C64 GOTY - We take a look at the very best of this year's Commodore 64 productions

2017 is coming to an end, so we thought we’d roundup all the major Commodore 64 releases, and announce a few of our favourite releases from the year. 2016 had some great releases, like Tiger Claw (Lazy Cow & RGCD), Quod Init Exit IIm (Retream), Donkey Kong (Oxyron) and Frogger Arcade (Digital Monastery). But I think we can regard 2017 year as one of the very best for quality C64 releases. And we’ll also take a quick look at what we can expect to see coming in 2018 and also announce Indie Retro News’ C64 Game of the Year (GOTY).  We'll also pick our favourite C64 VLOG, C64 Book, C64 documentary and our favourite "Scene Release".

Feel free to mention in the comments any I missed… Maybe we can make this a full list of 2017 C64 game releases. In no particular order here are our C64 release highlights:

1/ Sam’s Journey
Developer: Knights of Bytes
Publisher: Protovision
GOTY Nominee


It’s finally here, Knights of Bytes’ epic platformer landed Christmas Eve, and it is every bit as beautiful and captivating as we thought it would be. You play Sam, who’s teleported on a journey through a mystical world filled with platforming baddies with an aversion to being jumped on, collectable costumes which change Sam’s powers, throwable rocks, and chests containing other items useful to your quest. It plays like a SNES game, with amazing graphics and we’ll have a full review on Indie Retro News very soon.

2/ LuftrauserZ
Developer: Paul Koller
Publisher: RGCD

GOTY Nominee

Another December 2017 release saw a 2014 PC/Mac and Linux shootemup (Steam) ported to Commodore 64 by Paul Koller. It’s not only a tour de force of programming skill for the 35 year old 8 bit machine, but also great fun to play. You can read our full review here.  Read on to find out if this is IRN's 2017 GOTY.

3/ Planet Golf
July 2017
Developer: Antonio Savona
Publisher: Psytronik (Ultimate Disk) and (RGCD Cartridge coming soon)
GOTY Nominee


Earlier in the year, we organised a Planet Golf Tournament, which saw budding golfing astronauts from as far away as Pluto (AKA Australia) take part. The tournament was loads of fun, created loads of twitter threads full of wrestling inspired tweets. Some of the contestants were even able to come up with strategies to beat levels which even the developer hadn’t thought of! Even though the levels were notoriously devious... the game was huge amounts of fun and easily one of the best of the year.

4/ Captain Cloudberry
Developer: Megastyle
Available From: CSDB & Itch.io


One of my favourite things about playing on the C64 when I was growing up, was the crazy imagination game developers seemed to have. It didn’t matter how crazy the story seemed to be, a game could be made around it. Well those days are not over, as Captain Cloudberry has one of the wackiest story lines in this whole year’s roundup. As Captain Cloudberry you must save the world from a witch who has frozen all the clouds, by bursting weather balloons in an aeroplane which has lost part of its rudder in an accident with a psychopathic hang glider stuntman. Featuring 1 button controls, and addictive gameplay, this plays like a cross between Bombjack and P0 Snake. Also a great rendition of Lady Madonna, plays during the titles. It’s also part of a trio of great C64 games to be released around Christmas, so I’m only just getting round to playing it now.

5/ Space Trip 2086
Developer: Achim Volkers
Publisher: Psytronik


3rd Achim Volkers’ Space Trip series of games, the gameplay in 2086 is based on The Next Dimension’s 2011 release Space Trip. It places you in control of our hero: Steve Zappa, employed by the Interstella Logistics, Transportation and Information Services (ILTIS) Whose fleet of eight container ships have been captured by Aliens. “Is this gonna be a standup fight or just another bug hunt?” he might have said as he docks with the first massive ship. Fun furious jumping, exploring, collecting and blasting ensues. This game is full of nice touches, like Zappa’s space suit helmet, tho shimmers as you run, Paradroid-esque deck selection, and fab cut scenes.

