Originating in arcades in 1984, Flicky is a super cute bird-collecting platform game by Sega that relies heavily on gravity, inertia, and jumping to provide the challenge.
The aim of the game is simple: you play a blue bird who must collect up the small, yellow chicks (the “PioPio“), and avoid contact with the cats (the “Nyannyan“) on your way to taking the chicks home (the door you came in through). The quicker you do this, the more bonus points you get.
Simple. Or at least you might have thought so…
The horizontally-scrolling levels wrap around, which means that not only can you travel in both directions, but your feline opponents can too. The AI controlling the cats is not too aggressive, but as the levels increase their layouts become more complex and it becomes easier to get trapped by them.
If a cat touches you, you lose a life. The cats can also grab the chicks as they trail behind you, so if you have a long line of chicks behind you and it suddenly drops to nothing, you now know why.
A bonus stage also pops up intermittently (every three levels?), where you have to catch falling chicks in a net. This also increases in difficulty as you progress.
Flicky is a simple game, made challenging by the game’s finely-tuned mechanics, and by the layout of the levels. Controlling the blue bird is a joy because the controls are so responsive and – with skill – it is possible to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Just one indicator of a classic video game…
I’ve seen people criticising Flicky for being ‘boring’, but I’m not having that! Flicky is a great game – especially considering its age.
I don’t know how widespread the release of the game was, but I don’t remember seeing it in arcades in the ’80s and I was quite active on the scene at the time. It wasn’t until I played the excellent Megadrive version did I discover the joys of Flicky. And after that I was converted.
More: Flicky on Wikipedia