Monday, May 16, 2022

Ports of Entry: Electronic Arts

This list excludes the majority of games credited to EA's subsidiaries (e.g. EA Vancouver, Visceral Games, DICE, etc.) and second-party studios (Ozark Softscape, Bullfrog, others). Other Ports of Entry posts will cover them later.

 

Unknown lead platform:

 

Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Trainer

First released for PC on June 1987

Released for C64 on October 1987

Ported to Apple II on November 1987

Released for Macintosh on July 1988

Released for PC-88 on 1988


PC-first development seems likely given the earlier release, but it could still be a conversion from an early C64 build. Tandy/EGA modes only use 4 colors, weirdly, though composite supports 16. The Yeager photo is much higher quality in the C64 version.

The PC code is the baseline for the Apple II conversion, even though C64 is 6502-based.

 

Ski or Die

Released for Amiga, Commodore 64, & PC in 1990

Ported to NES in 1990 by Konami

 

Amiga does seem to have a more natural color palette than PC, but overall they look very similar. C64 is noticeably chunkier.

 

Space Hulk

Released for Amiga & PC in 1993

 

The PC version uses 256 color VGA while Amiga is limited to 32 colors, suggesting a downconversion.


 

NBA Live 95

Released for Genesis & SNES in 1994

Released for PC in 1995


The SNES version has an earlier roster than the others, suggesting to me it was developed first.

 

NBA Live 96

Released for Genesis on 1995

Released for PC & SNES 1995-1996

Released for PlayStation on March 1996

 

There's conflicting information about the releases. Mobygames says that the PC and SNES versions were developed by Hitmen Productions and released in 1996. Wikipedia says the PC version was developed by EA Canada and both were released in 1995.


There two appear to be two distinct version categories here, anyway. There's the 16-bit Genesis/SNES versions which use isometric graphics, and the DOS/PlayStation versions which use the 3D Virtual Stadium engine (but with sprites for players). It is not clear to me which one was developed first, but I have two possible narratives.

If we go by Mobygames, then my best guess is EA developed the Genesis and PS1 versions internally, and Hitmen Productions ported them to SNES and PC, respectively.

Wikipedia's releases, however, say that Hitmen Productions did the 16-bit versions while EA Canada did the 32-bit versions. If this is the case, then I think they should be regarded as different games.

 

NBA Live 97

Released for PS1 & Saturn in October/November 1996

Released for DOS/Windows, Genesis, & SNES in 1996

 

Once again, release information is conflicting, but sources are agreed that the Genesis & SNES versions were externally developed, as was the Saturn version.

It seems likely to me that the lead platform was either PC or PS1. Mobygames says both were internal EA productions while Wikipedia says the PS1 version was done by EA Canada.


Select chronology: 

 
Apple II era:
 
Title Date Contemporary ports
Pinball Construction Set 1982-11 1983 ports to Atari & C64
Hard Hat Mack 1983-10 Same-quarter ports to Atari & C64
1984 ports to Amstrad CPC & PC
One-on-One 1983 1984 ports to Atari, C64, & PC
Will Harvey's Music Construction Set 1984 Same-year ports to Atari, C64, & PC
Amnesia 1986-8 Same-year port to PC
1987 port to C64

 

Early 16-bit era:
 
Title Lead platform Date Contemporary ports
Starflight DOS 8/15/1986
Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Simulator ??? 1987-6 Same-year releases on C64 & PC
Same-year port to Apple II
1988 releases on Macintosh & PC-98
Skate or Die Commodore 64 1987-11 1988 ports to Apple IIgs & PC
Will Harvey's Zany Golf Apple IIgs 1988-10 Same-quarter ports to Amiga & PC
1989 port to Atari ST
Kings of the Beach DOS 1989-3 Same-year ports to C64 & NES
688 Attack Sub DOS 1989-4 1990 port to Amiga
Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs DOS 1989-9
Budokan: The Martial Spirit DOS 1989-11 Same-quarter port to Amiga
1990 port to Genesis
Starflight 2: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula DOS 1989-12
Centurion: Defender of Rome DOS 5/29/1990 1991 ports to Amiga & Genesis
The Immortal Apple IIgs 1990-11 Same-quarter ports to Amiga, Atari ST, & NES
1991 ports to PC & Genesis
Ski or Die ??? 1990 Same-year releases on Amiga, C64, & PC
Same-year port to NES by Konami
LHX: Attack Chopper DOS 1990
Chuck Yeager's Air Combat DOS 1991

 

Genesis era:
 
Title Lead platform Date Contemporary ports
Road Rash Genesis 1991 1992 ports to Amiga & Atari ST
Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf Genesis 1992-11 Same-quarter ports to Sega Master System & SNES
1993 ports to Amiga & Lynx
Road Rash II Genesis 1992
Space Hulk ??? 1993 Same-year releases for Amiga & PC
Urban Strike Genesis 1994 1995 ports to Game Gear & SNES
NBA Live 95 ??? 1994 Same-year releases on Genesis & SNES
1995 release for DOS

 

32-bit era:
 
Title Lead platform Date Contemporary ports
Road Rash 3DO 1994 1995 port to PlayStation
Space Hulk: Vengeance
of the Blood Angels
3DO 12/1/1995 1996 ports to PC, PlayStation, & Saturn
NBA Live 96 ??? 1995 1995 release on Genesis
1996 releases on PC, PlayStation, & SNES
NBA Live 97 ??? 11/1/1996 Same-year releases on DOS/Windows, Genesis, PlayStation, Saturn, & SNES
Privateer 2: The
Darkening
DOS 1996-12
Nuclear Strike PlayStation 8/31/1997 Same-quarter port to PC

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