Up Up And Away

Starcade

Status: Full Game, Findability: 5/5

Updates made

18/07/16 – Scans added thanks to Håvar Bruvold Hojem

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This game involved flying an hot air balloon across a slow scrolling landscape, dropping sandbags on enemies. The game was in fact released on the Atari 400 around the time with the same name, and was ported over to the C64 in two months.

Although this game was never properly released back in the day, it was released on a Grandslam/Argus Press compilation back in the early 90s.

Starcade, also released Savage Pond. they were at that time linked with Argus Press, but not owned by them. Therefore ‘Up Up and Away’ has always been owned by Starcade. When Argus Press was bought around 1986, it was renamed Grandslam by the new owners.

Originally, the game did apparently surface under the ‘Pulsar’ label, but was stopped quickly, as the company name clashed with another label. Eventually the game did surface under the ‘Starcade’ label until late ’85, when the company fell under due to problems with piracy and small sales.

So there we have it, the game *did* infact surface at some point… but not by its original company. So basically this game is not technically a unreleased game, but no-one has yet claimed to have owned the original Starcade release.   Well – until Håvar Bruvold Hojem did in 2016, when he purchased a Spanish copy of the game which was released by Argus Press.  So it was pretty much fully released, but not in the UK oddly it seems!

In 2013, Richard Bayliss very kindly made a back-up of his copy of the game from the Argus Press 1986 compilation in TAP format, which we have now added to this entry in the downloads section.

A neat little game, and a piece of Rob Hubbard to boot!…

Contributions: Chris, Tom Jones, Gwyll Jones, MSX, Richard Bayliss

Supporting content

Available downloads for this entry

  • Tape_Upupandaway
  • Game_UpUpAway.zip
  • Gwyll Jones speaks about work on Up Up and Away…

    “Talk about a blast from the past!!

    Really enjoyed your web site – however, a couple of minor alterations for the web page on which you review ‘Up, up and away’.

    ‘Up, up and away’ was initially created for the Atari 400 game (touch pad keyboard etc …) and was ported to the C64 back in 1983/84. It took 2 months as the C64 was a new machine for me and I was used to the Atari.

    1) The program was always owned by (and copyrighted to) Starcade Software – Argus press never owned it and were only actually our agents at the time – nothing more.

    2) The program was ported (in a cold bedroom – no central heating back then, working up to 4.00am and then going to work at 8.00am) from the Atari version by myself.

    3) Rob Hubbard (I think that was the name of the person we sub-contracted to) only coded the Music – he had no copyright to the music code either as he was paid up front. (In fact there was no original music in the game. At the time all music-bites’ had to be restricted to less that 10 -15 secs duration to avoid copyright claims from the composers.)

    4) The game was originally released under the Pulsar label, we then ran into trouble as this name (together with Quasar) was owned by a major watch maufacturer of the time who threatened to sue us (even though we had paid good money for a professional company search which had indicated the name was available). Finally, we released under ‘Starcade’ which was the final label we used. So, this game was officially (and continued to be) released under the Starcade label up until ’85.

    UUaA was really only a learning experience that turned into a game. If one is objective, you have to admit that it was limited even for the time. The real regret was that I never completed some of the other projects that I was working on.

    Quite interesting though to trace the evolution of game writing from a single coder in the early 80’s to the teams of coders who specialise in music, graphics and gaming logic that we have now.

    Also, I found it interesting that this prog was included in a Grandslam compilation – never knew that. :-)”

    Tom Jones sheds some light on Up Up and Away:

    “A Blast from the Past. Starcade produced these games in 1983. 1983 was a bad time for software companies as so many distributors placed large orders then took huge directors fees and went belly up.

    Piracy also played its part,( as can be seen by online reviews,) because despite rave reviews these games which included French and Australian markets, are unplayable without the instructions. Gwyll Jones and Peter Judd did the programming for the Atari 800XL, Commodore 64, BBC and Elektron.

    I think we were first to code a joystick to Elektron games.  I designed the games and Ron coded the music. We all had differing careers, so we passed the mantle to Argus Press and moved on.”

