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
I worked on this game with Peter Ward in the 80’s when I was a teen in highschool. I did a fair chunk of the sprite animation with my friend Nick, and it was the 2nd game I worked on with Peter, after “Mainframe” published by Microillusions. I was sad that it was never released, and never did see a fully complete version. I had no idea that Domark was also working on a port simultaneously.
Thanks Michael, i’ll get you added to the credits. I’m hoping that some day Peter will dig out the game like he did with his Scooby Doo game.
Thanks very much. For what it’s worth, I’m not really seeking acknowledgement here – I ran into this page while looking up some old games from Peter. Peter did all the real work, and my friend Nick Veliotis did the toughest part of the sprite animation – the turnarounds on Thompson’s hovercraft vehicle from various angles. He deserves much of the credit, as I took on only the easy stuff – the main character animations. We were both kids, and Peter paid us the handsome fee of $800 for the job – an unheard of amount for high school kids at the time. Nick and I promptly blew it all on a trip to NYC. I still like to think of my work with Peter as my “first paid art gig”.
Never mind, I just read the entry properly and saw you already have a UK one. I’m an idiot as always :D
No worries Hank :)
Frank, if a UK version of this was in production but never made it, should this be two entries?
Great work as always!
Totally agree.Just when i thought all the v’major’ updates were in danger of ‘drying up’ (there simply was’nt much more to uncover’ i’m happy to say C64GTW goes and proves me very wrong.
Long may it continue. :-)
It’s amazing to see that new, unreleased games are still popping up. I’m really hoping this one was completed like Scooby Doo was.