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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by intric8 Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:06 pm

I'm still in the midst of playing Dungeon Master. I've made it to level 6, but also know I've got a long way to go. The first couple of levels were surprisingly easy. Thank goodness, because it took me that long just to get used to the unusual user interface and controls. The spells are especially unique. You literally have to memorize made up combinations of runes and magical words in order to cast various spells. So while the puzzles on the first few levels seemed pretty straight forward for the most part, the learning curve is pretty steep (feels like, anyway).

But of course I'm always poking around wondering what might be in my near future. I want to dig into Might and Magic II soon, and I also am awaiting an RPG that was distributed by Cinemaware that sounds like a lot of fun called Death Bringer. But in-between all of this I'm going to throw in a relaxing lesser-known puzzle game called Ishido. And then I picked up my EA flat for F/A-18 Interceptor.
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One thing led to another, and I started to do what I do: see where my research trail might take me not really knowing what to expect. Come to find out, F/A-18 was really the brain child of one guy, Bob Dinnerman. They actually put his name on the box, too. His previous claim to fame was making the arcade classic Discs of Tron. When he got the gig to make F/A-18, he literally went out and bought his first computer to create the game: an Amiga 1000! This was back in 1987/88. So he made the game on an Amiga, and just like Black Crypt it was only ever released for the Amiga computer. That right there floored me. While this fact makes me proud, it also seems a crying shame! This game is a hands-down classic I wish more had experienced. But it's quite possible that DOS machines (and Atari STs) just couldn't handle its graphics and sound in 1988. Who knows?
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I'm going to have to dig into it some time this Spring if not sooner. Trivia: if you fly south of San Francisco you can actually find the Electronic Arts offices and do a little target practice on them. Hah! Also, while the creator believes Microsoft Flight Simulator (or Jet) may have been the first flight sims to allow you to fly under the Golden Gate bridge, he thinks F/A-18 was the first combat sim to allow this.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by intric8 Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:51 pm

I've got a couple more cool games slotted for later this year as well. One is the massive Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge.
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The other is one I never heard of before but sounds pretty kick ass called Killing Cloud. This is another flight sim that is set in San Francisco. I was thinking of playing the two back to back to compare them against each other just for kicks. The small British team that made it are the same guys who made the Star Wars arcade game for Atari.
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The Killing Cloud copy I found is actually still in the shrink wrap, amazingly. Never opened. Naturally I can't wait to crack that open, but I'll be patient.
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Deimoxx

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by Deimoxx Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:55 pm

Oh how I loved that game! F/A-18 was simply amazing and immersive! Played so many hours of that game!
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by Zippy Zapp Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:01 pm

Deimoxx wrote:Oh how I loved that game! F/A-18 was simply amazing and immersive! Played so many hours of that game!

My thoughts exactly. Spent way too many hours with this.

Nice condition that looks to be in too. Was the disk unopened when you got it?
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by intric8 Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:32 pm

@ZippyZapp the disk is in a thin little sleeve. But it isn't sealed.
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by Shot97 Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:36 am

I have to imagine the lack of any ports was more of a choice than that they simply couldn't do it. Microprose was already making many of their own quality simulations by this point, designing them on the C64. Thankfully they always took care when porting to other systems, in that the Amiga version would shine more than the original because that system was capable of more. Still, obviously these types of simulations could run on other hardware.

I'm sure one of the major reasons the Amiga never took off as a machine companies designed the original on is because it has to be much more difficult to envision your polished creation having bells and whistles taken off in order to transfer to inferior hardware. As far as I'm concerned companies like Sierra had no business designing their adventure games in the 80's on DOS, they would have been much more special on the Amiga... But success to Sierra was designing something on one machine that could then be sent to others with as little effort as possible. To them that was coding grandness.

It has to be so much easier to make what you want on lesser hardware, because then anything you to on better hardware will simply be the icing on top. I'm wondering if Electronic Arts didn't have some kind of contract with Commodore on this one. FA-18 was actually bundled with the Amiga in America for some time. Commodore had to cut a deal with EA to do that, and I wouldn't be surprised if they wanted that to be an exclusive title.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by intric8 Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:48 am

I've just learned that F/A-18 was indeed an Amiga exclusive by name. But the same dev and design team apparently re-wrote the game from scratch and released an "enhanced" version for DOS 2.0 in 1988 called JetFighter: The Adventure.

