TurboPlay Magazine #09 (October/November 1991)   DOWNLOAD ENTIRE ISSUE (.pdf) ▼ 

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BEHIND THE SCENES: VIDEO GAME DEVELOPMENT

I always thought that the feature article in this issue—"The Making of the Addams Family"—was really neat. Until I read this article, I had speculated on what professional video game development might be like, but I had never actually seen anything in print to confirm my suspicions.

By the time this article came out, my brother Mike and I had already made several rudimentary video games on Apple II / IIgs computers using Apple Basic and its two modes of low-resolution graphics. We knew that projects—even relatively small ones like ours—required a division of labor. Mike drew "pixel art" on graph paper (although "block art" might have been a more appropriate term), working wonders with a limited color palette. He even managed to incorporate rudimentary animation into his designs. I then manually plotted the coordinates of his pixel art into the games we were creating.

Continued below…

Table of Contents for TurboPlay #9

01   Cover: Addams Family (1991). Photo: Paramount Pictures.
To promote the upcoming release of Addams Family (TG-CD), a generic promotional image from the Paramount film sullies the cover of this issue.
 
02   Advertisement: Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble III (1991, HuCard).
"Get ready for some finger-searing action as Bubby and Bobby blast their way onto the TurboGrafx-16!"
 
03   Table of Contents for issue #9.
"You are holding in your hands the hottest, most informative magazine on the TurboGrafx-16 system in the whole world."
 
04   Advertisement: TV Sports Series: Hockey, Football and Basketball 04  05 
"It's so real, it's unreal. TurboGrafx-16 introduces the three most realistic games you can play outside of the pro leagues."
 
06   Feature: The Making of the Addams Family 06  07  08  09
"ICOM Simulations, maker of Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, is working on the TG-16 version of The Addams Family. Donn Nauert recently went behind the scenes with the developers to give you a peek at how this involved game was created."
 
10   Closer Look: TurboChip & TG-CD Game Reviews 10  11  12  13  14  15
"Lots of new games under the reviewers' microscope this issue. We look at Cadash, Champions Forever Boxing, Impossamole, Parasol Stars, Silent Debuggers, Ys III: Wanderers from Ys."
 
16   Feature: The Ultimate TurboTips Guide 16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23
"If you've missed previous issues of TurboPlay, Donn Nauert's compendium of hints and tips for various TurboGrafx-16 games will tickle your fancy."
 
24   Games Around the World 24  25  26  27
"There's a ton of stuff that our overseas counterparts are playing. Take a look at what we could see soon—and in English! Titles include: 1943: Battle of Midway, Columns, Download 2, Ghost Warrior: Spriggan, Hellfire, Master of Monsters, Pom Ping World (Buster Bros.), Power Eleven, Racing Spirits and Splash Lake."
 
28   Coming Soon: Game Previews.
"As if the Closer Look section didn't give your wallet enough to worry about, here's some stuff that's just around the corner: Darkwing Duck and Andre Panza Kick Boxing HuCards."
 
29   TurboPlay Contest: New Contest & Previous Winners.
"The response to our crossword puzzle contest filled box after box. Did you win? We're not telling here—you'll have to read ahead to find out. Also, don't forget to enter our next contest, which could win you some free games."
 
30   Advertisement: Bonk's Revenge (1991, HuCard) 30  31
"Prepare to butt heads. Again. The ultimate headbanger is back. Bigger, bolder and better than ever. Brace yourself for serious cranial impact: The headbanging cave dude has returned."
 
32   Advertisement: Cadash (1991, HuCard).
"The hit Taito arcade game is now available exclusively for the TurboGrafx-16! 1 or 2 player action! Choose from 4 different characters!"
 

BEHIND THE SCENES: CONTINUED

Action arcade games were beyond our abilities (manipulating sprites and managing hit detection was a bit confusing), so we made "text adventures" with lo-res pictures instead. Well, actually, we did make a sharp-looking Galaga clone—featuring green ghosts (resembling "Slimer" from the film Ghostbusters)—but it ran far too slow in BASIC on an Apple II / IIgs.

Anyway, my long-winded point is that this article in TurboPlay explained how the division of labor applied to video game development. We weren't particularly excited about The Addams Family game itself; rather, we were excited to learn how the game was made. Plus, the article had lots of neat, behind-the-scenes pictures. We especially loved seeing how the graphic artist created sprites! Apparently, she used a graphics editor. We didn't have a graphics editor (truth be told, we didn't even know they existed), but we certainly wanted one after reading the article. You see, we had been drawing our art on paper and manually plotting pixels, which made even minor image editing a daunting task.

UPDATE: After 15+ years of avoiding The Addams Family, I finally bought a copy of the TG-CD game. I have yet to play it, though. I expect it will be mediocre, at best, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to see what it is like. Just as a wine connoisseur waits years for a particular vintage of wine to mature before enjoying it in all its glory, I'm saving The Addams Family TG-CD for a special day.

