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The Making of Ghostbusters on the Commodore 64

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the how-to-run-a-business-empire-on-ectoplasm dept.

Classic Games (Games) 89

Next Generation recently began running content from the respected British gaming magazine Edge, and today they're sharing The Making of Ghostbusters. The article is a look back to a barely-remembered but (for the time) forward thinking movie tie-in for the Commodore 64. Instead of a lame 'action' title following the movie's plot line, the game was set in the world of the Ghostbusters, and allowed players to build a financial empire through ghostbusting. "Crucially, for a game with so many parts - driving, simple resource management, shooting and trapping ghosts - the pieces snapped together well, and the money-making, business-upgrading elements gave the game a lasting replayability. Activision's Ghostbusters is polished, intelligently-paced, and suggests a measured and meticulous development approach: something which wasn't the case at all. 'A typical C64 game took nine months from start to finish,' laughs David Crane, the game's designer. 'Ghostbusters took six weeks!' Crane is one of the most prolific developers of the early videogame era. Creating titles such as Little Computer People and Pitfall made him Activision's star programmer."

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This game fell into the (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085461)

waaay to difficult to pick up category for me. I only managed to drive around, until I got tired of it and skipped to the next game.

Re:This game fell into the (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085739)

Actually, it took me just a little while to figure it out.....but then it took me only a little while longer to get bored with it. Capturing the ghosts was pretty much patterned. And then you'd get the Stay-Puff guy...and....and....and....

Seeing that it only took 6 weeks to make, I now realize why it was so patterened.....they must have made a mint with it, though. With a dev cycle that short, and "free" marketing just by the least it was slightly better than most movie tie-ins.

Luckily, I was just playing someones "off site back-up".


Re:This game fell into the (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086017)

Yeah, it was a good game, but too easy.

The way it handled your account was pretty neat, though - you'd get a code that you'd punch in next time you played (on any copy of the game). But as you said the difficulty didn't really increase so after two or three cycles it didn't matter.

Re:This game fell into the (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19093047)

I played this one on the Apple II and it was fairly entertaining. Not sure why you would have such a hard time with getting some action. All you had to do was drive to any house that was flashing (indicating it was being haunted) and trap the ghost. Take ghosts back to GBHQ and go get another. Rinse and repeat.

There were quite a few options you could get, but bait was basically required. If you didn't have bait and the marshmallow alert went off staypuft would trash a building and you would get charged. The portable laser confinement system was nice to have but so expensive you could not afford anything else. If you had the vacuum, any of the four ghosts that comes in from the corners that you crossed while driving, you sucked up, and this slowed the PK rise and let you catch more ghosts before the final battle. The goggles did help with ghost catching but were not required. I don't remember what the other options were.

When PK energy maxed you were pulled to the middle to battle staypuft. To do this you had to get two of your three men to run under the hopping staypuft, which only required timing.

Here you go, 12_36.htm []

Re:This game fell into the (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19097785)

You mean that this time, the goggles actually DID something??

+1 FTW! ;-)

Re:This game fell into the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19101611)

I thought they let you see places that may become haunted soon, as pink (as opposed to flashing red) and sometimes there were ghosts there to be caught even without the call!

Re:This game fell into the (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19106821)

At least on the apple ][, they were "image intensifier" goggles. With them the slimer was easy to see and was animated the same as the men. Without the goggles, the slimer was only drawn lightly, and very intermittently, as a flicker around on the screen. He frequently disappeared for several seconds at a time. It was still possible to catch him without the goggles, but they definitely made it easier. You ony had one shot to trigger the trap, and if you missed, one of your men got slimed. Strictly speaking not necessary, but it was a cheap option and made the game a lot easier, so a good buy.

Empire building... classic meme. (2, Insightful)

macz (797860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085483)

Simple games with builtin psychological rewards always do well. Taipan is a good example of this... empire building is a classic videogame meme.

Re:Empire building... classic meme. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19086917)

THEME, you dumb fuck. Not every little thing is a "meme".

Re:Empire building... classic meme. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19088305)

Do you even know what a meme is, dipshit? Just because you have a little pet peeve on the subject doesn't mean the usage was incorrect.

Re:Empire building... classic meme. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19093011)

It was incorrect usage. "Meme" is used to emphasize an idea that proliferates, usually widely and rapidly, among individuals, and that can even mutate. Examples of memes would be catchphrases or those "motivational poster" image macros.

