Hobby Projects.


mamebox
Arcade machine.

Where to start?

My hobbies evolved into my profession.

Mash together interests in making things, drawing fantasy concepts and tinkering with technology and you'll probably get a product designer, more or less. All that aside, sometimes I'd just want to make something for fun; without feasibility studies, manufacturing limitations, and market analysis.

That's where hobbies come in.

Video Games & Computers.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s and living across the road from a block of shops, I couldn't help but be influenced by video gaming. I would pump 20c coins into those hulking black boxes every chance I got. My first experience was when "Space Invaders" came to Boris' deli across the road. I was 6 and the thing I saw before me was something from a magical electronic dream. Once I learned the way of it, I could easily get my $0.20 worth and spend an hour playing that thing.

Eventually, the machines improved and home computers popped into existence. The latter allowing for unlimited play, bless 'em.

Suffice to say, video games played a big role in my formative years. At high school, I was known to spend an entire lunch time in the computer lab, playing "Spy Hunter" on the C64 with Hodgo and Rosso. Whole weekends would dissolve away once I had my own Commodore.

C64c

Commodore C64

C64 in low-res
The brilliant C64c.
Colours were few
and pixels chunky
back in the 80's.

It wasn't long until like everything else, I found ways to modify my C64 (actually C64c). My first project was a very cautious one, my Dad would kill me if I busted the thing. I made a simple 1541-II disk drive reset switch dongle that plugged into the back of my drive, it worked ok but years later the drive became increasingly flakey, I wonder if it fried something? I followed up with a bold attempt to install a reset into the C64 itself. Opening that case was a lesson in curiosity overcoming fear, soldering to the board and cutting a switch mount into the case were both quite nerve wracking. It worked out ok, now my C64 could be reset with the press of a button. I went on to create a custom caddy/desk for the machine and all its parts with a built in joystick. I spent several sleepless nights on that machine making games in SEUCK (Shoot 'Em Up Construction Kit), I look back now and wonder how I had the patience to draw 60+ sprites and 100s of chunky 4x8 background blocks, pixel by pixel using only a joystick? One day I'll try to get those games off the old floppies and onto this site, because the net needs more SEUCK games.

Update: Nick over at 64hdd.com kindly imaged my SEUCK games. Here they are in the .d64 disk image format used with C64 emulators. I haven't seen these in years, the first thing that hit me is how difficult they are and how poorly thought out the enemy attack patterns are. I did manage to get a bit further each time but these games are no masterpiece. Enjoy, (or not) as the case may be.

myth
Myth.

black tiger
Black Tiger.

:::fade to poignant memories:::

- MYTH on C64 has me up until 4am on weekends and holidays. -> My Myth Fan Site.

- Black Tiger exists and is played obsessively. -> My Black Tiger Fan Site.

- Karnov exists and is played obsessively.

- Double Dragon exists and is played obsessively.

- I flirt with dice based gaming, painting 100's of miniatures.

- I buy a s/h Amiga 500... and it's played obsessively, Syndicate is still awesome.

- I buy a s/h arcade cabinet with "Magic Sword" which is played a fair bit, but not obsessively.

Once the glamour had worn off the A500 it got converted to JAMMA and installed in the cabinet. Two player tournaments of Speedball 2 on an arcade cab = sublime!

 

Next: Emulation.