In the description of my Amiga/Joyboard homage game Guru Meditation, I made the following statement:
As far as I know there have been no games released for the joyboard since Mogul Maniac (not counting two unreleased Amiga prototypes from the early 80s), so Guru Meditation also reminds us of the long history of experimentation with physical controllers in the mainstream consumer videogame market, even when both that market and its critics would have us believe that physical interfaces are as new as DDR or Nintendo Wii.
The two unreleased prototypes are Surf’s Up and Off Your Rocker, both of which were never released. But thanks to Scott Stilphen at Digital Press, I’ve just learned about another (unreleased) joyboard game.
A little background: in 1983 Amiga planned a Power Module accessory for Atari 2600, which would play games on cassette, add an enormous 6k of RAM to the system, offer dial-up console-to-console connectivity, and offer 3D play with red/blue glasses.
However, a company called Video Soft had been working on a series of games meant to be sold to Amiga for use with the Power Module, three of which were 3D games. Video Soft was run by Jerry Lawson, who is better known for his role in designing the Fairchild Channel F, the first interchangeable cartridge home console.
Among the six, one was apparently meant to be used with the Joyboard. It was called S.A.C. Alert, a flight simulator game.
Here’s the best part: Stilphen managed to get hold of Lawson’s archives, and has produced a new release of all six original Video Soft games. Stilphen made new box and label art, and he has produced a 100 copy edition of all the games.
Jerry Lawson died earlier this year from complications of diabetes, and proceeds from sales go to his family. A nice gesture, and a lovely way to help these lost games see the light of day.