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Thursday December 18th 2014

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GameTales: HomeCourt

HomeCourt Box Concept

I recently tweeted about the fact that there was actually a sequel, mostly finished, for Origin Systems’ game, 2400 A.D. titled 2500 A.D. MobyGames and Wikipedia were updated with the information which prompted someone on my TwitterFeed to ask about an unreleased Origin game titled HomeCourt.

Luckily, I’m one of the few people to know about this project. HomeCourt was a basketball game designed by two brothers, Don and John Walker. They were stronger on the design side than the coding side, so they had help from classic game programmer, Steve Meuse. I believe the game idea was brought to Origin in 1987 to make a full court basketball game (One on One was a half-court game).

HomeCourt ad concept

Steve Meuse worked with the brothers, mostly with Don, to get a graphical prototype working. The prototype had players on a projected 2D court running around and passing the ball on an Apple II. I saw this prototype working once when Don Walker was visiting, and it looked pretty nice. It was black and white graphics at the time, and the running and ball-passing worked great. Unfortunately, Steve left Origin in 1988 shortly after I left to co-found my studio, Inside Out Software.

The New Hampshire office of Origin Systems closed, and the company was consolidated in Austin, TX at the start of 1989. That effectively put an end to HomeCourt. Says Steve Meuse, “The game design aspect was getting more complex, and by the time I left Origin in 1988, it seemed to me to be only getting moreso. With the company move and all, the Walkers probably could have used more help and guidance than they got, but that’s just the way things turned out.”

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One Response to “GameTales: HomeCourt”

  1. Ben Lesnick says:

    Thanks for the information! I guess it’s obvious from the pictures but a basketball game seemed so out of character for Origin. I’m the guy who asked about this on Twitter. I run wcnews.com and we archive old Origin material–design docs, Point of Origin newsletters, etc.

    HomeCourt actually came up because we found those images (and a few others, different basketball and keyboard elements) while scanning and photographing old material stored at EA Mythic. Nobody had any idea what it was and I filed it away until your tweet about 2500 A.D. made me think to ask.

    Anyway–for whatever reason, that much of the game has apparently survived two decades and the trip from New Hampshire to Austin to LA to Virginia…

    Ben

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