Apr 11, 2012

Retro gaming with Mastertronic – Budget software for the Commodore 64

During the 1980’s, U.K based company Mastertronic rocketed to fame by launching a range of budget games for the Commodore 64, Amstrad and Spectrum home computers. Some became classics and others would be soon forgotten, but their prices were right and that’s what mattered to the kids of the day.

Inspired by the Mastertronic article featured in Retro Gamer Magazine #1 (check my post on Retro Gamer #100), Mat Corne has decided to recapture this heyday of silver age gaming by collecting and reviewing their back catalogue via his blog, Mastertronic Chronicles.

Some of the Mastertronic range for Commodore 64

Connected to the blog are video reviews in which Mat takes you through the games he has found including a look at the packaging and a run through of the gameplay. Funny to see those beautifully illustrated game covers playing their part as decoys for the sometimes dodgy contents within.


I also asked Mat some more questions about his collection to find out more about his interests:

SWC (StuffWeCollect): How long have you been collecting Mastertronic Games?

MC (Mat Corne): I had a few games in my C64 collection already but I only started collecting seriously last month.

SWC: Why did you decide to collect them?

MC: I was inspired by the Mastertronic article in Retro Gamer issue 1 which was reprinted and bundled with issue 100 of the magazine. Also the style of the packaging of the games appealed to me, and the fact that the majority can be picked up really cheaply and they don’t take up much space!

SWC: Do you collect any other game genres?

MC: I do have two other mini collections – the first is a collection of all the shoot-em-ups for the Sega Megadrive (I have around 10 left to get) and the second is a collection of all the Bubble Bobble games across all systems (also incomplete).

SWC: What’s the most you have paid for them?

MC: So far the most I have paid for a specific game is £1.99 for their re-release of Manic Miner, ironically the original price most Mastertronic games would have cost!

SWC: Where do you usually source them?

MC: Everything I’ve got so far has come from Ebay and trades or donations from members of the Retro Gamer forum.

SWC: Is there a large collectors market for them at this time?

MC: Not really. As I’ve said, the majority of games can be picked up for next to nothing. A few people have contacted me since I started my blog to say they are considering starting a similar collection though.

SWC: What’s the rarest Mastertronic title?

MC: The lowest selling title (and one that nobody I know has seen) is called Ski Writer and is not a game; it’s some kind of word processor.

SWC: What’s your Holy Grail Mastertronic item? Is it a game? A store display or poster?

MC: I’m only collecting the games and I’m not sure yet what the Holy Grail will be – most likely one of the hard to find games like Masters of the Universe or Pigs in Space, but you never know when things like that will just appear in a job lot!

SWC: How many do you have and how many are there?

MC: The current total is 139. It’s hard to say exactly as some titles may only have been released on disk or in the USA, but my feeling is that there are around 210 that I’m interested in.

Thanks Mat! So, click on through to Mat’s blog Mastertronic Chronicles and check out some of the videos already posted, plus subscribe so you can keep up to date as he continues his Mastertronic journey.


  • I still have lots of C64 game boxes sitting in the cupboards! The ones I treasure are the hard covers: the ones with heavily laminated cardboard boxes. Some of my favorite games I bought as soft-covers, eg Zak McKracken etc. I wish I’d bought them as hard cover. Bundle packs would also be something that I’d also be interested in: it gives the games context, by showing other games that existed at around about the same time. Kind of like what compilation tapes do for music…

    • Agree! Wish I had more of the original lavish packaged games.

  • As Mastertronic published a game called The Quest for the Holy Grail, maybe this is the Holy Grail that Mat should be seeking.

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