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Classic Games (Games)

The Making of Ghostbusters on the Commodore 64 89

Posted by Zonk
from the how-to-run-a-business-empire-on-ectoplasm dept.
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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The Making of Ghostbusters on the Commodore 64

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  • by macz (797860) on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:50AM (#19085483)
    Simple games with builtin psychological rewards always do well. Taipan is a good example of this... empire building is a classic videogame meme.
  • by Devir (671031) on Friday May 11, 2007 @11:52AM (#19085519) Homepage
    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:6 weeks?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:13PM (#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.)
  • Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Applekid (993327) on Friday May 11, 2007 @12:24PM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blincoln (592401) on Friday May 11, 2007 @02:52PM (#19089029) Homepage Journal
    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:SMS Port (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2007 @03:14PM (#19089365)
    I think it's high time for the next-gen systems to come out with a present-day port!

    Here, check it out.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostbusters_(Xbox_36 0_video_game) [wikipedia.org]

    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.
  • by julesh (229690) on Saturday May 12, 2007 @04:37AM (#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.

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