Australian Pioneers: Shocking Tape Loading Stories…

[ By Helen Stuckey on November 15, 2013 | Filed under: Blog | Tagged with: , , , , , , , ]
[ 1 comment ]

Remember the maddening process of waiting thirty-minutes for a tape to load?

Behold the most amazing Australian Pavloada! Not a delicious meringue dessert but a tape fast loader dramatically reducing waiting times for your fave games.
The Pavloada was created by for Beam Software by Andrew Pavlumanolakos. It not only speeded up the marathon loading times that tape games were notorious for it allowed sounds and images to be played during the sequence.

Perhaps the most famous Pavloada moment in the history of Beams games was the legendary loading scream on “The Way of the Exploding Fist” on the Commodore 64. Cranked right up the games screeching karate challenge of “Kwai yaaa” that manifested suddenly half way through its tape loading was designed to terrify parents and siblings and ready the gamer for the fighting challenge ahead.

Over at Lemon64 Doug recalls taking full advantage of the shock and awe of the scream at his neighbourhood department store:
“The local Sears was dumb enough to have this game installed on a C64 on display. I used to love rebooting and turning the volume all the way up then seeing everyone jump when that initial Hi YAA hi”

The origins of the scream are lodged in cinema history – many Beam staffers recall “Way of the Exploding Fist” designer Gregg Barnett practising his ear piercing scream around the office with the final recording bearing a very strong resemblance to Bruce Lee’s own high pitched screams in “Enter the Dragon”.

The original Pavloada was created by Pavlumanolakos for his job interview. Neil Brennan, Beams composer responsible for the “Way of the Exploding Fists” atmospheric music recalls that during his job interview Pavlumanolakos kept looking up the answers to technical questions about the Commodore 64 in a manual on the architecture of the C64 that he had brought with him. Eventually a bemused Fred Milgrom asked him if he actually knew anything about the platform and Pavlumanolakos confessed only what he had read in the book on the train on the way in. He insisted however that he had the skills and they should give him a challenge to test him out. Milgrom asked for a ‘fast loader’ and the next day Pavlumanolakos delivered the first version of the Pavloada and joined Beam.

Please share with us your tape loading stories.
What is the longest you ever waited?
Did you have a favourite tape loading sequence?

Over at Lemon64 Neo-Rio recalls a damming 30 minute loading time on the released [cheap version] of “Arnies America’s Cup Challenge” in a special Sports Compilation just for the Australian market
“Arnie Armchair’s Cup Challenge [sic]. On cassette in the C64C 1987 Australian sports pack. (Also came with Lemans, International Soccer and Howzat) Took well over 30 minutes to load. The counter got as high as 400!”

References: Gregg Barnett Interview with ACMI 2006; Gregg Barnett Interview 29 December 2012; Neil Brenann Interview 19 March 2013; Neil Brenann Interview www.c64.com, 4th January 2011
http://www.c64.com/gt_display_interview.php?interview=13
Lemon 64.com http://www.lemon64.com/?mainurl=http%3A//www.lemon64.com/games/details.php%3FID%3D2824

Listen to that famous scream.

The Way of the Exploding Fist Scream – Courtesy of the Doteaters.com

Title Page, C64

Do you have a memory or thought to share?


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One thought on “Australian Pioneers: Shocking Tape Loading Stories…

  1. Looks like I’m not the only one to have been caught out by that fecking scream during the load! Smile

    My mate told me to sit close to the TV (apparently the manual advised this – according to my lying friend). I was sipping a glass of cola and all of a sudden that SCREAAAAAAAAAM happened and my cola went everywhere. Smile

    Absolutely loved the game, I was the master of sitting on my bum and leg swiping everyone that came close Wink
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