Have you ever seen such colours on the C64? Mayhem in Monsterland was a brave attempt to bring a console style jump'n'run, modelled closely after Nintendo's and Sega's mascots, to the best-selling home computer of all time. While at the same time, paying homage to one of the iconic games of that system: Wizball.
The mid-80s were a good time for Activision in a creative sense. A good number of unusual titles which at the same time were highly professionally produced came out in '86 alone. One of them: Alter Ego.
When Sierra handed over the development of Space Quest V to Dynamix, they let appear the logo of their company's own brand in more or less hidden places in the game. On top of that, they integrated the logo of a real sponsor. The brand name of the American telecommunications company Sprint appears on the spaceship terminal after every intercom transmission. You can read here whether the outsourcing has affected the usual quality in any other way.
It's Fighting Fantasy time again! Well, Sci-Fi-Fantasy. The Rings of Kether are not magic artefacts to battle an evil sorcerer, but rather drug trafficking "rings". And that creature on the cover is a woman, by the way. She, at least, is defying all stereotypes. Bravo!
The large lettering of Chinese characters on the splash screen is pretty much the only thing that makes DIF-1 Laser Tank recognisable as a title from the Far East. With a good American publisher, the game would certainly have been much better known to Western audiences and might even have been a success there. In any case, the developer softstar – not to be confused with sunsoft – still exists on the market today.
What could lend itself better as source material for a jump'n'run game than the Looney Tunes? All the slapstick, coupled with cartoon graphics as it became possible on home systems in the early 1990s, what could go wrong? A lot, as Taz Mania illustrates.
Yeah, well, you kidnapped my family first, you bloated bastard! Creatures 2 – Torture Trouble not only demonstrated technical excellence as often found towards the end of a system's lifecycle, but also exhibited the fundamental difference between the then dying home computer ecosystems and the tightly corporately controlled game console world. We gave up a huge amount of freedom of expression when we made the latter win.
Have you heard of Cypherpunk? Yes, this is not a typo. Night/Shift is aimed at all those who don't feel comfortable around today's world, with surveillance tech everywhere. Appropriately, it is also nostalgic for past tech which was (so it claims) not used for evil yet. It even namedrops Speedball. This must be great, right?