Top 30 C64 Games Of August 1988

Top30_C64_Aug88_chart_HDR1988 was my favourite year of the 1980s. I was still playing arcade machines that had come out a year or two before ’88, like Bubble Bobble and Double Dragon, but the new machines hitting our shores were just so impressive – Power Drift, Galaxy ForceChase H.Q., Ninja Warriors, Dragon Ninja, P.O.W., Vigilante, Cabal, Ninja Gaiden, Forgotten Worlds, Operation Thunderbolt, we could literally go on for another couple of paragraphs! I just wish someone invented a time machine already!

1988 was also a gaming bonanza on the C64. There were great original games, film tie-ins and arcade conversions aplenty. If you were wondering what the top 30 C64 games were this month (August) in 1988, take a peek below, we promise it will send a nostalgic shiver down your spine. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Aliens was our favourite movie on VHS at the time. 1988 was a darn good year!

Top30_C64_August88_chartchart source: Zzap!64 August 1988 issue


You Don’t Know Jack! Interview with Jack Tramiel from PC’89!

JT_interview_titleConsidering that August is all about the Commodore 64 (#C64Month), we thought we would revisit an interview with Commodore (Ed: and Atari Corp.) founder, Jack Tramiel (born: Idek Trzmiel). The interview took place at Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia, while Jack was here to officially open the PC’89 exhibition. As per usual, Jack is candid in his responses and provides us with an insight into his early life that shaped him as a ruthless businessman. If you are a Commodore fan (Ed: or an Atari fan), grab yourself some popcorn and read on……

Presenter: Jack Tramiel is here in Australia to open the PC ’89 exhibition at Darling Harbour which starts today, and he’s given us a little bit of time in the studio this morning. Good morning.
Jack Tramiel: Good morning.

Presenter: We work our guests hard when they come to Australia and you’re finding that out, aren’t you?
Jack Tramiel: I do yes.

Presenter: You’ve had a very busy time.
Jack Tramiel: But I’m enjoying it.

Presenter: Are you?
Jack Tramiel: Yes.

Presenter: Well I’m glad to hear that. In fact we’ve got a line of Americans in this hour of the program which is interesting because it’s a lot of people from your part of the world making their way to our shores. Commodore 64 is big here, it’s big just about everywhere isn’t it?
Jack Tramiel: Yes it is.

Presenter: Did you really invent it?
Jack Tramiel: No I’m not the engineer. I’m a businessman, but I do know what the public wants and I know how to bring technology and people together. And by living in Silicon Valley where the technology was born I know it’s available, I know how to bring like I said people together and sell volume to bring the price down that the average person can afford to buy. In this we’ve made the 64 so successful.

Presenter: Commodore started out as a fairly small company I think didn’t it? What did they start out as?
Jack Tramiel: Well I founded Commodore and that was in 1955 in Toronto Canada.

Presenter: Where did you get the name from?
Jack Tramiel: From the back of a Opal Commodore of a car.

Presenter: It was as ordinary as that was it?
Jack Tramiel: I was sitting in a taxi cab and I was trying to get the name for the company which I was building, and I was really looking to make it call it General, I’d just come out of the army and I was in the army for three years and seven months, so I was looking for something strong, so I was looking for a name like General which I couldn’t get because it was taken. Then I was looking for a name like Admiral, and that was taken, and as I was talking to a friend of mine in the cab right in front of me this car with the name Commodore. I said well let’s try this one.

Presenter: And that was it?
Jack Tramiel: And that was it.

Presenter: What a wonderful story, I love it, I love it.  We’re back in 1955, let’s go a little bit further back, life started for you in Poland, is that right?
Jack Tramiel: Yes I was born in Poland, I was born in 1928, in 1939 the war started and that’s the time when I to a certain extent left Poland. Auschwitz was still in Poland but it was not Poland for me.

Presenter: When you were in Auschwitz?
Jack Tramiel: Yes.

Presenter: For how long?
Jack Tramiel: I was in the camps altogether for five years and a few months.


Presenter: And then America?
Jack Tramiel: Then I spent two years in Germany from April 10th 1945 till November 19th 1947. In November 1947 I left Germany and went to the United States.

Presenter: Did you have a lot of money?
Jack Tramiel: I had absolutely no money at all when I arrived in the States, I’m Jewish, that’s the reason I was in camp, and a Jewish organisation paid for my ticket and they also gave me 10 dollars spending money. And when I arrived I was in a hostel like which was done by the Jewish Immigration Association and for three weeks I had to find my own way and I started to work for whatever job I could find. But when I did arrive in New York I did not believe that I’m in the United States.

