HEY, LET’S BLAH BLIBBIDY BLAH COMMODORE BLAH: NON-ALF EDITION

I don’t know if I’m gonna have much to say about the following games, as I barely remember how to play them to any real extent. There were certain games whose goals just never made themselves apparent to me, and if I couldn’t figure it out during the course of my first couple of attempts, it just ended up taking up space in my floppy disk storage unit.

Such a game was AZTEC CHALLENGE.

Replay Value: Low.

Now doesn’t that look fun? Chasing down a curvaceous, scantily clad woman with a baton while wearing a big feathery hat and a jocular, fun-loving grin that implies “Don’t worry, I’ll beat you to death with this stick before I cram it into your anus”? What heterosexual nerdy 12-year-old male wouldn’t want to find themselves in that very position (within the confines of a primitively rendered computer game, of course)? No wonder it went “U.S. Gold”.

Unfortunately for pervy nerdbombers circa 1986, the actual game looked like this:

Turns out YOU’RE actually the one in danger of posthumous rectal impalement. What fun is THAT? So you run towards that pyramid there, and the dudes along the sides all huck spears at you till you die, an event that transpires about twelve seconds after the five minutes you spent waiting for the damn thing to load.

These pictures seem to indicate that other things happened in the game, such as this:

And this:

Sadly, I never reached the “Hop Across the Butter Garden” or “Run Past a Giant Grumpy Coin As He Attempts to Direct Your Attention To Something On the Floor” levels of “Aztec Challenge”. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone made those pictures with MS Paint, honestly. I doubt their existence. I don’t remember if I just sucked at the game, or if I got bored with it quickly, or there’s always the chance that my copy didn’t work right, but whatever the case, pee-yoo! It’s a stinkah!

B.C.’S QUEST FOR TIRES:

Replay Value: Medium

A computer game based on the comic strip “B.C.” was a strange concept even back then. It just wasn’t the type of strip that inspired much merchandise, if any. I’m sure at one point you could get buttplugs with Garfield and Snoopy on them, but the platitude-spouting cavemen populating “B.C.” didn’t even merit a plush doll. A “B.C.” game brought about the same slightly perplexed/surprised reactions that a “Frank and Ernest” or a “Redeye” game might have elicited. It was just weird and unexpected enough to make me curious, so I had Harold, my trusty C64 dealer, make me a copy.

Not a bad game at all, it turned out. It wasn’t entirely dissimilar to “Moon Patrol”, another game I’ve always liked for various consoles. In both games you’re controlling a digital protagonist that is in perpetual motion, in this case a caveman barreling across a sparse landscape on what essentially amounts to a stone ab wheel, and you have to time your jumps perfectly to avoid hitting rocks and divots and other such obstacles. I mean, look how content that dude looks riding around on his little trike. That’s pretty much the facial expression one would display while playing this game, and anything that makes you make a face that pleasant has to have something going for it.

Unfortunately, there was also the above scenario to deal with. As if hopping a unicycle across a biggish pond on the backs of randomly submerging turtles weren’t perilous enough, you have a bloated, taunting hag waiting to bludgeon you on the other side.

So much for the contended facial expression. I died early and often, but I never got terribly frustrated because just tooting along on the little rock dealie was fun enough to take the sting out of the swift and imminent defeat. It was an ideal game to “cool down” with after an intense two-hour session with whatever game I was currently obsessing over. A worthy addition to any C64 game collection worth its salt.

BEACH HEAD:

Replay Value: Nonexistent.

I was excited to play “Beach-Head” because I naturally assumed that it involved the adventures of Beachhead from G.I. Joe, an action figure I owned and employed often in battle.

Instead, it involved this:

A battalion of outdoor grills, waiting for something, anything, to take place. Or maybe they’re picnic tables. Whatever they were (I know, it says “tanks” right there, just let me do my thing, all right?), they were no fun. Lots of people actually love this game, but I was never among them. I really wanted it to be about a guy in a green ski mask running around with a machine gun and having adventures, not military vehicles that kind of resemble camping equipment.

