A space fighting game, Gemini is probably the rarest Phoenix title. No known original disks exist of the completed product - the image provided is a cracked version. Thanks to Marcus Heuser for providing it.|
About the game, from author John O'Fallon: "Dav Holle [author of Zoom Grafix] worked at the computer store that was a few miles from my house. I was 13 or 14, I think, at the time, and hung out there pretty regularly. I had been working on a set of graphics utilities (very different from Zoom Grafix, my toolkit was designed to allow people to create animations, on-screen effects, full screen image compression, and such) and showed it to Dav. He liked it, so he put me in touch with Ron [Ron Unrath, founder of Phoenix].
I started working on Gemini on my own, after school (late nights), and when it was playable, I showed it to Ron one evening at my house (well, my parents house). He liked it, and was headed out for a trade show the next day, I think, and took a copy to show around. Apparently, the feedback was at least decent, and he encouraged me to finish it up. So I did. For a kid that couldn't even drive, it was pretty cool to be a part of something like that.
I also worked in a computer store by that time (a new store that had opened, not the place where Dav worked), so I saw buying trends first hand. When the Apple II first came out, the game industry really sprung up, but you could see that people started wondering why they had bought this $3000 machine to play Choplifter. Game sales dried up, and education software took off. I really think it was due to people justifying their hobbyist computers by trying to turn them into educational tools for their kids. Of course, the Apple II was both, but either way, game sales slumped. Go back and look at the sales charts at the back of SoftTalk magazine... The shift is pronounced.
And of course, it was during this time that Gemini got finished up. Sigh. Ron's right, there was never any real effort to distribute or promote the game. It didn't even get 4 color packaging.
Another big factor in the game sales slump was piracy. Despite the few sales, I saw a pirated copy (that is, the program with the copy protection completely stripped out of it so that it could be freely copied) within 2 weeks of it being released. Some kids at my high school were playing it in the computer lab, and when you started it, a splash screen said "Cracked by Captain Hacker" or some stupid thing. Ah well.
It doesn't matter. I didn't do it for the money. It was a great experience."