If you’d told me 25 years ago that in 2012, I’d be excitedly unwrapping a brand new Commodore 64 game, I’d have thought you were completely nuts. Yet here I am doing exactly that.
The game in question is the highly enjoyable Canabalt, an autorunner that started life as a flash game before evolving into a fully conceived and very well received iOS release. And now it’s evolved again – or devolved if you think that making the leap to a platform that made its debut 30 years at the 1982 CES Show is a backwards step.
The game was programmed by Paulko64 and published by RGCD, a group of dedicated programmers and writers who originally formed to create Retro Gamer CD, a hand-published CD magazine that ran for six issues between ’06 and ’09. With the magazine taking too much time to produce – something I can certainly relate to – the group has turned its attention to releasing retro games, and over the last couple of years has produced an Atari ST game called Rox, and Robotz DX, an old-school PC game. RGCD’s third, and arguably greatest release is Canabalt, or C64anabalt, as this version is otherwise known.
The game is available to download for use with C64 emulators, but the moment I saw that it was also available as a cartridge, I absolutely HAD to have it for my collection. My first job in the games industry was at ZZAP! 64, a magazine dedicated to Commodore’s brilliant home micro, and during my time there the machine became engrained into my gaming DNA. I just love the idea that three decades after the debut of the system, there are programmers out there who are not only still making games for it, but are dedicated enough to hand craft them into cartridges.
And here it is: A fantastic piece of retro-craftsmanship that includes box, cool little instruction booklet and, of course, the game itself on a slice of gloriously old-school hardware. Opening up the game triggered many memories of some of the early C64 cartridges I used to play back in the day, and while I rode that wave of nostalgia, I thought that it’d be fun to pay old-school tribute to this most recent addition to the C64 software lineup by giving it a ZZAP! 64-style review – the first time I’ve done that since the summer of 1988! So here goes!
If you’re interested in learning more about Canabalt and RGCD, you can visit them here.
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