SPECTRUM MEMORIES PART 4
Budget Re-releasesWe're not talking Playstation platinum here, where re-released games still cost a pocket-money busting 20 quid. These were proper budget prices!As the Spectrum entered the beginning of the end, the major publishers all gradually re-r...
Posted by jdanddiet on Jan 19, 2011 19:43 (Jan 19, 2011 19:43)
We're not talking Playstation platinum here, where re-released games still cost a pocket-money busting 20 quid. These were proper budget prices!
As the Spectrum entered the beginning of the end, the major publishers all gradually re-released their and others back catalogue. It got to a stage eventually where you never bought a game full-price; you just waited for the inevitable budget re-release!
Ocean had The Hit Squad. US Gold had Kixx. Elite had Encore. Hewson had Rack-It. Most released old games with the latter releasing original titles as well. And this was in competition with the existing budget software houses such as Mastertronic and Alternative who were also re-issuing old games willy-nilly.
For the consumer, this was good news. Most of these games were £2.99 - a third of a full price game. As I mentioned in Spectrum Memories 3, Lloyd Mangram writing his lookback on 1986 had already noticed a trend towards budget games in general: 1987 would become the year of the budget re-release.
Of course, Mastertronic had been doing this surreptiously for a few years. Some of their early titles such as Formula One and Chuckman were actually re-issued full price games, although full-price back in the early 1980's had meant £5.95 rather than eight or nine pounds as was common by 1987.
The Hit Squad was one of the most active budget labels. Ocean plundered their back catalogue, steadily re-releasing them for £2.99. Eventually all their titles would appear on The Hit Squad, generally only a few months after its initial release. Classics such as Green Bert would mix with recent games such as Midnight Resistance and Shadow Warriors. Other publishers titles would be fair game too and I remember several Domark games appearing under the Hit Squad banner, including Star Wars.
Encore was probably my most fondly remembered of these labels, if only because of the superb back catalogue that Elite had to offer. As well as classics such as Bombjack, Ikari Warriors and Paperboy, they acquired several old Durell titles which was perhaps a bit cheeky, offering creaking titles such as Harrier Attack! for £2.99.
But what of Kixx? Well US Gold always had the most variable of quality control and the Kixx games reflected that, although they sensibly avoided re-releasing their biggest clunkers. The Multimixx £4.99 compilations were a good idea too!
The late 1980's were a truly brilliant era for budget gaming.