Minter Mania - Jeff Minter - Commodore Horizons

The world's hairiest programmer turns his back on children's comics

and starts a series for CH... anything could happen!

GREETINGS again, this time from the august pages of Commodore Horizons (well I enjoyed writing for Zzap, but it seems they didn't like my newsletter so i'm afraid I got the CHOP!)... but I don't mind at all, i'm still getting through!

Confessions of a Compunet Junkie... I've had a modem for quite a while now, and up until the Commodore show I didn't really use it much, but I logged on the week after the show and... well... I haven't been to bed before Net shutdown at 3am since, and i'm definitely in line for a mega-phone-bill next quarter...

The trouble is this thing got called Chatline. You can go on, upload frames into a directory, anyone hangin' around reads them and uploads their reply which you can read immediately. Sort of like on-line CB but with a longer time delay and not so many wallies (although there are some!). It's nice in that you can send text, graphic frames or even programs, and that several people can join in the chat at once.
Compunet - Log On To The Live One - Screen
Compunet Mailbox Screen

It gets quite 'clubby', there are several hard-core late-nighters who you regularly meet (there's even a group of late night mammals, that's YAK, ANTELOPE, RATT, COUGAR, YETI, etc.) then there's the famous Fogg with his sheep and Bogg's zarjaz music demos... Most people have their own little directory somewhere (mine's called YAK'S HAIRY BIT) into which they upload demos, graphics, anything interesting that people may want to see, and usually for free, too.

You Can wander about the database at will, downloading odds'n'ends of whatever you're interested in, then logoff and try them out. Of course you can buy commercial software too in a special area called Software Park, and most of it can be saved to disk or tape therefore bypassing the ol' "is it out of disk yet?" dilemma neatly. And anything which cuts out distributors and chain stores has got be zarjaz.

The only bad things I can say about the Net are that it does slow up a bit if you go on and there's a lot of other users about (like say a Sat afternoon) but if you're like me you'll do most of your nethackin' at night...  which leads me onto my other gripe: it's staggeringly addictive (the bags under poor Yak's eyes will attest to that!!) and you'll have to watch it if you're not to cop that mega-phone-bill!

If you're considering going Netwize, the advice of the Yak is Go for it!! It's ZARJAZ! and i'll see you on the Chatline at 2am ok???

YakZappin'... Well I got my copy of Elite and sure it's zarjaz but it's just not Star Raiders... Seriously though, it's well put together; if you liked it on the Beeb then you'll love it on the C64, the docking sequence is hyper-hyper, especially if you've a Docking Computer and you put that ace '2001' music on: the computer docks at breakneck speed to the accompaniment of the Blue Danube waltz...
Compunet Modem
Commodore Communications Modem

Crystal Castles Coin-Op - Atari - 1983
Crystal Castles Coin-Op © Copyright 1983 Atari

Mind you, the docking computer HAS been known to blow it and splatter your atoms all over the side of the space station, too! I'd still like to see some 'real' bullets a la Star Raiders instead of the old lines-drawn-to-the-middle-of-the-screen jobs we got at the moment... Such gripes are only minor foibles of personal taste though; Elite on the C64 is every bit as impressive as it was on the Beeb...

All this talk of mega-gamin' but today still found the Yak sittin' down and contentedly plugging away at Incentive's Moon Cresta... you know, that old arcade game which came out in the Galaxian era, where you blasted at the little fluffy balls and had to make your rockets dock every now and again. I know it's only a simple shoot-'em up but still the Yak kept pressing that ol' 6 to restart... (oh yeah Incentive how about a fire button restart next time huh?? better for us junkies)...

Still into arcade conversions I now got that Crystal Castles I wuz on about, and boy is it ace (if a little mega-fast!!). Put it this way, I played the C64 version awhile then walked up to the actual game in Southampton Ice Rink and immediately scored six times as much as I ever managed on the coin-op previously... that shows a really good conversion, when you can practise on your C64 version and reap the benefits in the arcade! I hope someone does as good a job with the mega-zarjaz Marble Madness arcade game - the Yak can't get  enough of that one, many Minter 10p's have disappeared into the Madness's electronic gullet...