Dateline : 24th November 2011


You have to wonder why some games end up being converted to some consoles or comp0uters. Here is such a pointless exercise for your consideration as RetroBear looks back to his one and only experience with a C16+4…..


Make sure you always check the screenshots on the back....because they don't always apply to version you are buying....

When you have a successful home computer the one thing you want to do is expand on it. Spectrum did so with a 128k version, and Commodore added a disk drive making its capabilities that much more powerful. The last thing you want to do is bring out a downscaled version of an already fairly potent machine. So when Commodore announced in 1984 they were discontinuing their entry level Vic 20 and replacing it with the C16, one wonders what they were thinking.


Yes by then the Vic 20 had had it’s day. The C64 had taken off globally and was selling well in both Europe and the USA. Commodore wanted to establish the C16 as a budget home computer and thus head off any supposed competition that was coming from Japan. Unbeknownst to them that competition never arrived as the resurgence of the home console was imminent. Thus all Commodore’s competitors at the time, namely Texas Instruments, Timex and Mattel, withdrew from the market leaving the C16 all alone.


The results were pretty disastrous. The computer sold badly in the USA, forcing Commodore to withdraw the machine from sale. It picked up in Europe where it was sold as a cheap games machine and had some very surprising success in Mexico. There is no doubt though that as a far less powerful version of it’s C64 sibling there were only a few things it could do that would appeal to anyone interested in playing games. The machine now does have a cult following for it given it’s rather poor reputation (and there are good games to be found for it)


Footballer Of The Year was not one of them. For those unfamiliar with the game, you took the role of a lower division footballer with an eye for goal. During each game you would be given a limited number of chances to score goals. You occasionally would have one or two defenders in your way and the keeper to beat, but providing you were quick off the mark you got your shots in. During the game you had a chance to earn extra goal cards to have extra chances in the match. Too slow and you’d be tackled or the keeper would save your shots. The quicker and more accurate you were the better and soon the bigger clubs would come knocking. Working your way up the leagues you would gain experience and a reputation and eventually you could claim the Footballer Of The Year title and even play for your country.


Sadly I wasn't able to find any actual screenshots for the game, but it's kinda like this only the text is a bit more spaced out


The game was a big success on the 8 bit formats and Gremlin Graphics even released a sequel incorporating the Amiga and Atari ST. It is the C16 version that sticks in my mind for one reason. A friend of mine had a C16 and I popped round one day to have a look. I’d never heard of them before then, let alone seen one. I caught him playing Ikari Warriors and was rather unimpressed by what I had seen. So when he loaded FOTY up I really had trouble believing what my eyes were seeing, and that despite the fact I wear glasses.


Instead of having the chance to shoot on goal in some rendered matchday graphics, to simulate your shot on goal you pressed the space bar on a text screen. Once you did that the computer would tell you which way you kicked the ball and whether you had scored or not. That was it. No way of telling if you were close or showing the ball nestling in the net, the C16 simply wasn’t powerful enough or advanced enough to show that. All you got was a message informing you of success or failure.


If you read the 4 points in the bottom left hand corner you will see what I mean - the thing is though this was printed on the inside and not the outside - a cunning plan to get you to buy the game then read about how bad it was going to be later


Quite frankly this was one of the most detached, embarrassing and ludicrous pieces of software I had come across, and I still don’t think I have seen anything as bad as that since. You just had no control over what you were doing. I couldn’t help feel sympathy for my friend, who I am sure would have been thrilled with the computer. I might have had an Atari 2600 at the time but at least that allowed to actually play the game.


Playing it on other formats FOTY is a fine game. This though doesn’t even warrant the word “game” being tagged to it. I am sure there are many fine pieces of software for the C16 but having seen one in action I am rather glad I had a few mates with a C64 instead.


VERDICT : Horrible.


NOTES : No trace at all on Amazon and eBay (you lucky people)


UP NEXT : Let’s all rub noses – Ice Climber on the NES.