Presenter: Why?
Jack Tramiel: Because it was just like being back in Poland, same language, the area I was in it was lots of immigrants and it had the same smell of pickles and of herring and all that which was very nice but this is not what I came for. And I made a decision that the United States was extremely good to me, I was liberated by the Americans and I felt I wanted to learn more about America so I joined the army.

Presenter: Where did you fight, or did you not fight? Did you go to Korea?
Jack Tramiel: No I didn’t go anywhere.

Presenter: You just joined the army?
Jack Tramiel: I joined the army and it did me a lot of good to learn all about America because it was a peopledom. Washington State, from California, from Texas and from New York and black and green and white – all kinds of different people, and I found that America is not New York City only, there is much more to it. Then I left the army and after two years and the Korean War started and I was recalled, but I was still lucky that I was not shipped to the front and there the second time around I made a decision that I’d better learn a trade, and the army gave that opportunity to start repairing office equipment like typewriters and adding machines etc. And before I left I was in charge of the First Army Office Equipment Repair Department which we had something like 25-thousand pieces of equipment in there for repairs. And when I left the army I actually continued working in the same field.

Presenter: And that was the genesis of your interest in computers?
Jack Tramiel: Correct. And so during the day I was working in an office equipment repair shop, at night I was driving a cab to be able to feed my family and after a while I decided I’d better use my allowance which I received from the United States Army I was entitled to borrow 25-thousand dollars from the bank with a government guarantee. And I actually took that money and I started my own business, my own little shop. And after I had done that I found that New York City in which I was in the Bronx, it was just a little too big, people were too smart and 25-thousand dollars which is not enough. And my wife had lots of family, she’s also a survivor, also from Poland, and she had a lot of family in Toronto and we used to go there every once in a while, so we decided to move to Toronto. And there I repaired again the typewriters and adding machines in a company by the name of Sears Roebuck liked my services and they asked me if I’d possibly could find a way how I could assembly a typewriter for them. Being young enough and foolish enough I figure it’s an easy task, as long as you have money you can do almost anything. Well I get 176-thousand dollar loan from Sears and I started to try to find a license to build typewriters. Well no American or West European country or company wanted to give me a license, so I wound up getting a license from Czechoslovakia.

And I actually brought 50 technicians over the counter, we started building typewriters. And we built so many that we could not sell them all in Canada and I had to start exporting them back to the States and that’s the way Commodore started.

Presenter: That’s a fantastic story and it tells me because you haven’t said this, but it tells me that you’re a man of great determination, that you don’t think that any obstacle can get in your way. Do you feel that?
Jack Tramiel: I don’t feel that. When I look back you know there must be something you know. In the camp that I told you I was in there was 10-thousand people in 1944, and we moved from Auschwitz to Hanover and when the war came to an end of these 10-thousand there was only 60 left.

Presenter: 60 individuals?
Jack Tramiel: 60 individuals from 10-thousand people. I was one of those 60. So from there on, nothing was difficult to me.

Presenter: No, having survived that.
Jack Tramiel: Right. So I believe when a person has a goal, when a person is willing to work hard, the person does not want to become rich the same day but he looks at it in the long term, he can make it. The key is to give first and receive after. We live in a society today that’s just the opposite.


Presenter: Everybody wants to take, take, take don’t they?
Jack Tramiel: Right now.

Presenter: Instant gratification?
Jack Tramiel: But if you are willing to invest your time, your effort and you’re willing to serve society, society will reward you in time.

Presenter: Extraordinary, an amazing story. And you’ve got a very happy face. Are you a happy person do you think?
Jack Tramiel: Well a very happy person because I, I’m just looking at that in 1945 I was reborn, I don’t look back, I do remember but I don’t have any hate in me. I have built a company, I have built a family, I have three sons and four grandchildren and they all know about my background and about success and they’re all working together with me, my three sons are part of my company, and we are very happy with what we’ve accomplished.

Presenter: Well welcome to our country, I hope you have a happy stay, and I hope they don’t work you too hard, not in this humidity anyway.
Jack Tramiel: Thank you.

Interview source:
mage source: 8bitlegends


Press Play On Tape: An MSX Master Class

press_play_eps5_titleIf your knowledge of MSX is a bit sketchy, then you must listen to episode 5 of the PRESS PLAY ON TAPE podcast! Our special guest, Tony Cruise (Electric Adventures), gives us (and all of you guys) a master class in all things MSX – things that you wouldn’t have otherwise known or been able to find easily on the net!

