Our next entry is a quick one as highlighted by contributor Sean O’Neill. It’s a title we’ve been aware of for some time, but just haven’t got round to adding it to the site.
The game should have been released by Mirrorsoft back in late 1985, and was reviewed by both Your Commodore and Zzap 64. However, the game doesn’t seem to have yet surfaced, begging the question of whether the game was ever actually released properly.
Thanks to Martin Smith, we learn that there were six Mr Men games planned for release – and this was to be the second. Three were released for the Spectrum – First Steps With, Here and There and Word Games With. Hi Bouncer was unreleased for the Spectrum (although was released on the C64) while two others are also actually missing (Mr Men Magic Storymaker and, aptly enough, The Invisible Mr Men). First Steps was developed for both Spectrum and C64 by Primer Software – David Janda and Steve Mercer are credited for its Spectrum version. Will either of those groups know what happened to this game and maybe the other two? (which we assume were never started).
Well, David Janda contacted us to confirm that he did the Spectrum version, but this was a conversion of the C64 game – which you can see in the game comments below. So the credits can be crossed off!
With the game actually reviewed, and with screenshots – the suggestion is that it was – but only in limited numbers. For more details on the game, check out the review scans and article details (borrowed from gamebase64.com)
Many thanks to Paul Dennison, who very kindly posted his original disk version to us to fully preserve, so you can now play what was a released game in the end. It’s not much to write home about, but great to see a piece of history preserved.
By pure co-incidence, Genesis Project had also preserved the game at the same time and have released a tidied up version earlier in the day, which you can also download from within the zip file. They have also very kindly provided the TAP backup that was made from the original tape game. The zip file contains the original disk image, and the cracked version with documentation. The TAP file is separate.
Contributions: Sean O'Neill, Martin Smith, Hedning, Paul Dennison
Most text of the present article comes from the feature on educational programs by Gary Penn, as published in the eighth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (December 1985) – sourced from gamebase64.com
From Turning from the American inspired programs (although purists would of course insist that Winnie is ‘ours’ and not ‘theirs’), there are some telly heroes on British software. Mirrorsoft have a package of four Mr Men games aimed at the 4 – 8 years bracket under the general heading of Here and There with the Mr. Men.
These do not avoid the ‘educational’ tag however. Mr Tickle’s Jigsaw Puzzle, Mr Tickle and Mr Grumpy, Mr Lazy and Mr Men versus Mr Tickle are all aimed to lead children in ‘an amusing and stimulating way’ to grasp the concept of ‘left and right’. The accompanying booklet is designed to be read by a parent as a story to go with the games. Unlike the US Gold offerings, the Mr Men games use rather simple, though brightly coloured, blocky graphics, and I would have thought the tasks may become repetitive to kids rather quickly.
For instance, in Mr Lazy you guide a worm up and along the branches of a tree in order to reach an apple and knock it down on Mr Lazy’s head as he snoozes under the tree. No doubt this very simple exercise might amuse a four year-old for a while, but I very much doubt whether it would appeal to an eight year-old for more than one go.
The important difference between these games and those from the Walt Disney stable lies very much in the graphics as well as the ideas, and in that department there’s little doubt that US Gold score heavily.
- 07/05/16 – Game fully preserved thanks to contribution by Peter
- 06/11/14 – David Janda confirms no involvement in C64 edition.
- 14/09/14 – Photo of the game in physical form – just need it backed up now!
- 09/01/14 – Added details of other games and possible programmers.
have here and there with the mr men on disk and first steps with the mr men can send you them if you want
Hi Paul, that would be great if you didn’t mind? Feel free to mail me using the contact form on the website and we can maybe arrange a temporary loan to preserve it?
Hello. David Janda here.
Just a few notes: The Spectrum version of First Steps was a conversion of the C64 version. I did the core, while Steve did a LOT of tidying up ang graphics after I handed it over. I was commissioned by Mirrorsoft directly. Steve I *think* worked for Primer.
I did not do any other games for the series.
I did however, in the late 80’s do a number of game conversions for the Acorn Archimedes and Amiga of various wargaming titles developed by Turcan Research Systems – Waterloo, Borodino, Armada and Dreadnoughts.
Also did for a couple of years the Spectrum version of the Which? Tax Calculator starting in 1984.
Other stuff: In 1999-2001 I designed and developed the real-time and delayed time shares system for Teletext Ltd.
Thanks David, updated the review to reflect this. I’ll email you in a bit regarding the wargames! :) Best wishes!
I have picked up a copy of this game today in mint condition and in a very big case. It definately exists :)
Thanks for confirming Gavin! Any chance of obtaining some scans and possibly preserving a digital copy? :)
Hi Bouncer, sorry, not Bouncher – typo. The Invisible Mr Men being missing made me chuckle though, I love irony.
No worries Martin, all fixed. And I didn’t spot that! That is pretty funny irony! :)
There were six Mr men games planned for release, this being the second. Three were released for the Spectrum – First Steps With, Here and There and Word Games With. Hi Bouncer was definitely unreleased for the Spectrum (although was for the C64) while two others are missing (Mr Men Magic Storymaker and, aptly enough, The Invisible Mr Men). First Steps was developed for both Spectrum and C64 by Primer Software – David Janda and Steve Mercer are credited for its Spectrum version, doesn’t look like either have developed much else, but they might be worth searching for.
Thanks Martin, i’ll add some of those notes into the review and add a credit. Will certainly take a look for both suggestions!