"Theme", as used here, refers to a recurring idea in an intellectual work or group of works, such as a musical motif, or, as in this example, a videogame characterisitc.

GP is correct, OP is a dumb fuck.

Re:Empire building... classic meme. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19103595)

It's not a fucking meme, dipshit. FOAD.

I remember this game. (4, Insightful)

Devir (671031) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085519)

It brings back memories of driving the ghost busting mobile down the streets and capturing ghosts. building and customizing the car and people for better catching was amazing back then. I'm feeling old now.

Re:I remember this game. (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085687)

That game was a lot of fun. You could get a Beetle, station wagon, the hearse, or a sports car to drive around. Then it seems like there were add ons for each car that I don't remember what they did.

Re:I remember this game. (2, Interesting)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085885)

It was an awesome game, but very challenging. I remember finally getting the hang of it after a few weeks. You really had to think fast to decide where to drive to next, around the city.

I remember the marshmallow man would show up, too... What did you have to do with him again? I think you had to place a bait somewhere so he didn't smash a building.

I also remember listening to the intro sequence for 30 mins straight, watching that bouncing ball. That was some fantastic C64 music!

Youtube video (4, Informative)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086107)

Here's a Youtube video [] for anyone who wants to relive old memories. :-)

Re:Youtube video (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19089651)

If you'd rather relive them less vicariously, grab an emulator for your OS and then check this out: 0 []

Re:Youtube video (0, Offtopic)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19093835)

So you get modded +1, and a post that amounts to "I'm getting old" gets +4 Insightful.

I love you Slashdot.

Re:I remember this game. (1)

shikadi (1100921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086273)

The best way to play the game is to get the pink sports car and the ghost vacuum and then loop through the city sucking up ghosts as you drive. Unfortunately it's a bad strategy for winning since you need to make a lot more money then to have a profitable franchise.

Re:I remember this game. (1)

madprof (4723) | more than 7 years ago | (#19090871)

The best way to make money was ALWAYS the station wagon, making sure you were totally kitted out and then being quick with picking up the ghosts on the way into Zuul while you got to teh next place late in the game.
After that it just became a little boring. I got to $128,000 and stopped playing but up until that point it was awesome.

Re:I remember this game. (1)

torqer (538711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086691)

This game and the Transformers C64 game are some of my earliest, and best, video game memories

Re:I remember this game. (1)

makellan (550215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19091421)

This was a great game at the time. I played the Apple II version for months. Figuring out how to bypass the marshmallow man was by far the most difficult part for me as I didn't recognize that there was a door behind his feet. Graphics limitations have always plagued video games, whether the player is stuck trying to figure out what some arcane symbol means that is eventually determined to be a door, or a pattern repeats too often or too well and you miss a hiding spot in a modern FPS.

6 weeks?! (5, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085529)

Ghostbusters took six weeks!

And that was one of my favorites back on the C64. It was very addictive. This really shows it's the overall creativity and playability that matters most in a game, not necessarily the complexity or graphics.

Interesting coincidence that it's posted on the same day as someone from Microsoft belittling the Wii for its lesser graphics and simplicity. Doesn't make it less fun!

Re:6 weeks?! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19086035)

I agree. Some of my favorite games are 5-10 years old. Are the graphics mind blowing? no. But the graphics don't make the game. I wish modern game makers would quit making graphics laden games with no plot, no strategy, no replayability. Most new games won't even run on a middle of the road PC... (unless you count turning every single graphics option down to "low" - but at that point you've just thrown out most game's only redeeming feature.)

Re:6 weeks?! (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086147)

Interesting coincidence that it's posted on the same day as someone from Microsoft belittling the Wii for its lesser graphics and simplicity. Doesn't make it less fun!
Funny, though, that this game is the one that finally made me jealous (game-wise) of my friends with C64s... and it was because it had great gameplay AND good graphics. Until then, I was quite happy with the PET2001, since there plenty of text and ASCII games that kept me content (never mind writing my own games in BASIC, which was perhaps *more* fun). I wanted the arcade experience on my computer, and the limited (non-existant) graphics on the PET kept me from having it.

So it goes both ways with Ghostbusters for gameplay vs graphics, rom my perspective.

Re:6 weeks?! (0, Flamebait)

madprof (4723) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086169)

Although in those days the sound was amazing. The speech bit really blew me away as a kid.
Listening to the Spectrum version made me realise how lucky I was to be a Commodore owner.

