Sunday, August 06, 2023

Boardgames, anyone?

Having a blast in the past

I've found another floppy lurking in the depths of my collection. It's a public domain disk by Wizard PD, a company I disappointingly don't ever remember buying from! Although I do recall their adverts in magazines like ST Review. The disk is labelled "BRD 34" and was part of their Boardgames collection featuring six games, which is pretty cool.

Ironically, I'm not a massive fan of most board games and I have no understanding of chess beyond pure guesswork. Well, I'm still excited to give this a playtest so brace yourself for an exciting ride as we take a quick look at each one...

Mchess - I guess my floppy fun didn't begin well with this game? Anyhow, let's crack on and pretend to know what I'm talking about! MChess was released in 1989 by Bill Cook and runs in medium resolution supporting 1-2 players and the computer. Playing is "dead easy" using a drag & drop method with each chess piece. There are three difficulty levels with support for beginners and even the option to 'undo' any mistakes.

The documentation is outstanding and so apt for the era we grew up in because it's helpful without the hand-holding kids get today. What really cracked me up, was how Bill ends with this line, "If any comments or questions contact me on Compuserve". Just imagine writing something so inprecise these days!

Picture Concentration - I think it's pretty obvious what kind of game this is going to be? Well, it was released back in 1987 by Mark Sloop and runs in low res thanks to lots of colourful images. Interestingly, it was developed this using Atari's dreaded ST BASIC so he deffinetly deserves a medal for that!

I've never been good when it comes to remembering stuff - just ask the missus, apparently I've a memory like a sieve! Yes, this is a game of remembrance with different images hiding behind 40 tiles and all you gotta do is find matching pairs. Sounds easy but there are 40 tiles which are too many to cope with, at least for me.

Crossword Editor ST - We all know somebody sad enough to enjoy crosswords (the wife!). Well, here is the ST adaptation developed by Adrian Green in 1991. The design actually works very well and I really liked its interface which is clean and even has the option to change fonts. However, the clues are incredibly cryptic, almost to the point where some made little sense. Yes, you guessed it, I was rubbish at most questions!

There is support for either medium or high resolution and it sure looks best in monochrome!! There is a selection of ready-to-go crosswords with an option to make your own using the inbuilt creator. That's pretty cool but, I won't bother because I'm very lazy! But it's a fantastic feature thinking about it.

Computer Patience - This took me back to the 90s when I played Solitaire on the work's PC. The ST game was developed by Eric Chapman back in 1990 and features six different versions of patience. If I'm honest, I really enjoyed this program and spent a good half hour playing "golf patience".

Eric had a good sense of humour when he asks for any type of feedback: comments, criticisms or abuse!

TechMate - Another spin on the game of chess and this time we have a demo version of what was a 1986 commercial release by Microdeal (I'm unsure who to credit for its development). The gameplay feels faster than MChess and appears very good too. But, yeah, it's chess so here ends what I think about it.

Cards - This is an another odd one as I remember the release by Microdeal and this also features five games ranging from Blackjack to Poker Squares. Developed by J. Weaver Jr in 1986, this is fun for those who love playing cards but use a colour monitor because it's very ugly in monochrome. I enjoyed this game a lot.

The CryptO'pinion?

Amazingly, the disk is still in full working order (which is a bonus in itself) so I've made an image if anybody wants to download it for themselves? I know it's stupid, but I love finding stuff like this and digging around any PD disk is great because you never know what goodies are waiting to be discovered. Okay, this one might only be full of old board games but I've still had my slice of 80s fun and enjoyed playing Cards, Crossword Editor and Patience the most.

Let me know in the comments, below, if you downloaded the disk as I'm (as always) curious about what your thoughts are. Wanna see some photos of the disk and each of the ST games? Of course, not! But here you go anyhow...

For those in the know, this is the floppy disk. Just in case you were wondering or hungover.

The disk boots into Medium Resolution without the Blitter active - annoying.

(Mchess) By now you're probably wondering why these screenshots are so bad?

(Picture Concentration) Well, I took all these photos using my phone - before ripping the disk!

(Crossword) I should have waited, but real hardware is always best. Except for screenshots!

(Patience) I'm reminded of Solitaire/Windows 3.1 and this was another game that I enjoyed.

TechMate) Groan, another chess game? I figured its jazzy title screen was nicer to look at ;)

Cards) I end with the most terrible screenshot ever captured. I'm a record-breaker. Erm, sorry!

1 comment:

  1. I played a few PD games in my time .. uh i think they were Public Domain.. (hope)