Description:
Fly the F/A-18, F-16, and F-14 in a hypothetical invasion of the U.S. west coast by the Soviet Union. Missions range from combat air patrols to bombing runs to intercepting cruise missiles.
The system requirements to play the game were pretty low, but it doesn't appear to have been very well optimized for the base systems of the time.

@icanhazaspergers:
Never had Amiga but wanted one bad. There was a local Amiga store w/an open copy of this & let me play it when I came in. Wasn’t Amiga exclusive; there is the exact same game on PC but was called JetFighter. I know bc I had it & it ran like crap & made me want an Amiga even more!

This version became a series on DOS but never sold very well:
[The DOS version of the game] occupied an uncomfortable middle ground of game design - too much flight simulator for action game fans, as they realistically emulated actual combat aircraft, but too simplistic for the hardcore sim fans, who always preferred games more along the lines of the Falcon series.
Seems to have been fairly popular on the Amiga, however, as it simply worked right out of the box as advertised.

@Shot, there's an interesting interview from 2004 that goes into the original creation of the game.

Bob Dinnerman:
After finding no companies in my geographic area doing anything that I was looking for, I was approached by game developers that I met at SIGGRAPH who asked me if I?d be interested in developing a combat flight simulation game for the Amiga computer. ?PERFECT!?, I thought and being a single guy (then) and able to take risks I wasted no time striking up a development deal with them, immediately gave notice to Bally/Midway, purchased an Amiga 1000 (my very first computer!) and began developing a basic flight simulator. We showed a very simple demo to Electronic Arts and almost immediately obtained a development agreement for a combat flight sim game.
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by Shot97 Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:11 pm

Very interesting. I'd say that would support the idea of Commodore having a hand in it all, but that they found a way to put it out there anyhow. If you're rewriting it from scratch, it's not exactly the same game, even if it did have the same title. I'd still call FA18 an Amiga exclusive.

I had no idea the Jet Fighter series was related... I have (and had) JetFIghter III for DOS, an awesome game through and through. I can't say I can pinpoint that game being from EA though.... Seems to be Interplay. That's just weird... So the guy developed it, EA bought it, but only for the Amiga... Or more likely Commodore got involved wanting it to be exclusive. But then the guy who made it also sold it to Interplay for release on DOS as Jet Fighter?

Strange tale here....- I have no experience with the first two Jet Fighter games, but I will say the 3rd one is an absolute gem.
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by Zippy Zapp Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:42 pm

intric8 wrote:@ZippyZapp the disk is in a thin little sleeve. But it isn't sealed.

I gotcha. It looks like it is in good condition for sure.

I've just learned that F/A-18 was indeed an Amiga exclusive by name. But the same dev and design team apparently re-wrote the game from scratch and released an "enhanced" version for DOS 2.0 in 1988 called JetFighter: The Adventure.

I never knew that. Not surprising since I hated PCs then and only used C64 and Amiga so in those days I could care less what was on the PC. I didn't own an actual PC clone until 1993.
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TomCorbett

Re: What I'm working on, and F/A-18 Interceptor shock

by TomCorbett Fri May 11, 2018 6:38 pm

I know this is a bit late, but when you mentioned flying under the Golden Gate bridge with your F/A-18, I reminded me of when I played the game back in the day, my biggest thrill was to fly under the Golden Gate bridge upside down. I think you can do the same with the Oakland bridge too. I played the Pools saga all the way through, and the mapping was a real bear to do. I also played the Krynn sage through into the Dark Queen game, and there I (IIRC) ran into a bug that kept getting me killed, and I could not get around it. I played the Gateway two games also, and I got a kick out of the romance scheme you could get into with one of the NPCs if your lead character was of the right type. I also played M&M II, the Wizardry series except Werdna (#4) and Bane of the Cosmic Forge was really good too. Ultima I, II, II, and IV were good too. Starting Ultima IV was different, they gave you scenarios, that you had to pass, and it decided for you what type of character you played IIRC. Dungeon Master and Black Crypt were great fun too, tho IIRC I did not finish either one. I am trying to get back in to them, but the character icon creation is tedious, and the first levels of Pools can be very long and time consuming (back then that was what made a game great, you spent a lot of time on it). TomCorbett

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