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Sci-Fi Entertainment Games

The History of the Ghostbusters Game 54

Ars Technica takes a look at the development of the Ghostbusters game due out later this year. They go through the promising early demonstrations, the subsequent relegation to developmental limbo, and the project's eventual resurrection. Quoting: "Everyone involved with the game was extremely enthusiastic about its progress, as evidenced both by Sierra's heavy promotion of the title, as well as by how genuinely excited a number of the company's PR team were about it. Now, it isn't all that uncommon to talk with PR folk and be fed a line about how great whatever product they're promoting is, but even after several hours of drinking copious amounts of alcohol, the enthusiasm never waned; this definitely wasn't the case when we discussed some of the other titles that had been on display during the day's event. Even the members of the press corps, as we huddled together and compared notes, generally agreed that Ghostbusters had been the most impressive thing we'd gotten to see at the event. All in all, it looked like Sierra was going to deliver a game that finally gave the Ghostbusters franchise the respect it deserved, and none of us could wait to get our hands on it."
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The History of the Ghostbusters Game

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  • On Resurrections (Score:4, Interesting)

    by michfreak ( 1413469 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:49AM (#26543347)
    Sounds to me like this is the resurfacing of both the franchise and the gaming company. Since when has anything of note come out of Sierra? Wikipedia says that the most notable games in the past five years are Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and 50 Cent: Bulletproof.

    I remember the days of yore, when King's Quest, Space Quest, and (shiver) Gobliiins ruled my shelves. Here's hoping that Sierra is redeemed in our eyes by Ghostbusters.
    • Re:On Resurrections (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:24AM (#26543547)

      If your talking about resurrections I miss MicroProse too.

      Of course that is impossible as it was bought out a long time ago and the staff has moved on. They did makes some awesome games though.

      MicroProse and Sierra are both responsible for a huge part of my childhood goofing off with video games. I have high hopes for them.

      • Lasersquad Nemesis:

        http://www.lasersquadnemesis.com/ [lasersquadnemesis.com]

        by the folks who made it possible to save the world from alien invasion in UFO: Enemy Unknown.


        • There is also UFO: Alien Invasion
          http://ufoai.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

        • Lasersquad Nemesis:

          http://www.lasersquadnemesis.com/ [lasersquadnemesis.com]

          by the folks who made it possible to save the world from alien invasion in UFO: Enemy Unknown.


          The LS:N "waypoints/orders...execute!" combat system is interesting (and in some ways more realistic), but I think LS:N is missing what made UFO such a cool game. It really was the story, the RPG element, that made X-Com so good. Your troops had names, and stats that developed, and the overarching UFO invasion story with its ever-increasing urgency gave the whole thing sense of continuity. Dopes like me with overactive imaginations would even invent personalities for the characters, and move them on the com

      • lots of good old game developers are sorely missed.

        origin systems for example, they used to create worlds with their privateer and strike commander games
        westwood studios, who used to make fun adventures (kyrandia) and rpgs (lands of lore) before starting endless dune 2 and command and conquer franchise remakes.
        dynamix with their great battle sims (especially fun for mecha war lovers)
        psygnosis with games so different as lemmings and discworld
        bullfrog with their cyberpunk syndicate
        interplay, ocean, virgin int

      • Microprose, Sierra and SSI: The Holy Trinity.

      • I remember playing Ghostbusters 2 on my 286 monocolor amber monitor. That was a fun and creative game. Way ahead of it's time. I remember being impressed with the Ghostbusters theme coming out of the midi speaker.
      • MicroProse. Wow! I remember them. I spent way too much time playing Darklands [wikipedia.org] back in the day even though it was buggy as hell. I recently felt nostalgic and played in again using DOSBox. Aside from the graphics it still holds up pretty good. I'm still pissed that they never came out with any sequels or add-ons.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      World in Conflict was pretty good.

    • by tibman ( 623933 )

      I really liked Alien Legacy, Caesar III, Homeworld (1 & 2) and of course Half-Life. But you're right.. there hasn't been a good Sierra game in a while.. couple of years probably. I haven't bought one anyways.

      Lately my money has gone to Valve, CCP, EA, and THQ. Favorite games being TF2, Left4Dead, EVE-online, Spore, and the Dawn of War series.

    • Except this isn't the resurrection of Sierra. Sierra was part of Vivendi, which is now part of Activision/Blizzard (since Vivendi previously owned Blizzard). As part of the merger, Activision/Blizzard didn't pick up the Ghostbusters game. It's Atari who know owns the rights to publish Ghostbusters.

      I'm afraid that the Sierra brand is likely gone for good now - I doubt Activsion/Blizzard has any reason to bring it back at this point.

    • The Sierra you knew and loved is gone for good. Roberta and Ken Williams have been out of the industry for more than a decade and have no interest in coming back. Sierra is simply part of the Vivendi machine now, and is actually a direct subsidiary of Activision Blizzard.