Re:6 weeks?! (2, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086367)

"64k of memory should be enough for anyone."

Re:6 weeks?! (3, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086605)

Yeah, 6 weeks is impressive. Too bad Atari didn't have this team working on ET.

Re:6 weeks?! (1)

dan_bethe (134253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19091569)

Too bad the E.T. you're talking about was made for Atari 2600 with 128 bytes of RAM and all, rather than a state of the art complete home computer system five or so years later.

Re:6 weeks?! (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 7 years ago | (#19092539)

Then it's too bad Atari didn't have a band of time traveling ninjas to kidnap this team and have them do E.T.

Re:6 weeks?! (1)

dan_bethe (134253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19092907)

Well they did one better... Stephen Spielberg and my buddy John O'Neill worked on "E.T. Phone Home" for Atari home computers! []
I hear it's alright.

Re:6 weeks?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19095973)

Well they did one better... Stephen Spielberg and my buddy John O'Neill worked on "E.T. Phone Home" for Atari home computers!

Yeah, too bad that sucked too.

I do agree with your original post referencing developing on the 2600 vs the 64 though. In many cases I attribute screwed up Atari games to Atari management and not the poor guys (or in the case of Carla or Carol girls) tasked with writing to their whims.

Then again, everything Carol or Carla brought out was rockin'... so I guess I will limit that statement to "guys". ;)

Re:6 weeks?! (1)

dan_bethe (134253) | more than 7 years ago | (#19098567)

Haha! Come on Howard did a great job with E.T. There's nothing particularly wrong with that game, just that any point of chronic frustration whatsoever in a 2600 game seems magnified by the tiny overall scope that's possible on 2600. I'd rather climb out of pits repeatedly sometimes than play a thousand identical levels of most other games. It's just an industry pariah, a fall guy, a scapegoat for poor management and risk assement and for the stock market crash! When I met him at Classic Gaming Expo 2002, I told him not to take any crap at all for it. The guy also did Raiders of the Lost Ark and Yars' Revenge. He's a genius, and a male. ^_^ I read somewhere that the force field in Yars' Revenge is a visualization of the contents of ram. Neato.

Re:6 weeks?! (1)

BiscuitTheCat (628652) | more than 7 years ago | (#19095415)

Team, nuthin' David "Pitfall" Crane pretty much *was* the programming team (well, apart from the intro sequence!)... But yeah, if he'd done the 2600 version of ET, it would have been much better, seeing as Pitfall was up there among the best for the 2600. I remember being jealous of the C64 version... The Speccy version was pretty crappy in comparison. Andrew

Re:6 weeks?! (1)

macshome (818789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19095811)

Hah! Software is for wimps! Remember Woz coded Breakout by himself, in freaking HARDWARE.

"Ghostbusters! Ahahahahaha!!!" (2, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19085671)

Man, did I ever love this game back then! I still fire up the C64 or SMS emulators every so often to replay it. A full-page ad for the game, torn from some computer magazine, had a place of honor among the posters on my wall.

The game gets a bad rep nowadays, usually because of the botched NES port made by a team of crack-smoking monkeys, but the original will always be one of my all-time favorite computer games.

Re:"Ghostbusters! Ahahahahaha!!!" (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086083)

Yeah, my memmories are from the NES version. I never realized that there was a better c64 version. I got into c64 just as it was dying ;(

Re:"Ghostbusters! Ahahahahaha!!!" (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086403)

It's......not.....dead.......yet.....!!!! on=product&pid=1001 [] []


Re:"Ghostbusters! Ahahahahaha!!!" (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19088511)

No, your right it never really died, it was just zombie-fied. Its fun to watch pillage the countryside and devour human brains, but its not the sharpest bulb in the drawer.

Re:"Ghostbusters! Ahahahahaha!!!" (1)

Skidge (316075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086475)

I loved the game, too, but I was only 7 or 8 at the time. :) It was the first computer game I really played, on a C64 at the Boys Club. My parents soon bought us a Tandy 1000 EX and gave it to us for Christmas. I remember them surprising us with it with the Ghostbusters game playing on the screen. I played a ton of that game.

Time (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086297)

Six weeks, eh? I suppose this was back when games were simple enough where all developers had to be intimiately familiar with the hardware and code Just Worked(tm).

