Collecting, Retro gaming

A bit from my personal collection – Japanese releases

Though I primarily collect sealed original releases I do have a soft spot for Japanese releases. The personal computer market in Japan wasn’t as big as in it’s western counterparts but in the eighties and nineties they did have both the NEC PC88 & PC98 line of personal computers, the Fujitsu FM-Towns & FM-Z and the Sharp X1 & X68000 and of course IBM/PC compatibles computers running both DOS and Windows.

Unlike a lot of other localisations the Japanese not only changed some of the artwork on the boxes but also the artwork in-game. I have always been fascinated with Japanese culture and trending styles and I do think it really shines through on most of these releases.

Here we have some of my beloved Japanese localisations.

Collecting, Retro gaming

A bit from my personal collection – Lucasfilm Games – Puzzle/Action

Lucasfilm Games published back in 1989 and 1990 Pipe Dream and Night Shift, both really great puzzle/action games and both developed in the UK by The Assembly Line (Pipe Dream) and Attention to Detail (Night Shift). The games are two of the lesser known titles published by Lucasfilm Games, in the mist of great pirate adventures and fast flying simulators they had to battle for attention right from the get go.

In Pipe Dream using a variety of pipe pieces, presented randomly in a queue, the player must construct a path from the start piece for the onrushing sewer slime, or “flooz”, which begins flowing after a time delay from the start of the round. The flooz is required to pass through a given number of pipe pieces in order for the player to continue to the next round.
Pipe Dream was also called Pipe Mania in the EU and was released for the some of the typical UK machines at the time:  BBC Micro, Acorn 32-bit and Amstrad CPC all of these releases were in typical EU small boxes, with modest artwork and low quality packaging. Lucasfilm took over the publishing for the big machines, like the Amiga, IBM/PC, C64 etc. Steve Purcell redid the artwork for the box and it looks absolutely gorgeous. You may know Steve Purcell from a ton of other titles like Sam & Max, Zak McKracken, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Monkey Island series and a whole bunch of other great games. You may also know him from the movie world, where he has done work for Pixar and from the comics scene with series like Defenders of Dynatron City and Sam & Max: Freelance Police.

Night Shift is a pretty unique puzzle action game where the hero is a worker in a factory owned by Industrial Might and Logic (a parody of Industrial Light and Magic). Your hero ensures that the factory is working properly as it cranks out Star Wars action figures, including those of Storm Troopers and Darth Vaders. The object of the game is to always ensure the factory is working properly, and to move in an increasingly better home.

Here we have some of my different sealed releases of the two games.

Collecting, Retro gaming

A bit from my personal collection – Lucasfilm Games – Simulations

Lucasfilm Games
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Lucasfilm Games developed a series of simulation games, the first of which were the naval simulations PHM Pegasus in 1986 and Strike Fleet in 1987. These two titles were published by Electronic Arts for a variety of computer platforms, including PC, Commodore 64 and Apple II.

In 1988, Battlehawks 1942 launched a trilogy of World War II air combat simulations, giving the player a chance to fly as an American or Japanese pilot in the Pacific Theater. Battlehawks 1942 was followed by Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain in 1989, recreating the battle between the Luftwaffe and RAF for Britain’s air supremacy. The trilogy ended with Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe in 1991, in which the player could choose to fly on either the American or German side. The trilogy was lauded for its historical accuracy and detailed supplementary material—Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, for instance, was accompanied by a 224-page historical manual. The World War II trilogy was released with cover art by illustrator Marc Ericksen, in a compilation titled Air Combat Classics in 1994.

The World War II trilogy was created by a team led by Lawrence Holland, a game designer who later founded Totally Games. Totally Games would continue to develop games almost exclusively to LucasArts for a decade, with the most noted outcome of the symbiosis being the X-Wing series.

Here we have my very beloved Lucasfilm Simulation games. I’m really a fan of not only the artwork on these boxes but also the sheer content – also Lucasfilm made some really sturdy boxes which for a collector like me is pure joy. I’ll of course be showing much more Lucas later on:)

Battle of Britain, one of my absolute favourite flight sims of the eighties, with its beautiful artwork and great subject matter, was played countless hours in our home. I still remember how I read an article about it just before it got released, and being a boy completely sucked up in WWII, ships, planes and the technologies, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it was possible to make a game like this. Luckily my dad bought the game for me and my brother and on we went to become aces of the RAF and the German Luftwaffe.
Reading the manual today is like reading a very well written and documented book, the time and energy which went in to content like this is remarkable and totally impossible in this day and age.
Strangely is not a very sought after piece and can be acquired fairly cheap. Finding a sealed one seems pretty hard today but is possible without breaking the bank. Even thou I really don’t collect that much of accessories but I do have an original Battle of Britain T-Shirt.