    • by Fred_A ( 10934 )

      Sounds to me like this is the resurfacing of both the franchise and the gaming company. Since when has anything of note come out of Sierra?

      Which in itself may be a problem. What percentage of today's gamers actually remember or even know Sierra and/or Ghostbusters ?

      I think I played my first Sierra titles on Apple II... I don't have the faintest memory what they were though.
      I still remember playing the space janitor series (can't remember the title) which I really enjoyed.

      At the time they had a number of very creative titles. Which makes me think that wacky adventure games are a genre that seems to have disappeared lately.

    • by xemit ( 1037320 )
      Don't forget Quest for Glory & Leisure Suit Larry!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    For anyone that has yet to be exposed to the original Ghostbusters (because the rest of us can not forget)

    Feel our pain... [youtube.com]

    My childhood was ruined because of this game.

    • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:51AM (#26543697) Homepage
      My childhood was ruined because of this game.

      Well mine wasn't - I liked this game. Still do to be honest. There's a remake around somewhere, but I still emulate the C64 version for preference.

      Don't get me wrong, I don't rush home from work each nice desperate for a game of Ghostbusters. On the other hand, fifteen or twenty minutes every few months or so and I enjoy it - that's more than you can say for a lot of roughly twenty year-old games.

      • by mzs ( 595629 )

        I did too, I have not played it since the '80s but it had a very nice intro and was sort of like three games in one for the actual game part.

    • That game was absolute class, I won't hear a word said against it. I got it out and played it on the emulator a month or two ago. It's still excellent.
    • I'll see your 1986 NES Ghostbusters, and raise you a 1984 Sinclair ZX Spectrum Ghostbusters [youtube.com]!

      The sound effects were most impressive. Apparently they released it for a bunch [mobygames.com] of platforms. Times have certainly changed.

      • by Fred_A ( 10934 )

        I'll see your 1986 NES Ghostbusters, and raise you a 1984 Sinclair ZX Spectrum Ghostbusters [youtube.com]!

        They managed to get an actual voice capture of "Ghostbusters !" in there (must've taken 1/3rd of the tape) and then there's the music, one (long) note at a time which is... well... I guess after a few games you can make out the theme.

        The only Sinclair I played with was the ZX81. Apparently the Spectrum could only play *some* notes, for a fixed duration, and they had to make do with that to recreate a score. All the early 8 bit machines had such weird limitations in various areas for different reasons (usua

      • by G0rAk ( 809217 )
        That game totally got me into hacking at the tender age of 8! I *needed* to know how they made the computer shout "Ghostbusters!" when you caught a ghost and "He slimed me!" when you failed. A few months later I got a magazine with code that showed you how - sampling from the built in tape. The results were up to three seconds of shitty audio that would all but fill the 128kb of RAM.
    • The only reason I could play this game to the end is that I had the NES Advantage control. There is no f-ing way I was gonna go up all those stairs without turbo.

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        I don't think the stairs were on the pre-NES versions of the game. Instead you just had a goofy bouncing marshmellow man that you had to run underneath. Once you got two guys past him they'd run into the building, cross their streams, and end the game.

        Not a whole lot less campy, but at least slightly less annoying.

    • I used to load it up just for the intro screen. The music with the lyrics & bouncing ball were great - including the audio samples. This was on an Atari 800 - the C64 version would probably be sightly better c/o the SID chip but the Atari version was pretty damn good.
    • Of course, angry video game nerd has the best review on how shitty the ghostbusters game really was [youtube.com]. His reviews are about 10 minutes of pure poetry about shitty games, watch them!
  • Sierra? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @10:13AM (#26545303) Homepage Journal

    Wow, these guys are still alive?!

    Ok then, we want new Space Quest games!!!

  • Wait a sec, usually as you drink more alcohol things look BETTER, not worse. By midnight even Abe Vigoda or the E.T. game start to look pretty good. Meetings at a bar are not a very good place to estimate a game's goodness.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:03AM (#26545883)

    Quoting from the article:

    Games like Too Human, Daikatana, and Duke Nukem: Forever have all become legendary in the video game industry because of development delays, but few titles have managed to achieve the notoriety in recent memory that Ghostbusters: The Video Game has

    I'm sorry, but Duke Nuke'em Forever is the GOLD STANDARD of developmental delays. It's the Mac Daddy. It's the God and King. It's to developmental delays what Elvis is to rock and roll, what Ozzy is to metal, what Airplane! is to spoof films. Nothing else even deserves to be spoken in the same sentence.

    • Also, Daikatana was very notable because it had signifigant delays, but more importantly, didn't live up to the hype.

      It was the first game (that did get release, unlike DNF) that really set the bar for disappointment.

  • Gaaaah! Now I have to figure out how to minimax my unlicensed positron collider on my back!

    Gotta 1-shot the nimble mynx...gotta 1-shot the nimble mynx...

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison