Dick Deadeye

I’ve never ever been to sea.

I think it’s about time that I was up front with you all. There’s something I’ve not been public about, and it’s perhaps because I was concerned I’d be judged. Hopefully, you, my internet friends, will be very accepting but I’m slightly scared that some of you may be less tolerant. If you are, then please reconsider. This is very hard for me, and I’ve seen other people over the years manage the same public announcement to varying degrees of acceptance.

Deep breath.

Spoiler Inside Show

If I open my eyes now, I hope you’re still there and you’re still looking kindly at me. And, if you are, I thank you. You are wonderful.

Probably the first time I realised I liked musicals was when I was bought a copy of Dick Deadeye on VHS when I was about 8 years old. It’s an animated tale of a sailor named Dick Deadeye, or possibly Deadeye Dick (the film is referred to as both) as he is tasked with recovering The Ultimate Secret 1 after it has been stolen.

Along the way, Dick puts together a crew of degenerates and criminals and sets off after The Pirate King and The Sorcerer, and it’s all told using music, plot and characters from Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Songs like The Judge’s Song from Trial by Jury, When A Felon’s Not Engaged In His Employment and I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General from The Pirates of Penzance, and A Wandering Minstrel I from the Mikado. Of course, I didn’t recognise any of them from anywhere back then, but it was one of my favourite films. Still is, I think.

And not just because it had women with bare nipples in it. In a kid’s cartoon! Honestly.

Since then, I’ve enjoyed a fair few other musicals – mainly in film form, it has to be said. Grease, obviously. The Producers (in film form, both the 1967 and the 2005 versions are equally good in my opinion) is fantastic too. More recently, there’s Scott Pilgrim vs the World which I class as a musical even if it isn’t in the same way the others are. My wife frequently berates me for liking Annie (the 1982 version) but it’s an excellent film with fantastic songs. No, it is. She doesn’t like musicals at all.

I got her back once by not telling her that Sweeney Todd (the 2007 Tim Burton film) was a musical. Half way through she twigged. I think she enjoyed it anyway. And she’s the one who owns the Blues Brothers album! Tch.

Probably the best musical, however, is of course The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In most of its forms, but my favourite is the Tim Curry 1975 film. Oh look! Tim Curry was in Annie too! There you are then – proof. Of. Something.

But back to Dick Deadeye. The thing with Dick Deadeye, is that virtually nobody aside from me and my sister have even heard of it. There are very few references to its existence on the internet and although the character (who is from HMS Pinafore) appears, the film is much harder to find – not least because it is also called Deadeye Dick. Or Duty Done. Or sometimes, “Deadeye Dick; or Duty Done”. To make matters worse, there’s also a band called Deadeye Dick. And a stage version of the same thing.

Thankfully, someone put a VHS rip of the film up on YouTube a couple of years ago and all being well, it’s still there. Here:

(Nudity at 42:10)



  1. “It’s not just a common or garden secret that everybody knows! It’s not even Top Secret that only a few thousand people know! It’s the Ultimate secret! That nobody knows!”

Top 10 List of Top 10 Lists of Top 10 Lists

Ten Ten Ten Ten Ten Ten Ten Ten Ten Ten

(This suggestion from @thermalsatsuma, only I’ve Inceptioned it up a bit)

how about your favourite top ten top ten lists of things?

You see, that’s fine in principle, but I thought a Top Ten List of Top Ten Lists was a bit passé. Any fool can come up with one of them. What I’ve decided to do, then, is post up my Top Ten List of Top Ten Lists of Top Ten Lists. It’s Top Ten Lists all the way down. Sadly, (Top 10)^2 lists are pretty hard to come by, so this (Top 10)^3 list might well be the (Top 10)^3 list, but some of the (Top 10)^2 lists are a bit suspect.

Think of it in terms of a Top 10 One Direction Songs list. Sure, you can choose the Top 10, but they’re all still One Direction songs.

10 – Top 10 Top 10 Lists

This guy’s face. And voice. But mainly his face. In my Top Ten Faces That Look A Bit Like Zachary Quinto, he’d be about number 5. Also: they’re all fake lists. Cheat!


Illadvisedly sticking with YouTube for number 9, here’s a set of top tens mainly about Power Rangers. Mainly about female Power Rangers. At least they’re mostly not fake top tens though, although one is a top 20. Voice warning again, sorry.

8 – Top Top Tens

Featuring top tens of “anime fight scenes” and “pickup lines for Lara Croft”. Sigh. At least there’s no annoying video, eh? Small blessings and that.


7- Are These David Letterman’s 10 Best Top 10 Lists?

I don’t find David Letterman (or more correctly, his writers) funny so I couldn’t answer the question with any sort of authority, but if they are the best then how bad are the worst? Or is that the joke?


