Frankie Goes to Hollywood

by Paul Morrison


It's so strange to see this game in my Top Ten. I'm not particularly a pop music fan... I like heavy instrumental guitar rock above all else, musically. And yet, this game kept me enthralled for such a long time. I thought long and hard about it, and although there are other deserving candidates on the Just Missed list, I felt that this one had to get the nod.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood is one of the strangest and most intriguing games I've ever played. You control an anonymous member of the public and you start your quest in Mundaneland, an average area of Suburbia. Unlike most of the other residents, though, you have ambitions. You want to break free from the mundane. You want a personality.

2% a real person?  I thought I was feeling a bit off lately.

2% a real person?  I thought I was feeling a bit off lately.

It's a pretty quiet neighbourhood in some ways, Mundaneland. You can happily stroll in and out of the houses unchallenged, as nobody else is around. Well, there's one person, but I'll mention that later. Although the houses are empty, their possessions are not, and having a bit of a mooch around will pop open a window and reveal an item's contents. You're free to take anything you like, as long as you have room to carry it.

Some items will give you a points and personality boost, but others are more helpful. Video tapes, particularly, can be used to open mini-games, which is where the real meat of the game lies. If you wander into the scene once it opens up, the game will begin. Many of these are quite bizarre, for instance one sees Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev involved in a spitting match!

Oooh, what a little devil!

Oooh, what a little devil!

The games are never less than interesting, but if you get a little bored then you'll soon find yourself involved in something even more cerebral as you stumble across a dead body! You'll be given clues as you walk around, and you need to use these to solve the murder. It's a fascinating sideline to the game which takes you completely by surprise the first time you play!

Successfully complete all aspects of the game and you're granted access to the Pleasuredome and the chance to become a real person. I'd love to tell you all about it but I've never managed it. I've got very close, but haven't quite got there. I'll keep trying, though...

I've been in nightclubs where the floors have felt a bit like this...

I've been in nightclubs where the floors have felt a bit like this...

Frankie Goes To Hollywood is a stunning game, and was truly groundbreaking at the time. I put so many hours into it at the time that it had to be in this list. Even if it baffled me at times and I didn't know exactly what was going on, I enjoyed it hugely and I think that anyone that has played it is better for the experience.