6/ Sleepwalker
Developer: John Darnell
Publisher: Psytronik


Loosely based on the Amiga classic of the same name. Sleepwalker is another cutesy platformer, think Jet Set Willy, except you must also find your sleepwalker furry friend and put him to bed on each of the levels. Which early on are single screen affairs, gradually introducing you to the various traps, obstacles, elevators and enemies. Quickly the levels become larger and the traps more devious. You’ll have tons of fun solving this one.

7/ Platman Worlds
Developer: Andrea Schincaglia AKA Wanax
Publisher: Psytronik


What happens when Pac-man, and IBall2 get turned into a flipscreen platform game.  Platman Worlds was actually my pick to win the 2015 RGCD 16kb competition.  The full version released this year, takes thecompetition entry and expands on it to create a fully fledged Psytronik C64 release. Addictive, and frustrating at times, but well worth persevering with.

8/ Galencia
Developer: Jason Aldred
Publisher: Protovision

GOTY Nominee

Another highly polished C64 game to land this year, this one’s a really nice Galaga clone from the developer that brought us The Real Ghostbusters back in the day. This is an addictive arcade shootemup, and another fabulous Protovision box edition.  Saul Cross has done a fab job as always on the graphics.

9/ The Sky is Falling
Developer: Stuart Collier
Publisher: Psytronik


This is take on those classic bomber games where you try to crush the sky scrapers as you fly lower and lower in your bomber. The sky is falling, has you running across the screen repeatedly trying to stop yourself being crushed by the falling ceiling and the stalagmites protruding from its surface. By throwing your spanners upwards at the stalagmites you might be able to avoid impending doom!

10/ Slipstream
Developer: Bauknecht
Publisher: Psytronik


Slipstream contains one of the coolest UIs of any of the games featured here. Terminal like user guide with animated text highlights, and TV static style animations, it’s touches like these that we’re more used to on the very latest steam games on PC. Not only that, but the game is a full on 3D blaster with tons of sprites and vector style graphics. Great fun, and also probably the highest quality packaging of any of this years releases. Slipstream oozes quality.

11/ The Bear Essentials
Developer: Graham Axten / Pond Software
Publisher: Protovision


Released just before Xmas 2016, Graham Axten’s cutesy platformer was given a nice Boxed Disk release early 2017, and so it’s included hear also. With nods to Thalamus classic cutes 'em up: Creatures, as well as Worms and Summer Camp, Your hungry bear must retrieve 350 apples from Forests, Mines, Jungle, and many other locations to provide for his family over the winter. One of the very best platformers on a system known for great platforming games. As a bonus, the disk features

12/ Argus
Developers: Trevor Storey & Achim Volkers
Publisher: Psytronik

GOTY Nominee

Argus utilized a clever animation system to try to recreate the look and feel of classic 16-bit dungeon crawlers like Lands of Lore or Eye of the Beholder. Although a much more simplified combat and game mechanic than those, the sheer depth and ambition of this game alone were enough to convince us we were playing a game we shouldn’t really be able to play on 64KB RAM. Some of the busiest developers on the C64, future projects in the pipeline look like they might be even more epic.

13/ Race+
Developer: Steffen Goerzig (Sokrates)
Publisher: Poly.Play


Race was a top down horizontally scrolling race game developed by Sokrates for the RGCD 16KB competition 2014. This version not only adds over 700 race tracks spanning 3 environments (instead of just one). But also a unique 8 player mode, supported by the SuperPad64 controller adaptor, which lets you plug up to 8 SNES controllers to play the game with up to 8 players on a C64!.

14/ Rescuing Orc
Developer: Juan Martinez
Publisher: Poly.Play

GOTY Nominee

Another deviously fiendish flip screen platformer. Rescuing orc has you exploring the forests, castles and caves looking for your friend Orc, the orc. The game has a unique art style reminiscent of recent indie hit Cave Story. It’s like an 8-bit homage to a 32-bit homage to an 8-bit game. 8-bit inception.

