James Bray's here with yet more Commodore news and some legal downloads
It's not that I've been wired into the Commodore scene, but rather that there's been a lot to talk about lately. Anyway, it's come to my attention that there's a coding competition starting for the SuperCPU accelerator (a Commodore 64 and 128 upgrade) over at www.supercpu.de/compo for the sole purpose of building up the software base for the device. There are four categories to enter - games, demos, GEOS and Jos/WiNGs - and all entrants have until the end of the year to come up with something. According to the Google group's thread that announced it (over at comp.sys.cbm), there are five would-be contestants already scratching their heads as to what to create for the hardware platform, which is a good start already.
People interesting in purchasing a SuperCPU will note that the devices are available again with a specified waiting time. More details can be found at www.cmdrkey.com or www.cmdweb.de. However, there isn't a seller here in the UK, so they'll need to be imported from the USA, which means that you'll probably have to pay the taxman on top of the shipping costs.
The popular fanzine Commodore Scene is also available again from www.commodorescene.org.uk. Many Commodore fans have remarked that it's good to see the 'zine back in action, and it now covers more machines than just the C64 and 128 as all of Commodore's 8-bits now have a home there, from the PET onwards.
Steve Wallis, a one-time Amstrad CPC and MSX programmer, has released many of his old 8-bit games (some ex-commercial titles available from Kuma Computers) on his website for use on an appropriate emulator over at www.socialiststeve.me.uk/games.htm. The games included are Fruity Frank, Buster Block, Star Avenger, Galaxia, Rock Raid, Hyperviper and Spooks And Ladders, all of which are available for free as quick and easy downloads. The website has a handy quick-start guide to getting the games up and running on your emulator for Caprice32 (CPC) and openMSX (MSX) too.
After last week's announcement, Cronosoft have sprung back to life to with a mysterious post about four new C64 games as well as some VIC-20 releases, as well as an announcement of price rises for Commodore disk games. This should now mean that www.cronosoft.co.uk will finally be updated. Until it is, hang around the forums to find out more.
Homebrew games don't just happen on machines that have a keyboard and start up in BASIC, as many of you will be aware, but unfortunately new games for most popular consoles have been largely missed by this column over the years, so it's great to see so many public domain games in one place at www.pdroms.de.
This site have free wares for most popular consoles from the real retro machines such as the Atari 600 and Celeco Vision through to the not-so-retro PSP and Nintendo DS. The site is looking to host a homebrew competition some time soon, so there's certain to be new games on the way. So, if you have a way to emulate a certain console, or a way to transfer the ROM images to real media to play on the original hardware, then this is a great place to start in getting legal and free downloads.