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Alive 7

            The story rumbles on...

Atari  people  still like to play new games on their Fuji  boxes,  and  some
Atari  people  can't  be asked to wait the all too  long  intervals  between
Reservoir  Gods releases.  A few of these are even motivated to do something
about  this  situation  for  themselves,  the very  bold  ones  defying  the
conventional wisdom that "No good can come of Gem and games together!"

The Gem Candy Xmas Compo.
The Atari news site decided to do something  themselves,
around last Xmas,  with a games competition combining the normally exclusive
concepts.  This sparkled a bit less than it might have done, but a couple of
entries were successful in reaching the daylight.

Matthias Jaap,  sometime penguin frightener, and copious gem apps programmer
hits  the  boards running with his 'Noughts and Crosses' based  concept.  It
looks sleek,  and new,  and the graphics are very Xmassy too.  Matthias even
goes one further with a reworking of the 'Highwire' source code,  to provide
a nicely tricked-up interface for this game.

Scrunched-up Penguin in screengrab shocker!

It  plays  very simplistically too,  a perfect two player game for when  the
pencil  and  paper  are absent,  but your nearby  reasonable-spec  Atari  is
switched on, hmmm.

'Santa Run'
The  other  entry  comes  from  another  non-amateur  outfit  too.   Anthill 
Industries  proudly  present a more dynamic arcade-based  production  called
'Santa Run'.  This is a 'dodge/pick up the objects' vertical scroller, where
you are in charge of Santa,  frantically ski-ing through the forest,  trying
to retrieve lost presents and candy,  but avoiding crashing into the snowmen
and trees.

    Dashing across the snow he goes...

The game is time-based,  and quite subtle,  in that you pick up more points,
the  faster you go.  The numbers of sprites onscreen can be set up according
to  how fast your hardware is.  Control is through the cursor keys,  and the
feel  is  slightly  'sticky'.  It  is not a bad effort,  but  loses  out  in
comparison  to the not totally dissimilar Reservoir Gods  'Santafly'.  There
are no lesbian helpers in this game.

Both these games can be found

Pierre Tonthat strikes back!

But it seems that can hit harder?!

Pierre,  or Rajah Lone,  has been a busy fellow in these last few weeks. Not
content  with giving us a new version of 'DGem',  the Dungeon Master in GEM,
he's also come up with a version of the Manga sliding puzzle in GEM as well!

DGem has got to version 0.16,  and seems to be almost there.  Added to it in
this  April  2003  release,  are characters,  new objects,  and things  like
keyholes and fountains.  It is not quite there yet,  described by the author
as "a Minos-like (or maze) game." But indications are promising.

I'd  be  more  than happy to share some personal views with  you  about  the
niceness  of  this  GEM concept,  but it seems that the  server  is
hiding all his downloads away from me,  as I just come up with an error page
each time, although everything I try points to those files being just inches
away from my hands!  Ideas anyone? If you have better luck downloading this,
and the Manga game, then head over to now.

As it is,  take a look at this nice picture which seems to have an awful lot
of hope in it.

"Now I'm sure this is the way to the bikini babes splash-pool!"

And other news..

You  may  remember me reviewing a 'GEM-Elite' some time ago,  which came  to
this world, courtesy of Holger Weets. This was almost a perfect reproduction
of  the  real  thing,  apart from one or two missing and still to  be  added
things, such as, erm, properly working scanners. It also needed a higher end
machine,  even  a  CT2 class machine was the *minimum* sensible choice,  and
that was only made playable by screwing it down to run on a mono screen mode!

It was based on an 'open-source' Elite project for other platforms,  and I'm
not sure if Holger was going to finish it or not,  but we've been denied the
opportunity of trying this one out on our brand new CT60's in any case!

There  is  a  rather large David Braben-shaped fly  in  this  ointment,  who
objected  to all the freelance interest in the 'Elite' concept  in  general,
and  his  source code in particular.  With writs flying,  he pulled off  the
legal  equivalent  of killing off belly-button fluff with an  orbital  laser 
platform,  by  getting  the reverse-engineered version of the  original  BBC
micro  source  off  the airwaves.  This ruling seems to apply to  all  other
tribute  band  remixes of the original 'Elite',  so people like  Holger  are
getting nervous, and GEM-Elite is no more.

What a miserable tosser that Braben fellow is!

And on that happy note, I bid you a good day!

CiH, for Alive Mag,June '03

Alive 7