Friday, 23 December 2011

The Sport of Teenish, a failed idea

Teenish is a racquet game invented in the late 19th Century, the exact same time as tennis.

At the time it was considered a "war of two sports", which would drive  hotly fought divides amongst lawn associations across the land.
 If one where to compare this split in sports, one would say it is like the technological battle of Blu Ray to HD DVD or Beetamax to VHS or Alison Moyet to Kirstie MacColl. Thankfully the battle between the last two was solved by MacColl proving no matter how hard you are, one can not win in a head butting fight with a speed boat.
Similarities in both sports was apparent. Both used racquets. Both had courts and nets. Yet one was destined to fail due to its short comings. As tennis embraced the free flowing play and daring shots. teenish did not.
Teenish had a few failings that the tennis hierarchy simply scoffed at. Teenish showed many that although a spectacle, setting fire to the racquet between each point was fool hardy.
As winning a set in tennis was a solid point of progress, winning a set in teenish was met with the triumphant set winner, having the word "set!" tattooed into their arm.
The points system of tennis, although strange at first. Was welcomed and easily digested. Teenish alas favoured less simplicity. As a set was finished without mention of one point. The umpire (on a seat four times the height of tennis) would simply pass a ball boy a "Gas bill algorithm" to read out. Frustrated players would often "bully" ball boys into answers, as top lips quivered and many a child left the court mid game never to return in floods of tears.
Some two whole years after Teenishisisis (ah bollocks!) inception, it was gone. A sport that had the world in it's hands yet chose a prosaic, malaise, of lunacy to bring the public into its world


Monday, 28 November 2011

This Week: Reg Varney: Bus Conductor Sega Mega CD

Reg Varney: Bus Conductor was a joint collaboration between Japanese and English developers during early 1992. Within the game you played cheeky bus conductor Reg, who has an insatiable appetite for young women and little time for taking fares.

You start your route heading out of the depot and holding tight to the pole at the rear of the bus until your first fare hops on board. Passengers have different ratings to Reg, and it's up to you to deal with them accordingly. The first class Reg encounters is "pensioner", a very slow, mumbling, codger, that Reg must compose his "patience meter" before taking the fare in copper coins.

Next level for Reg is "school kids". These are chased up to the top deck were Reg will have to power his "urchin gauge" before delivering a sharp slap to the back of the head and taking the fare. These prove troublesome for Reg as they will pay less and stay on longer, leaving Reg with the task of throwing them of the moving bus and shaking his fist shouting "bleddin' gits!"

The next level for Reg is a certain amount of respite in the form of "birds". Reg's "fanny magnet" will stop him collecting more fares and draw him to girls half his age, with "love heart" symbols above his head.  As his route continues, combinations of all elements will test him into missing fares, until  Blakey hops on board telling Reg "I'll have your badge for this Butler!"

The game caused much confusion on it's release as it was programmed in Japan, with sound completed in the UK. The English developers didn't have the heart to tell their Japanese cohorts that Reg was actually the driver and it was Jack Harper who was the conductor. Unfortunately, the Japanese had only just received the series and were bamboozled by the whole sorry affair. Indeed the English sound team used Bob Grant (Harper) for the voice over work, with only Stephen Lewis ("Blakey") used correctly. Such was the confusion and mess of the game that Stan's wife: Olive (Anna Karen) can clearly be seen being punched clean out at the end of the game. Not that this was ever seen, as it was only ever released in Japan, were fans only ever left the in game intro music playing, so they could dance to it dressed in ambiguously sexed bus conductor outfits.

Friday, 11 November 2011

This week: Public Toilet Attendant for C64

You are Cliff Sedgley, Public Toilet Attendant.
In said role, Cliff's average day is err average. Mopping urine, dropping "scented hockey pucks", emptying the paid for cubicles, and replenishing loo roll.

But as the day progresses, so does Cliff's "busy meter". Mundane tasks increase: More urine, scented pucks, cash emptying. But then new tasks appear. Before Cliff can say "toilet duck", he's now staring at a blocked lav'.
As Cliff applies the plunger, wafts of "pong!" put customers off, shriek "urgh!" grabbing their noses. Before Cliff can even start on the "urine mop meter" (filling it's yellow bar unnervingly quickly), Perry Lanwell the appointed council superintendent is on the blower, and Cliff has to answer some questions.

Perry asks Cliff why he's got a report on his desk from Frank Erston, the local park keeper. Frank wants to know why Len Shirter has been hanging outside "Cliff's" toilets offering kids sweets? Cliff is now in full on panic (as seen in his "full on panic" meter) as he now has to try and reassure Perry that Len was sent on his way (the mop bucket thrown at him) and that he won't be back any time soon. As officious as Perry is, he lets the matter rest leaving Cliff with all meters on red and flashing!

He now runs through his tasks at full speed! Replenish, mopping, coin emptying, unblocking! But Hells Bells what's this, whilst Cliff was on the phone to Perry, Len Shirter has sneaked into a cubicle and written his name and number in permanent marker! Cliff knows combining Harpic with Domestos will clean this, but a bulletin he minimised is flashing up some bowel shaking news!!!

Lord Mayor Thurston Taveriss Twining will be cutting the ribbon on the new disabled toilet and Cliff had completely forgot! Cliff looks at the countdown clock to see he has six minutes to make the place shine and smell like a pine forest containing a sulphur factory.