6 – Middle-earth Top Ten Lists

Excellent. Tolkien geek humour. It’s what made the internet great in 1997! Top Tens here range from “Top Ten Things People Say About Characters in LOTR” to “Top 10 Reasons Why Some Fellowship Board Posters Love Elijah Wood”.


5 – Ten Top Tens

This is from “Healthcare Quarterly”, and lists lists (yep, lists lists) of articles about, well, healthcare. It’s probably very informative and of actual real-world use, but it’s so damn dry and boring. There aren’t even any gifs.


4 – Top Ten Top Tens

Users of the Retro Gaming Roundup forum got to vote on the best top tens on the site. Unfortunately, only six people voted and all for different top tens, so there’s a six-way tie for first and four top tens got nothing. It’s all important stuff too, like “Video Game Hunks” and “Worst Atari 2600 Games”.


3 – What are the top ten “top 10” lists?

This is a question on Quora 1, and the provided answers (there are actually several sets of top ten top tens, as a bonus) are actually quite interesting. Some are serious (“What are the top 10 philosophical ideas that everyone should understand?”) and some less so (“What are the top ten reasons why someone should not date you?” – unless that is actually serious?).


2 – The Protomen’s Top Ten Top Ten Lists From Their Lists Of Top Tens

The Protomen are (invokes Wikipedia) “an American rock band best known for composing original concept albums loosely based on the popular video game series Mega Man.”. Oh of course! Those The Protomen.

They’ve chosen a list of top tens, including “Top Ten Reasons To Have More Than 5 People In Your Rock And Roll Band” and “Top Ten Bill Paxton Movies”, but they get bonus points for the recursion caused by putting their Top Ten list at number one of their list of Top Tens. Clever girl!


(Oooh! When did WordPress start embedding other blogs like that?)

And finally!

1 – The Ten Best Top-Ten Lists

These are a lists that are for the most part genuinely interesting and worth reading, so are at number one on my list. They include “Top 10 List of Data Disasters”, “10 Most Wanted Fugitives”, and “Top 10 Most Commonly Encountered Hoaxes and Chain Letters”.

It’s not a funny list, but I liked it.


Now, if someone would like to include this post in a Top Ten List of Top Ten Lists of Top Ten Lists of Top Ten Lists – that’s (Top 10)^4, then please feel free.


  1. Fun fact: I was banned from Quora because I used “deKay” as my name.

Let’s Play! Ground Attack

You don’t really attack the ground as such.

I think I’ve mentioned before, but my Nan used to buy me Marks and Spencer St. Michael branded computer games when I was a child. Once, I got a pack of five or six games, each of which was a clone of some popular arcade title. There was Orbiter, which was Defender, something else which was Space Invaders, I’m pretty sure there was a Pac-Man clone, and there was this – Ground Attack.

Ground Attack

Ground Attack was my favourite of all of them, and as you can see from the screenshot, is clearly a Scramble “homage”. You fly your spaceship into an ever-narrowing cave, shooting rockets which launch up to kill you, fuel tanks (which here only give you score – you’ve no fuel gauge to be concerned about!) and green blob things, while avoiding the floor and roof. It’s actually quite addictive.

I can’t remember the furthest stage I ever got to, but K rings a bell. Round about there the cave is barely one character high, so progress much further is highly unlikely, and death is inevitable.

Continue reading “Let’s Play! Ground Attack”

Personal Archeology: Ancient Internet Purchases #2

Spinny Spinny Spinstick

I used to love importing stuff, as I’ve mentioned before. I don’t do it nearly so much now for various reasons like I’ve reigned in my spending, it’s less necessary for some platforms, it’s not possible for others (3DS region locking, for example), and it’s not as cheap as it used to be.

At least, I thought it used to be cheap until I found this receipt from 2001:


More than £30 for a Game Boy Advance game? That’s more than full price for a western release back then, not that Kuru Kuru Kururin was available as a western release at the time of course. I must have shopped around to get that price too, as I only bought the cheapest I could. Also: remember VAT at 17.5%? Good times.

It was purchased from a company called Divineo, and back then they were actually UK based, although I suspect they were a UK company trading under the Hong Kong parent of the same name. Technically, they were doing the importing, not me. I don’t think I ever ordered anything else from them, and a quick poke around the internet suggests that even up to 2014 they were still trading – selling modchips, perhaps, which may explain where they are now…

The parent company is still about, although sadly don’t sell Game Boy Advance games any more.

Alphabest: Mega Drive – G

G is for Gowan Gowan Gowan

It’s the letter that brought you what is probably the easiest game ever created – The Great Waldo 1 Search! Not only was it easy, you could make it even easier with a “helper” Player 2. And it was rubbish.


