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Old 19 April 2018, 17:32   #1
MigaTech
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Arrow Ocean Software

Ocean Software is without doubt one of the greatest software houses of all time.

They were established in 1983 as Spectrum Software but due to obvious confusion, the company was renamed Ocean in 1984. Some of their early spectrum titles were also renamed and rerelease under the Ocean brand. Founded by David Ward and Jon Woods in Manchester England, Ocean would become iconic all over the World!

By 1985 when the Amiga was launched, Ocean had acquired Movie video game rights and brought us the games, Short Circuit and Rambo. In 1986 they also finalised a deal with Data East/Taito to produce home versions of the Arcade games, Operation Wolf and Arkanoid.

In 1987 Ocean reverted back to publishing original video games, and in 1988 they were voted the best 8 Bit software house of the year! Some of the games Ocean produced over the years are simply unforgettable. Who can remember those game loader screens and the music on the C64? All that action whilst loading an incredible game, on a machine with only 64K, was just amazing!

They were known as Ocean Loaders and the loader music is still very much adored and popular. Jonathan Dunn, Peter Clark and Martin Galway produced the music for the Ocean loaders.

"Imagine the name of the game!"


1996 saw Ocean merged with Infogrames for £100 Million and their final act was when they acquired Digital Image Design in 1998. Sadly in the very same year they would be renamed Infogrames, which saw the end of the iconic Ocean title.

Ocean was special to me, not just for their superior games but because they were based only a few miles, from where I grew up and once lived. I would often marvel at this fact, when playing some of their games on the C64 and Amiga. Team 17 was another favourite software house of mine, so when Ocean worked with them on Worms, it was just perfect!

I started this thread as a tribute to an amazing software house, that brought us all fond memories and some of the best computer games ever! Please share your best memories of Ocean software and discuss anything related to Ocean, in this thread.
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Old 19 April 2018, 17:53   #2
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They had some fantastic titles in their later years, but their early stuff was very hit and miss - games like Hunchback were just execrable, whereas Daley Thompson's was just awesome fun.

They didn't really hit their stride until '86 when Joffa got his feet under him and they started to release competent games one after another. Acquiring the Imagine license didn't hurt either.

To be honest, Hewson Consultants were consistently better in my opinion. Their catalogue of games was not huge like Ocean's, but the quality was far beyond most of Ocean's content.
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Old 19 April 2018, 18:00   #3
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Yeah, Hewsons games were more tailored to the spectrums abilities (or lack there of). always using plenty of colour in the right places and they embraced the 128k machines when they were released. Ocean really dragged there heals on 128k support and nearly all of their later games were monochrome. Not to mention Short Circuit which was released in an unfinished state on the spectrum.
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Old 19 April 2018, 18:04   #4
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Yeah, they were very much a nascent "corporate" house, as opposed to many others that were as enthusiastic about the platform and the games as the coders were.

That said, I do have very fond memories of many of Ocean's games on the 64, Speccy and Miggy - but you had to choose your platform wisely as what was awesome on one (Wizball on 64) was awful on another (Amiga) and just plain Ok on yet another (Speccy).
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Old 19 April 2018, 19:20   #5
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Amsoft offered Hunchback on the CPC and I actually thought this wasn't a bad game, albeit a little simple. It was originally produced by Century Electronics for the arcade, in 1983.

Superior software were the first to produce Hunchback for the BBC, Ocean offered it to most other platforms. The game couldn't of been that bad, specially on the Spectrum, in which it reached number 1 in the UK sales charts.

The six shooter pack from 1987 was the first time I ever played an Ocean software game. It was released with the C64 and I particularly liked Parallax for the game play, movement and sound.
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Old 19 April 2018, 20:33   #6
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Hunchback was a pretty poorly coded affair, and it didn't have much to compete with at the time. It was written in machine code as we used to say, and had big sprites (though very very simplistic animation) so stood above other offerings with their UDG style graphics. But the gameplay was pretty bad, tbh and very very shallow.

That same year, though, Jet Set Willy came out and that raised the bar for platforming beyond anything else and games like Hunchback couldn't compete.

Manic Miner from the previous year was also a much better game than Hunchback, but had been out for many months so was falling off the charts when Hunchback came out.
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Old 19 April 2018, 20:43   #7
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Old 19 April 2018, 21:09   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
Hunchback was a pretty poorly coded affair, and it didn't have much to compete with at the time. It was written in machine code as we used to say, and had big sprites (though very very simplistic animation) so stood above other offerings with their UDG style graphics. But the gameplay was pretty bad, tbh and very very shallow.
Yeah, but was among the best coin-op ports of 1983, together with Artic's Glaxian to say the quality of the software at the time ^^
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Old 19 April 2018, 21:14   #9
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Superb link!!! Thank you so much! Leaning so much more about the Ocean Loaders, that I didn't originally know!
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Old 19 April 2018, 21:23   #10
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Yeah, but was among the best coin-op ports of 1983, together with Artic's Glaxian to say the quality of the software at the time ^^
Man, you got me there - quality arcade ports indeed
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Old 20 April 2018, 09:47   #11
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https://fusionretrobooks.com/product...ocean-software

You may find this interesting?
I backed this (along with the US Gold one too) on Kickstarter many moons ago.
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Old 20 April 2018, 13:20   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmo76 View Post
https://fusionretrobooks.com/product...ocean-software

You may find this interesting?
I backed this (along with the US Gold one too) on Kickstarter many moons ago.
Thank you, this is most interesting!

