From Sega Retro
|System(s): Sega Master System|
|Licensor: Alien Productions|
|Number of players: 1|
ALF is a Sega Master System adventure game developed by Nexa and published by Sega. Released exclusively in the United States in May 1989, it is one of the first games produced under supervision of Sega of America, and one of the system's first Western-developed games. Based on the titular 1986 American sitcom ALF, the game is infamous for its poor control, gameplay, and production values, and has gained a reputation as one of the worst games released for the Sega Master System.
ALF was one of the first Sega Master System games to be produced under supervision of Sega of America, with actual development being outsourced to Nexa. The company was in the process of being absorbed into Sphere, and while Nexa as a legal entity had ceased to exist at the time of publishing, development credit is given to Nexa regardless.
Production began shortly after development had ended on their previous Master System game, Monopoly. Much of the game's art was produced on a Commodore Amiga using Deluxe Paint, as an alternative to the apparently laborious mechanism for producing Monopoly's art, a process which required developers to use the Sega Digitizer System to burn data directly onto blank EPROMs. The in-game font is Topaz, the Amiga's default 8x8 font face.
ALF received overwhelmingly negative reviews upon release, and is often cited as one of the worst games released for the Sega Master System. Lead programmer Kevin Seghetti has, in good humor, agreed with this evaluation. Being only twenty years old at the time, and with only a single previous game as development experience (Monopoly), his inexperience compounded upon the fact that virtually all sections of the game were notably rushed to meet deadlines. Seghetti has suggested that, as he felt the ALF television series was just as bad, its Sega Master System counterpart is at least in line with its source material.
In my defense, I was only 20 at the time, and it was my second game. If you don't like the game design, John Emerson is the one to blame for that. (I didn't know what he did was called 'designing' back then, and he was also the producer). Of course, I am not sure one can design a GOOD Alf game. :-) As research, I actually started watching the TV series. It also sucked (so our game was faithful to the quality of the licence ;-)
Now the controls and playability was my doing, and I take full responsibility. I tried playing it a few years ago, and can't believe how difficult it is to control. Back then I was under the false impression that games should have proper physics, and you shouldn't be able to modify ones movement when in the air.
All of the graphics were drawn in dpaint on the Amiga, and converted using a custom tool I wrote. It worked MUCH better than the graphics pipeline Sega provided for Monopoly, where there was this large 2 monitor box with a light pen, and the artist had to burn their graphics onto an eprom, which we would then read on the PC (and there was never a blank eprom around when you needed one).
- Main article: ALF/Magazine articles.
|Sega Retro Average|
ROM dump status
- Collision Detection is Hard: The Story of Alf article by Nicole Branagan at Nicole Express
- Alf 2: Collision Detection is Hard, Blog Posts are Harder article by Nicole Branagan at Nicole Express
- File:Alf SMS US Box.jpg
- Computer Entertainer, "June 1989" (US; 1989-06-19), page 16
- https://www.smspower.org/forums/7964-F16FightingFalconMonopolyRampartDevelopment#35655 (Wayback Machine: 2021-01-17 21:10)
- Sega Power, "October 1991" (UK; 1991-09-05), page 55
- Sega Pro, "September 1992" (UK; 1992-08-13), page 36
- Sega Pro, "April 1993" (UK; 1993-03-11), page 70