    9 Responses to Up Up And Away

    1. Chris Abbott says:

      So Rob Hubbard did the music for Up Up and Away in 1983? Do you remember how that came about? Did he just provide a score, or the code as well?

      • fgasking says:

        There was a link with Rob and the game way before the GTW64 site came about Chris. I first wrote about the game in Commodore Zone way back around 1997/98 I think.

        I’m trying to think where it all came from exactly – I am fairly sure it was in a magazine like Zzap 64 or similar which attributed Rob to the game. I don’t think it was an interview – but a reflection piece on old/unreleased games from what I recall.

        Originally I remember wrongly assuming that Rob had fully written the game and got an email from the authors quickly correcting me. Both the authors (see Creator Speaks) talk of Rob being contracted to do the game music. Possibly its one before Rob started fully documenting his invoices?

        • fgasking says:

          Ah – found it. It was listed in the Musician’s Ball in 1986. Here’s the scan: https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/wp-content/uploads/gtw64/u/up-up-and-away/zzapgcpfsg.jpg

          Not directly mentioned by Rob himself though. Someone on Lemon64 was looking at it: http://www.lemon64.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=802166&sid=be9241448cce379b012f59d083f4d91c … suggesting the player was a further evolution of Synth Sample III?

          Hope this helps!

          • Chris Abbott says:

            What’s confusing is this: if he did this music in 1983, it doesn’t fit neatly into Rob’s softography timeline, because he only started pitching his wares as a musician with the Synth Sample III driver in the Autumn of 1984. For Summer 1984 he was working on Razzmatazz, and presumably before that (Spring 1984) he was working on Paranoid Pete.

            The working theory if we’re still talking about 1983 is that Up Up and Away preceded the Ubik stuff, and was therefore the first Rob Hubbard tune released commercially, and also puts him on the market six months before Galway’s debut, and around the same time as Ben’s. But the question really is: what prompted them to hire Rob at that time? How was that contact made?

            It would be really nice if someone (like Tom Jones) had any input on how Rob was found and hired.

            • fgasking says:

              I’ve found that Home Computer Weekly reviewed the game in July 1983 (issue #19), but for the Atari only. It was suggested that the C64 version was ported over in about 2 months – so that takes us around to September-November time. So my 1984 date is incorrect if it did indeed only take 2 months. There is enough plausibility that some kind of delay meant this going into 1984.

              I may still have contact with one of the guys involved, so bear with me and i’ll see if we can do some more digging. Sounds exciting though 🙂

            • fgasking says:

              Email sent Chris. Good luck and hopefully Tom will shed some light on how Rob first got involved. I’m pretty sure that Rob was involved, as when years ago he was miscredited as the “author” of the game, I was told off politely by both Tom and Gwyll and that Rob only did the music and they didn’t correct me 🙂

          • Chris Abbott says:

            Incidentally Kaz changes his comment on the drivers:

            “To be more clear, the Synth Sample III driver appears to be a further evolution of the driver used in Up, Up and Away; the initialization code is further segmented and refined for example, but bits and pieces of the code from the older driver remain.”

            This confirms that Up Up and Away was the first released Rob Hubbard SID by quite a margin, and certainly predates any work from Galway, Daglish, Dunn, and even Fred Gray. However, David Whittaker and Paul Norman were first (discounting the American composers of classics like Mule and Archon).

    2. Richy V says:

      A lucky find 🙂 I bought the 30 Games compilation by Argus Press Software, from an EBay user earlier on last year. The tapes also had a few games by Taskset (Pipeline, Seaside Special) included. All games – apart from 2 were mastered with a “Freeload” variant. 🙂

    3. Tom Jones says:

      A Blast from the Past. Starcade produced these games in 1983. 1983 was a bad time for software companies as so many distributors placed large orders then took huge directors fees and went belly up. Piracy also played its part,( as can be seen by online reviews,) because despite rave reviews these games which included French and Australian markets, are unplayable without the instructions. Gwyll Jones and Peter Judd did the programming for the Atari 800XL, Commodore 64, BBC and Elektron. I think we were first to code a joystick to Elektron games. I designed the games and Ron coded the music. We all had differing careers, so we passed the mantle to Argus Press and moved on.

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