One man is on a quest to complete his 1980s Commodore 64 RPG

Mike Brixius started making his own Commodore 64 role-playing game in 1984 and is only now attempting to finish it after almost 40 years.
Christopher McFadden
This will bring to a close a quest 40 years in the making.


To put to bed a long-standing regret, one man has announced his intention to complete a Commodore 64 RPG (role-playing game) game he began developing as a teenager. Left to gather dust for over 40 years, notes and disks containing his saved code have been dragged out of storage to complete this long overdue task.

The man, Mike Brixius, began developing the game in 1984, and apart from some extra injection of energy in 1989, the game has laid unfinished ever since.

But, as Brixius announced on his YouTube channel, RavenWolf Retro Tech, this won't be the case for much longer. "It's one of those loose threads in my life that I deeply regret," Brixius says in his video on his self-inflicted quest. After years of development, he is looking to his Patreon supporters and YouTube community for moral support and accountability to help him complete his game.

During the 1980s, Brixius was inspired by classic dungeon crawlers like Ultima IV and Telengard and decided he wouldn't mind making his own. He made some decent progress and, by all accounts, the game's innovative gameplay mechanics, particularly the concept of line-of-sight, was groundbreaking for the era. Unfortunately, an illness, military service, and the demands of life prevented him from completing the project. This unfinished business has weighed heavily on him ever since, so he recently retrieved his old project and his antique equipment to finish it by 2024.

Fortunately, Mike's younger self was extremely meticulous in documenting this project. He created a map inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and even printed out notes from a Commodore 64 printer, complete with assembly instructions, which he then augmented with handwritten explanations of how everything worked. He also made handwritten notes outlining character set plans, disk sector use plans, menus, player commands, character stats, and equipment, all of which were saved on paper.

Initially, he wrote the code using a machine language monitor, as he was unaware of assemblers then. Later, he discovered assemblers and attempted to rebuild the code on a Commodore 128 and an Amiga, but he could not get everything to work together. While there is some working code on a floppy disk, a significant portion is incompatible with the rest.

To this end, Brixius has now created a detailed plan for completing the build and intends to collect all the commented source code and organize quarterly sprints to try to finish the project. In addition to the extensive scope of this personal project, it also serves as an excellent illustration of the importance of thoroughly commenting on one's code. This can help avoid the need to solve mysteries or recreate work when revisiting projects months or decades later. It is important to note that self-documenting code does not exist.

Tying up loose ends in one's life is a great way to ensure peace of mind. To this end, we wish Mr. Brixius the best of luck in finishing this overdue project.

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