15/ Tombstone 
Developer: Megastyle for Reset Magazine
Publisher: Reset Magazine #10 Coverdisc July 2017

Review + Link

Megastyle is a collab effort consisting of Docster (Code), Scroll, Majikeyric and Drumstick (Code, Help and Original Idea), Rotteroy (Graphics & Music), Sparkler and Rage (Loading screen / music). Released as a Reset Coverdisk special, this is Tombstone - Retirement Day. Survive your own retirement without being retired permanently (although I guess you’d be retired permanently even if you survive!). Survive a series of increasingly difficult shootouts requiring expert timing of the fire button, or at least get your name on the Tombstone of Fame!.

16/ Planet X2
Developer: David Murray AKA The 8-bit Guy
Publisher: EOX Studio
GOTY Nominee


Perhaps better known for his excellent series of Youtube and Patreon videos. The 8bit guy specialises in explaining the inner workings of his favourite 8 bit computers, as well as keyboards, consoles and restoring aging software and hardware to as good as new. Not content with making videos, he also always wanted to create a Commodore game. And not just any game, probably the most ambitious of genres to put into 64KB: The Real Time strategy. Taking inspiration from Starcraft, the result was one year in development and does not disappoint. You can watch an in-depth making of video here.

17/ Quak
Developer: Oziphantom & Saul Cross
Publisher: Reset Magazine #10 Coverdik

Originally an RGCD competition entry... An update this year added a much needed password system. Cutesy flipscreen platformers are one of my favourite genres on retro systems.

18/ Frogs
Developer: Dr. Wuro Industries


Dr. Wuro have become synonymous with 4 player party games, having already released the quality Shotgun on C64. Frogs takes the formula of bomberman and mixes it up with a game of frogger, as you fight the other frogs with your tongue, and battle for rights to the yummy insects.

19/ Spanish SEUCK Compo And OLE! And Shootemup Destruction Set 4
Developer Various
Publisher: (Shootemup Destruction Set 4: Psytronik)

2017 also saw the 30th anniversary of the Sensible Software game creation kit SEUCK.. To celebrate, a competition was launched in Spain which saw many quality SEUCK games entered. We also saw a 4th incarnation of Psytronik’s Destruction Set series with more quality SEUCK releases. See here for more details.

20/ Starfysh
Developer: Richard Bayliss
Publisher: The Next Dimension (TND)

Review + Link

Nearly drowned out by the noise of festive cheers, and, well.. Sam’s Journey, Starfysh landed like an unexpected Xmas gift just before lunch time on Xmas Day! (UK time). The game featured really nicely drawn sprite animations, and fantastic music. We featured the game in our Xmas write up here.

21/ Gunfright v1.10
Developer: Rod & Emu

Fresh from porting Pentagram to C64, Rod & Emu released another Spectrum Ultimate port this year: Gunfright. Many of these classic Filmation isometric games never saw C64 releases back in the day, and Rod & Emu are doing their best to rectify this. Full write up here.

2017 Summary and C64 Award Winners

And there you have it.. That’s an average of almost 2 games a month for the entire 2017, and I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few more. We’re really thrilled that there are still so many active developers and artists producing games for our favourite home computer still after more than 30 years since the system’s heyday.  With so many ridiculously high quality productions from various developers and publishers, this might just be the best year the C64 games scene has ever had!  And although modern tools for developing C64 games has improved in recent times, it's still great to see so many active people in the scene.

Indie Retro News C64 Game Of The Year.

Here’s a reminder of the nominees:

Argus (Trevor Storey & Achim Volkers)
Galencia (Jason Aldred)
Planet Golf (Antonio Savona)
Planet X2 (David Murray AKA The 8-bit Guy)
LuftrauserZ (Paul Koller)
Rescuing Orc (Juan Martinez)
Sam’s Journey (Knights of Bytes)

Winner: Indie Retro News C64 Game of the Year:

Sam’s Journey.