It would be fascinating to know of some experiences, Amiga users from around the world had, with Ocean software titles.

Here in the UK, specially in the mid to late 1980's, virtually everyone was playing Ocean games. The loader screens were pure genius, taking the long loading time completely away!

This was where it all began, the video games industry have the likes of Ocean to thank. This book is a beautiful idea of preserving something, that gave us the best of times and helped project all platforms around the world.

It's a vast Ocean...
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Old 20 April 2018, 13:27   #13
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This was where it all began, the video games industry have the likes of Ocean to thank.
Don't know about that; the arcades are where it all began IMHO.
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Old 20 April 2018, 13:32   #14
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Don't know about that; the arcades are where it all began IMHO.
Yes agreed, although I should of been a little more precise with the information, as I meant the home computer platforms. Sorry.
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Old 20 April 2018, 20:10   #15
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Former Ocean Gfx Artist : https://twitter.com/MarkRJones1970

https://www.facebook.com/OceanSoftwareLtd

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Old 21 April 2018, 20:33   #16
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Thank you once again for the great links! So much Ocean still out there!
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Old 23 April 2018, 17:48   #17
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They did a hell of a lot of "ST port jobs" or "ST port job with some sampled sound/music" which they flogged for 5 quid more than the ST version for me to have fond Amiga era memories of Ocean. Technically pretty much all their releases were inferior to the quality of the Amiga 1000 (yes A1000) conversion of Marble Madness. For arcade/action games you need to make sure the skill of the development house hired is backed up with some quality assurance testing/respect for your Amiga customers. £25 quid was a lot for even working younger generation to blow on badly converted 16 colour rubbish many software houses pushed out, Ocean were just as bad as the rest in this area.

I am glad Ocean never converted Salamander to the Amiga, it would have been disgusting.
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Old 23 April 2018, 18:51   #18
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I loved Ocean from my Speccy days and they supported the Amiga just as well, sure they had some shockers, but their support upto the ‘end’ was well appreciated, they were a class above the similarly British US Gold.

Prob my fav 10 Amiga games they released.

Toki
Robocop 3
Push Over
Addams Family
Kid Chaos
Jungle Strike
Mr Nutz
Worms
PGA European Tour
F29 Retaliator
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Old 23 April 2018, 19:22   #19
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Good times

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Box art by Bob Wakelin, 1987, Ocean Software.
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Old 23 April 2018, 20:14   #20
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@Raid27, Excellent choice of game box art! Wizball was one of Ocean software's best games from 1987. It was also one of the titles in the six shooter pack included with the C64, that same year.



Parallax, I enjoyed very much. I do not think there is a bad game amongst this lot. They were all very entertaining.

Head over heels has a great story behind it and its success is boundless. Apparently Jon Ritman once stated, that he didn't have a completed idea for the game. Using the isometric engine seen in the 1986 Batman video game, Ritman claimed he made the whole game up and then added all the BS in the last ten minutes. Nevertheless, this was a superb game on all platforms and it saw a remake in 2003!

Wizball was unique in its screen movement and game play. Originally released on the C64, it would eventually be available for most platforms. One of the most pleasing games ever on the C64!

Sensible software would be formed by the programmers of Wizball.

Parallax, was the first game by Sensible Software released under Ocean. It was such a complex game, that the C64 just didn't have enough memory for the original design. Although I would have to say, this was a favourite of mine on the C64. The music and game play were just incredible!

Hyper Sports, was very successful on the Spectrum and was one of the first games to see the Ocean loader.

All in all the six shooter pack was awesome and to have it all included with the C64 packs of 1987, enough said!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmortalA1000 View Post
They did a hell of a lot of "ST port jobs" or "ST port job with some sampled sound/music" which they flogged for 5 quid more than the ST version for me to have fond Amiga era memories of Ocean. Technically pretty much all their releases were inferior to the quality of the Amiga 1000 (yes A1000) conversion of Marble Madness. For arcade/action games you need to make sure the skill of the development house hired is backed up with some quality assurance testing/respect for your Amiga customers. £25 quid was a lot for even working younger generation to blow on badly converted 16 colour rubbish many software houses pushed out, Ocean were just as bad as the rest in this area.

I am glad Ocean never converted Salamander to the Amiga, it would have been disgusting.
You are entitled to your opinion of Ocean by all means but don't you think you are being a tad harsh?

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