Legends of the C64 - Taskset

In the history of home computing there are numerous examples of innovative and technically impressive companies appearing and then suddenly disappearing without trace, usually because of financial reasons. One of these was Taskset founded by Andy Walker, with the obscure slogan, Taskset – the bug stops here! – a company that developed highly original, technically sophisticated software for the Commodore 64 computer, way beyond what other companies were producing at the time.

A notable feature that set Taskset games apart from their contemporaries was the range of user options available on some of their games. Everything from the number of lives, skill level, sound setting, start screen, and load and save highscore table.

Some games, like Bozo’s Night Out and Poster Paster, included a special registration card, which you could fill out and send back to Taskset. You would then be informed of any future game releases and qualify for competitions - one of the winning prizes was a VIP trip to the Taskset offices in Bridlington. Where you could see how the games were made, meet the programming team responsible and also demonstrate how good you were at playing Taskset games!

Taskset Registration Card
Taskset Registration Card
Taskset Commodore User Advert
Taskset Commodore User Advert

It is interesting that Taskset ended up being such an impressive and fascinating company, as their first effort Cosmic Convoy was hardly a revelation! In fact, to be honest, it was a mediocre space game based around transporting goods. Graphically it was nothing special – it showed none of the extraordinary capabilities that Tasket became famous for, but it did use interrupt driven sound, which was a first for a C64 game.

Cosmic Causeway Taskset
Cosmic Convoy by Taskset

Jammin Taskset
Jammin by Taskset

After such an uninspiring start, things really looked up for Taskset, with the game Jammin, based entirely around a musical concept as the name would suggest. It involved collecting musical notes and moving around a technicoloured maze.

This was the game that gave an indication of Taskset’s potential – the graphics were bold and colourful and the “drum beating” music was excellent. The legendary musical maestro Rob Hubbard apparently stated at the time - that when he first heard the music on Jammin, he started to realise the potential of the 64’s SID chip.

However, it was Super Pipeline which really put them on the map (in the article 'Taskset In Profile' there is a wonderful insight in to how the idea for this game came about).

It showed great use of the 64’s vic and sid chip capabilities and was an important benchmark that the company set for itself and the home computer game scene in general.

It had all the classic Taskset ingredients that would become familiar in their future games. Great originality, technically impressive in terms of graphics and sound and addictive gameplay.
Super Pipeline Taskset
Super Pipeline by Taskset