Dateline : 12th February 2012


So we come to P, then Q, R, S and T. If it gets any more like Sesame Street I will have to change my name to Count Retro Bear. Well maybe not, although any similarity between a Muppet and myself are purely coincidental…….


3 ! 3DS ! Ha ha ha.....



PENGUINS : Pengo was one of the first arcade games I can remember. Pushing blocks of ice around a screen might not seem like very sophisticated stuff but the arcade machine in my local chip shop introduced me to gaming in a big way. Since then penguins have gone on to be the mascot for Linux, as well as appearing in many other games ; Attack of The Mutant Penguins, Penguin Adventure, Amazing Penguin, Club Penguin and even the bloody Penguins From Madagascar. Proof enough that slapping a penguin in something means it’s going to sell. The same cannot be said for any games based around sloths……except for one of the Ice Age games….


PICTIONARY : Picture this. It is 1990 and with Christmas fast approaching you are faced with a dilemma. Do you fork out £24.99 for the Amiga version of the popular party game where you draw pictures of items for your team or partner to guess, or do you pay less than a couple of quid for some paper and different colour pens ? If you selected the first option, you are quite clearly a buffoon. A pointless licence.


POPEYE : Ancient arcade game which stars everyone’s favourite cartoon sailor who has to rescue Olive Oyl from the clutches of Bluto. You do this by jumping up and down a series of platforms collecting musical notes, hearts and the letters spelling out HELP as quickly as possible. Along the way you can eat cans of spinach and go and give Bluto a good hiding. There are also cameos from other Popeye characters like Wimpey and Sweet Pea. If you can’t stand Popeye the cartoon, and believe me I can’t, you’d be thinking this is a waste of your time. Shame on you then because this is actually a very fun game to play, if a little basic by today’s standards.




QUACKSHOT : If Mickey Mouse had Castle of Illusion then Donald Duck had Quackshot. This was when Disney characters began appearing in good games that weren’t shameless cash-ins. Casting Donald as an intrepid adventurer in a platform style game was a good move. The game looked terrific and played extremely well, proving that you could throw a pretty tired idea into the mix and come out with something rather good.




RENEGADE : A series spawning three games must have had some impact back in the day and there is no doubt the 1980’s were very much the time of the vigilante after revenge. Of course each entry in the series had it’s own appeal ; the first game had you attempting to rescue your girlfriend, the second had you avenging your brother’s death and the third had you again going after your girlfriend, except this time she had been captured and taken back through time. The last two games in the series were strictly home versions only, as only the first game was an arcade conversion. The third game is also one of the worst pieces of software ever to grace a computer.


REPTON : The BBC wasn’t known for it’s killer games or wondrous arcade conversions. It was more associated with educational software and the fact that a lot of Britain’s schools had their IT departments filled with them. That doesn’t mean one can discount some of the pieces of software that have appeared on that machine. One of the best examples is Repton, which is not a clone of Boulderdash as is commonly misconstrued. The game is very similar, casting a lizard man in the main role who has to collect gems and diamonds from underground caves. OK so it does sound very similar, but there was more of a puzzle solving element to Repton and this was further emphasised in the number of sequels that followed the game. Fondly remembered by the few who had BBC Micros, because their parents wanted an educational machine.




SAMANTHA FOX STRIP POKER : Let’s put it this way – if you are a young man discovering the joys of life, at a certain age and for a few quid you can buy a game licensed around the hottest Page 3 girl of her time, what would YOU do ? Forget the fact you can’t play poker, it’s a computer game AND there are badly pixalated scantily clad women……. nuff said!


SIMPSONS : Everyone’s favourite yellow family have had a rather chequered gaming history. Very few titles using this licence have actually been much good. The original arcade game in 1990 was a great hulking 4 player game which never got converted to the home computers. Early titles like Bart vs The Space Mutants were fun but not really involving. The rash of titles for the Mega Drive and SNES – Bart’s Nightmare, Virtual Bart – were notorious for their crapiness and when finally it does seem like the developers hit on a good idea – Simpsons Road Rage – what you are actually playing is a Simpson version of Crazy Taxi. The less said about Simpsons Wrestling, the better.




TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES : There are a couple of things to remember when it comes to Turtles games. Firstly, the platform game that was released on every single format is rubbish. The arcade original is totally awesome, if you never played the 4 player version then you really missed out. The home conversions varied from amazing to you-must-be-joking. The Turtles in Time games on the Mega Drive and SNES were different from each other but still ruled, while fight fans enjoyed the Tournament Fighters game. All in all a much better gaming history than the Simpsons.


THEME PARK : If you have ever fancied creating and owning your own theme park then this was the game for you. Create your own rides, set prices, build concession stands and in the 16 bit version even go on your own rides. This was the game which helped spawn titles like Theme Hospital and Jurassic Park : Operation Genesis. If you have the time to put in then these are the games for you and tend to be more easy to get into than God simulator games like Populous.


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