All the work done in code patterns and abstractions seem to have distanced developers from the metal. It's a necessary evil in some aspects (since the actual C64 hardware was always exactly the same so some safety stuff could be glossed over), but I've always wondered how some of the greats (like Crane) would have fared had they grown up 20 years after they did.

Re:Time (2, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 7 years ago | (#19089029)

I've always wondered how some of the greats (like Crane) would have fared had they grown up 20 years after they did.

I think they'd have an easier time of it now in some respects. As many computer nerd points as it may earn you to be able to code in assembly, it's a lot easier to write software when you have access to things like arrays and for/next loops instead of building them yourself out of e.g. register checks and jump commands.

Re:Time (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19089229)

They would have moved on to more abstract systems, just like everyone else did. And if you seriously believe that there weren't any bugs in older games, including C64 games, you're either mentally ill or badly misinformed about the topic on which you're speaking. Code written in assembly language did _not_ gurantee that it "Just Worked (tm)."

People like yourselves think they understand computers, and thus think they understand computer -science- as a result too...pulling the notion out of thin air that it is somehow a status symbol to write a program in non-portable machine code when it could more easily be done using pre-existing, portable code bases. Absolutely ridiculous. It's a _good_ thing to have "distanced developers from the metal," abstraction allows developers to concentrate less on the minute details and more upon the program they want to write. Abstraction is responsible for just about everything you do on your computer now -- even the post you wrote. Do you think, e.g. Firefox would somehow be "better" if it were written in non-portable machine code from scratch, for each platform? If you do, then you need to do some reading. You might think you're informed, but you're clearly not.

Re:Time (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19090043)

Of course older games had bugs. But how many of them under Crane had showstopping bugs like we see today? How many of them required patches?

Six weeks of development is a pretty short time... especially if you're going to DEBUG assembly. Perhaps if YOU were informed enough about the realities of development in any kind of assembly you'd know that. There takes a level of skill to make it work that's more than just nerd points.

Oh, but wait, this particular game was produced for a variety of platforms. It wasn't as easy as setting a platform target in a command line, no, but it got done. If they had Java available to them in the 1980's the requirements for the targets of this magically portable code would have been a joke. I therefore maintain that the development teams had a great deal of skill directly handling the metal, and absolutely a higher percentage of them then compared to today.

A good observer will also note that the power pulled out from a particular gaming platform increases throughout the life of the console as development teams get more and more comfortable with the technology behind the abstractions the dev kits give them. Do you still suggest that being insulated from the hardware is a bad thing for gaming?

And so, your comparison of Firefox to Ghostbusters is just plain stupid. Firefox is not a video game. Next you'll compare space shuttle navigation software to Pong. And waving that "IT'S NOT COMPUTER SCIENCE" banner like it's your status symbol is cute... because it helps expose stupidity. Abstraction isn't the only thing the field offers, nor is it the single key to quality computing.

But of course you don't know what you're talking about, Anonymous Coward.

But (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 7 years ago | (#19093215)

Developers still code to a platform, it's just an OS or a toolkit now, as opposed to specific hardware (though they do that too with SSE and such). Machines have gotten more complex, more needs to be abstracted out to allow the platform to reasonably workable with. This is not just with the IT industry btw, it happened with textiles, farming, boat building, etc. As an industry gains levels of complexity, the ability (and need) to work with the lowest layers become less. There's always a place for those who can work with the low level stuff, but the abstraction makes things simpler for many other things.

Re:Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19094389)

Many games had showstopping bugs. It wasn't too uncommon to read tips pages in mags with instructions on how to hack a game so it could be completed (one famous example is Jet Set Willy).

Re:Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19155349)

Firefox is not a video game.

Yes it is. []

(just kidding, I know what you are really referring to.)

Re:Time (1)

j35ter (895427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19090737)

Cut the crap, Java boy!
Your "enthusiasm" regarding 3/4G languages tells me that you missed the entire point of programming a device like the C64.
Don't waste cycles!

Let me repeat that:

Don't waste cycles!

While you might have profiled (and eventually optimized) an inner loop, I really doubt that your code was anything near the optimum.

Nowadays I work in Java, C# and Python but I still miss the old days when you could write diretly ti the registers and hook up your functions to an interrupt vector. And I still feel guilty for wasting memory and cycles when I'm in a rush to finish some project.
Oh btw, computers still use machine code under the hood. unless you know *exactly* how a CPU works, you might be in for a Bad surprise (try multiplying 1.65 with 1.65 in java 1.4 on different hardware platforms).

