Budget Day - Bionic Granny (Commodore 64)

by PaulEMoz in , , , ,


And finally, as if to show that my day hasn't all been fun and games (well, OK, it has been all games), I thought I'd play what is considered to be one of the biggest abominations in computer games history... Bionic Granny.

If you haven't played it before, and I hadn't, then you aren't prepared for the horrors that lie in wait.  This is truly a throwback to the days when software companies would take anything that loaded and throw it upon an unsuspecting public.  There weren't many reviews mags around in the early days, and they were a little afraid of upsetting software companies, so it was common for poor games to sell way more than they deserved, as nobody knew any better.

Bionic Granny is one such game.

Having said that, I'm pretty sure that nothing could have persuaded me to part with my cash for this.  It's not like they could have had great screenshots on the back of the box.  No amount of mocking up could make this look decent.

Don't go near her, kids. She's a nasty old crone.
The story, too, is shockingly bad.  But I can see why it might have appealed to people under the age of twelve.  I'll quote directly from the title screen, if I may:

"IT'S NEARLY FOUR O' CLOCK AND TIME FOR THE KIDS TO COME HOME FROM SCHOOL.

YOU'R A BIONIC GRANNY AND ARE WAITING OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL TO HIT THE KIDS AS LEAVE.

SOME WILL WALK DOWN THE ROADS BUT OTHERS WILL TRY TO EVADE YOU BY KEEPING OFF THE ROADS.

DON'T LET THE LOLLIPOP LADY THROW LOLLIPOPS AT YOU."

Go on, lollipop lady... get in there and belt her one!
Alright... if you were a granny and were lucky enough to be bionic, why the hell would you use those powers to hit schoolkids on their way home?  Wouldn't you rather be rescuing cats or baking awesome scones, or something?

Also, the instructions say "don't let the lollipop lady throw lollipops at you".  Good luck with that... she roams around the top of the screen flinging them as though her life depended on it.  And as whatever bionic feature you are installed with has the disadvantage of rendering you unable to move forwards or backwards, there's not really much you can do to stop her.

In fact, there's no evidence that this granny is bionic at all... the lollipop lady is substantially quicker than her.  I think she's just a cantankerous old biddy who takes pleasure from whacking kids.  There's a place for menaces like that... and it provides free room and board at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Mad old bat needs locking up.
If the game had any semblance of fun or ironic humour to it, you maybe wouldn't mind.  But it's appalling.  You just toddle about at the bottom of the screen, hoping one of the homebound kids happens to meander into your stick, which will score you points.  There's no comedy, no entertainment, no fun.  It's a horrible piece of software, and if budget games had continued in this vein then the industry would have been in a horrible place indeed.

Fortunately, it became a breeding ground for real talent, as you've seen from today's posts.  We were blessed with imaginative, entertaining and enjoyable games, some of which were very ambitious, some of which were better than many full-priced games.  That era of pocket money games was pretty special, and we never saw it's like again.  We should think ourselves lucky for what we had... the kids of today may be spoiled, but they've missed out on one of the most memorable chapters of gaming history.