TG-16 SPORTS FOLLIES: ROUND ONE

As it happens, I recently purchased Champions Forever Boxing, yet another game I had been avoiding for the past 15 years. I am not a sports fan, but when I recently re-read the review in this issue of TurboPlay, I realized that I simply had to get this game. The opening and closing lines of Mr. Bieniek's review, in particular, piqued my interest:

"How hard can you hit?   01 02

…asks the scratchy voice of an East Coast rapper at the opening of Champions Forever Boxing.

The detailed graphics and well-done hip-hop background tunes are the icing on the cake. Boxing fans won't be disappointed."

What's this? East Coast rappers? Hip-hop tunes? Circa 1991? Oh my Lord, how could I have overlooked such delightful things for such a long time? Needless to say, I had a truly merry Christmas as I danced with my daughter whilst we listened to the songs from Champions Forever Boxing. She was not quite two years old at the time and had yet to develop a discerning ear for good music.

TG-16 SPORTS FOLLIES: ROUND TWO

TG-16's forte was not in the sports genre, but it seemed as if NEC valiantly tried to convince video game players that their console had a stable of solid sports titles. A simple examination of the games NEC heavily promoted (in anticipation of the winter holidays) reveals a disproportionate emphasis on a handful of sports titles. Most likely, this was an attempt to counter Sega's amazing line-up of sports titles on the Genesis. Electronic Arts and Sega developed and published a majority of Genesis' sports titles, most of which were officially licensed products. NEC, on the other hand, had Cinemaware's TV Sports franchise, a handful of random titles and little else. Despite these overwhelming odds, NEC trudged onward…

"It's so real, it's unreal."   01 02

"TurboGrafx-16 introduces the three most realistic games you can play outside of the pro leagues. They're the only sports games five of your best pals (or worst enemies) can play at once. Try-outs are this fall, so get your thumb ready to scrimmage.

…Look for these upcoming sports games from TurboGrafx-16: Davis Cup Tennis, Andre Panza Kick Boxing, TV Sports: Baseball and Champions Forever Boxing."

This is actually a pretty sharp-looking ad for the TV Sports line-up on the console: TV Sports Football, TV Sports Hockey and TV Sports Basketball. These games might not have been the most spectacular when it came to gameplay, but they certainly looked neat in the ads. Still, you couldn't help but feel sorry for NEC: it was painfully obvious that they were milking the TV Sports brand for all that it was worth, and then some. Unfortunately, the Cinemaware brand (and their "TV Sports" franchise) had little clout outside the realm of computer gaming. They were virtually unknown in the console world.

To make matters worse, Cinemaware had gone out of business earlier in the year (as noted on this page found in TurboPlay #7), leaving NEC with unfinished versions of TV Sports: Basketball, TV Sports: Hockey and TV: Sports Baseball. What was NEC to do? Their entire line-up of forthcoming TV Sports titles was stranded. Eventually, NEC published the hockey and basketball titles, but what happened to the baseball game?

Here is a review of TV Sports: Baseball as found in TurboPlay #11 (February / March 1992). Clearly, NEC had definite plans to publish TV Sports: Baseball as a HuCard. When TTi took over the reins from NEC in April of 1992, they too were planning to release the game as a HuCard (and, possibly, to include it on a CD-ROM compilation comprising all four TV Sports titles)—but TTi went bankrupt before either could happen. And thus, TV Sports: Baseball was never released for the TG-16, although a fully playable, nearly completed prototype did exist. Hopefully, it's still out there somewhere.

TV SPORTS: ODDITIES

Believe it or not, Cinemaware also developed a boxing game—yup, you guessed it, TV Sports: Boxing (1991, Amiga, PC)— but it was never ported to TG-16. With Champions Forever Boxing already available, and Andre Panza's Kick Boxing on the horizon, it wasn't likely that Cinemaware's boxing game would have made it to TG-16 (not to mention the fact that TG-16's hardware would not have been able to handle the game's 3-D polygonal graphics engine).

Interestingly, Cinemaware quickly recycled TV Sports: Boxing and repackaged it as ABC's Wild World of Sports Boxing (1991, Amiga, PC). It was essentially the same game, but it featured real-life boxers and was hosted by Dan Dierdorf (a sportscaster for ABC Sports). This was one of the few times that I have supported a developer's decision to recycle a game: I did not give a hoot about the addition of Dan Dierdorf (I am just as happy with a generic sportscaster in my games), but having real boxers on the roster was a nice addition to an already solid game. In contrast, the official endorsements of Ali, Norton, Holmes, Frazier and Foreman did little to improve the enjoyment one derived from TG-16's Champions Forever Boxing.

Have you had your fill of TG-16 sports trivia? No? Well, you might be surprised to learn that TV Sports: Hockey was developed exclusively for the TG-16. The entire TV Sports series originated on Amiga / PC computer platforms (including TV Sports: Baseball), except for TV Sports: Hockey. Furthermore, it didn't appear as if Cinemaware had any plans of bringing TV Sports: Hockey to a computer platform (although we will never know for sure since they abruptly went out of business). If you are a true sports fan, then check out TG-16 Sports Follies: Round Three. I promise it will be worth your time. Enjoy!

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 COVER:  October / November 1991 TurboPlay

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