Posts tagged with “Bill Hogue”

An Interview with Bill Hogue

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.

Galaxy Invasion Plus

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”.

Big Five Software

The names Big Five Software and Bill Hogue were legendary in the field of TRS‑80 games. Bill Hogue and Jeff Konyu created Big Five Software in order to market their TRS‑80 games. Two early Big Five games, Super Nova and Galaxy Invasion, redefined the way TRS‑80 games looked and acted and influenced the games that followed. For many, the final Big Five game for the TRS‑80 marked the end of the TRS‑80 game market.

Defense Command

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.

Cosmic Fighter

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.

Attack Force

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.

Galaxy Invasion

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.

Meteor Mission 2

Meteor Mission 2, also known as Meteor Mission II, was based on Taito’s 1979 Lunar Rescue, although it differs from it in many ways. Despite the name, Meteor Mission 2 is not a sequel to Bill Hogue’s earlier Meteor Mission. Amusingly, the first Alpha Products advertisement to feature Meteor Mission 2 mistakenly used pictures from Meteor Mission instead.

Meteor Mission

Meteor Mission was Bill Hogue’s first TRS‑80 game. It is usually not included in listings of Big Five Software games, and some sources have denied that it was ever sold. But it was advertised in the August, September, and October 1980 issues of 80 Microcomputing. It seems to have been withdrawn at that point, and it never appeared in any future advertisements. I don’t know how many copies of Meteor Mission were ever sold (I’ve only ever seen one copy).

Super Nova

Super Nova was based on the very popular arcade game Asteroids, which was released by Atari in 1979. It was the first big success for Bill Hogue and Big Five Software.
Originally, Super Nova was available only on cassette tape. It required a Model I with 16K and Level I or Level II BASIC. Later, Big Five sold a disk version which saved high scores and required a 32K Model 1. They also sold both cassette and disk versions for the Model III.