Day 41 - Australia Day

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , , , , ,

I'm off work today.  Why?  Because it was absolutely pissing it down with rain this morning.  In fact, it was raining so hard as I was going to work, that it was actually dangerous.  So my lift made the decision to turn around and come home, and I wasn't arguing.

Much as I would like to spend the entire day and night writing, playing and screengrabbing, I can't.  I'm going out this evening, for one thing.  A mate of mine moved to Australia and I haven't seen him since the year 2000, and he's over here visiting, so we're off out.  Should be good!

That got me thinking, though.  I'm already planning on including some European Gods in this book, but I would probably like to extend that out to Australia.  After all, Melbourne House was a very popular games company in the UK in the Eighties, and I'm pretty sure that most of their programmers don't get much of a mention in your average games book.

Haw-oooo-awww!  Khaaa! Khooo! Khreee! If you played it, you know...
Some of Melbourne House's games were, shall we say, not received well by the critics.  But I enjoyed a lot of their output a great deal.  One classic example that comes to mind is Rock 'N' Wrestle.  It looked bad, it sounded bad, and it didn't even play that brilliantly.  But I had months of fun playing against my brother on that game.  And when you think about it, wrestling is a hard game to pull off, when you've only got an eight-way joystick with one fire button.

Of course, they had their share of classics, too.  Way of the Exploding Fist will live on forever.  The Horace games, similarly, are unlikely to be forgotten.  That nightmarish blue character is indelibly stained upon the minds of untold thousands.

There were others, maybe not as high profile but still good fun. There was Penetrator, without a doubt the rudest-named of all Scramble clones.  That game had its own level editor, something that was quite a novelty at the time.  How many of you made a completely flat level, filled its floor with rockets and then flew low over them and destroyed the lot with a gleeful hammering of the fire button?

Seems unduly harsh.  Where do you think we are?  Glasgow?
And who, of those that played it, could forget Street Hassle?  Now, there was a beat 'em up!  It was, and remains, without question, the only game where you strolled around in your underpants and were attacked by, and could beat up, blind men, grannies and bulldogs.  For teenagers of the time, it was hilarious fun.  It's still worth a go today, even if it's just to watch the attract mode with your jaw hanging open.

Melbourne House, then.  A name that many will remember, with differing degrees of fondness.  And one that, I think, probably deserves mention in this book.  But if I thought that getting hold of British programmers of the time was difficult, I can't begin to imagine how much of a challenge it would be to get even one of the Aussies...