Ghost Town is an adventure game written by Udo Gertz with design by Peter Hartmann in 1985 and released for the C16 & Plus/4 by Kingsoft GmbH. It’s an adventure game where the player has to solve puzzles by finding items and progress screen by screen to the final battle with the evil wizard Belegro. The game is very unforgiving, any mistake will lead to the player’s death.
Thanks to a dedicated fan, Ingo Hinterding (@awsm9000 on Twitter), the game just got a deserved port for the Commodore 64 and an extended 64k version for the C16, C116 and Plus/4.
The extended version has the following differences to the original:
- Support for three languages: English, German and Hungarian
- Language can be chosen when starting the game
- a new multicolour title screen (based on the game’s cover art)
- improved in-game graphics
- a new remix of the game music by Spider Jerusalem (C64 version)
- tons of bug fixes
I had a chat with Ingo, and he told me the project started over a year ago when he spent a month disassembling the original game. He then stopped working on it but decided to finish it a month ago.
The first step was to build the extended version for the Plus/4 which would be easier to test since the code was already working for the machine. After the Plus/4 extended version was ready, Hinterding started the C64 port. One of the biggest challenges was the sound.
Well, sound is another story. The original sound for the TED chip is very unique technology-wise.
Also, it’s horrible!!
To bring the music to the Commodore 64, Ingo had help from a fellow musician in his demoscene group Mayday!, Spider Jerusalem. Spider had to recreate the music on a C64 tracker by listening to the original TED version. According to Ingo, the music port was done not before a lot of work and swearing!
Ingo Hinterding is also kind enough to share his knowledge, making the fully annotated source code of the two versions available on Github. While we were chatting, we agreed that doing that not only helps more people to learn to code for retro computers but also helps to preserve it for future generations!
Ingo also told me that he would like to see the game ported to other platforms. He explains that it shouldn’t be too hard since the code doesn’t use fancy Commodore-only resources (other than the music) like hardware sprites, for example.
I would find it amazing if someone takes the source code and ports the game to other platforms, like the Atari XL.
That would be the ultimate satisfaction for me!
It looks like an invitation is out there for all developers of 6502-based machines! Any takers?
The game is available for free over Ingo’s website and the source code on Github.