• Tag Archives Epyx
  • Epyx (1984)


    Source: K-Power – Issue Number 8 – November/December 1984

    While only a distant memory now, Epyx was once a powerhouse among game developers. Epyx first published for Atari computers and then the Commodore 64 when it came along. By 1984, the Commodore 64 was much more popular and Epyx did the bulk of their business on that platform. While shareware wasn’t really popular yet, companies were already finding ways to let you try before you buy. This ad shows one such attempt by Epyx.

    While you may not remember the Epyx name, you should remember some of the games, at least if you were playing games then. Included on this disk are Summer Games, Impossible Mission, Breakdance, The World’s Greatest Baseball Games, Silicon Warrior, and PuzzlePanic. I never had this disk and it isn’t clear to me whether these are playable or non-interactive demos. My guess is there is probably some of each. At any rate, a refundable $3.00 which included shipping isn’t a bad deal to get to see and/or play these games before shelling out $20-$40 for something you might not end up liking. Epyx tended to make pretty good games though. Summer Games and Impossible Mission are my favorites from this batch.

    Epyx later went on to play a large role in the development of the Atari Lynx but as we all know, that system didn’t do so well in the long run and that was pretty much the end of Epyx.

    The above ad is from the November 1984 issue of K-Power.




  • Winter Games (Epyx, 1985)

    Winter Games (Epyx, 1985)

    http://darth-azrael.tumblr.com/post/170527373501/retrocgads-usa-1985-winter-games-apple-ii

    As I mentioned in my previous post on the subject, the Epyx Games series were my favorite sports games of the 8-bit era. Of those, Winter Games was probably my favorite.

     

    Like Summer Games, Winter Games was developed first for the Commodore 64 and then ported to a wide variety of computer and video game platforms. This ad explicitly mentions the Commodore 64, Apple II and Macintosh so I suspect those were the first three available. Again, the events available varied slightly depending on which version you were playing but the original Commodore 64 version includes Hot Dog (freestyle ski jump where you do tricks), Biathlon, Figure Skating, Ski Jump, Speed Skating, Free Skating and Bob Sled.

     

    Though the events are different, the setup is just like Summer Games. One to eight players, practice, compete in some or compete in all events, etc. My favorite events were Hot Dog, Bob Sled, Biathlon, Ski Jump and Speed Skating. That’s most of them but then that’s why this is my favorite of the series. I like most of the events.

     

    Interestingly, the original Commodore 64 version of the game was released on Nintendo’s Virtual Console in 2009. Unfortunately, I believe it was a European only release. However, like Summer Games it was also available on the C64 DTV. If you can’t find on of those and don’t live in Europe and you want to give it a try, you’ll have to track down an original copy or an emulator and disk image. Make sure you are using a decent Atari style digital joystick for best results though!





  • Summer Games (Epyx, 1984)

    Summer Games (Epyx, 1984)

    http://darth-azrael.tumblr.com/post/170534290331/retrocgads-usa-1985-summer-games

    The best sports game on the Commodore 64 and in my opinion in the entirety of the 8-bit era was not a baseball, basketball or football game but Epyx’s take on the olympics. Summer Games was the first in the series and coincided with the 1984 Olympic Games. While Summer Games was ultimately ported to a wide variety of video game and computer systems, it was developed first for the Commodore 64 and this is probably the most well known version. I don’t think any of the subsequent versions exceeded the Commodore 64 in terms of playability.

     

    The game starts with choosing the country you want to represent. Up to eight players can compete, two at a time. You can choose to practice an event, compete in some events, or compete in all of the events. While the available events varied depending on what version of the game you were playing, the original Commodore 64 version includes the following events: Pole Vault, Platform Diving, 4x400m Relay, 100m Dash, Gymnastics, Freestyle Relay, 100m Freestyle, and Skeet Shooting.

     

    While Summer Games is a reasonably fun game to play on your own, the real fun is competing with a group of your friends and the more the better. There is a pretty good balance of play mechanics spread throughout the vents. Some, like Pole Vault, depend on perfect timing. Putting you stick down at the right time and timing your release just right are paramount. In other events, like the 100m Dash, it’s all about how fast you can move the joystick. Each event offers its own subtleties in terms of control.

     

    Epyx went on to create a number of games in this series including Summer Games II (which could be combined with Summer Games to compete in events across both games), Winter Games, World Games (with events such as Bull Riding, Cliff Diving and Caber Toss) and finally, The Games: Summer Edition and The Games: Winter Edition. These last two were remakes of sorts with some events that were the same as those in the original Summer and Winter games and some new events.

     

    The original Summer Games for the Commodore 64 was re-released in 2004 as one of the games included on the C64 DTV. This was a joystick that plugged directly into you television and included a number of built-in Commodore 64 games. However, these are pretty hard to find now (or at least relatively expensive). The best way to play this game is with an original Commodore 64. It can also be done via an emulator but you really need and Atari style or similar joystick to get the most out of it. It’s just not going to be as enjoyable with anything else.

    All screen shots above are from the Commodore 64 version.