A Commodore 64 game on a MiniDisc (or not)

Quite recently, I came across an album (We Are Stardust by Lukhash) that has an interesting feature: it was released on vinyl, CD, cassette… and MiniDisc. What’s more, it contains a Commodore 64 game. However, I encountered a little hiccup.

Instead of repeating all the previous articles each time, I’ll refer you to the dedicated page, which explains what I do with vinyl records and lists all the pages containing programs, explanations, etc.


For my initial attempts, I bought the MiniDisc. It wasn’t a « pressed » disc like the pre-recorded MiniDiscs from the past, but apparently a regular, recordable MiniDisc. To retrieve the data, I stacked the odds in my favor: I used an MZ-RH1, a player capable of directly extracting the content from a MiniDisc. It’s not entirely native as it involves ATRAC to PCM conversion, but it’s the cleanest solution to process the content afterward.

The MiniDisc

The problem arose when I couldn’t retrieve the data. I tried various programs to convert the data, but without success. Emulators didn’t accept the data, and the conversion to PRG didn’t work either. So, in desperation, I purchased the CD. And with the latter, it almost worked; I managed to create a usable .tap file for an emulator. The conversion to PRG didn’t work, but since I’m far from being an expert on the Commodore 64, there are probably some subtleties that elude me. So, I compared the recovered file from the MiniDisc with the one from the CD, and even visually in Audacity, the difference was obvious. Apparently, the ATRAC compression completely destroys the signal, causing it not to function. I’m not sure if it works with a real Commodore 64, but it’s a no-go with an emulator. With the vinyl, it’s apparently possible.

The CD

CD on top, MiniDisc on bottom

The Game

If you want to try the game, it’s available on a dedicated page, in a slightly modified version. There’s a different soundtrack, for example. You can find gameplay footage on YouTube, but as usual, I recorded myself playing it, using the Denise emulator. Visually, it’s quite appealing, and the music is also quite effective. I won’t provide the ROM from the CD, as the creator preferred to share the modified version, including a different high score table.

A pretty picture

The game itself is a runner, requiring jumping, ducking, etc. It’s a bit disorienting because some obstacles seem avoidable by jumping, but they’re not, so I play poorly. In the video, I first played the CD version and then the website version to showcase the differences (especially in the loading music).