May you land in hell with your comments ... there, I'l be forcing you to program an OS kernel for the latest CPU... using punchcards! :)

Re:Time (3, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19093905)

One of the compromises made in adopting higher-level abstractions is the inability of contemporary platforms to support hard real-time programming. If you replaced the Atari 2600's 6507 CPU with a Pentium 4 and increased the RAM from 128 bytes to 1GB, but kept the original graphics system, it would actually be harder to write state-of-the-art (for Atari) games. The reason is that contemporary designs have non-determinsitic timing (at least to the extent a human could understand them) because of caches and other features. These systems were designed to make processing faster on the average, not to have consistent behavior.

Of course, we can still have hard real-time systems, we just have to put the hard stuff in hardware. That's a reasonable solution, but it's narrowed the scope of problems that software can solve.

Re:Time (2, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19093851)

"I've always wondered how some of the greats (like Crane) would have fared had they grown up 20 years after they did."

You make it sound like Crane and all his peers are retired or dead, but we're not.

As a former Atari 2600 programmer (although unfamous and less accomplished than Crane), I can tell you that today's challenges are just different from the ones we faced back then.

For the 2600 we had to have very precise timing (sometimes to an accuracy of 1 CPU cyle) in our display routines, but we never had to worry about programming style, compiler bugs, and (thank God) we didn't have to integrate a lot of third-party libraries into our games.

It seems like integration of other people's code is becoming a greater and greater part of software "development". It's becoming rather boring in a way even as the amount of "stuff" you need to understand get's larger and larger.

First game I used a cheat code on (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086427)

There's something you need to type in the beginning to get the Ecto1. I forget what it is, but it gives you like near infinate cash, and buying stuff in the beginning was like the most fun part.

Re:First game I used a cheat code on (1)

antime (739998) | more than 7 years ago | (#19087035)

There was one code that gave you the maximum amount of money you could have, but as you had to have more money than what you started with when the gatekeeper and keymaster met this meant you couldn't complete the game.

Re:First game I used a cheat code on (1)

Cybrex (156654) | more than 7 years ago | (#19089239)

In theory you could, as long as you somehow managed to make back what you spent on equipment. As long as you skipped the super high performance vehicle in favor of the ambulance used in the movie you could buy all of the other bells and whistles and pretty easily turn a profit by the time Gozer showed up.

Good times...

Re:First game I used a cheat code on (2, Informative)

antime (739998) | more than 7 years ago | (#19089641)

This particular code really made the game unwinnable. Dunno if it was a bug or by design, but the code gave you $1000000 but you could not earn more than $999999 and therefore you couldn't repay your loan and automatically lost. I was rather young back then and played a pirated copy without instructions, but it still took me an incredibly long time to realize this. After switching to another code I at least got to the tower, but I still never managed to complete the game.

Re:First game I used a cheat code on (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19087789)

IIRC, the game used a password system to store the amount of money you had for the next playthrough, and I'm pretty sure it was an encoding of the amount into letters, not a "level password".

Thus, there's a lot of things you could type to get a lot of money; again IIRC, it doesn't take more than four or five playthroughs to be able to afford everything you want at the starting screen, and any money after that is just bragging rights.

5552368 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19088239)

The cheatcode was Ghostbusters company's phone number "5552368" in the movie.

Re:5552368 (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19089549)

I recall using 'goo' as a username for a similar result. The version that a friend had (hacked, unsurprisingly) came with a bank account viewer/editor too, but I'm not sure that it came stock with the game or not.

Why do I know this?!? (OFF TOPIC) (1)

Cybrex (156654) | more than 7 years ago | (#19089585)

My short term memory is so bad that at least 2-3 times every day I forget what I was saying in mid sentence. I have the attention span of a mosquito (I've already stopped twice so far while typing this to do something else), and on a bad day if there are any distractions whatsoever have difficulty carrying on a conversation.

And yet truly random bits of information get etched into permanent memory with no regard to their utility. This is a perfect example. In the 23 years since I saw Ghostbusters in the theater I've never once not been able to spit out their phone number off the top of my head. But things like what I had for dinner last night or who the last person I spoke with 30 min ago are a complete fog to me.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with me, and does this happen to anyone else? I'd suspect that I have some form of low level anterograde memory dysfunction except that it's inconsistent.

