Number One - BC II: Grog's Revenge (Commodore 64)

by Paul Morrison


Not every game I include in this blog will be brilliant... some will be games I've bought because I have happy memories of playing them.  Generally speaking, they will be games I've enjoyed, though... although depending on what bundles I buy from eBay, there may be room for the occasional terrible game too! 

I'm kicking this thing off with a game I played before I even owned a Commodore 64, but which won't actually feature in my book... BC II: Grog's Revenge

Lookee! A clamshell box for a game where you collect clams!  Couldn't be more appropriate. 

Lookee! A clamshell box for a game where you collect clams!  Couldn't be more appropriate. 

For a long, long time, I owned an Atari VCS.  I loved that thing, and by the time its shelf-life was up I owned loads of games for it.  I still enjoyed them, too, but I was beginning to cast my eyes covetously towards my friends' computers.  Between them, they owned all kinds... from Sinclair, the ZX81 and the 16K and 48K Spectrums; from Commodore, the VIC-20, C16 and Commodore 64; even the Acorn Electron in one case.  It stands to reason that I would be a frequent visitor to many of the houses in the neighbourhood!

There was a lad called Neil who taunted me with the Commodore 64 for a long time.  And by that, I mean he would load games and then blast the music at full volume out of his bedroom window while I stood downstairs with my jaw hanging open.  But would he let me in?  Not a chance!  Not for a while, anyway... but eventually I earned that 'right', and I was thrilled. 

Look, kids! This is how we had to load our games, and it took bloody ages.

Look, kids! This is how we had to load our games, and it took bloody ages.

One game that really stood out for me was Grog's Revenge.  I had no idea that it was based on a comic strip; all I knew was that it had huge, colourful main sprites and a great sense of humour.   I don't think any of us really knew if we were playing it properly as we never seemed to win, but it was great fun anyway.

The object of the game is to take Thor, the inquisitive caveman, on a quest to find the meaning of life.  Heady stuff for a computer game!  Pity he's quite inept, and it never quite works out...

This is wheely good fun!  What? 

This is wheely good fun!  What? 

You roll around each level on your stone wheel like a prehistoric unicyclist, collecting clams for the toll bridge and avoiding the fearsome Grog.  There's a genuine air of terror when you move to a ledge and Grog's 'sound' plays... you bump into him at your peril! 

Although it's really simplistic, it's enjoyable and a good laugh, too.  Lots of good times were had with my mates as we trundled around, even if, as I mentioned earlier, we never quite knew what we were doing. It is repetitive, it isn't brilliant, but I really liked it and I have happy memories of it.  So I decided it was a game I had to own again.

Wow, there was a lot of yellow in prehistoric times! 

Wow, there was a lot of yellow in prehistoric times! 

My eBay copy is in good condition, although it doesn't have the instruction booklet which is a bit of a shame.  I do love those old clamshell cases though,  and this one is in great condition.  It snaps shut tightly, and you have to pull pretty hard to open it.  That's lovely.

You know, it's funny.  In this day and age, we have more or less every game ever released at the tips of our fingers, through emulation.  It's brilliant.  And yet, there's something really satisfying about owning the actual original media... whether you use it or not.  This is just my first write-up chronicling my purchasing exploits.  Many more will follow, and will probably not be as long as this one (although hopefully better).  So I hope you enjoy reading about the way I spend my money!!