Obviously that won’t be winning here, but then neither will Golden Axe (any of the three) because they’re not actually that good. They’re not terrible, far from it, but I’ve never understood the pedestal they’re always placed on.

Also cut are Greendog (terrible platformer #643), General Chaos (too cluttered and confusing), and Galaxy Force II (like Thunderblade and Afterburner, the Mega Drive port was a bit of a mess). No, those that made it through are:

Gunstar HeroesGunstar Heroes is a Treasure platform shooter with a novel power-up mechanic (you equip up to two at a time and their powers mix). It, like most Treasure games for the Mega Drive, does incredible technical things, and the bosses especially are incredible. It’s fast, varied, and in places very silly.

Gauntlet 4Gauntlet 4 is at first appearance slightly misnamed, as it’s actually a virtually arcade perfect port of the original Gauntlet game. This in itself is great, but what really puts Gauntlet 4 on this list is the fantastic Quest Mode. It’s virtually an RPG with puzzles played out as Gauntlet levels, with equipment and skill upgrades and a story and everything.

GynougGynoug is a side scrolling shoot ’em up with the unusual concept of a winged angel as the protagonist rather than some sort of aeroplane or spaceship. Yer man Wor has variants of all the classic shoot ’em up weapons, and the game features some immense bosses, most of which, like the smaller foes, are faces. It’s a bit gruesome, actually.

And the Alphabest?

I know Gunstar Heroes has a more vocal following, and it is an excellent game, but it just can’t come close to Gauntlet 4. Gauntlet was always one of my favourite arcade games (even if it was unashamedly designed to guzzle your money), so to have an almost perfect replica of that on my console was great. But then to add Quest Mode which is worth the cost of admission alone. And! There’s even a multiplayer Battle mode as well, where you fight each other! Frankly, it’s pretty much perfect.

Next time – G+1 = H!


  1. More correctly, we call him “Wally”, as in, “Where’s Wally?”, but this was a Genesis only release.

Shooting the French

Not any more of course! No, a long time ago when it was OK.

I don’t often comment on the news on my blog. I used to, but I found it boring and Twitter serves as a better tool for ranting about the government and stuff instead. This local news for local people story from last week, however, stuck with me. I have to comment on it.

‘Shameful’ shooting of Jean de Narde in Dereham churchyard to be re-enacted this summer

You don’t need to read the whole story, as here’s the gist of it:

200 years ago during the Napoleonic War, the English had captured a load of French soldiers and were marching them, as PoWs, across Norfolk. They stayed overnight in Dereham locked up in the church’s bell tower. One of the PoWs, Jean de Narde (which sadly doesn’t translate as “John of Bollock” as I’d hoped) tried to escape and was shot dead.

Now a man from Dereham wants to re-enact this “shameful shooting” for which the people of Dereham are apparently ever-apologetic about (nobody in Dereham actually knows about it). The best bit, though, is how he wants to invite some French people over to watch.

“Hey French people! We’re really embarrassed about how we shot dead one of your countrymen 200 years ago. Can we make it up to you by inviting you over so you can watch exactly how we did it?  Hello?  Hello?”

(Featured image from here.)

Play Want Bin Expense: 2016-05-23

Do a barrel roll!

A bit of a mix this week: Old, new, and new old. And HYRULE WARRIORS. There’s always HYRULE WARRIORS.


Star Fox GuardStar Fox Guard (Wii U)
I got the twin pack of Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard for my birthday last week, and for no specific reason chose to play Guard first (and completed it). Turns out it’s set just before Zero, so I accidentally played them the correct way round!

Star Fox Zero (Wii U)
Not much yet, just a few levels after completing Guard. It’s fun, but I’m confused by the double control scheme already.

Hyrule WarriorsHyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)
New DLC this week in the form of a new character (Medli, or Duck Girl as we call her) and a new adventure mode map – so I’ve been playing this again. It really is the Best Game, and the DLC bonus of 500,000 rupees and a pile of food for my fairy was helpful too.

Animal Crossing amiibo FestivalAnimal Crossing amiibo Festival (Wii U)
Played a three player game. I lost. Boo! Somehow I kept landing on all the spaces that lost me happiness, so even though I was first to get all my stamps (and I got an extra one afterwards), I was still losing the entire way through.

Gauntlet 4Gauntlet 4 (MD)
One of the very best Mega Drive games back in the day, and it still is now. Quest Mode is the best thing about it, and it’s that mode that I completed this week.


No Man’s Sky (PS4) is getting very close now – only a few weeks away! So that, of course. And Lego Marvel Avengers (PS4) still.


