1993 Images Software
Platform: Commodore Amiga (+ potentially others later on)
Also known as: Monkey Business
It was recently that team member Grzegorz Antosiewicz highlighted an abandoned Amiga game which had completely passed me by last year when artist Glenn Broadway created a detailed blog post back in May 2022. The majority of information and all images have been gleaned from Glenn’s excellent post to create the entry within our archives with his permission.
Funky Monkey was the first game Glenn had worked on, which started after being invited to help with graphics for the title already in development. A friend was on a YTS placement at Images Software at the time, and this resulted in an introduction to Karl Jeffrey (the founder) and a subsequent invite.
At the time in early 1991, the game was being developed under the name of Monkey Business. This was already under way by a development team called DC Software, which was none other than developer Daniel Clapson.
Glenn would produce weeks/months producing sprites for the game, and even came up with the suggestion of renaming the game to Funky Monkey, which was eventually taken on. By 1992 however, the game had stalled, which Glenn was unsure why exactly (hopefully Daniel can shed some more light soon). However, he was asked to redesign the character, after it was felt that the original design was a bit dated in comparison to console platforms like Sonic that had recently surfaced.
At this stage, it seems that Daniel Clapson had moved onto other projects, and a new developer was brought in to work on the revamped game that Glenn was now designing. Glenn sadly cannot remember the developer’s name, though they had joined Images’ Fareham team. He was described as young, keen and pretty skilled by Glenn.
In addition to revamping the main character, Glenn also produced an initial proposal document, which you can find in the gallery below. Here, Glenn goes into detail about the character and how he would be expected to react within the game. Sonic was clearly an inspiration, with reference to being able to run at four different speeds, with everything becoming a blur at the fastest rate.
Though rather than just being able to run and jump like Sonic, Funky would be able to swing from platforms and hanging vines to get around the map too. There was mention of an arch enemy, the safari park keeper, as well talk of changing the standard lives system to something different – some kind of penalization dependent on the scenario.
One key part of the document details that the game could become a series of games, with the first being hinted at being called “Funky Monkey in ‘The Great Escape'”, referencing Funky’s escape from the safari park where he lives. He would then be able to travel to different countries such as France and the US via plane, and with the choice of route to the safer jungle haven that he craves. Some routes might be shorter than others, but more treacherous to navigate.
Level style would vary, and rather than just being open plan and multi-directional for all levels – some might be more contained, such as being on the Orient Express – giving limited places to move and try and escape from the ever hunting safari park keeper. At this stage though, everything was merely suggestion, with nothing concrete in terms of level/game design.
It seems that the work was signed off, and Glenn would progress on creating a new character design, as well as new animal characters to feature within the game. At some stage, the new coder on the project created a playable demo, showcasing the new character designs and some of the elements that were hinted at in the proposal. This sadly would be pretty much all that would ever exist of the game.
Glenn also created a few music tracks to go with the game to help everyone get a feel of how the game itself should feel. These can be found below on the Downloads area.
In early 1993, Glenn was offered (and accepted) a new role at SCi Southampton, which resulted in all work halting on Funky Monkey as a result. No other artist was brought in it seems to resume the work and complete it.
It seems that nothing was really mentioned at all in the press about either Monkey Business or Funky Monkey (please contact us if you manage to find anything!) – just one news snippet which you can see in the scans below.
We did oddly find an odd snippet in The One magazine, where we learn that Electronic Zoo were releasing a budget range called “Monkey Business”. There was a competition to name the mascot character, where winner Matthew Emery named them … you guessed it! ‘Funky Monkey’. What a small world eh? (see scans below)
For years the game would gather dust, right until 2022 – when Glenn would be interviewed by RMC Cave. Glenn had taken a disk along to run on Neil’s Amiga 600, which thankfully still worked. Below is an updated and cleaner recording of the demo which was done by friends of Glenn:
It is hoped that Glenn may be able to allow us to digitally preserve the demo to add to the archive, so watch this space! In the meantime, we will try and get hold of the developer to learn more about the development, and see if anything more could be saved of this early and promising platformer.
With thanks to Grzegorz Antosiewicz for flagging up and to Glenn Broadway for very kindly allowing us to create an entry with use of his scans and information.