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  3. Talking about re-released games and future developments with Songbird Productions

Sonbird Productions had a number of its games on back-order for the past couple of years and now all of them have been re-released and are back in stock. To make it even better, these games are on the curved lip carts, as used by the official Atari Lynx games, the recent re-releases of Telegames games and Zaku. Atari Gamer has talked with Carl Forhan, the founder of Songbird Productions to find out more about these re-releases and to see what's been happening behind the scenes at Songbird.

All the games are available for purchase from the Songbird Productions Online Shop. The full list of re-prints includes...

  • CF2001 - SFX
  • CF2002 - Ponx
  • CF2003 - Lexis
  • CF2005 - Remnant: PW3D
  • CF2006 - Championship Rally
  • CF2007 - CyberVirus
  • CF2008 - Crystal Mines II: Buried Treasure
  • CF2009 - Loopz

Each one is listed at $59.95 (USD) and stocks are very limited (a few dozen for each title) so if you want a copy, you better get in quick! Shipping is a flat rate of $8 (USD) for US customers and $40 (USD) for international orders. However, if you don't want the CD Jewel cases for the games, enter "NO CASES" in the checkout instructions and Songbird will refund $15 of the shipping cost (after your purchase), bringing down international shipping to $25! This offer applies for the rest of October. If you forgo CD Jewel cases you will still get the CD insert and instructions.

So while talking with Carl a few interesting points came up, lets see what he's had to say...

Songbird Productions games have been on back-order for many years, what prompted you to re-release them now?

Over the past twenty years, I've tried to keep my games in stock as much as possible to ensure fans have access to the games. But given the hobby nature of the business, it can be hard to find time and people and parts to get it all done.

In the past your games were released on PCB style carts, how did you manage to get these new copies on curved lip carts?

I was able to partner with someone who had faithfully reproduced the original Atari-style plastic shell and slim PCB. The result is a very professional presentation, and I am thrilled to have my carts available in this format for the very first time.

Of course, quantities are limited as it was quite expensive to get so many games all produced at once. Hopefully Atari fans will appreciate the quality.

Will we ever see your games in printed boxes? What about posters and lapel pins like Luchs Soft has for their releases?

No plans for boxes for my old games at this point; it's too much added expense for niche games that were released 10-20 years ago. For future games, I will definitely keep this in mind though.

Is Songbird working on completing Ultravore and Distant Lands?

Honestly, no, not at this time. Distant Lands was a partnership with another programmer and I haven't heard from him in quite a few years. Ultravore is a title owned by Songbird, however, and while it has been on hold for multiple years (partly due to my inability to get new carts fabricated), I am hopeful that I can get back to it at some point.

What else is on the cards for Songbird in the future?

I still have another game billed as a "Mystery Project" on my website. It's a complete game I wrote in J2ME for cell phones over 15 years ago. The graphics would translate well to the Lynx due to the low resolution of phones back in that time period, so I still want to do that at some point.

These new re-releases and a possible new game is an amazing development for the Atari Lynx community, gamers and fans. Carl is doing an amazing job with delivering what people ask, and if you want to encourage him more, go and buy a couple of games and we'll hopefully see this mystery project come to fruition sooner!

P.S. If you're wondering why the CF2004 - Crystal Mines II: Buried Treasure Expansion CD hasn't been restocked, the answer is simple...All of the levels are included on the CF2008 - Crystal Mines II: Buried Treasure cart! The only missing part is the level editor, but as Carl has pointed it out to Atari Gamer - it requires a special cable to be connected between your computer and the Lynx and saves levels to RAM, so after a few times of trying out custom levels, the novelty will wear off and you'd probably not want to go through the transfer process.

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