Collecting, Retro gaming

A bit from my personal collection – Spectrum Holobyte

Spectrum Holobyte, Inc, founded in 1983 in Boulder, Colorado was an american video game developer and publisher. Best known for its simulation games, notably the WWII sub sim Gato in 1984. The # 1 in Billboard Magazine, Falcon series of flight simulators and for publishing the first version of Tetris outside the Soviet Union in 1987.

In December 1993, Spectrum HoloByte merged with MicroProse to form MicroProse Inc.
For the following years, games from both companies were published under their respective brands, but in 1996 all titles were consolidated under the MicroProse brand.

Hasbro Interactive acquired the merged company in 1998, and what had been Spectrum HoloByte ceased to exist when the development studio in Alameda was closed in 1999. Hasbro subsequently sold all the assets of the various Hasbro Interactive studios to Infogrames, including the Atari brand.

Here we have most of my sealed Spectrum collection.
Gato and F-16 Falcon in all their CGA glory was played quite a bit in my home in the mid eighties. My dad being a software engineer (and had been working for IBM) always had the newest and baddest IBM/PC equipment. I just loved using the IBM/PC. As probably one of the very few kids (at least here in Denmark) I had in my room the IBM XT 5150 with the Intel 8088 4.77MHz cpu, paired with the IBM 5151 Monochrome display (my brother and I still have both the computer and the monitor).. that computer is among my favourite things.

Collecting, Retro gaming

A bit from my personal collection – Legend Entertainment

Legend was founded in 1989 by Bob Bates and Mike Verdu after the end of Infocom. The goal was to design interactive fiction in the Infocom tradition. Legend’s first products were all illustrated text adventures, some of which designed by Infocom veteran Steve Meretzky (known for Planetfall, The Hitchhiker’s Guide, Leather Goddesses of Phobos…)

In 1993 Legend switched to a new development system for graphic-only adventures. Several of their new adventure games were based on book licenses, games like Frederik Pohl’s Gateway, Terry Brooks’ Shannara, Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon (designed and written by Sierra fame Josh Mandel), Piers Anthony’s Xanth, and Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s The Death Gate Cycle.

The company was acquired by GT Interactive in 1998 and began changing their focus to action games. They developed a first-person shooter based on Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and finished the development of the second part in the Unreal series in 2002. Late in 2003, they released a free expansion for Unreal II: The Awakening, known as XMP (eXpanded MultiPlayer). In 1999, GT Interactive was purchased outright by Infogrames, who later acquired and rebranded themselves as Atari.

On Friday, January 16, 2004, Legend Entertainment was shut down. A brief press release from Atari cites that it was “purely a business decision”, and that “Legend had recently completed its only current project and had no new projects in the pipeline.”

I managed to grab a few signed and sealed items from Legend producer Glen Dahlgren a few years back.

Collecting, Retro gaming

A bit from my personal collection – SSI – The small box years

SSI – The small box years

To continue my tour thru my sealed SSI collection – here’s most of my items from the small box era.

SSI started to move away from the large boxed format around 1984 to a smaller box format, the same format as the later Gold box games were released in.
If you ask me a really great format, sturdy boxes and as always with great artwork.

SSI went on developing what they knew best, simulation, strategy and war games but in the mid 1980s, two of SSI’s more prolific developers left to form their own company, SSG

SSI expanded into role-playing games in 1984 with titles such as Wizard’s Crown, Questron and the Phantasie series and in 1987 SSI acquired the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons license from TSR.

Collecting, Retro gaming

A bit from my personal collection – Avalon Hill

To keep it old school and within the time of the release of the very first boxed home computer games, Avalon Hill was right there in the mist of the action. Like SSI Avalon Hill used a bigger box format than Epyx, inspired by the board games of the era.

Unlike SSI and Epyx Avalon Hill didn’t release any games in Zip-lock bags.

To my knowledge Avalon Hill released 6 games in 1980, all which are presented here in their glory, these were also released later in the early eighties for other computer architectures.

While Epyx went the CRPG route with a lot of their first released games both SSI and Avalon Hill went the strategic/war game route. Both SSI and Microcomputer Games Inc., which were Avalon Hill’s computer development division, had their roots planted in strategic and war games

Funny story is that Avalon Hils first computer game North Atlantic Convoy Raider puts you in the captain seat of the mighty German battleship Bismarck..SSI first released boxed computer game Computer Bismarck put you in the pursuit of Bismarck to hunt it down and destroy it…coincidence probably but given the fact that SSI unsuccessful approached Avalon Hill in 1979 to publish its war games makes it indeed a very fun fact.

Here we have my sealed Avalon Hill collection.