The Def Guide to Zzap!64

Winter Games review in issue 7
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Author:  relentless [ Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Winter Games review in issue 7

One thing that has always puzzled me are the screenshots in the review of Winter Games. The three photos from the Ski Jump, Biathlon and Bobsleigh look like they're from a version of Winter Games I've never played.
The Ski Jump graphics in particular look much better than the one in the actual game. In fact the Ski Jump looks so different to me it looks like a static bitmap mockup to show how the final game would appear as.
After pondering about this for years I've come to the conclusion that those screenshots were taken from a beta version that was intended for press previews. Zzap! were usually very strict about reviews and previews and always stated clearly when a game was previewed unlike some other mags who reviewed preview software and awarded them ratings.
Did the Winter Games review break the Zzap! awesome reviews policy :?: :!:

Author:  Lloyd Mangram [ Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:19 pm ]
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(goes checking)

Author:  Iain [ Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:08 pm ]
Post subject: ... p&page=104

The graphics (for the ski jump anyway) do look bitmap, but C64 all the same.

Was there a US version of the game maybe?


Author:  relentless [ Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:11 pm ]
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I doubt they owned a NTSC Commodore in Zzap! Towers.

I think the only answer to this question will come from one of the three reviewers (if they remember, unlikely.)
The only other person who possibly could answer the question would be Cameron Pond, the photographer who took the screenshots. Wonder what happened to that guy?
Edit: Of course there is another possibility to clear this up. Might be an idea to somehow get in touch with the programmers of the game and ask them. Every now and then I check the Epyx Shrine website at -
They try to get in touch with the developers of the Epyx games when they profile the classic titles. I noticed they haven't featured Winter Games yet, so maybe this might present an interesting question to the team behind WG?
Edit No2: Oops I forgot that Paul Sumner wasn't a real person, so I guess the question must go to JR and GP :)

Author:  Ian Osborne [ Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:32 pm ]
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I wonder if they were taken by freezing a shot with Action Replay, printing it out and scanning it? I know that's how Your Sinclair did their Spectrum shots, and they were bitmapped in the same sort of way. Roger Kean didn't like shots produced in this way as he said they looked like artists' impressions of what the screens were supposed to be like and not a fair representation of what you saw in the game. Perhaps this one was done like that as an experiment?

If I was a betting man, though, I'd say the shots were supplied by the software company as transparencies rather than sourced at Newsfield, which is why they look different to the rest of the mag. Zzap! #7 was way before my time, so I'm only guessing.

Author:  Professor Brian Strain [ Tue Nov 06, 2007 2:52 pm ]
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It's not a different version, remember that back then they were actually taking PHOTOS of the screen, not screengrabs. That's why it looks slightly different.

Actually, they could have been taken from an American machine - the packshot in the review is the American version.

Author:  relentless [ Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:44 pm ]
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Professor Brian Strain wrote:

Actually, they could have been taken from an American machine - the packshot in the review is the American version.

You may be right, as I must have confused myself about NTSC and PAL software. Software written for one machine or the other sometimes can be run on the other standard. Although I usually have problems and usually no success at all running NTSC software on a PAL machine.
Yup, it must have been an early NTSC version of WG they reviewed - and photographed. NTSC software is very scarce on the net and I think i'll do some digging around to see if I can find the American version.
I actually feel sorry for the american C64 retro users, they must have nightmares trying to get PAL software off the net running on their machines. But then again they had cheap C64's with cheap disk drives and BBS access with free phone calls so that doesn't make me feel too sorry for them!

Author:  So Long Ago [ Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:57 pm ]
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At this time screen shots were in deed taken by a camera on a tripod in front of a cub monitor. This was done in an office with the windows blacked out by black material. If memory serves at this time it wasn't unusual to get disks over from the states.

Ian is correct sometimes transparencies were supplied but these tended to get used on news stories rather than reviews.

Cant remember specifically how these shots were done but certainly it was a genuine copy of the game reviewed.

Cameron is still in the Ludlow area but is no longer involved with publishing. Incidently was in Ludlow recently and bumped into Sue Kinsey (ex girlfriend to Gary Penn and sister of Carol Kinsey from admin).

And BTW all newsfield mags occasionally reviewed unfinished games. We tended to get pious about it when a rival beat us to it...

Author:  relentless [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:58 pm ]
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While browsing through the website "Games that weren't" I came across an entry for the Winter Games. ... amesv1.php

Looks like somebody else has noticed the subtle differences between the review shots and the version most people know about. I was thinking of contacting GTW and pointing them to the discussion here, but can't be bothered really.
Anyway, GTW is a pretty cool site which not only has descriptions of unreleased games but also has downloads of actual unreleased games available...even a demo disk of Armalyte 2!
Well worth checking out, although I'm not sure whether it's a retro site or not - is it retro if the stuff they feature was never seen by anyone in the 80s?

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