“Behold, the fifth generation of home computer entertainment Get the Sigue Sigue Sputnik computer game from your favourite software house now…” – was the advert blurted out after one of Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s tracks on their recent album back in 1986. Credits listed on the album were TONY SELLINGER/GIBBO.
Sigue Sigue Sputnik was to follow suite with Frankie Goes To Hollywood and have their very own game produced. The game according to Darren Melbourne was meant to be a sort
of spiritual follow up to the classic Jammin’ game but with twists of Ocean Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It seems the success of Ocean’s game was enough to warrent another being done in the future. Did I say Jammin’ ?… well credits give clues, but read on…
Computer and Video Games issue 60 first gave news of this game with a column of text that gives an insight into what the game was to be featuring:
“”No, no” I screamed, as the editor grabbed me by the hair and dragged me kicking to my Commodore 64. “I don’t want to review it!”, I protested. “It’s just hype, the game doesn’t really exist!”. “Now calm down Tony,” Tim ordered. (Tim’s the kind of guy who can make a kick in the teeth seem reasonable…). Having wired my chair to the mains, Tim suggested I get on with the review before a fuse blew… Who am I to argue? The latest, not to mention hottest, piece of software to hit my sweaty palms is the official Sigue Sigue Sputnik game.
Don’t groan! It’s poor, it’s ugly, it’s offensive and it’s down right mean, but I love it! Your problem, readers, in deciding whether this review is legit! SSS are well known for their hype and general bad taste and I would hate to ruin that reputation. The game is based in the 21st Century and you play it in front of a giant video screen which splits your TV screen into four equal quarters. You are faced with dozens of TV channels to choose from and various characters take to the video screens and try to blow Tony James to bits (hooray). You control Tony James (who is beautifully animated) at the bottom of the screen and can strut around firing at the beastly attackerse. When you have destroyed an attacker in one window he reappears in the next window and so on until all four video screens have been filled. When one window is cleared there is a clapperboard countdown from seven to one and that attacker appears in that window as a large animated graphic.
Each level has four attack waves and each wave has 400 sprites. There will be six levels to work through (at four waves per level that makes 2400 sprites, this must be a record). The general feel of the game is very good and despite its basic shoot-em-up theme there are a lot of very exciting ideas and graphics that will grab and hold you for many a session.
Other characters who appear include Madonna, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Norman Tebbit, Maggie, and a mysterious roadie. Again all are larger than life and very well animated. Tony Gibson is writing the game and has developed a new graphics system (“A computer generated character set”) to handle the very special effects. The game should be released in September and will initially be released on the Commodore 64 (around £9.95) with versions to follow for the Spectrum and Amstrad””
It all seems a bit odd, but then recently we had some details from a guy from Enigma Variations…
“I’m probably responsible for losing the only surviving copy of the unfinished “Sigue Sigue Sputnik” game, which was previewed in C&VG around 1985 (they printed a screenshot).
I found it while going through a load of old C64 discs while at EV, but I’m not sure who was responsible for coding it. It was a playable game but there was no scoring or structure to it, but you controlled a SSS-esque bloke, firing things at a bank of TV screens which showed caricatures of various celebrities (I remember Phil Collins being one).
That disc is another that was lost about 15 years ago (left at a friend’s house, I never got them back and he said they got caught up in some flooding and were chucked…)”
So some confirmation of CVG’s story, and also proof that something existed. It was also suggested that Mark Greensheilds might have had some involvement, and Darren Melbourne all but confirmed this, by saying that they both had some minor involvement in the game, but only from a potential publishing stand point.
And we can now thanks to Darren confirm that indeed the game did exist. Darren had seen it and played it. Confirmation also from Darren that both Tony Gibson and Mark Harrison were the guys behind the game, but who was Tony Sellinger – the man credited on the album? Darren only knew of Tony (Gibbo) Gibson working on the game, so this is a new credit.
Darren mentioned regarding the game that It was shown to a variety of the big publishers at the time, but never progressed beyond early talks. Nexus were for instance interested in publishing the game, but weren’t interested in taking the financial risk involved in paying for the development. After that the game effectively ground to a halt at the end of 1987 and was the last that Darren heard of the game.
Overall SSS is a game which has been long overdue for getting a mention in the GTW archives could well be found in some shape or form. The search begins for a rather intriguing little game and we hope to learn more about it soon … including who was to publish the darn thing!
Contributions: Andrew Fisher, Wayne Womersley, Darren Melbourne, Peter Weighill, Fixater, Ross Sillifant