By Alec Meer on November 17th, 2011 at 12:13 pm.
It’s Thursday, there’s nothing particular going on, so let’s all play retro weirdo-treat Chuckie Egg. Yep, I’m so impressionable that I even accidentally convince myself to do things – irrelevantly mentioning the old BBC Micro/Acorn Electron/Spectrum platformer in an earlier post fixed it firmly in my mind, and with crushing inevitability, I found myself Googling for and then playing the strange, difficult tale of a farmer stealing eggs from murderous, ladder-climbing geese. Or ducks. Or chickens. Or whatever they are. In any case, they shouldn’t be able to climb ladders.
I have fond memories of playing this with a dear friend who has since passed away, and being terrified of the giant bird that comes for you if you complete the first run of levels and the game loops back to the start with added difficulty. That difficulty being an enormous flying assassin-hen that can go anywhere it bloody pleases, ladders and fatal drops be damned.
Like many games of that era (Manic Miner being an obvious example), it is gleefully without context and unashamedly brutal despite being simple to control. Chuckie Egg’s additional, if not especially novel twist was the timer – racking up a bonus depending on how fast and efficient you are, in the name of high score pre-e-peen glory. (Oh dear, I won’t be allowed on EA forums now.)
I particularly enjoy how it makes a big deal of your dying, embarrassing squidgy music and all, but just shrugs and dumps you straight to the next level with cruel immediacy when you’re successful. Focus grouping and hand-holding simply didn’t exist for the proud, imaginative/twisted bedroom programmers of the 1980s.
Play it in your browser here, and share your scores, memories and whatnot below. JOIN ME ON A VOYAGE TO THE PAST.