The publisher of choice for this month was Konami, chosen by Daz. Daz gave special instructions to Alex Boz – to ask the community about their favourite Konami games, but alas, Alex gave everyone a bum steer – surely Daz will exact his revenge next month? Listen to episode 5 now, we guarantee you will learn something new!

PRESS PLAY ON TAPE podcasts are available on iTunes and Podbean


Coming To America

ComingToNA_HDRIt’s been a while since we had a holiday – our last proper trip was to the Gold Coast (where we spent a lot of time at Timezone Surfers Paradise) almost 2 years ago. So we are well overdue for a vacation!

Although we have been to the US before and visited some great retrogaming tourist attractions (e.g. San Francisco’s Musée Mechanique, the Nintendo World Store in NYC, plus 8Bit & Up and Video Games NY) there are more than enough places left to visit to justify a return trip. This time we will be concentrating on the West Coast.

Los Angeles
Once we hit LA, we do what all tourists do, go on a TMZ Hollywood Tour to check out where the celebs hang out. Also, while in the US, attending a live taping of a show is a must – we will be ticking @Midnight off of our bucket list too (Ed: Hope Stacey Borg will be watching!). And no trip is complete without a feed and gaming session at Dave and Buster’s (in Hollywood).

Anaheim (a.k.a. Disneyland!)
When we think of Anaheim, we think of Disneyland! With a 3-day pass, surely we will get to experience everything that Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park have to offer! Then we’ll hit the Games of the Boardwalk and the ESPN Zone Sports Arena in the Downtown Disney District.

Once we are done with Disneyland, we’ll be checking out the Exodus Escape Room – Sherlock’s Study and Trap Room, and hopefully Video Game Geeks and Phat Collectibles. I get the feeling we should have booked an extra day or two…

Las Vegas
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! Nah, we don’t subscribe to that saying, we will be happy to share our Vegas experience with you all! I know that Alex is really looking forward to hitting the Pinball Hall Of Fame and then going retro gaming shopping at A Gamer’s Paradise store. We will have to be careful not to exceed our luggage limit!

We will also be packing a heap of coins to check out the casino amusement centres at New York-New York (The Big Apple Roller Coaster and Arcade), MGM Grand (West Wing Bar Arcade Lounge), Excalibur (The Fun Dungeon) and Circus Circus (Midway Arcade). We’ll even hit the arcade and gaming booths at Insert Coin(s) on the old Vegas strip.

Our non-gaming fun will involve the Zombie Burlesque and a tour of the classic Vegas signs at the Neon Boneyard. Last but not least on our Vegas hitlist, is the underground arcade joint, Flipperspiel Wunderland!

After Vegas, we will be venturing across the border into Canada to check out the wonderful city of Vancouver. While researching of the things to see and do, I stumbled upon the Movieland Arcade. I know we are both looking forward to this one.

We will be cramming a fair bit into our short stay in Vancouver, but places like Pub 340 (for some Karaoke fun!), EXP Restaurant and Bar and Golden Age Collectibles are high on our ‘to do’ list. And of course, no trip to Vancouver is complete without going to Gastown for some live music, board games, pool, darts and video games!

Last on our whirlwind trip is beautiful Seattle. We will be getting more silver ball fever by visiting the Seattle Pinball Museum and then hitting the barcades like John John’s Game Room and Vidiot to quench our thirst and unwind with some games.

Our sweet tooth and gaming appetite will surely be satisfied at the quirky Full Tilt Ice Cream parlour. If that isn’t enough, then I reckon a bite and more gaming at Gameworks will satisfy our hunger.

There are a number of cool museums in Seattle, we’re looking forward to visiting the EMP Museum of Music – SciFi – Pop Culture, the Living Computer Museum and the Museum of History and Industry. Maybe we’ll also check out Pike Place Market for some arts and crafts.

A highlight for Alex is sure to be the Boeing Tour, while I’m looking forward to the carnival themed Unicorn & Narwhal bars and the Rock Box Karaoke Rooms and Bar. To finish up, Alex and I will be downing some hot dogs and frosty beers while playing the arcade machines and classic pinball tables at Shorty’s Arcade & Pinball. Oh boy, it will be quite difficult leaving Seattle, but all good things must come to an end. 

