Amiga and Commodore news and topics not covered in the other forums
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:59 am

monkey.jpg
In case you missed the chatter on EAB recently, someone has found a copy of the game Monkey Business by The Other Valley Software out of Claremont, CA (Los Angeles). Here is its new entry in the Hall of Light.

It is believed that Monkey Business is the first ever commercial game for the Amiga, published way back in 1985 when the Amiga was a brand new entry in the computing world.

It is a Donkey Kong clone that is a bit of a resource hog (for the times). The graphics are more akin to 8-bit levels and has the smell of public domain software.
monkeyl6.jpg


But the game is noteworthy for its "firsties" claim to fame and that it has been hidden in the shroud of epic obscurity for decades until now.

The game was coded by Ron J. Fortier. Fortier's credits are more well-known in retro corners for his work while at Epyx, where he the teams that delivered titles including: California Games, Impossible Mission II, The Games: Winter Edition, and The Legend of Blacksilver. Prior to Epyx he also programmed classics Zaxxon, Bruce Lee & Conan. And he wasn't purely focused on one platform, either. Formats Included: Apple II, Apple IIGS, Apple Macintosh, Amstrad, Atari 8 bit, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Commodore 64, IBM, Nintendo 8 bit, Spectrum, Tandy Coco 2 and Tandy Coco3.

In any case, while Mr. Fortier's gaming credits are jaw dropping, his game Monkey Business has been the stuff of mythological legend until now as a physical copy had never been sourced.

Someone recently posted a boxed copy on Ebay (for $90) and it was quickly snatched up.

In the meantime, efforts have been made to put the game in a place others could enjoy it. It was dropped into EAB's The Zone, which not everyone has access to.

Amiga ADF Downloads:
For now, here is an additional place here not behind any walls to get the game if you would like to give it a try.

In addition, here is a combo pack with Monkey Business and Delta Patrol, (also hyper-rare) which is believed to be the second commercial game ever released for Amiga. It was also produced by The Other Valley Software. Delta Patrol is sort of a Choplifter/Vanguard game. It also looks fairly 8-bit, but we'll give the game a pass due to its age.

UPDATE:
There is a bootblock menu that has been added to the ADFs. Hold down the left mouse button on a reboot and the menu comes up. Press F1 to turn off Fast RAM, then press F4 to reboot and play the game.

Game notes:
Monkey Business was coded for the Amiga 1000. As such you will likely want to disable Fast RAM before playing.
Bizarrely, it also requires 512KB Chip RAM, which 1000's did not come with stock at first. It's no wonder not many of these games were ever sold. The DK clone is also a port, which probably explains why it wasn't optimized for Amiga.

All in all, this is more a historical novelty. Pretty cool for something like this to bubble up after all these years.
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:53 am

If the programmer had contact with the Amiga team in some way, I wouldn't be too surprised about its heavy requirements. Wasen't Jay Miner telling Commodore matter of factually that "It can't be done without 512k, goodbye!" or something similar? He felt Commodore was being cheap, it should ship with 512k, the price would quickly go down, and that it in fact needed that memory. It was then R.J. Mical that showed Commodore how to make it work with 256k.

Perhaps it was worked on during that time period? Maybe he never even got a chance to work on the actual Amiga, doing a straight port with whatever technical knowledge he was aware of. I have no idea, but just trying to think of why it may have required those specs at the time.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:55 pm

I feel like you're right about that history with Miner. That feels right. But if the game worked without it I doubt they would have slapped the sticker on the box. But I have no idea really.

I'm tempted to ask the dev in the off chance he even remembers (it was so long ago). Maybe he would?
UPDATE:
Asked. ;)
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:11 pm

Just checked out a few of the pages from the english arrogant forum. ah, some of those people...


"I don't think it's t he first game"

"Umm, okay, perhaps you could actually READ its history"

"I still don't think it's the first game, must be from EA and could not have used 512k"

"It's wonderful to have opinions, would you care to ever meet me in the land of factual reality?!"

That last one was just what i was thinking... lol


I'm constantly amazed at how some of those people can use their feelings and turn them into facts. I mean I don't know if it's the first game, but it would seem, based on actual evidence, some pointing directly to a very reliable magazine, Amiga World, that this would indeed be the best candidate for the first Amiga game.

And of course none of them, in either their nonsensical back and forths or intelligent ones, thought up the idea that perhaps the thing was so early of a game it was based off of Jay Miner's original insistence that the Amiga be 512k standard. Now, that's just an idea, and is only presented as an idea, not fact, unlike some of those people... But it's an interesting idea, and maybe plausible... they know everything about the Amiga, other than what its head designer actually wanted out of the thing... lol

Their main idea is that because of the original's code being made on an Apple and requiring 512k, that it was simply that he couldn't figure out how to get it under 256k. And in the end, that could very well be the truth, I don't know. The RAM expansion was quickly released for the Amiga, perhaps with insistence from designers who were unhappy about the stock ram, so the simple idea of more ram may have been floating around from the start. It may have been such a straight port that it also ported over the ram requirements, even though the stock Amiga as released would not have been able to play it, with the idea that people were going to upgrade. Also possible. But unless more light is shined on the history, I'm more than willing to hold, in the back of my mind, that a person of this coder's credentials, may have very well been working on that thing with only knowledge of the Amiga's specs, which were supposed to be 512k ram.

And it's not that their main idea is that it's beyond a lazy port that bothers me, it could be... It's that none of them even pondered any scenario where it wasn't lazy... English Arrogant Forum... EAB. Rant complete.
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

by Zippy Zapp posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:09 pm

Never heard of this game. Of course, I didn't get an Amiga 500 until about 1988 so by that time there was quite a selection of games to choose from. I do remember some EA games being Copyright 1985 too, but hard to tell from those days what was what. I wish they cataloged games back then like they do today.
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TjLaZer

by TjLaZer posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:28 pm

I had the same game for my Atari ST for a while now, which is the same game. Did you ask Ron J Fortier about it?
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:47 pm

@TjLaZer I did but he hasn't responded.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:26 am

UPDATE:
There is a bootblock menu that has been added to the ADFs. Hold down the left mouse button on a reboot and the menu comes up. Press F1 to turn off Fast RAM, then press F4 to reboot and play the game.

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