Thursday, 10 September 2009

There's a snake in my boot!

For a long time now my coding chum Jon Wells has been working on a C64 conversion of the Western adventure game The Wild Bunch. This was originally released waaaay back in 1984 by Firebird Software on the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad. I'm particularly fond of this game as it was one of the first budget titles I bought for my Speccy and I remember having great fun trying to round up members of the Wild Bunch, drinking and gambling in the Saloon and taking part in deadly gunfights (as you do).

Reach for your guns, you blue-faced varmint! (ZX Spectrum)

Jon is also a fan of the game and one of his early coding projects was a C64 conversion of the game. Work on the C64 version ground to a stop and for a long while it looked like the game would never appear on the C64. This was until Jon unearthed some disks in 2008 that contained his unfinished C64 conversion of The Wild Bunch. After an enthusiastic response from Frank 'Games that Weren't' Gasking, Jon decided to continue working on the game. A development diary was put online (which you can read HERE) and after another year of development the C64 version of The Wild Bunch was finally completed in September 2009.

Aaaarrgh! He got me! (C64)

So what does this have to do with Psytronik Software I hear you cry? Well, when Jon decided to finish off his C64 conversion of the game he sent me an email to ask if I would like to help out with the packaging of the game. As I'd had an excellent time working with Jon on various projects back in the 90s I jumped at the chance of working with him again. I produced a full colour tape inlay for the game along with authentic Firebird-style tape labels to go with it. I also put together a Wild Bunch soundtrack CD which contained music from the game (digitally recorded from my C64) along with various other C64 Western style tunes. 25 copies of the CD were then given away in a prize draw to people who pre-ordered the game from Jon.

An early pic of my Wild Bunch C64 inlay.

Once I had produced the tape inlay for Jon I then had an idea. As a bit of an experiment I used the tape inlay template and designed a full colour Psytronik Software inlay for Jon's game Sceptre of Baghdad (which was also the first Psytronik release). I was never happy with the black and white photocopied inlay that the game was presented with back in 1994 so it was really nice to see the game with a proper full colour inlay. When my C64 chums Frank Gasking and Vinny 'C64 Endings' Mainolfi saw the new inlay for Sceptre of Baghdad they urged me to properly re-release the game with the new artwork - and so I did! This led onto the re-release of ALL the Psytronik titles along, the re-release of classic C64 games like Mayhem in Monsterland, Creatures 1 & 2 and Armalyte and of the release of new C64 titles like Sub Hunter and Knight 'n' Grail! So it was the creation of the tape inlay for the C64 version of The Wild Bunch that led to the relaunch of Psytronik Software!

But our story doesn't end there. For the last few weeks I've been secretly beavering away on a special top secret release for Psytronik Software ... I'm very pleased to announce that a Premium Disk Edition of The Wild Bunch will be released by Psytronik in October 2009. Renamed slightly to Wanted: The Wild Bunch the Psytronik disk version will feature a new animated intro and end sequence (not included on the tape version) along with the complete game itself and a brand new bitmap loading screen (drawn in dynamic Kenz-o-Vision)! The game will be presented with full colour glossy artwork and the Premium Edition will also contain FREE copy of the The Wild Bunch soundtrack CD that I mentioned earlier!

The lovely PREMIUM Disk Edition of Wanted:The Wild Bunch!

You can pre-order the tape and Psytronik disk version of the game NOW from the Binary Zone Retrostore. You also order the tape and (very soon) a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD version directly from Jon Wells - click the banner below for details:

And that's yer lot for now, thanks for reading, pardners!

Kenz /