Re:Why do I know this?!? (OFF TOPIC) (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19093951)

Same thing happens to me. I think it's perfectly normal for "geeky" kind of people. I just seem to pay attention to different things than "normal" people - human interactions don't rank too highly on my "attention" scale, while stupid, meaningless little things often get my brain's attention. It can be annoying, but on the other hand, it helps with certain jobs - I guess it's probably one of the reasons why we ended up working with computers (assuming you did, too).

Re:Why do I know this?!? (OFF TOPIC) (1)

Cybrex (156654) | more than 7 years ago | (#19131295)

Yup. It does seem to be more prevalent among my co-workers than among the population as a whole.

Game Remake (2, Interesting)

substance2003 (665358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086491)

I used to love this old gem. Took me a while to get the hang of it I remember.
Was pretty amazed to discover that someone made a remake of the game for Windows.;6357091;/ fileinfo.html []

I didn't enjoy it quite as much but that's because somethings seem different than what I remember of the game play. Anyone else try this remake? Would love to get opinions on this.

a lesson for today (4, Interesting)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086863)

"First, if you want to design a game around a licence, you have to be very careful. The best strategy is to design an original game that would stand alone even without the licence. Our original theory was that a licensed game should be a great game first, and a licensed game second. The success of the Ghostbusters game reinforced our belief - that was clearly the right way to go."

if only others thought this way...

Anyone else read this as... (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086915)

'A typical C64 game took nine months from start to finish,' laughs David Crane, the game's designer. 'Ghostbusters took six weeks!'

Anyone else read this as...
"We sold this game at full price to marks who bought on brand name only and then laughed all the way to the bank. Thanks - suckas!"

(Long story short, I think the "license the movie tie-in and then release the cheapest game you possibly can" mentality is still out there and has never gone away.)

Re:Anyone else read this as... (2, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19094359)

No, not really. I read this as "the guy we got to develop it was incredibly talented." Not least because this game (or at least the Spectrum port of it I used to have) stands out as a substantially above-average quality game for the period.

SMS Port (1)

1019 (262204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19086943)

I played the hell out of the Sega Master System version was I was younger. Looking at the videos of the NES port, I'm glad I had what I did, that looks horrible.

I think it's high time for the next-gen systems to come out with a present-day port! The concept would still be fun, I think, a lot of solid gameplay ideas ripe for using again.

Re:SMS Port (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19089365)

I think it's high time for the next-gen systems to come out with a present-day port!

Here, check it out. 0_video_game) []

There are a few in engine action vids circulating around YouTube.

Now here is where a clamp down on Copyright would be good. This movie is over 20 years old. Why does one need to license the material to make a game about the movie world? As long as they stay away from trademark issues, then they should be good without having to pay a license fee. Even the second one if over 15 years old. So it should be clear also. The third one and anything new added to it, if and when it is made that can remain under a copyright for 5, 7, or 10 years. It all depends on a one-time only renewal of copyright. So a 5 year copyright can be renewed for another 5 years. A 7 year should not be renewable. Let'g put things back into focus.

Yes most of this post is a bit off-topic. At least I started out with a link to match what I was responding to.

Re:SMS Port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19092753)

Why does one need to name the game "Ghostbusters?" If they're willing to license the name, they must think the name has value. They could call it "Casper Killer" for free.

Re:SMS Port (1)

True Vox (841523) | more than 7 years ago | (#19093211)

Um, not to nit-pick, but wouldn't they have to license the name "Casper" then? Or has this friendly ghost finally gone the way of sweet, sweet public domain?

How'zabout "Generic Horror Or Spook Tale Killer"? THAT has a ring to it. Hmm.... call my agent........ :)

Little Computer People was AMAZING (4, Interesting)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 7 years ago | (#19087391)

Creating titles such as Little Computer People and Pitfall made him Activision's star programmer.
Wow I remember Little Computer People [] . This was an amazing game for it's time. It was like the Sims, only about 10 years before the Sims ever was released. The god complex you got from playing this game was amazing. I used to delight in torturing the poor little guy. It was very funny to watch.

Re:Little Computer People was AMAZING (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19104477)

David Crane is one of the most important people in the gaming business. He invented the god simulation and puppet simulation with LCP, the Sims would have been nowhere without him. He and not Myiamoto invented the jump and run genre with Pitfall, Myiamoto can be credited to the first jump and run game with sidescrolling.

