Posts tagged with “Big Five Software”
Most people considered the Big Five Software games to be the finest games ever written for the TRS‑80 Model I and III. They were sold directly through Big Five and were resold by many other companies.
Radio Shack also sold Big Five games in two collections compiled by Cogito Software. Games Pack Two and Games Pack Three first appeared in the 1984 Radio Shack catalog and contained four Big Five games: Defense Command, Stellar Escort, Cosmic Fighter and Meteor Mission 2.
The first time I ever saw a TRS‑80, it was running Galaxy Invasion, written by Bill Hogue and Jeff Konyu. It might be difficult for some today to completely understand just how remarkable a program it was. Galaxy Invasion, along with Bill Hogue’s other games for Big Five Software, were incredible demonstrations of what was possible with the TRS‑80.
Bill Hogue is arguably the most famous of the TRS‑80 game programmers. The games he wrote for Big Five Software, the company he established with Jeff Konyu, rank among the best ever created for the TRS‑80.
Galaxy Invasion Plus was an update to Galaxy Invasion with a few new features added. An important difference from the older game is the voices. The speech include “Galaxy Invasion” (at the title screen), “Prepare to die, human!” (as the game starts), and “Game over, Player 1” (when the game ends). Other phrases that are used include: “You’re dead!”, “Flagship alert!”, and “Extra ship!” If you achieve a high score, the game says, “Great Score, Player 1”.
Weerd was written by Arthur Gleckler and released in 1982. It was the final TRS‑80 game released by Big Five, and only the second one not written by Bill Hogue. Weerd was released near the very end of the TRS‑80 game market.
Defense Command was the last TRS‑80 game written by Bill Hogue. It was very loosely based by the arcade game Defender, which Williams Electronics released in 1980.
Defense Command has the best and clearest voices of any Big Five Software game. It also has very clever graphics and transitions between different screens. In my opinion, Defense Command is the most impressive of the Big Five games for the TRS‑80.
Stellar Escort was written by Jeff Zinn, and it was the first game distributed by Big Five Software that wasn’t written by Bill Hogue. Stellar Escort has a very distinctive look because of the flashy transition effects when changing screens. There is always something in movement on the screen. Stellar Escort has a number of sound effects, but no music or voices.
Cosmic Fighter was loosely based on Astro Fighter, which was released by Data East in 1980. In many ways, Cosmic Fighter looks similar to Galaxy Invasion. However, the similarities are superficial and the games are very different. Your goal in Cosmic Fighter is to shoot the aliens as they descend from the top of the screen. Unlike Galaxy Invasion, you have a limited fuel supply which is used up as you move and shoot. A gauge at the top of the screen indicates how much fuel you have left.
Many people remember the distinctive prelude to Attack Force, which was obviously inspired by the opening to the “The Outer Limits” television show. The final part of the prelude takes the video screen out of focus and makes a buzzing sound (without any audio amplifier attached). This effect is created by rapidly switching between normal and double-wide video mode, destabilizing the video synchronization on a Model 1 or 3.
Many people thought that Galaxy Invasion was based on Space Invaders (including a reviewer for 80 Microcomputing), but this was a common misconception. Galaxy Invasion was based on the arcade game Galaxian, which was released by Namco in 1979.