Well, there you have it. I didn’t realise our itinerary was so packed with wonderful things to do and see in North America – we both can’t wait to get there! Rest assured, there will be plenty of photos (and maybe a few videos) from the places we visit, so stay tuned (and don’t forget to let us know about other cool places we could visit in these cities)!


msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Editor and Researcher at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter



Street Fighter The New Challenger: Ryu

street-fighter-t-n-c-01-ryu_1Attention Street Fighter fans: The highly successful The New Challenger (T.N.C.) 01: Ryu figure from BigBoysToysHK is reaching its last and final run and is about to release soon! Make sure you do not miss out and orders yours now, and use the LASTCHANCE4RYU code for a further $8.00USD discount upon checkout! It’s a win win!

This stylized Ryu sits on a custom diorama representing his Street Fighter II: The World Warriors stage and is depicted with his iconic Hadouken stance; the Hadouken actually lights up by pressing the Street Fighter button on the diorama stand (Ed: Oo’er!)! As well, for every press of the button, the official soundclip of Ryu shouting “HADOUKEN” will be played! This is truly a great collector piece. Grab it while you can!

street-fighter-t-n-c-01-ryu-darkimage source: Play Asia


Bartronica: Lair Of The Barcadian

bartronica_HDRAfter a hard days work, where does one go to quench their thirst and get a fix of gaming nostalgia? That’s an easy one to answer – you make your way to Bartronica, a city barcade establishment at 335 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Nestled between Elizabeth and Queen (streets), the barcade is in the perfect spot in Melbourne’s Central Business District. The entry to Bartronica is via downward stairs, and upon entry, the establishment is revealed in all of its glory, beginning with the well stocked bar. Speaking of which, there are plenty of beverages which would definitely quench your hard earned thirst. As you down your drink, you notice the upright arcade machines; NBA Jam, Street Fighter II, The Simpsons, Mortal Kombat IIGolden Axe and 1943, and these are just the tip of the iceberg – there are plenty more upright machines jostling for your attention. It doesn’t end there, the venue also has driving and shooting cabinets plus six great pinball tables to get you flippin!

For those seeking comfort, Bartronica also has cool lounges for you to sit and take a load off. If you like to play from the comfort of the lounge, there are old school consoles from Sega and Nintendo which are free to play! The consoles provide a fun way to challenge your friends in some awesome multiplayer gaming action, like Super Mario Kart 64, all while kicking back and sipping on a drink.

With their wonderful hospitality, Bartronica makes everyone feel welcome – it is the kind of place where you would visit quite frequently, on your own or with friends. So the next time you are in the city and in need of a watering hole with a twist, then head on over to Bartronica, you’ll have a blast!

Entering the lair of the barcadian

Anticipation builds, one step at a time!

Hello Bartronica!

What is your poison?

In the driver’s seat, Bartronica owner – Josh Flamank

What to play first?

TMNT it is!

A row of beauties begging to be played

Retro Domination’s Daz Retro hits Ninja Gaiden

Daz Retro gets hacking on Golden Axe!

Behind the bar

Working up a serious thirst!

Taking a load off with Super Mario Kart 64!

Run out of coins? Don’t stress, whack in some notes

The view from the deck

Hello Lisa!

Getting some 16-bit action

Playing some Sonic from the comfort of the plush lounge

Cool light artwork!

Golden Axe immortalised on the wall

Hang on a second, there’s pinballs over there!

There they are – glorious pinball!

Demolishing Demolition Man

Retro Domination’s Matt Cawley gets flippin on Fastbreak!

Matt has silver ball fever!

Drinking + playing = a good night

Action aplenty!

Retro Domination Street Fighter II Battle: Daz Retro vs Matt Cawley!

Venue: Bartronic – Arcade Bar
Address: 335 Flinders Lane, Melbourne


Pastfinder: A Long Lost C64 Gem

Why has it taken me almost 30 years to discover and play Pastfinder? I mean, I love shoot’em ups, so this game should have been on my radar back in the 1980s. Anyway, it is never too late to enjoy a great game, and let me say from the outset, Pastfinder is a beauty.

What’s there not to like, you are thrown thousands of years into the future on a baron planet with high radiation, you have an awesomely powerful spacecraft (called a Leeper) that is able to walk the landscape (the articulating legs look great!) and fly high to blast enemies and also drop-off supplies to the bases that desperately need them.

Pastfinder is a classic vertical shmup with a twist (think of Zaxxon, but in a vertical attribution instead of isometric) – the clever gameplay of flying and walking the landscape to avoid obstacles, together with tight controls, makes this an absolute blast! Yep, that pun was fully intended! Play this now on your C64, you won’t regret it!



pastfinder_screen2image source: Lemon64