Status: No Download, Findability: 1/5

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Time to put this one out of its misery.. maybe? Virus has been one of the mysterious mysteries in the lost gaming world on the C64, the subject of rumour and also April fool jokes!

It is a 3D game where you view your ship from outside, and fly around stunning (stunning at the time) landscapes destroying enemies across a landscape map. It was an advanced 16-bit game which only maybe Geoff Crammond could have managed on the humble C64 maybe.

Firstly from what we know… the real conversion of Virus, if it was ever started, was to contain non-filled vector graphics like the released Spectrum version (Yes – The Speccy indeed got a conversion!)

The second wind of a possible conversion was teasingly mentioned by Zzap 64 in Issue #60, being converted by a “David Doll” and using a number of disk accessing techniques which pushed the limits of the C64.

A screenshot was also given with a “patchwork quilt” effect landscape. This turned out to be an April Fools joke, and the conversion was never heard of again,

Then thirdly – in 1990, a one off games guide was released for the C64, called “The Complete Guide to the C64”, which contained reviews of all of the top games on the C64. One review to startle readers was of Virus on the C64. Just a little box-out, describing a game which depicts a Spectrum port of sorts.. but no screenshots.

It was widely believed that this mention was based on poor research and journalism, and this was simply added to fill the magazine. A bizarre one to add as a filler.

However we were not entirely sure if anything was started, completed, released or what. Well, in 2014 – David Doll himself got in touch with GTW64 and confirmed that the entire Zzap segment was indeed an April Fools joke. David sent a number of April Fool ideas to Zzap to run with (including a Space Ace fake), Virus was one of those where he produced several screens, popped them on a disk and sent them to Zzap. Next thing David knew, a screen was printed in Zzap and a cheque for £40 was sent to David for his work. And that was that.

It would be interesting to see if David has anything of those original screens he posted to Zzap, so we’ll have to watch this space.

Richard Hewison (Who used to run the excellent “Bird Sanctuary” site) also confirmed to GTW that Firebird had no official C64 conversion planned… and that it was a miracle that the Spectrum version ever came about. Actually… read this archived page here to find out more about how the Spectrum version made it in particular.

So was there any unofficial attempt made?… It seems not, and quite likely that we will never find anything of this game.

Vapourware indeed it seems… Case closed…

Contributions: Richard Hewison, Paul Koller, Ross Sillifant, Joshua Dove (link fix), Stephen Stuttard

Supporting content

Update history

  • 08/05/24 – Improved image scans added.
  • 04/05/24 – Fix to links thanks to Joshua Dove.
  • 29/05/14 – Added scan thanks to Ross Sillifant
  • 15/01/14 – David Doll speaks to GTW64 about the hoax.
Posted in: GTW64 archive | Tagged: | 7 Comments

7 Responses to Virus

    • Thanks Joshua! I’ll fix now (and credit you), but i’ll also take a look to see if I can find any other links to the site to fix whilst i’m here.

  1. Hello. The C64 version of Virus was indeed an April fools hoax. ZZap! used to run them every year and I sent them a couple of different ideas. The one they didn’t use was a C64 version of Space Ace. I created about 5 different scenes with screenshots, but I guess they didn’t go with it as it wasn’t impossible that a version could be made for the C64. I think I created several screens for the Virus game and popped it all on a disc and sent it in. I didn’t know that they had even used it until I got the April issue and there it was! A few weeks later I received a cheque for about £40. The entry in The Complete Guide was indeed referring to the April fool and was just a bit of lazy research.

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