I have an idea: what if we would recommend our favourite games to eachother?
Popular cores (C64, Amiga, Spectrum...) don't need this publicity, as you can google many recommendations and toplists. But rare, uncommon or near unknown computers deserve this kind of commercial in my opinion.
To give a good example, I describe some of my favourite games on Videoton TVC
But first, a short description of the computer:
In the middle of the eighties (of course the technology was behind the West, there was a few years difference) in Hungary was manufactured the "Hungarian" computer called TVC. The Videoton company bought in 1984 an older licence from the manufacturer of Enterprise. After a "lot of localization" in 1988 3000 pieces 32K version and 9000 pieces 64K version was sold, mainly for government orders, within the framework of the School Computer Program.
[Actually this was the third computer in this program: the first one, called HT1080z was a clone of the EACA VideoGenie I computer, which was a slightly modified clone of the popular TRS-80 Model 1 with Level II BASIC. The second was the Primo, which was created by a hungarian computer developer called SZTAKI.]
The TVC's original design was built on almost TTL chips only, there were only two "custom" chips: The CPU (Z80) and the character address generator (Motorola 6845 CRTC). Obviously it also had ROM and DRAM, but apart from those, everything else was created by the members of the 74LS TTL family.
It had a relatively advanced BASIC interpreter. Using the graphics from the BASIC had a really new way, because the 'internal' resolution was always 1024x960, and the computer calculated the real values, regarding to the graphics mode. The character matrix is 10x8 bits.
The accessories of the computer (for example, cassette player) was manufactured by the BRG and it was sold only for 2900 HUF. This computer had a lot of parts in it, so there were a lot of problems too with these machines.
The TVC series was sold by the Centrum Áruházak in the wide range of price (16 000 - 14 000 HUF). There were about 40-50 official programs available, for example word processor, letter inventory, CP/M, FORTH. Mainly the education software titles were organized by OPI office. The production cost were very high, and computer sales were dropped, when the Commodore Plus4 and the Enterprise 128 were imported to Hungary on discount prices, when the Primo computer (other Hungarian computer mentioned earlier) was sold, and when the borders opened for the private importing. The golden age of this computer lasted only 3-4 years long.
Regarding the near total lack of official game software support (this computer was manufactured for educational purposes), and the advanced built-in BASIC interpreter, lots of games were made or ported from other systems by amateur programmers, written mainly in BASIC.
TVC's parameters just briefly:
- 3 graphics modes (Horiz x Vert x Colors): 512x240x2, 256x240x4 and 128x240x16
- 64K RAM és 16K video ram, plus 16K+4K Basic+OS ROM. Memory is paged in 16K banks,
- programmable sound generator (using only TTL chips)
- Motorola 6845 CRTC character address generator
- Composite video and analogue RGB (+SYNC) output
- Built-in joystick plus two dedicated Atari style DB9 joy port
- 4 card slots for expansion cards
You can download the necessary files
from joco's webpage:
The PAL SCART version of the core:http://joco.homeserver.hu/fpga/download/tvc.rbf
The VGA version (800x600@56Hz):http://joco.homeserver.hu/fpga/download/tvcvga.rbf
And the ROM file (place it to the root of the card, as the core.rbf):http://joco.homeserver.hu/fpga/download/tvc.rom
To load & run games, it's a good idea to RESET the core twice after starting from the MiST's MENU (this erases the memory completely), and after the boot logo fully appears (a capital letter V built from the firm's name VIDEOTON) press SPACE. As the BASIC prompt 'ok' appears, press MiST's MENU and select the 'Load *.CAS' option. Browse in the game you want to try from the .zip file I attached to the end of this post. (The loading method is the same 'RAM injection' technic as used by the C64 core to load .prg files.). Type 'run' and enjoy the gameplay!
And the games (10+1) in alphabetical order
Similar to Boulder Dash with some complications:
You must dig to collect the gems (marked with red), while the 'mine monster' (green halloween figure) is chasing you! If you fall more than 6 levels, or the monster cathces you, you die! You can climb upwards only using the ladders on both sides.
Not a complex game, but harder than it looks. It's wtitten in BASIC, you may list it before 'run' if you want.
Controls: rear DB-9 joystick port.DOMINÓ
It's a logical/puzzle game, which was very popular in Hungary as a television game: you could dial the studio and if you were lucky you got into broadcast and the whole country cheered to win!
