Always seen as the older poor cousin of the Commodore 64, the VIC-20 games are often underestimated by those that are not familiar with the machine. Back in the day, the VIC-20 had excellent games, and nowadays, a vibrant and active community keeps releasing high-quality homebrew for the machine.
One of the most recent examples of that is Overthrown, a new 8K cartridge game for the VIC-20 (PAL with limited support for NTSC ) that shows a lot of gameplay value, to say the least. Developed by Erik J. Hooijmeijer, the premise is to help the hero (?), a soon-to-be ex-president, escape to his private island after being removed from power by insurgents.
The game offers three different levels. In the first, you will have to collect money before running away from the white presidential residence. On foot, you can shoot the foes, and when ready, get in the car and drive away. While driving, you will face a lot of resistance in the form of road barriers, mines, insurgents, and airplanes. You can run over the enemies to see nice pixelated blood splatter on screen in the best GTA style!
If you manage to get to the airport, you can board your jet to fly towards your retirement paradise, but this time, more jets, helicopters, AAA cannons and ships will try to stop you. Points are scored for remaining cash and distance travelled.
Erik explains that the game is the product of a New Year resolution. He wanted to develop a game for the VIC-20 and release it in cartridge.
Originally I wanted to do a Falcon Patrol type of game but after reading the ‘Dictators Handbook’ a wholly different game emerged. (Erik)
The game was developed in 6502 assembler, with graphics using the VIC 20 Screen Designer. The developer has built a few cartridges using casing, and PCB from The Future Was 8 Bit. He invites you to email him if you want one (email on his website contact page).
By the way, Erik mentions on his website that “This game is a work of fiction; any similarity to autocrats living or dead is purely coincidental”, so if you can’t help thinking of a orange-skinned person, you are wrong ;)
The game can be downloaded for free via Erik’s website and I recorded a quick video in case you prefer to watch before trying: