© William G. Dunn
Mike Lorenzen - interviews -  home
Many years ago, I met Mike Lorenzen at the Game Developers' Conference here in California, and we talked about the fact that the game was frustrating to learn and intimidating for many players. He agreed that a lot of sales were lost as a result of this fact.

My memory may be patchy here, but what I remember Mike saying was that he had originally created five missions, and that the first two were designed to offer a smoothly graduated learning experience for players, so that by the time they got to Mission Three, they would be ready for a real challenge.

Unfortunately, due to various constraints (such as time available to further optimize and compress the game code and data to fit onto a two-side C64 disk, available playtesting resources at Accolade's test dept., etc., I would guess, though Mike didn't say), the decision was made by executives at Accolade to limit him to three missions, and the decisionmakers felt that only hard-core gamers would play the game, so they cut the first two missions, leaving the three harder ones.

It's a shame because the word-of-mouth reputation that the game developed in the '80s was that it was very frustrating to play. All water under the bridge now, but part of the history of an extraordinary game.