A previously unknown title which was dug up thanks to Simon Birrell. His old friend, Patricia Mitchell was programming C64 game called “Save the Hippy” .
The aim of this game was to collect dope from the garden of the hippy. It was mostly a resource management based game where the hippy would grow his own food (including mysteriously leafy plans!) and had to sow and tend to them – harvesting before they died or were nabbed by rabbits.
The main character was made up of two sprites joined up – and the background was flat, with a slight perspective attempt to look like a garden/field.
Patricia never got to finish the game or as a result release it. Patricia later moved to marketing and management and gave up programming altogether. Her first and only game was never to be!
Richard Hewison recently interviewed Patricia in an article for Retro Gamer magazine on Virgin Games, and the following was said:
“Patricia Mitchell joined Virgin Games from Thorn EMI and was originally meant to be one of the first female computer games programmers. She had learned assembler on the Atari 800 and began writing ‘Save the Hippie’ for the Commodore 64.
However, the game was abandoned when Virgin realised that the quality of titles they had released to date were no longer sufficient and they changed tactics and reduced the quantity and significantly upped the quality of their games. This meant that ‘Save the Hippie’ had to be sacrificed and was therefore abandoned. ”
Sadly when asked if the game had potentially survived – Patricia had confirmed that she had moved house a few years ago and had to put things into storage. A massive clear out would have very likely resulted in her one back up of the game to be lost forever.
This sadly will be a title that no-one will get to see unless something miraculous occurs. Case closed!
Contributions: Simon Birrell, Richard Hewison, Patricia Mitchell
Patricia Mitchell talks about work on Save The Hippy:
“Sad to say Save the Hippy didn’t actually get finished! My aim was a resource management game and the hippy grew his own food (including mysterious leafy plants) and had to sow them and tend to them, then harvest them in time before they rotted or were stolen by rabbits.
The hippy sprite (I think it was 2 joined up) was quite big and the background was flat but with an attempt at perspective to make it look like a garden/field. I was indeed taken off programming and put in charge of marketing as your article states, the head of marketing went off to work at Virgin Atlantic, which was just about to launch, and I took over as product manager.
I will add it was my first real game and I was pretty slow at programming, I was only allowed a cassette deck and an assembler cartridge so didn’t even have a disk drive to save to, it was painfully slow. I will say Simon Birrell encouraged and helped me a lot!”