Shaun Southern‘s Commodore 16 version of his hit bike game, Kikstart, is somewhat different to the original Commodore 64 version.
Pikmin was released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2001 and was an instant hit with gamers.
Designed and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, the first game in the Pikmin series introduces Captain Oilmar, an alien who crash lands on a mysterious planet and where he befriends small creatures called Pikmin who help him rebuild his ship.
Less successful than its sequel (and arguably less enjoyable too), Kikstart was written by Shaun Southern and published by Mastertonic in 1985.
Mr. Wimpy is an early ZX Spectrum game from Ocean Software, first published in 1984. It is based on (and licensed from) the Wimpy chain of restaurants – in particular their mascot: Mr. Wimpy. Wimpy restaurants were more widespread in the 1980s than they are today, but this was still a surprising release from Ocean.
I keep banging on about Geoff Crammond‘s The Sentinel and will probably continue to do so until I’ve written about every version available. 🙂
The sequel to the classic Trashman is another excellent ‘leftfield’ Spectrum game from Malcolm Evans and New Generation Software.
In Travel With Trashman you’re again controlling Trashman – a bin man – and one who is on holiday and also who is incapable of walking away from litter he finds on the ground.
The basic premise is to pick up litter on each screen, earning cash as you do so, while also avoiding touching other people (you lose cash if you touch someone). As you accumulate cash you can afford to fly to further-flung places around the world to pick up litter. There are 13 different destinations to travel to in total, including: Alice Springs, Benares, Chichen Itza, Kanyu, London, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Madrid, Moscow, Munich, Paris, New Orleans, and Samoa.
Travel With Trashman is a simple game, but is definitely fun, plus it also teaches about geography and different places around the world, even if the representations are satirical. The stereotypes are certainly not offensive, though.
Paul Shirley‘s superb isometric puzzle/action game, Spindizzy Worlds, translates well to the Super Nintendo, even though this conversion did not have his blessing.
The SNES conversion was programmed by Japanese developer ASCII Corporation in 1992, (after acquiring the rights from Activision in a controversial deal), and it has to be said: they did a pretty good job. From the nicely presented opening sequence (complete with Mode 7 scaling planets), to the silky-smooth, full-screen scrolling – everything seems polished to the max.
Controlling the ‘spinning top’ GERALD (yes, that’s its name) is very easy, but negotiating the tortuous landscapes is not. Spindizzy Worlds contains a lot of levels to play through, all represented via a rotating cluster of planets. There are two clusters of planets to play through: “Easydizzy” and “Spindizzy” and each can be played at Beginner or Advanced levels. The final, inner planet in each cluster can only be accessed once the easier outer planets have been completed. A password system is used to record progress.
The puzzles you’re solving generally require you to collect ‘jewels’, which open gates and warps and other obstacles, but there are also various coloured button to press that change things. There are enemies, of course, but these only tend to impede you, rather than kill you. There are some killer tiles, though, that will ‘insta-kill’ you if you touch them. Falling off the edge of the course will also deduct some energy/time from you.
There’s no doubting that Spindizzy Worlds is a SNES classic. It’s original, non-violent, challenging, and great fun. Definitely one to look out for if you want a good old game to play for a few hours.