I will now commence a series of articles in which I will reminisce about each system I have owned or experienced through friends and family, in chronological order. Fun.
My first system was a Commodore 16, given to my sister and I in the early to mid 1980s by our Uncle Roger when he upgraded, presumably to a C128 or something. He gifted us it along with a selection of tapes and a couple of code books for typing in our own games in BASIC. Occasionally one or other of our uncles or our dad would buy us a cheap cassette from the local newsagent. We loved it!
Naturally we didn’t use it for word processing or accounting. We used it for games. Here are some of my favourite memories of this heady time.
The Exploits Of Fingers Malone.
When I recently dabbled with Commodore 16 emulation (using the plus4 emulator within Vice) this was the first one I went back to. It’s rock hard, quite unfair, and frustrating to say the least, but the nostalgia is strong with this one. Move along the floors, painting them white as you collect keys, steal the treasure, and make it to the exit, whilst one-way ladders and crazy enemies get in the way.
This game is terrible. There’s no way around it. The sounds are especially grating, the graphics are naff, and the pixel-perfect jumps are unfair and rubbish. Back in the day, though, we played an awful lot of this game and I’m sure that, unlike today, we got past the second screen.
I loved this game. Kind of like Gauntlet, you’ve about trying to wipe out the spores as they multiply and zap your energy. It’s insanely difficult, as were so many games in the 1980s, mostly because the spores multiply faster than you can deal with them. Still, I loved having “one more go” over and over again.
No, I don’t know how it’s pronounced. Maybe a bit like “gun”. Quite fun, but yet another incredibly hard game, I still remember enjoying this game. Unlike the others I haven’t revisited it as an adult so that’s all I can say.
Formula 1 Simulator.
This game took especially long to load as I recall, but we always enjoyed it a lot. One of my favourite sources of entertainment at the time was the Systema LCD game F1:and of course this was very similar – but in full colour with more control over your car. Probably slightly less annoying sound for my parents to listen to too.
Similar in some ways to Pac-Man, Squirm has you following worms about the screen, collecting the dots that they poop out whilst avoiding contact with the worms themselves. It’s fun.
Forget Daley Thompson, the hack. This is where it was at – Street Olympics. Basically the same as all other Olympic Games of the time (finger wreckers), with some houses in the background.
Another favourite. This one is reminiscent of Dig Dug, with your strawberry avatar digging through the soil, making apples fall on the enemy’s heads. There is a rudimentary shooting mechanic in emergencies and some levels task you with sliding blocks to crush the baddies. Guess what though – it’s bloody hard!
Certainly this nostalgia is linked more to the licence than the fame itself, which, like its protagonist, was a dog. Terrible, terrible, broken game. I don’t even remember what you do in this, and I don’t want to.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of every Commodore 16 album I have experienced. I had a shopping bag full of cassettes by the end of my time with his glorious machine, but these are the ones that most readily come to mind when I look back.
Next up: Amstrad CPC464!