Status: No Download, Findability: 3/5

Also known as: Paranoid Pete 2

An early educational game aimed at young kids. Razzmatazz featured a sickly cute strawberry on legs and was surprisingly done by none-other than Rob Hubbard during his early C64 days, before music became his main source of income – where we were delighted by compositions such as Thing on a Spring and Monty on the Run.

In a conversation way back at BIT LIVE Brighton 2003, Rob confirmed that the game was finished. He informed GTW that the company closed its doors just as he had completed it. Sadly, Rob came out of it with no money at all and a low point at the start of his career.

So what was it like as a game?… Well, Rob lovingly told us “You really want to know about Razzmatazz?, Well I can tell you… It was f**king crap!!”. Was it really that bad? We had had to try and find out out for ourselves of course!

In 2013 (almost exactly 10 years after the BIT5 event), we caught up with Rob once more at the Play Expo in Manchester, where he recalled a bit more about the game. One of the screens was apparently based on a pirate ship, with another screen based on a Escher-style staircase.

What you had to do is still unknown, but this was a little more about the game than we knew before. We assume that there was some kind of element of having to “collect stuff” to progress onto the next screen. Perhaps almost Manic Miner like, which was typical of that time.

In an “Musician’s Ball” article in August 1986 of Zzap-64, it becomes clear that journalist Gary Penn had actually played it and described the game with the “Strawberry with legs” reference. Also, he mentioned about a rendition of Blue Monday playing, where the player is asked to pick an object. Another recollection was about you guiding a 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 gaming historian Mat Allen, Rob searched and tried to find the tape, though sadly 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 so far is the music, which we will come onto a bit further on.

In 2011, thanks to some fantastic research work by Hedning/Genesis Project, there were reports that the game was to be a licenced game based on the ITV childrens show of the very same name . Hedning found the reason why:

“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

Popular Computing Weekly 6-12 Sept 1984

So 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 bother with their Paranoid Pete game (of which we also have a GTW entry on) – pulled from the shelves because of its Weetabix main character being unofficially used. It seems that this probably killed Ubik off, after all the advertising that had been paid for and mastering costs. They were meant to be making modifications to the main character, but this never happened.

With links now made to Ubik, there was a chance that something could be found. However, initial searches for those involved have proved fruitless. C64 Audio’s Chris Abbott, who has been putting together Project Hubbard, also enquired with Gary Penn about if he still had anything of the game. Gary doesn’t believe he has anything, but hopefully some day we may be surprised.

How did Gary come to have a copy of the game? Well, Gary and his friends had been trying to make their own software company, and had been corresponding with various companies. Many of which had sent copies through to Gary and his friends, which somehow included a copy of Razzmatazz. Was this from Ubik perhaps?

Interestingly, 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. However, in March 2022, Rob corrected himself and that Razzmatazz was in fact originally to be Paranoid Pete 2, a platformer sequel to the original game and which he was originally requested to do for the company.

When the Weetabix licencing issues occurred, they ditched the Paranoid Pete theme completely and decided to go down the licenced route with the ITV show. The main sprite was changed from the Weetabix character to a Strawberry, but the rest of the sprites remained. Ubik collapsed before the game could be released.

So if you want to imagine how the main game character looked – I’d imagine it was just the same basic shape of the Weetabix character, but tweaked into a strawberry shape with a colour change.

Chris Abbott needed to take the research many steps further overall, as part of research for Project Hubbard and the “Rob Hubbard – Master of Magic” book about Rob’s SID work over the years. So, we did a bit of digging and investigational work with Chris, which helped to reveal a few extras. Much of the findings below about the music itself would be down to Chris’ excellent detective work.

Chris found that Rob had created his own development tools for the game, and when Ubik were to collapse – they told Rob that they weren’t going to be able to take his game on. The game was still Rob’s, but he was discouraged from trying to sell to others. He was told that the game was crap, but the music was good – which led to Rob going fully down that route instead.

Rob instead took the music, and along with a series of other tunes, packaged everything up into a demo that was sent out everywhere called “Commodore 64 Music Examples”. Within the demo are “Pop Tunes”, which were all intended for use within the game – possibly for each level with some others used in cut scenes/menus.

What is particularly interesting is “Song 13” from the SID, which is a direct cover of a later edition of the Razzmatazz theme tune which you can hear here. Overall it seems that Songs 5-15 are all intended for the game.

This is so far all that remains and there is feeling that the game itself may never be found – unless someone like Gary or one of his friends happens to turn up a box of disks. Strange things can happen, and it would be another piece of Rob Hubbard history saved if it can be found.

Contributions: Jazzcat, Rob Hubbard, Mat Allen, Chris Abbott

Supporting content

Available downloads

Update history

  • 14/12/23 – Large overhaul of write up and new information and downloads. With huge thanks to Chris Abbott.
  • 08/03/22 – Confirmation about the game’s origins thanks to Chris Abbott.
  • 14/10/13 – Rob Hubbard details a bit more about the game from Play Expo 2013!
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