Check it out!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19087571)

The Video Game Empire [] , a company known to many as a company based only on gaming, has made the move to Social Networking. The Video Game Empire's E-Community has everything that any person could want out of a website, it features free games, a chat room, blogs, groups, Photo uploads, and alot more!!! Check it out! They are making history today!

Well, back in the days... (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19087587)

Back then, you played a game longer than it took the people that made it to code it!

Today, you can already feel lucky when you get a week of fun for every manyear invested.

Atari 2600 (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19087947)

Heh... I remember some earlier interview where he talked about it as an example of a game you couldn't do on the Atari 2600.... but then later I saw a fairly decent port. (To be fair, they may have been having bigger ROMs to work with by then...)

That's cool but... (1)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19088407)

Where's the making of Zak McKracken? Now that was a sick game, possibly the best C64 game I have played. My uncle used to have hundreds.

Re:That's cool but... (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19090427)

Zak McKracken was absolutely fantastic. I particularly love self-referential humor, so I really loved finding the gasoline on Mars. Fun game, even if I had to call the hotline to figure out one piece of it (grr).

Re:That's cool but... (1)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19090559)

Yea the game had some weird humor to it that I loved. We had a pirated version so when you had to start flying places and needed to refer to the manual for some ATM code or whatever we were screwed. Shortly after though we got an Amiga, which had a cracked version where you could enter any code and it would work. And then I advanced to like the amazon and mars and other things, tough to remember. I think everybody needs to try Zak McKracken.

Isn't it ironic? (1)

krunoce (906444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19089233)

Next Generation running an article on the making of a C64 game.

"A little too ironic...and, yeah, I really do think...
It's like RAIIIIIIN.."

Hooray for Fridays!

Re:Isn't it ironic? (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 7 years ago | (#19094763)

Pity nothing in that song is actually ironic. Isn't that ironic?

Re:Isn't it ironic? (1)

rgravina (520410) | more than 7 years ago | (#19095897)

Yeah, it's like a red light when you're already late.

Barely Remembered??! (1)

Hobart (32767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19089545)

Cheat mode: Use the name 'GOO' and the password '11111111' to start with plenty of cash if you're impatient.

The opening of the game had digitized speech (!) and bouncing ball lyrics of the whole movie theme ... Really a great job.

Slashcode bug # 497457 - unfixed since December 2001 - Go look it up [] !

There was an Apple II port (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19092643)

I remember playing the Apple II port a ton when I was a kid. Great game.

I remember... (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#19093975)

Conglaturation!!! You beaten a great game

Now I see why it only took 6 weeks

Console bias (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19094745)

The article is a look back to a barely-remembered but (for the time) forward thinking movie tie-in for the Commodore 64.
Just because it was a computer game, and not a Nintendo/Sega game, it's not fair to call it a "barely-remembered" title. It was one of the big hits of the year it was released, and was constantly referred to as an example of how to do a movie tie-in.

I loved this game! (3, Funny)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19094985)


Ghostbusters in only six weeks?! (1)

Incredible Elmo (86263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19099895)

Just imagine what Duke Nukem Forever will be like!

Don't forget the Atari 8-bit! (1)

gozar (39392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19100463)

It was written for a wide variety of consoles [] , including the Atari 2600 [] !

Minimaxxers rejoice! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19119047)

So it's basically Ghostbusters Tycoon, eh?

Sweet. The thought of minimaxing the tech development and customization of the blinking light ghost trap (as opposed to the positron collider* backpacks) such that, by the endgame, I can open one trap and suck down the nimble mynx in a 1-shot, makes me drool more than discovering a home video of Jessica Simpson and Shakira drinking a little too much, if you know what I mean.

* I know nobody has actually collided two positrons yet, with physicists thinking electrons may be a fundamental dimensionless point particle more akin to a quark than a composite particle like protons and neutrons. That's just our little nerd humor** regarding the device from the movie, heh heh.

** Like knowing the incorrect answer to "Yeoman Rand's cabin number" is Y390.

Angry Video Game Nerd (1)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 7 years ago | (#19126879)

Angry Videogame Nerd [] tackled the ghost busters games in a 3-part video series...

9 months! (1)

East Coast Models (1102361) | more than 7 years ago | (#19127803)

... to create a C64 game? That's probably because back then there were about 3 guys involved in making the game! Not like the 100's we see making the games of today :-)

east coast models []

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