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2020.04.09
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Research Trivia

The mystery of the Speccy astronaut

Some time ago, Carlos Abril published a tweet in which he showed some prototype graphics of what would later become Phantis:

Carlos Abril
On some occasion I have said that I made a first version of Phantis that when I pitched, as there was a lot of silence, I went back home and changed it whole. Which had jellyfish and dragons and a very cool space car (it doesn't appear on that sheet). Here's some graphics from that version 😊
Source: https://twitter.com/CarAbr2/status/993883210034634752

But wait a second! That astronaut also appeared in other games published by Spanish magazine MicroHobby, how can this be possible?

Carlos clarifies that:

That character appeared long BEFORE Phantis came out in Microhobby. They were some graphics which were made in Dinamic to encourage people to make games and to present them for Future Stars. I am NOT the author of that astronaut.

As a matter of fact, these graphics can be found in issue 76 of the MicroHobby magazine (April 29 to May 5, 1986): https://microhobby.speccy.cz/mhforever/numero076.htm

Apart from the astronaut Manolo Minglanillas himself, there you can also find the rest of the Superman.olo cast.

For those who are curious to see the result of typing those listings first hand, you can find the program ready to load on the fantastic website “Proyecto Basic” (“Project Basic”) by Neil Parsons: https://proyectobasiczx.wordpress.com/revistas/microhobby/61-80/mh-076/

Comparing with the published graphics, apart from having the helmet edited to give it a little more “opacity”, some variations of these were also created for this version of the game, such as a couple of extra frames to fly or a sprite for the astronaut to rescue, chained to the wall as in the Phantis.

 

In addition, it seems that Nonamed (by Ignacio Abril) also made initial use of these astronaut and creatures:

Carlos Abril
I had practically finished Phantis when we went to Dinamic to present Nonamed. Nonamed was a game made by my brother, Nacho, quickly and without much pretense. A little earlier, Dinamic had released the Future Stars label and he saw that he could do something fast and commercially publish it there, so he tried his luck. At that time we both programmed equally well; What made us different was that I also made graphics, and good! In fact, in my brother's game that came out in Micromanía nº1, "Pedro y Las Tortugas" ("Pedro and the turtles"), the character was made by me. We never joined Dinamic as workers; we were like other kids of the time who played games in our house, then we took them to Dinamic and they published them.
As I said, Nonamed was a game without many pretensions, it used graphics that had been published in Microhobby when advertising the Future Stars label so that developers could use them in their games. By taking him there, they told us that the Future Stars label hadn't had very good reception and that they would not continue with it, but that they saw that there was potential. For that, we had to change the graphics and the odd thing. So they made the graphics and proposed a completely different game. Because every time my brother was asked for the game's title he said it still had no name, they chose the name of Nonamed.
Source: http://videojuegosretro-upm.blogspot.com/2017/06/entrevista-carlos-abril.html

But the main mystery is yet to be solved. If these were not created by Carlos Abril, whose authorship is these graphics? Snatcho? Maybe Julio Martín Erro? 🤔

What’s clear is that the kangaroos are a prototype of those seen in Game Over. And the astronaut… perhaps a proto-Freddy Hardest?

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