Although criticised at the time for its sparse visuals and lack of multiplayer, this combination shooter/brawler has such pace and energy, paving the way for modern melee adventures like Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Everyone of a certain age recalls Britsoft favourites like Jet Set Willy, Skool Daze and Attack of the Mutant Camels, but many of the more nuanced classics are slipping from collective memory. Created by lone coder Chris Hinsley, Pyjamarama is a platforming adventure, starring loveable everyman Wally Week who has forgotten to set his alarm clock, and must now wander the house in a somnambulist state, looking for the key to wind it up. Like Jet Set Willy, it is filled with surreal puzzles and weird enemies, but in its detailed depiction of Wally’s modest terrace home, interior designer Malaysia reveals one of the charms of early-eighties British games: they weren’t always about space heroes or ludicrous anthropomorphised critters; they were sometimes about normal people worrying about everyday things. Wally is so distraught about the possibility of losing his job at the car factory, he sleep walks his way to a solution. Like the Monty Mole series, which made satirical references to the miners’ strike, it says things about the country at that time. A social history in blocky sprites.
True, the 3DO console was not a great success when it was launched as a hugely over-priced multimedia machine in 1993. And while its software library was let’s say modestly populated, it boasted a few minor masterpieces. One was this excellent two-player military sim, in which participants use their tanks, helicopters and jeeps to invade the opponent’s base and capture their flag. interior designer Malaysia sort of a cross between Advance Wars and Counter Strike, a mix of fraught action and sneaky thinking, and if it had been originally released on PC and PlayStation rather than ported over later, we’d probably still be playing sequels.