Genre: Arcade     Creation Date: January 1988     Language: 6809 Assembly Language    System: Tandy 128K Color Computer 3


After the success of Donut Dilemma for the Tandy Color Computer, I immediately went to work on another game. This time it was to be a game specifically for the new Color Computer 3 and exploit the enhanced graphics and speed of this machine. There was no need to develop tricks to create extra colors. The new machine could display 16 colors selectable from a palette of 64. It had a higher resolution of 320 x 225 pixels (or 640 x 225 in 4 colors) compared to the old model's 128 x 192 pixels in 4 colors (or 256 x 192 in 2 colors).

And once again I chose a platform style game. I wanted to add more of a puzzle element to the game and came up with the following plot line...

Original Story Pretext

As tired as he was, the loud ringing sound could not be blocked out by his phenomenal level of exhaustion. Slowly, he opens his eyes and pushing his remote percussion keyboard aside, proceeds to answer the phone.

'"Rupert! Wake up!" frantically cries Rupert's manager, Bill Boombox.

"Hardrock Harry, manager of Music Box Records has stolen all your musical manuscripts and plans to release YOUR song under HIS name!!! Your entire future is at stake! Get those manuscripts back! Fast!!"  CLICK!

You must help Rupert infiltrate Music Box Records and collect all his stolen notes which are scattered throughout the complex. Ride the crazy elevators and beware of the security robots on patrol. After collecting all the stolen notes, you must work out their correct sequence before Rupert can perform his first live concert which will lift him to international fame and fortune!

Game Development

Rupert Rythym has nice graphics. I used nice metallic shading on the elevator poles and platforms to give a slight 3D look and Rupert himself looks great! There is a lot of sampled sound used in the game... from Rupert's "Hey!" to the various percussion effects that comprise the stolen tunes.

This game uses the same techniques I had been using since the TRS-80 Model 1 games. The sprite animation engine was almost identical in operation and while the graphics looked very clean with no flickering, no jerky movement and all the moving objects (sprites) gliding over the background elements perfectly, it was a bit slow. I had opted to move everything by pixel-pixel movements and when using a graphic mode that takes up 32K, it proved to be a burden on the graphics engine. I was also still generating sound by the old method that I had been using and this also came with a speed penalty. I knew I had to update my graphic and sound routines in the future to better suit this new computer.


The Main Hallway

One of the 16 rooms


As mentioned before, this was a platform game with a puzzle element. The way this worked was that the player had to retrieve his stolen manuscript that was torn up into 16 pieces and distributed amongst the 16 rooms of the Boombox Records building.

When the player first starts, he is in the main hallway where he chooses to enter one of the 16 doors marked from A to P. On entering a door, you appear in a room with moving elevators, red platforms and various security droids called  DROGS (DROid GuardS).In order to retrieve the stolen note from this room, the player must walk over each platform and change its color from red to cyan. You then are returned to the main hall where you can use the small control panel at the bottom of the screen to manipulate the order of the collected notes.

Once you have retrieved all the notes AND manipulated them in the correct sequence, you are taken to a new screen with a stage and instruments and you play the entire song before a "live audience". The game ends and you become famous.  :)

I hated this game.

My personal opinion of this game was that I could have improved the gameplay a bit more. I feel that I concentrated more on the puzzle element and didn't give enough thought to the arcade game element. Apart from the game having a bit of a slow feel to it, I believe that there is also too much "standing around" on each screen as the player waits for the moving elevator to reach his platform. In hindsight, I should have made the platform move immediately to the players platform rather than let it carry on in it's fixed rhythm of movement.

Marketing and Sales

First of all, the word "Rythym" is not how we spell the word in Australia as a US review once stated. That was a real spelling mistake on my behalf. I take full responsibility!

My excuse was that "Rythym" is a commercial twist on the word "Rhythm" used as Rupert's surname, his "fame name" if you like.  Of course that's bollucks but I figured a small lie won't hurt and I may even get away with it.... I did!!     :)

With Rupert Rythym, I decided to go upmarket with the graphic artwork for the packaging. I drew a sketch of what I wanted the completed artwork to look like and paid a commercial artist to do me a nice black and white cover. I then just had to color it myself, add the game screenshot, Tandy Color Computer logo and catalogue number and it was done.  I had the covers color printed to ensure a high quality.

With my sales momentum generated by Donut Dilemma, Rupert Rythym was snapped up by Tandy Australia. This time, without the support of a Christmas computer package, it sold 850 copies to Tandy Australia. Still a respectable number and I could still keep wearing my "I'm not a failure" t-shirt with pride.