Nothing to do with games. Could do without being unwell for the 8th consecutive week though.


I’ve bought nothing game-related this week!

Alphabest: Mega Drive – F

F is for Farquhar

FIFA begins with F, and as a result most of the F games are FIFA. Blimey, there were a lot of FIFAs. I’m pretty sure the final commercially released Mega Drive game was FIFA ’98 too. FIFA. FIFA FIFA FIFA.


FIFA is crap.

Another common F is F1, as in, F1 Circus and F1 Grand Prix, the tenuous Fastest 1, and, er, F1. Formula 1 games back then were OK, but they’ve mostly not aged well. “F1”, based on Vroom! on the Amiga was one of the best, although Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP 2 perhaps pips it. Regardless, none of the F1 games are going into the shortlist.

Also not making the top table are Fatal Fury (rubbish, sorry), Fatal Fury 2 (better, but still no), Flink (no) and Frank Thomas (whooooo) Big Hurt Baseball.

That narrows things down to:

FlickyFlicky is an early Sega arcade game, predating the Mega Drive and as a result the Mega Drive version is pretty much arcade perfect. The idea is to collect up little birds and take them to the exit, avoiding cats. There’s not a lot to it, but it’s surprisingly good fun. And hard.

FlashbackFlashback is a fantastically animated sci-fi platform adventure game with an incredible feel and setting. It has a great story, varied locations, and I can’t overstate enough how excellent the graphics are. If your man Conrad moved any more fluidly, he’d be a damn waterfall.

fireshark1Fire Shark, a parallel world 1942-style vertical shooter is fast and frantic with some lovely power-ups (including the best of all – the spread shot) and cute tiny little soldiers that run around the airfields you land at after missions.

And the Alphabest?

FIFA of course! Hahahahano. Never FIFA. No, the real actual Alphabest is Flashback. Back then, games with a deep story (especially those which were platformers) were few and far between, and not only did Flashback manage to have that, but it was beautiful and clever and polished too. And at one point Conrad has to get a job and actually go to work.

Next time, the letter G!

War of Wizards

A game of spell combat. Great prizes. 45p per min.

Operator: Hello. And welcome. To Ian Livingstone’s. War. Of. Wizards.
Caller: Hel–
Operator: Ian. Livingstone’s. War. Of. Wizards. Is an interactive. Tel-e-phone fantasy. Adventure. Game. Of–
Caller: I know ca–
Operator: –Spell combat. Ian. Livingstone’s War–
Caller: Of Wizards, yes can we ju–
Operator: by Computerdial. You. Are being. Charged. Thir. Tee. Four. Pence. Per minute off peak. And four. Tee. Five. Pence at. All. Other. Times. To play. Ian. Livingstone’s. War. Of. Wiz–
Caller: Can I please just play–
Operator: –staying. On the. Line, you. Are. Agreeing to. The. Terms. And. Conditions. Which. Can be obtained. By sending. A large. Self. Addressed…
Caller: Wh–
Operator: Envelope. To. Our. Address. Which I. Will read. Out. To. You. Now. You may. Want. To. Find. A pen. Or some. Other. Writing. Implement. And. Something. To. Wr–
Caller: I don’t need the details! Can I just pla–
Operator: On. Write. To. Ian. Livingstone’s. War. Of. Wizards. Care. Of. Computer. Dial. Limited. Guil–
Caller: This has cost me £15 already and we’ve not even got to the game yet!
Operator: Four. Jay. You. That address. Again. Ian–
Caller: OH FOR CHRI*bang**click**brrrrrrrrrrr*
Operator: You know, Ian, one of these days you’re going to have to write an actual game here or something.

Let’s Play! Red Door

Nothing to do with Number 73, apparently.

One of the problems with Spectrum games is that virtually all of them were too damn hard. At least, it seemed that way to me as a child anyway. There were very, very few I ever completed, or even got close to completing. I think Big Ben Strikes Again was one. Short Circuit, possibly with a cheat on, was another. I’m struggling to think of many others.

Red Door

I do remember, however, completing the text adventure game Red Door. It was one of a series of coloured door related text adventures by Tartan Software, and came free on a Your Sinclair cover tape. Like most text adventures I played back then, I enjoyed them a lot but never got very far in many. Perhaps the puzzles were too obtuse, or the language or knowledge required was too grown up for me at the time, I don’t know. What I do know, is that with the help of a complete solution (also from Your Sinclair), I completed Red Door. Yes, that was essentially cheating.

Can I complete it now without a guide? Of course not. I’m still rubbish at text adventures. I have no idea what to do with the anubis (although unlike myself as a child, at least I know what one of them is now) for a start.

The emulator used is Qaop/JS – a rather spiffy HTML5 Spectrum emulator.