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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.

Revenge of Starglider - Argonaut


Hmmmm, what a significant game this could have been.

At first glance it would have been a good game to port to the KMS, it would have stretched the KMS's 3D capabilities and the graphics could have been quite impressive. Add a Power Chair and you could have been immersed in a gripping space battle. Yes, all in all potentially a nice little game.

Revenge of Starglider was to use the helicopter add-on bolted onto the console to give a more realistic flying experience - the only game I know of that was to support it.

At second glance the significance of this game is quite extraordinary - this game got Argonaut thinking in a very particular way. If the KMS had taken off, and this game was as close to Argonaut's vision of what Starfox turned out to be (minus of course the Nintendo involvement) we would have been witness to a different evolutionary strand. What would Starfox have been without the heavy Japanese influence and strong character design?

Super FX Chip

I now know that some code was actually written for this game - it wasn't mentioned in Retrogamer Magazine's Starfox article, however Ben Cheese the developer of the Super FX DSP was one of the founding members of Flare. Which all ties in quite nicely really - there must be some of the spirit of Ben's design living-on inside the Super FX chip.

Starfox is a good tool for gauging the prospective performance of the Multi-system - as the SNES needed a separate DSP to handle the 3D graphics, would the Multi-system? When asked about the estimated 3D performance of the KMS when creating a game like Starfox, Fred Gill of Attention to Detail answered "I reckon you'd have gotten about 5fps with Starwing / Fox" I personally think he's underselling the capabilities of the Multi-system - their own demos showed much more potential than that, however throw in all the complexities of running a game on top of a 3D engine and he may have a point... Which is a shame really. I don't think we can even hope that a 5fp version would be playable - you be looking as 15-20 to have any chance of being playable, so if nothing else it would have been interesting.

From the press release :

REVENGE of STARGLIDER! (Development title) (Expected availability FEBRUARY '90) New and original flight simulator and arcade game in one, taking advantage of all of the features offered by the Multi-System. Written by Argonaut Software. Also works with Konix Power Chair.

A recent discussion I had with Dylan Cuthbert (one of the Argonaut programmers who went on to work for Nintendo and now Q Games) reveals this interesting information:

"At Argonaut Software I started developing a polygon rasterizer using the Konix Multi-system’s sound DSP (which was a 12 bit cpu and kind of interesting), and had it creating the display lists that were then used by the system’s blitter chip to render the polygons. I had got all this working when the programmer who was contracted to develop a bike racing game for the system (Chris Walsh I think his name was) suddenly left that project, anyway this led me to have to take over and develop it properly into a playable demo, which I did, and it was then shown at the ECTS show when the Konix system was shown to the public.

Unfortunately I have no material from those days as it was all left at Argonaut and of course Argonaut is no more. It was a very long time ago and I was soon swept up into Nintendo work. I do remember meeting Jeff Minter at ECTS though and us having a laugh with that game chair they were also thinking of selling.

My polygon engine would have been the start of a Starglider game I think, but that was scuppered with the mid-project change above. I ended up using the know-how when I moved to the GameBoy to develop “X” (or Eclipse as it was called when it was being funded by Mindscape). X was before StarFox and a lot of the ideas from there seeped into Fox of course. X was only released in Japan, but recently I had the pleasure to make a sequel and you can play that on DSiWare – it is called “3D Space Tank” in Europe (but X-Returns in Japan where obviously using the name X made a lot more sense)."

*Update* After a recent Discussion with Chris Walsh, another programmer from Argonaut, he offered the following information regarding Starglider port on the Multi-system: "In theory it wouldn't have been that much work to get it running, as there was already a version on PC. The main bulk of the work after that would have been getting the 3D transforms and polygon rendering taking advantage of the DSP and Blitter to run at a decent speed. Sadly, I never did get to have a go on the chair or even see one! Have you tracked down any footage of a real one working?" My answer to Chris was unfortunately no - but let's keep our fingers crossed eh?


Starglider II - Image 1 Starglider II - Image 2

Screenshots from the Amiga version