There's a C64-version as well:http://c64hq.hu/games/d/dom_.zip
The game can be controlled using the keyboard, and it's a bit complicated:
You can select a tile pressing A, B or C (if there's no matching domino, you can buy one pressing D, E or F). The following step is to press G is you want to lay it to the board's left, and J to put down to the right side. If no tile matches, you can buy a joker by pressing key Y (or Z if your keyboard has english layout), and place it to left/right the same way described above. The next tile should be placed as mentioned earlier (first A/B/C/D/E/F, then G/J), and you need to select which side of the domino should contact the joker: W for the upper and S for the bottom half. If you run out of time, or have no option to continue the game, you can start a new one answering I to the question(Igen means Yes).
It's written in BASIC.FESTŐ (PAINTER)
It reminds me to PacMan or the C64 classical Super Gridder.
Your task is to paint the inner walls of a building, followed by skulls and ghosts. The monsters can be shooted, but they won't disappear, just stop. Do not touch them! Sometimes an another painter appears, and he restores the wall's original color. Shoot him as well!
Written in BASIC, controllable using the rear DB-9 port.HUNGARORING
Single player racing game, at the start you can select the number of opponent cars (AUTÓK) and laps (KÖRÖK) moving the joy around. Pushing fire the race starts. Controls are via rear DB-9 port: up-acceleration, down-brakes, left/right-steering, fire-gear.
One of the few official games, created by Octasoft, distributed by Novotrade. Ported to Enterprise 128 also.LADDERMAN
Similar to Lode Runner, but without digging. You have to collect the golds before the policeman cathces you. You start from the bottom left corner of the playfield, and you can climb up and down using ladders, and fall down at the end of platforms or near the ladders. You control the protagonist with the rear joy.
This type of game was very popular in the Eastern-European countries.MAGIC BALL
Another official game (published by 'a' Studio), has an EP128 version as well.
It's basically a Trailblazer clone, the game requires the player to direct a ball along a series of suspended passages.
At the beginning you can set some parameters moving the joy connected to rear DB-9 port up and down, and selecting items by pressing fire. My recommendation is to set the first options ('IRÁNYÍTÁS') to 'JOY 1', and then select the last ('INDÍTÁS') one to start the game.MARS
Wizard of Wor clone, written partially in BASIC. Has only 2-player mode, but there's no time limit to step into the maze, so you can play it alone as well. Pressing 'I' at the title screen you can read the instructions in Hungarian, but the rules are very simple: kill before you get killed! You can set the speed from 1-5. The game can be controlled using the keyboard or one of the joystick ports (the cyan player uses the front joy port, and press CTRL to step into the maze, the magenta one uses the rear joy and steps in if ALT is pushed).
The game screen has graphic glitches at the top and bottom of the screen, but it's not seriously disturbing.MR. ALEX
Original software, published by the manufacturer firm Videoton/Andromeda Software, later ported to EP128.
Nice Jumping Jack clone, you can control the protagonist using the front joy port, with left/right directions, and fire to jump. Your goal is to reach the roof jumping through the holes of the ceilings/floors.NINJA
It's a platformer inspired by Bruce Lee, as the TVC never had an official port.
Your task is to control a ninja with a joystick connected to the rear DB-9 port. You must collect the blue lampions on all screens, in case of success an exit will open to the next room. The ninja can use the lifting platforms or can fall down as well. The guards do not move until you reach them, if you are close enough the control changes in favor of fighting: fire + up: jumping & kicking the head, fire + left / right: kicking the opponent's body, fire + down: sweeping the leg of the enemy. There are some shurikens on the floor, picking them up and throwing (firing) them from distant you can wound your enemies safely. Our energy is displayed at the top of the screen with a blue stripe, it can be inceased by picking up cookies (marked with red). The first levels are easy, but later it will be difficult to complete the rooms, and get into the next one.PENTOMINO
It's a logical/puzzle game: the goal is to piece together given figures out of the 12 standard pentomino elements.
The game is controlled using the rear DB-9 port: you can move to the four direction (up/down/left/right), pushing fire on a yellow element you can pick it up (color turns to green, and you can move it with joystick), in this case keeping fire pressed + directions the result will be: up-mirroring, left/right-rotate, down-placing down the piece.ROHAMM (ATTACKK)
Invaders type game, before start on the menu screen press '2' to select external (rear) joystick, you can turn off music with '7' if you want and start the game with key '8'.
So these are my favourites, unfortunately some of the best titles (i.e. Firebow, Heartland, Spherical, War in 2100) are not compatible with current FPGA core, as they are not available in one file .CAS version. Other games (i.e. Körmöczi aranya, Törpe) are text adventure games, you need a decent knowledge of the hunagrian language to enjoy them.
I hope you will find some of the games interesting enough to try them.
Let's see some screenshots as attachment to illustrate the games!
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