Budget Day 2012.

by PaulEMoz in , , , , ,

Hello everyone, and welcome to Budget Day 2012! The house is in session, once again!

Yes, carrying on from last year and therefore possibly making this an annual event, I've taken the day off work to write about 8-bit budget games. And what are these things, you might ask, if you're less than thirty years old and weren't here last year? Well, back in the Eighties you had a couple of price tiers for games. Full-priced games generally sold for between £7.95 and £9.99. Budget games were aimed at taking your pocket money, and cost £1.99 or £2.99.

At first, the budget market relied solely on efforts from bedroom programmers, buying them up cheaply and hoping to make a killing. And this, they often did. But after a while, when the market was much larger, companies that specialised in budget releases would buy up older games and re-release them at budget prices.

It was a good strategy, giving older games a new lease of life as young gamers that hadn't been able to afford games first time around bolstered their collections. The bigger companies, such as Ocean and U.S. Gold, even set up their own budget companies to reissue their own oldies.

I must have owned tons of budget games in my time, both original games and re-releases. For this exercise, though, I intend to focus solely on originals if possible. There was a certain spirit and charm to many budget games that was often lacking in full-priced efforts, even if the games weren't all that good. I'm going to play some games that were favourites of mine in the past, and some that I've never played before. Hopefully it'll be fun, and will keep our minds distracted from that other Budget that's going on today.

Budget Day is looking good!

by PaulEMoz in , ,

You might think that it's easy to write a games blog. Just play a bit, take a few screenshots maybe, then chuck a few words down. Piece of piss.

It's not as simple as that. At least, I don't think it is. And when you're writing something that's themed, there's a hell of a lot of prep work to be done. That's why this blog has been a bit quiet lately... I've been doing prep work for Budget Day.

The news is that I've narrowed down my list to sixteen possible games for next Wednesday. I'd be surprised if I manage to play and write about them all, but it's a goal to aim for. And of course, they're all budget games from the 8-bit days.

So, get yourself ready for Wednesday. Ignore the Government's depressing waffle, forget about the fact you're going to be even worse off financially than ever... let me lighten the day a little with some proper blasts from the past. It should be fun.

March 21st - Budget Day 2012

by PaulEMoz in , , , , ,

Last year, you might remember, I attempted to alleviate the misery of the Government squeezing our finances by taking the day off and spending it writing about 8-bit budget games. And it seemed to be quite popular... so much so that I'm doing it again this year! So on Wednesday 21st March 2012, there will be another A Gamer Forever Voyaging Budget Day!

On the last budget day, I managed to play and write about nine games in total. Not bad, but I'd like to beat that this time around... at least make it into double figures, anyway.

I've got a shortlist of potential games, although to be honest, the word "shortlist" seems a bit misplaced. The reason? The list currently has 108 games on it. Yeah... not much chance of getting through all them.

So between now and then, I'm cherry-picking titles for consideration. Ideally, I want that list down to about 20. And I want you to help. Yes, really! See that poll to the right? All you have to do is vote for the games on the list that you'd like me to write about on March 21st. The three that get the most votes will become part of my Budget Day... so get voting!

It's Budget Day!

by PaulEMoz in , , ,

Morning all, and welcome to Budget Day, where I will spend my day wearing rose-tinted glasses and posting about cheapo games from bygone days.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer can only DREAM of owning a budget bag like that.

So, what exactly is or was a budget game? These days, if a console game is released with a price tag of £19.99, it's considered a budget game. £19.99! My kids don't get anywhere near that much a week in pocket money... whose budget exactly is that?

Games originally cost upwards of £5.95... not too bad in today's prices, but still a fair sum to the kids of the early Eighties. It took companies like Mastertronic and Firebird to introduce a second tier of pricing that appealed to those with less disposable income. Firebird originally offered games for £2.50... much more affordable, as one or two weeks' pocket money would be enough to grab yourself some gaming goodness.

It was when Mastertronic introduced their classic £1.99 range that pocket money gaming really took off. No longer did you have to trail into the city (costing extra valuable money) in order to buy a game... you could find the distinctive Mastertronic packaging in newsagents, petrol stations... shops where kids would be dragged in by the mothers, and displayed prominently, in the chance that mam might be badgered into buying Little Johnny a gaming treat.

It really worked, too. Anybody with a computer owned at least one game with that classic black and red packaging. Firebird soon reduced their games to £1.99, with their own packaging standing out, too. They were happy times, with loads of new titles released, and kids buying them in droves.

The quality wasn't always there, of course. These companies, particularly in the beginning, were outlets for the bedroom coders. And whilst some of those programmers were good and would go on to greater things, if your game actually worked there was a fair chance it would be published, often to the disappointment of children across the country!

Things eventually spiralled out of control, with more and more budget companies springing up and Mastertronic and Firebird introducing range after range, at differing prices. The "golden era" of budget games had passed, probably in tandem with computer owners growing up. For a while, though, it had been one of the most exciting times in the growth of home gaming.

March 23rd is Budget Day!

by PaulEMoz in , , , ,

Awwww, come on... that's boring!

It's going to be horrible, isn't it? Another Government stooge standing in front of a lot of rowdy blokes (and women), telling them how much they're going to screw everyone (but themselves) for in the coming year.

Well, I'm going to try and lighten things a little. All day (or as much as is humanly possible) it will be Budget Day with A Gamer Forever Voyaging. I am going to be playing and writing about budget games on the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. If you loved your Mastertronic and Firebird games, this will be the place to visit.

My intention is to do budget-sized articles... two or three paragraphs, so that I can fit more in. The intention is to cover lots of games so that I can bring many a nostalgic smile to faces. And in keeping with the saving money thing... I will be interspersing them with tweets of links to games that I consider to be good bargains. So if you don't follow me on Twitter, now might be a good time to start.

I'm looking forward to it. I've got a huge list of games picked out... let's see which ones I get to...