Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens from Mars

1987 Software Projects

Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K

As part of the launch and release of The Games That Weren’t book, we are  adding assets and content that didn’t make it to print as bonus content to share with you.

Within the book is a detailed 10 page full story about the unreleased Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens from Mars (AOTMZFECFM from here on) – talking to Matthew Smith, John Darnell, Keith Ainsworth, Ste Cork and Steve Leyland. There is also a specially created artist impression showing how the game may have looked, based on recollections of Matthew, John and Sinclair User.

The piece clears up the misconception that AOTMZFECFM became Star Paws. Both games were very separate developments, underway at the same time by two different developers for two different platforms. However, they did both start out as a Road Runner game, but followed very separate design paths with no cross over.

The infamous leaked printed inlay

Inlay scan
Hi-res scan of the inlay, thanks to John Darnell.

When chatting with John Darnell, he confirmed to also having one of the rare inlays produced by Software Projects before the game was anywhere near completion. Otherwise, Keith Ainsworth was the only other known person to have one, famously found in his local charity shop.

John kindly created hi-res scans of the inlay, and took photos of the cassette case which didn’t make it to print in the book, so here they are in full below. In addition to those scans and photos, we have added our own hi-res scan of the original advert from one of the magazines of the time and a number of magazine snippets found on our travels.

The inspiration for Zappo The Dog

It has been known for a while that “Zappo” was based on a dog owned by Matthew’s friend, Steve Leyland. Steve’s dog was called “Zaphod Beeblebrox” (named after the character from Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). He has kindly allowed us to share a photo of both him and Zaphod below, which also didn’t make it to print.

There remains one other mystery over the cover artwork, and who was behind it. Alan Maton has confirmed that it was not created by Roger Tissyman, but another artist altogether.

We believe that it was from either an external design company, or from Martin MacDonald (who did graphics for the C64 Star Paws). Martin sadly didn’t respond to queries to clarify at the time of writing.

Full gallery

Check out our growing Bonus Content page for more materials added over time.

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