The Konix Multi-system Games

Here are the know games that were either in development for the Konix Multi-system or had been planed to be. Some have screen shots from magazines and some have videos provided with kind permission of Jon Dean (the guy that actually filmed them). Please don't distribute or re-produce these videos as they remain Jon Dean's Copyright.

Bikers - Argonaut


Argonaut were the only company who actually seemed to use the Slipstream controller as it was intended by virtue of the fact that they had written a motorbike game. It would have been difficult for the game to have shaked off the inevitable 'Hang-on clone' label - but that's something we'll probably never be able to judge now. I think it's variety would have separated it enough from pure arcade racing to have given it a chance. I'm sure Argonaut would have created a solid and enjoyable game whatever label people wanted to pin on it.
From the video below, there isn't much going for the game graphically (sorry Argonaut!) the region of the screen that the graphics are drawn into is quite small, I'm no games programmer, but I imagine that this is to help reduce memory consumption and to keep up speed. It's clear from AMC 89 that large sprites could be handled, so I'm not sure why they did it that way. I'd personally have preferred to see larger sprites and lots of detail on the screen as well as an impression of speed. The company were more than capable of doing this, so it's an unusual choice.
Of course this wasn't finished product, the important thing would have been the sense of speed and the fluidity of the animation, again, who's to say?

Bikers - Konix Multi-system

From the press release:

BIKERS (included free with every Konix Multi-System)

A fast arcade motorbike racing game written by the award winning Argonaut Software. This title has never been available before and was written specifically to show the Multi-System at its best. Many different play options including the ability to practice motorbike stunts (such as jumping over buses), 256 colours on screen, CD quality music and sound effects. Works as a 1 or 2 player game, and will work with the Konix Power Chair if attached.

Jon Dean recalls:

BIKERS would have been the most played game, because it would have been free. It would have been a fun little game, very playable and felt different because you play using the handlebar configuration (although we did all our testing using a Navigator joystick because it was all that was available!!)

I do think this game would have been a hoot due to the announced variety of the game, the fact you were using handle bars and that the game could be system linked with a friend and also made good use of the Power Chair gave it real promise
In the background you can very faintly hear the developers joking that the game should be called Powerdrift. I think the name 'Bikers' would have stuck - as simple as it was, it was perfectly descriptive and unless some story or theme was to be later added to the game it didn't need anything else.

It would have been interesting to see how the game panned out. What was it going to be like to race - would it have been quick enough? Would the track have risen and fallen, would it have had the same sort of sprites from games like Outrun and Chase HQ that gave the illusion of large road side objects and buildings rushing past?

How was the stunt section of the game planned to play?

I think the game would have been a real hoot on the Power Chair with handlebars locked in place. The foot pedals could have been used for gear change just like a bike (one either side for different manufacturers bikes) and the air jets and surround sound that Wyn talked about rushing past you as you played would have been brilliant.


The following is an excerpt from a brief chat I had with Chris Walsh a former Argonaut programmer who worked on the Bikers game:

Bikers used a very narrow view port, was there a good reason for this? I would have assumed the machine could throw more sprites around the full screen?

Chris Walsh:
In terms of sprites, it wasn't really cut out for that type of game (no hardware scaling). The road itself was drawn in software and the amount of lines of road on the screen directly dictated the frame rate. It just wasn't really quick enough to do more than that without slowing down, even after I spent a lot of time optimising that part of the code. I think the intention was that we would be able to increase the size with a later rev of the hardware. The version I've seen in the vids isn't much more than some test code running.

Bikers was a clone of Sega's Hang-on - is this true, or was there a bigger vision for it?

Chris Walsh:
Pretty much - the Sega machines at the time were definitely something we had been looking at - it was really just what we ended up with through trying to implement various 3d and semi-3d type effects on the hardware we had to get a feel for what we could do with it.

Was it just ticking off a checklist to ensure there was a racing game of some sort?

Chris Walsh:
Yep, more than likely would have been :)

From Jon Dean's video, the basic framework was there - how far off being finished was it? It was supposed to be the pack-in game, would you have rather it sold in it's own right?

Chris Walsh:
I think we had levels and the HUD stuff in there - we were still working on getting the hills and tunnels working as I remember. It was probably 60% complete from that vid.

What is your lasting impression of the Multi-system (technical and cultural), how do you think it would have fared against its competition?

Chris Walsh:
I liked it, although it did seem to be underpowered in the graphics and memory dept looking back. I was quite expecting a ton of lawsuits for chair-related injuries when it was released though :)


Bikers - Image 1 Bikers - Image 2 Bikers - Image 3 Bikers - Image 4

I like the look of the game, I'm just surprised at the small view port. I don't know enough about games programming to know if this was used to help boost performance… a smaller amount of data being drawn on screen should lead to more speed or better effects. But if this is true then how did Mutant Camels manage to use the full screen? Answers on the back of a Konix dev kit sent to me please.