (C64), South Pacific Quest (Apple) and another unnamed C64 title.
If these can be found, then Peter has said he will let us know. Watch this space!
Contributions: Peter Ward, MobyGames (scan), Michael Cho