Will Cliff complete his tasks in time? Will Mayor Twining stop off for a scotch egg at Bella's Buns, buying Cliff more time? Does Len Shirton's plan too moon the local press follow through?

Only you decide

Game over

Thursday, 10 November 2011

This week: Street Righter for the Sega Megadrive

This is a side on view "break Em Up" that was highly unpopular at the time of release.
In it you play Barry Awning, a low level sales exec' who unwisely accompanies he over bearing work colleagues to the town centre after an early dart on a Friday afternoon.

As the drinks flow, voices begin to raise and with them tempers. Before Barry knows it, colleagues are in the early throws of a full on bust up with fellow drinkers. The screen cuts to a side on view of said raging protagonists and poor Barry in the middle. Barry has option tabs including "he's not worth it!", "You can't punch him he's wearing glasses!" and others including "You've got form, leave it out!"

Correct button combinations allow Barry to Calm Ron from accounts, bringing down his rage meter or settle Julie who should know better as she has a 14 month kid at home.

As level difficulty increases, Barry finds himself having to visit Graham Turnidge who covers the CCTV in the town centre. Graham is Barry's only hope as only he has the evidence to convict Alf Staunton from Wages, for glassing the guy in the wheel chair.

This level, titled: Sweet Talk Graham. Has you now facing a "bore meter" as Graham goes to great lengths in telling you he is only covering for the full time guy Kevin Sedgewick, who is on holiday with his partner Sue and the stepson Ivor, who is a nice lad bar the breaking and entering of the Qualcast Factory on Trent Rd. And after all, that was really down to the older lads goading him. Led by that bad lad Ian Snerton, who's dad is serving time for ram raiding Presto's with a milk float.

Having held out long enough to view the footage, it is apparent the quality is so poor Alf looks like Rolf Harris beating a settee with a news paper, so you head home not knowing Roy Barnley from HR has left you a voice mail saying he's inside for shooting a priest.

Game Over

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

This week: Laundromat for the NES

 Laundromat. Ireen has rang in sick and you only have 20 mins to prep' machines, powders, and the "float". Her husband "idle Ron" is playing darts in the Miners Arms and will be of little use. Mr Tillington the owner will be furious if his mate's pub team: Sipford FC are left with dirty kits. It's up to you to keep the place running, update Mr Tillington, and call Ireen to tell her about her work shy husband.

Twelve machines stand before you, waiting powder and fabric softener. Two draws but which draw takes which product?

To add to this, Len the local "soft lad" has wondered in asking for Sue as he can't find "true north". Will you try to help Len, or will you ignore him and get the quilts in the dryers?

All is going well and it's 6:30pm (half an hour till closing) but in walks "Soiled Barry" with his bed sheets. Only one machine is free and Dolly is heading towards it with the gusto of a Laundromat Veteran. Will you stop Len eating powder? Barry from staring at a child? Or beat Dolly to the last machine?

Your destiny awaits, but will it wash?

This week: Noel's Haunted House Party for the Super NES

In this Game (Halloween theme? I'm really late with this? Oh well) you control Noel Edmonds.
Noel is having serious issues with guests of the haunted kind, so must endeavour to rid the halls of his Crinkley Bottom mansion.

Noel's only defence against this is to fool the haunted ner do wells in more and more over the top, highly elaborate "prat falls" in which Noel participates as a "disguised" interloper, fooling the ghoul into believing a less than believable sub plot.

When the victim is tortured enough, Noel reveals his true identity to the victim, who on seeing it is Noel, begins to laugh uncontrollably. In a manner befitting somebody with a metal plate in their head.

This is Noel's chance to strike and with this he forces the giggling toss pot into his "Gundge Tank", where they are kept and (yes) "gundged" before they (Tony Blackburn) finally realise that their career has long finished, and they spirit away back to late night radio.

In the game Noel may promote enough of his "laughter meter" to deploy Mr Blobby to fall on the unsuspecting spooks, which in turn promotes more of Noel's laughter meter.

The game ends when the local council telling Noel there are no more ghosts and he isn't funny any more

This week: Grace Brothers for the Atari 2600

In it you're a lift operator in a fancy department store called Grace Brothers
You must direct your lift with the assigned controller (a handle that goes up or down).
"Calls" will light up the screen as the waiting customers become more impatient to your slow lift progress.
You will have to put up with lift "Muzak" of popular songs by the local popular hit parade acts like:Tina Charles "I love to Love", The Brotherhood of Man "Save all your kisses for Me" and "Disco Duck".
You will also have a large control panel numbered from 1-30 and <> plus >< buttons.
On occasion you will be greeted by staff moving between floors and have to endure their inane chatter.
Slocombe will blather on about her dripping pussy (caught in the rain), bumbling, oaf, ramblings of Mr Rumbold and Mr Humphries plying his "straight as a hairpin bend" banter to an overly embarrassed car of passengers.
The game will end with you reaching the top floor and going "cap in hand" to Mr Grace to try and have Christmas Day off to spend with your parents and sit in front of the tv watching Are You Being Served? with you in it as a lift operator trying to get to the top floor to see Mr Grace to have Christmas Day off to spend with your parents and sit in front of the tv watching Are You Being Served? with you in it as a lift operator traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!