I think there’s a pretty high chance than you’ve never played this game before. In fact, I’m quite certain the vast majority of people have never even heard of it.
New Year 1985 is a (reads notes) Bosnian Spectrum game. As a result, the words used in it are completely alien to me and also, I would expect, to a sizeable number of people reading this. But, the title of the game includes the phrase “New Year”, and today is very nearly New Year’s Eve, so it sort of works.
The aim, so much as I can gather, is to guide your… man?… left and right to collect apples and bottles. As we all know, this is normal practice for Bosnians over New Year, and so New Year 1985 replicates the tradition well. Probably.
In a way, this is cheating because I’ve used this game for a Friday Let’s Play once before. However, that was six years ago and in that time Java has become a naughty word, the world has moved on, and the embedded emulator to actually play it has long since become unusable.
The game is still terrible. Just look at the inlay!
Anyway. To “win” you have to rebuild The Official Father Christmas Sleigh, and find all The Official Father Christmas Presents. Presumably you then have to avoid getting drunk on sherry and diabetes from two billion mince pies.
Imagine you got this for Christmas one year. Urgh.
Following on from last week’s Definitely Not Frogger/Ski Slalom game Horace Goes Skiing (And Traffic Dodging), today I bring you another from the Horace Trilogy: Hungry Horace. Which definitely isn’t Pac-Man.
Actually, that sarcasm is a little unfair. There are quite a few differences to Pac-Man, not least the fact that there are various mazes. Some have tunnels. You can move onto the next maze without collecting all the dots. There aren’t as many ghosts (or park keepers, or whatever they’re supposed to be in this).
It’s also a lot harder, especially this screen:
Getting to the top right, avoiding the two baddies, is not only hard, it’s almost impossible. And the bell that allows you to “eat” the baddies? You have to get past the baddies to get to it!
Can you beat it? No, you can’t. But would you like to try? No? Sod you then.
Just what the hell was Horace anyway? He’s some sort of blob with legs, but are those arms or flippers? And are they eyes on his front, or holes? Is that his actual head, or should his head be on top?
Look at him. He’s creepy.
In case you weren’t aware, Horace was a popular character in some 8bit computer games. Horace Goes Skiing is probably the best known of his titles, and is a game in two parts.
The first is not entirely unlike Frogger, where you navigate Hellish Freak Face across a busy road, avoiding the traffic, in order to reach the Ski Shop. Once there, you buy some skis, and have to cross back over the road.
Why the ski shop didn’t think to either a) position itself on the side of the road where the actual ski slope is, or at the very least b) lobby to have a crossing of some sort put in, isn’t made clear. Needless to say, Horace gets run over a lot. Ironically, most frequently by an ambulance.
If he successfully reaches the ski slope with skis (and himself) intact, he gets to slalom down the mountain, trying his best to weave between the flags and avoid the trees. How a ski slope like this operates with damn trees all in the route I don’t know. They never had them on Ski Sunday.
Manage to reach the goal, and you do it all again, only harder!
Bonus Fun Fact: In my house, this game caused an argument when my parents were adamant that “skiing” only had one “i” and the game was wrong. Apparently no words have a double “i” in them.
I won’t lie. One of the main reasons I bought the game Virginia is because someone told me it had toilets in it. That is genuinely true. Yes, I’d heard other good things too, but it went like this:
People: That Virginia is good. It’s a bit like Firewatch or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture 1. Me: Oh, that sounds interesting. I might get it. People: Hey, did you know it had toilets in i– Me: TAKE MY MONEY
I had to check it out because my god, if that isn’t a title written just for me I don’t know what is. Unless it was “Helly Kitty and Barbie Go To Toiletland on Motorbikes and Play With Explosives”.
Toiletworld is an Interactive Fiction game. You know, those games that used to be called Text Adventures. Some magazine called ugvm did an article on them 13 years ago and broke the internet. Remember that? Because there are Clever People, the tools to create such games are now very easy to use, and you can play the results in a web browser. It’s like living in the past and the future at the same time.
Toiletworld You are in the toiletworld. As far as you can see, there is toilet; all toilet, all the time, all the places, each and every point in the whole of the world, across the whole yawning, infinite cosmos its own toilet, each with toilets inside it, each further with toilets inside it, further and further inside towards some unimaginable limit. To the west is a toilet. To the east is probably also a toilet. (TODO: add eastern toilet or whatever)
If you’ve not played this sort of game before then I suggest you go and learn how to, then come back.
Back? Excellent. Now play! (If the iframe below doesn’t play nice in your browser, play it here instead)
Whilst looking for inspiration for my magnum opus (which will be a PICO-8 game, eventually), I had a look through the games on the Lexaloffle BBS. You know, there are some incredible games and demos on there.
One which stuck out, even though it’s totally different to the style of game rattling around in my head like the tin held by an unsuccessful chugger, is this: The Lair.
You might think that it’s “just” a Golden Axe style fighting game, but it’s not so much the game itself which impresses (slick as it is). No, just look at the effects. The moon reflection, the fancy way the menu slides up into view, the music, the smoke effect on the “you died because you’re crap” screen. Most impressive of all though, is how the author somehow managed to implement several layers of parallax scrolling.
Yes, this is the game I pestered my mother about, endlessly, tirelessly, and she never bought it for me. As you play it, you’ll realise that was probably for the best, as it isn’t great. I know, some of you will think it blasphemous to say such a thing but I felt the same about pretty much all games of this type that appeared on the Spectrum – Ninja Hamster, Human Killing Machine, and even (although to a lesser extent) International Karate+.
They just don’t work well on a joystick with a single button, and on a keyboard, they’re even more ridiculous. All that nonsense about holding fire and pressing a direction to do different moves just shows there’s a reason why the Street Fighter II method of control became the standard for one-on-one beat ’em ups.
Anyway. Your man there, Oolong, has to punch and kick his way past a variety of possibly racist stereotypes, each wielding a different weapon, and most called things like “Star” and “Club” because they’re obviously just named after the item they attack with. As the manual itself puts it:
Your ultimate goal is to become a grand-master but to achieve this you must defeat a variety of opponents each more deadly than the last. They are armed with differing skills and weapons and must be overcome with a combination of 16 different attack
16 moves! Woo! With one fire button. See, I told you.
It’s almost Halloween, everyone! And you know what that means? Yes! Time to put the Christmas decorations up! At least, that’s what you’d think. I saw some up in a house the other day. Shudder.
No, Halloween is about ghosts and pumpkins and witches and stuff, so it’s only right that on this most hallowed of eens we play something befitting the ancient festival of making children go out in the dark to ask strangers for sweets. So here is Cauldron for the Spectrum.
Half side scrolling shooter, half platformer, with very slight Dizzy overtones, Cauldron places you in control of a witch on a mission. A mission given in the cassette inlay in the form of a crap poem:
Harken witches everywhere, take the challenge – if you dare, Tomorrow night, ’Tis Halloween, when only one shall be Witch Queen, Six ingredients thou must take, and in the cauldron boil and bake, Juice of toad, eye of newt, wing of bat and hemlock root, Mouldy piece of splintered bone, found from deep in musty tomb, Molten lava, cooled awhile, taken from the smoking isle. Then the spell shall be at hand, to rid the pumpkin from the land.
“Tomb” and “bone” don’t rhyme, morans. Anyway, if you can’t tell from that horror of verse, the aim is to collect various stereotypical witch spell ingredients. You can fly on your broomstick (but only take off or land in clearings) and shoot magic fireworks or something as you do. Oh, and collect keys to open matching coloured doors.
Now go and play it before I write “cauldron” as “cauldren” for the fiftieth time.