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Croak! The Amphibian Migration Simulation for the Amiga

May 14th, 2009 Comments off
Croak! title screen

Croak! title screen

Croak! was written in 1992 because a friend wanted a decent Amiga version of Frogger. At that point I hadn’t managed to complete anything worthwhile for the Amiga, a machine which had so many other fun ways of wasting your time. Croak! took about a month to write, then I submitted it to Amiga Format magazine, and it took off from there.

If you are unfamiliar with the game concept then here is the synopsis from the readme file:

This program attempts to simulate, as accurately as possible, one of the most fascinating stages in the life-cycle of the Australian Cane Toad. As everyone knows, the eggs of the Cane Toad are laid within the carcasses of dead sheep. In this nutrient-rich environment the tadpoles quickly mature, and soon there are a multitude of young toads ready to begin their famous migration to the nearest creek or river bed. This journey frequently takes them across busy roads, and rivers whose erratic currents and high toxicity defy the bulky toad’s best attempts at swimming.

Croak! gameplay

Croak! gameplay

Croak! was not an exact conversion of Frogger and never tried to be (one reviewer described it as perversion rather than conversion!) The only Frogger I’d ever played was Hoppy for the TRS-80 Model 1. I didn’t even like Frogger and would have preferred to have released a completely original game. I know, however, that the success of Croak! was entirely due to the fact that there was a demand for Frogger on the Amiga. So I’d like to take this opportunity to kiss Konami’s butt and encourage everyone to buy whichever official Frogger they’re selling at the moment.

Croak! was never placed in the public domain. Amiga Format solicited for coverdisk submissions and paid me a token amount for the right to publish it, but that’s as far as it went. So now I officially declare Croak! to be in the public domain and all you people who copied it can finally sleep at night!

If you have an Amiga emulator (or a real Amiga) you can download CROAK.ZIP which containes a bootable ADF file. Make sure you emulate an early Amiga like the A500, or the game will run too fast (as seen in the YouTube video below).

Croak 2

The sequel, Croak 2, was released in 1995, resplendent with magic butterflies, an NTSC mode for the Yanks, spreadable blood stains, less flicker, no speed issues and generally more polish. This time I included a shareware notice.

Croak 2 title screen

Croak 2 title screen

A friend of mine uploaded it to Adam, a local BBS. Two years later it appeared on an Amiga User International coverdisk.  Two very noble individuals have sent me the optional fee. Many thanks to them.

I later discovered it had a bug where the frog was invisible if you launched the game from Workbench on some Amigas (something to do with setpatch?) but it was fine if you booted into it.

If you want to play Croak today, then Croak 2 is the version to get. Download CROAK2.ZIP for the bootable ADF file.


For a bit of fun, I’m going to maintain Croak 2’s status as shareware. Here’s a PayPal button to make it easy for you if you’ve been plagued by guilt all these years.

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Categories: Retro

Games I made when I was a kid #4 – Yacht

May 8th, 2009 Comments off
Yacht

Yacht

This is the penultimate entry in this series of posts. For my final entry I plan to feature the game that made me an international superstar. No really – I actually physically met someone from overseas who knew me from that game. And this was before the Internet took off. But this isn’t that game.

Introducing  Yacht – a Frankenstein’s monster of code that combined BASIC with machine language subroutines and was so difficult that I never even tried getting friends or family to play it.

The sad thing is that this was 1987. That makes me 16 or 17 years old and a first-year university student. It also makes the System-80 totally obsolete! What was I thinking? Well, I was too young for the University Bar…

You pilot your yacht around 9 different courses, adjusting your sail to make best use of the wind. The idea was to angle the sail so that if you imagined the wind bouncing off it, it would bounce behind you. It was actually possible (and frequently necessary) to tack into the wind like a real boat.

If you want to accept the challenge, load the Yacht cassette image into your emulator and follow these instructions:

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Categories: Retro

Games I made when I was a kid #3 – Stompy

May 8th, 2009 Comments off
Stompy

Stompy

“Oh no!” you wail, “not another game he made when he was a kid that no-one played or cared about, and which no-one cares about now either!”

I’ve actually skipped at least ten games, so stop complaining. Stompy (1985) is a lot like the last game I featured, Splatter. The difference is that Splatter was written in Microsoft BASIC and Stompy is 100% Z-80 Assembly Language.

To play it, load the Stompy cassette image in your emulator. Type “SYSTEM”, then type “S”. When the game is loaded, type “/” to run it.

If you’re interested I’d like to tell you how you write a program in Assembler on a 48K Dick Smith System-80 cassette-based system…

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Categories: Retro

Games I made when I was a kid #2 – Splatter

May 8th, 2009 Comments off
Splatter

Splatter

Splatter (1984) is another game I wrote when I was a kid, that no-one ever played.

You are the guy on top of the rows of bricks. The bird-thing is trying to come up to the top. You try to kill the bird by jumping, which dislodges a brick beneath you to hopefully fall on its head. Dislodge too many and you fall through.

As before, if you want to play this you will need a TRS-80 Model 1 emulator and the Splatter cassette image. The game is written in BASIC, you type CLOAD to load it and RUN to run it.

Keep reading if you would like to see what the vintage BASIC source code looks like. I actually went to some effort to de-tokenize it from the cassette image, just for you.

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Categories: Retro

Games I made when I was a kid #1 – Protector

May 6th, 2009 Comments off
Protector

Protector

This is the first entry in a series that will showcase games I wrote when I was a kid that no-one ever cared about or played. No-one. Nobody cared what I did alone in my room for hours on end. Maybe they thought I was doing something else. Anyway, I’m not bitter.

This game is called Protector. The guy with the gun is you. The guys with the clubs are harp seal hunters. The things on the right are harp seals. One of them has been clubbed and skinned already…

According to the title screen, this game was made back in January 1984, which would have made me a very disturbed 13 year old environmentalist. To this day I still can’t explain why everyone appears to be wearing clown shoes.

If for some bizarre reason you want to play this, you will need a TRS-80 Model 1 emulator and the Protector cassette image. The game is written in BASIC, you type CLOAD to load it and RUN to run it. That’s as much help as I’m going to give you. I suspect that if you’re into this sort of thing, you’ll really enjoy working out the rest! You’ll certainly enjoy it a lot more than actually playing the game.

Categories: Retro