A game aimed at young kids to teach them stuff. The game featured a sickly cute strawberry on legs. The game was surprisingly done by Rob Hubbard, again in his early days.
In a chance conversation in 2003, Rob confirmed at BIT5 Brighton in 2003 that the game was finished. He told GTW that the company went down, just as Rob finished the game. Sadly, Rob came out of it with no money.
And what was it *REALLY* like as a game?… Well, Rob managed to tell us….. “You really want to know about Razzmatazz?, Well I can tell you… It was f**king crap!!” I have to admit, I couldn’t stop laughing, but is it really that bad?… Will we ever know for ourselves?
In 2013 (10 years after the BIT5 event), we caught up with Rob again at the Play Expo in Manchester, where he recalled a bit more about the game. One of the screens was based on a pirate ship, and another screen on a Escher style staircase. What you had to do is still unknown, and this was a little more about the game than we knew before.
In the original Musician’s Ball article in August 1986 of Zzap, it seems that Gary Penn had played it and described the Strawberry with legs, with Blue Monday playing and asking the player to pick an object. Another brief recollection was where you guided the strawberry up a stairway – which could be the Escher style staircase that Rob referred to in 2013.
Originally, Rob had offered the possibility that he still had the game on a tape somewhere in his collection. After some negotiations with Mat Allen, Rob searched in his collection and tried to find the tape. Sadly Rob couldn’t find any trace of the game at all.
However, there will always be a possibility that its out there somewhere, but the only remaining element of the game is part of the music, which is a cover of “Blue Monday”. The SID file download above features that tune, which is sub tune 9.
In 2011, thanks to some fantastic research work by Hedning, there was reports that the game was to be a licenced game based on the ITV childrens show of the same name …. Hedning found the reason why in Popular Computing Weekly 6-12 Sept 1984:
“Weetabix acts against Ubik
TYNESIDE company Ubik’s game Paranoid Pete will not now be appearing in the shops. Weetabix complained that the characters portrayed in the game resembled its own ‘Weetabix men’ used in advertising too closely.
“When we first started work on Paranoid Pete we were working in collusion with Weetabix to produce a game based on their characters,” said Ubik’s marketing director Danielle Allan. “But when the game was complete, Weetabix weren’t happy with the result. In order to be able to bring out a game ourselves, we changed many aspects of it, but Weetabix were not satisfied and it has now been shelved. However, Ubik do have two more games scheduled for release in October. Razzmatazz is based on the ITV children’s programme of the same name, to be brought out under licence on the Spectrum, with a Commodore 64 version to follow, and a comical game for the BBC provisionally entitled The Professor. Both are expected to be priced around £5.95.”
The game was to be published by Ubik software (A Tyneside based company – where Rob was based), who got caught up with a spot of trouble with their Paranoid Pete game – pulled from the shelves because of its Weetabix main character.
They originally were doing the official Weetabix game, but they rejected it. It seems that this probably killed them off, after all the advertising that had been paid for. They were meant to be making modifications to the main character, but this never happened.
We have a few leads now due to the Ubik link being made, so maybe … just maybe… something could actually be found of this game… but sadly it does look like this one would well be lost forever.
In October 2021, Rob Hubbard revealed to Chris Abbott that he believed Paranoid Pete actually evolved into Razzmatazz after the legal issues with the original game. In March 2022, Rob confirmed with Chris that Razzmatazz was in fact originally to be Paranoid Pete 2, a platformer sequel to the original game.
When the Weetabix licencing issues occurred, the main sprite was changed (to a Berry?) but the rest of the sprites remained. Ubik collapsed before the game could be finished and released.
An anonymous contributor in 2022 also suggested if the strawberry in the game was actually a “razzberry”. Probably not, but it made me laugh :)
Contributions: Jazzcat, Rob Hubbard, Mat Allen, Chris Abbott