Putty Squad (Gameboy Colour)

1999 Studio 3 / Thalamus Interactive

Gameboy Colour

puttysquad2A wonderful idea and game which originally started out with the name of ‘Silly Putty’ and later was renamed to just ‘Putty’. ‘Putty Squad’ was the next game in line. Putty is a blue blob that can mould into various different shapes, stretching, bouncing around platforms and absorbing strange creatures in his path in an attempt to defeat the evil ‘Dazzledaze’.

Putty started out on the Amiga and featured jaw-dropping graphics and animations when first hitting screens back in 1991. With strong playability combined with excellent humour throughout, Putty was successful and was unsurprisingly ported to other platforms including the SNES. The Colour Gameboy version was to follow much later…

Eight years on, the then newly revived company ‘Thalamus Interactive’ began in a world dominated by 64/128bit consoles, and began focusing on the 8-bit market that remained with the Colour Gameboy. As a first pitch to Studio 3 (Once ‘System 3’ back then), a demo of Putty Squad was written in a 2-3 week period which demonstrated just how well it could work.

Jon Wells, famous for his C64 work in its later years, coded and provided all the audio delights – whilst Michael Smith provided impressive graphics to push the Colour Gameboy enough to match the 16-bit versions. Andy Roberts took part in the design and project management and then the eventual pitching to Studio 3.

Smooth scrolling, strong graphics, impressively fast drops from height along with an accurate conversion of Rob Hubbard’s C64 I-Ball tunes were a few of the features hoping to win the contract. Only this one preview was created, lacking the features and abilities of the original Putty due to being a small demonstration for Studio 3 – the juicy features would have been added later once things were signed.

It was enough to grab Studio 3 by the balls, and potential was there to be seen. Initial interest was given in Putty Squad being converted, but a tentative budget was allocated and putting it together with the time and monetary constraints was impossible. The conversion as a result was sadly scrapped. Andy Roberts reflected, “Even though the Putty brand is a strong one, it probably wasn’t strong enough.” At the time the competition was fierce on the GBC, and the market was flooded with too many crap licences (‘Mary Kate and Ashley’ anyone?). Putty didn’t seem to fit well into what gamers were buying at the time.

However, all was not lost when Thalamus were given various other gaming jobs by Studio 3 and thus the Putty demo led onto other good things. However, Thalamus Interactive slowly ceased to be, and now Oliver Frey and Roger Kean continue the Thalamus name for their publishing company.

Overall, what remains with Putty Squad on the GBC is a promising demo showing what was possible, and what could have been. Check out the video clip below to see for yourself…

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