I need to go to bed, so that’s it for this round. In closing, here is another picture of Debbie Harry:

Commodore 64! FOOTILLY DOOTILLY DOO!!!!!!!!!

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9 Responses to “HEY, LET’S BLAH BLIBBIDY BLAH COMMODORE BLAH: NON-ALF EDITION”

  1. You don’t like “Frank and Ernest”?

  2. I actually enjoy “Frank and Ernest”, but I would very surprised to learn that someone made a computer game about the strip.

    Is “Frank and Ernest” even still around? That was one of those “Sunday paper only” comics for us.

  3. Was that the same Harold that had surprisingly sophisticated musical taste for a seventh grader?

  4. butthorn Says:

    The very Harold.

  5. There were actually two B.C. computer games! My friend Jim had them both for his fancy shmancy Commodore 128. They were both pretty much the same, except one of them had that big, furry character from the strip, and he would occasionally pop up and end your game simply by screaming at you. The other game didn’t have him, so that was the one we both preferred.

    And I think B.C. was actually kinda popular once upon a time ago, back in the days before Johnny Hart got super religious and/or dead. I think there was even a TV special or two. Of course, they also went and made Cathy TV specials, so that’s no guarantor of quality, I’m afraid, even if it’s preceded by the CBS Special Presentation spinny logo.

    And please keep posting Debbie Harry pictures. You’re my one-stop-shop for all my C64 and Debbie Harry needs.

  6. butthorn Says:

    I did know there was a sequel to the B.C. game, although I never did get to play it. I never had any contact with a C128, either, although I always wondered a little about it. I can’t imagine the difference in quality was terribly staggering.

    I remember renting a tape from some store eight zillion years ago called “Fabulous Funnies”. It seemed to be a collection of episodes from a TV show that featured animated versions of once-popular weekend paper funnies, like “Nancy”, “Alley-Oop”, and even “The Katzenjammer Kids”. It felt like late-70’s, due to the porno-sized tape case and the laugh track throughout, and each cartoon attempted to teach a valuable lesson, like I remember Nancy and Sluggo had a smelly kid in their class, and the lesson must have either been “be tactful with your constructive criticism” or “don’t be smelly”. I don’t remember. Does this ring a bell? Sounds like something you’d have seen at some point. Anyway, I remember one of the guys from “B.C.” served as the animated host to that tape.

    I remember watching a “Cathy” show, in which she struck up a relationship with a guy who would go around town with a cart selling blocks of ice to people. I also remember enjoying the infrequent “Family Circus” animated holiday specials.

    As long as there are jpegs of Blondie-era Debbie Harry to share, I will share them!

  7. I hate myself for knowing this, but I think the ice block guy was a Betty Boop special. The various Cathy specials (yeah, there was more than one. horrifying.) all dealt with ill-fitting swimsuits and boyfriend issues. Even as a small child, I knew Cathy just wasn’t ever funny. But still I watched… again, it was the CBS Special spinny thing. Most times it would give way to Charlie Brown, Garfield, or Bugs Bunny. But those times that it didn’t were frequently painful.

  8. butthorn Says:

    You are correct. “The Romance of Betty Boop” from 1985. I could’ve sworn that was Cathy. All I really remember is the guy walking around yelling “I have ice!”. I can’t imagine why that stuck with me. I have no recollection of Betty Boop having anything to do with that, but IMDb confirms it.

    I was usually happy for any prime time cartoon special, even the crap ones. It beat golf and “The Gaither Gospel Hour”.

  9. Oh my God. Aztec Challenge.

    The version for the Atari 800, by the way, was even lamer. You were in perpetual motion, running along the bottom of the screen, and you had to jump over stuff. Sometimes there were stairs. You had to jump over the stairs. YOU HAD TO JUMP OVER STAIRS, JEREMY!

    ::administers hypodermic to self::

    The only thing the game had going for it was the vaguely vector-esque graphics, which for some reason you don’t get on the C64. Atari was always slightly better at vectory stuff and sound stuff, and Commodore was always better at having games people had actually heard of. Trade off? Sure. Maybe. But you can pry my copy of JV Rokland’s GHOST ENCOUNTERS out of my cold, dead hands.

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