When playing any of these nominated games, you can almost smell the blood sweat and tears that went into making them. Most took more than a couple of years to complete and Sam looked like it might not make the December deadline as it went through the final stages of testing: Sam’s Journey just squeaked into this side of 2017… and I’m sure everyone agrees that it is a well deserved GOTY! (We'll have a full review up on the site v.soon)

Winner C64 Scene Release of the year

International Karate Ultimate (JonEgg, Excess, Formby)
- Our favourite crack release this year was this version of the Commodore 64 classic, featuring new backdrops, and customisable single and 2 player game modes.

C64 VLOG of the year

Rob Plays (Rob Caporetto)
- A really well presented series of C64 gameplays, live streams, and unboxings

C64 Book of the year

Retro Game Dev (C64 Edition) - Derek Morris
- Join the next generation of C64 game developers with this book on C64 game development

C64 Documentary of the year

The Commodore Story
- A beautifully crafted documentary on the inside story of the rise and fall of Commodore including interviews with many of those inside the industry at the time, and also many who are helping to keep the Commodore story going today.

Coming in 2018?

Work in progress projects which will hopefully get full releases in 2018:
  1. Guy In A Vest (Working Title - Antonio Savona) - Arnie inspired frenetic run and gun from the man behind P0 Snake and Planet Golf
  2. Organism (Trevor Storey / Achim Volkers) Music: Saul Cross - Guns, Aliens and large ships to explore - Early footage looks frickin' awesome.
  3. Legend Of Atlantis (Trevor Storey / Achim Volkers) Music: Saul Cross
  4. Soulless 2 (Trevor Storey / George Rottensteimer) Music: Saul Cross 
  5. Shadow Switcher (Christian Gleinser)
  6. Planet Golf (Antonio Savona - RGCD Cartridge release) - Should be RGCD's next cart release.  We'll also re-open the Planet Golf Leaderboard for entries on all 5 planets. 
  7. MAH (Retream - RGCD Cartridge) - We loved Retream's last C64 release: Quod Init Exit IIm, can't wait for this one!
  8. Yoomp! 64 (Zbych - RGCD Cartridge)
  9. The Protovision Game Competition 2017 (Entries conclude May 2018) - This year the theme is "Sports Games"
  10. Wormhole (TRS - Protovision)
  11. 8Bit Civilizations (Fabian Hertel - Protovision) - We previewed it earlier this year, the playable demo is out now.
  12. Pac It (Jakob Voos - Protovision)
  13. Pains & Aches - A Knight n Grail Adventure - (Widepixelgames - Psytronik) - Knight & Grail is an action adventure platformer released by Psytronik in 2009, one of the games responsible for proving that the C64 could still have a future well into the 2000s
  14. Hammer Down (Jason Kelk) - Definitely inspired by Clumsy Colin, if it's only half as good as Action Biker, it'll be a thrillling ride!
  15. Steel Ranger (Lasse Öörni - Psytronik) - Sequal to Hessian
  16. Spelunky64 (Paul Koller) - Paul's next project is already well under way. Follow on Twitter for updates @paulko64
  17. Snow (MJH) - First game from MJH draws heavy inspiration from a major HBO fantasy series involving thrones, and dragons. Follow the Dev Diary here.
  18. Unknown Realm (Stirring Dragon Games) - Heavily funded kickstarter project should be getting a release this year.  Work in progress footage looks incredible: Kickstarter
  19. Hunters Moon Remastered (Thalamus) - For me, maybe the best news of 2017: The return of the mighty Thalamus! Along with the news that not only every Thalamus release will get a remaster starting with Hunters Moon.. But also... CREATURES 3! Kickstarter
  20. Project Hubbard (C64Audio.com / Psystronik) - Along with the successfully funded Rob Hubbard book and brand new SID tracks, a new game featuring Rob called Rob's Life will also be produced and released by Psytronik. Kickstarter
  21. Commodore 64 Adventure Series (Darren Edwards) A series of text adventures, one of which (Escape From London) was in development and shelved 6 years ago.  Successfully funded recently, let's hope these games finally see the light in 2018.  Kickstarter

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