Wednesday, 10 May 2017

My Top Ten Sinclair Spectrum games: Fernandez Must Die and Rockstar Ate my Hamster

So I said I would do a Top Ten list for my top 10 favourate microcomputer games and then I stopped and thought about it, the truth is very few people will have played enough games across all of the various Microcomputers to really do a list that takes every machine and all of the games for it into consideration particularly not if you are the age I was when those machines were popular. You see back then you picked a machine and you were pretty much loyal to the core it was like joining a tribe, you picked your machine and at the same time you picked where your loyaltys would lay, sure you might play one of the others if you visited a friends house and he owned a diffrent machine but youd never admit that anything on it was better than what you had at home, the majority at least would make out that they were just making the best of a bad situation playing on this rival machine. My older brother had a BBC micro, and I had friends with both Amstrad and Commodore C64's but I dont feel I have really used them enough to fold them in to this, plus there are so many other lesser known micro's so I thought what the heck I should just stick to what I know and make it a Sinclair Spectrum Top Ten, then I realised that if I just did a list which went Game 1, 2 ,3 etc well I might be talking abouyt games people have never heard of. So what I have decided to do is slowly work my way through my Top Ten list 2 games at a time, every time I make a post on this subject I will talk about 2 games trying to give both a rough idea of what the game is about but also how/why it has made its way on to my list, so here goes. I am not going to put them in order because well thats too hard, oh and this is my list its not set in stone, other people would argue with it and heck in a year maybe even a months time then I very well might argue with it after all most top tens are very much based on what you think and feel at a set time. Lets kick things off with the first two games I want to talk about

1: Fernandez Must Die (1988)

 Ok so what we have here is a Commando style action game, if it moves then you kill it, you shoot with your machine gun, you throw grenades, your mission is to destroy 8 enemy bases and ultimatly to find General Fernandez and kill him. On the way to getting him your going to have to kill buckets full of  soldiers and destroy tanks and battleships. To help you there are some planes that fly over head and drop first aid kits and there are jeeps you can jump in which make you faster have a more powerful gun mounted on them. The game is best played in two player mode, it has great graphics for a game of its kind on the spectrum platform, it might be a bit of a brainless blaster but its a darn good one especially when you grab a buddy and jump right into it. I spent a great deal of time playing this with my friend Andrew when I was a kid both on my Spectrum and on his Commodore 64. If I remember correctly he got the game first, he brought a genuine copy from somewhere and then shortly after this I actually got the full game on one of those magazine cassettes you used to get for the Spectrum, the ones that usually had like 4 to 8 games on them, getting it so cheap with both a magazine and other games well it kinda felt like winning money on a scratch card. It has ended up on this list partly because its just a darn fine game and partly because I have awesome memories of it which have stood the test of time.

2: Rock Star Ate my Hamster

Ok so how to describe Rockstar Ate My Hamster its a very unique game, unlike most brilliant games it has never really been copied and this only makes it an even more special little gem. I guess youd call it a parody management strategy game, as in the game you are basically managing a Rock Band trying to get them to the top of the charts but its full of jokes and parody names and doesnt take itself very seriously at all and this makes it a brilliant bit of fun. Its all menu driven and basically all you do is make decisions, who do you want in your band, what kind of venue will you play at, how much will you charge for tickets, what are you going to call the songs on your album. Yes it might sound incredibly simple and on one level it is as all you really do is make choices and then sit back and see what the results are but it sucks you in, it makes you feel like your band is real and your decisions really matter and because of its tone and jokes it keeps you laughing all the way which is an amazing thing, so many games claim to be funny or to have comedy elements but in all honesty very few games are really gut bustingly funny and at this time this game really is. I played this game with everyone, I played it with my friends, with my brother, with my mum and I even played it for hours and hours on my own. This makes it on to the list not just because it made me laugh or because of the countless hours I invested in to it but also because I think its a very special game in that there is nothing else quiet like it out there even all these years latter it is still one of a kind.

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