It’s No Reason Thursday: Chuckie Egg

By Alec Meer on November 17th, 2011 at 12:13 pm.

The bird *is* the word

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.

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38 Comments »

  1. oceanclub says:

    Was Manic Miner that difficult? I asked as it’s possible the only platformer I’ve ever completed. Mind you, that was over 20 years ago, and also it’s not that long a game (20 screens?). Never managed to get anywhere with Jet Set Willy.

    P.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Despite difficulty going up with each new screen, some screens would ramp up the difficulty considerably and the next screen would resume the natural progression.

      The game was difficult. But not unbeatable. One of the good things with those platform games back then was that they pretty much dominated the market. As players we had little else to go for. So we would indeed invest huge amounts of hours on these games, eventually beating them. The controls were simple and gameplay straightforward. So it was always a matter of practice.

      Jet Set Willy was however much harder than Manic Miner. A very tough game indeed that would often force you to do the same screen more than once and from a different entry point, which would often present us with a whole different challenge. Manic Miner was instead just a linear game and you would reach the end, if you practiced hard enough, after a few weeks of intense gameplay.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Indeed. There was a bug in the Banyan Tree that made an item in the Attic unreachable without a poke. The version originally released was unable to be completed without cheating.

  2. Lakshmi says:

    The last time I played this it was 3am during a code release. I remember being much better at it when I was a kid (I could blame the 3am bit, but I’d be lying), but it’s still fun. Time to have another go!

  3. Bollah says:

    I had this game on an old Amstrad, fond memories indeed.

  4. tigershuffle says:

    dammit Meer…….im working hard ….protecting the integrity of our great lands property land register.

    so couldnt possibly play ……oh and my boss is sat behind me today.

    happy days of been a callow wide eyed 15 yr old …….on my 48k Speccy

  5. haowan says:

    greatest game

  6. Hodge says:

    I am about to play it for the first time. Wish me luck.

  7. TomxJ says:

    Awwww chuckie eg… HOLY CRAP THEY HAVE REPTON!

    • mrd says:

      Chuckie Egg be damned… did you say Repton!? THAT was fantastic….

    • thekeats1999 says:

      My second computer was an Acorn Electron and the highlight was always the Superior Software games. Repton has a special place in my heart. I especially loved the double cassette case that some of the later games came in.

  8. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I played so much Chuckie Egg. So much. Chuckie Egg, Manic Miner, and Citadel were the bread and butter of my gaming youth. Until I discovered Elite, at least.

    I never made it far enough to meed the assassin hen, and it sounds like I should be glad I didn’t.

  9. godgoo says:

    Earliest Video game memory: me and my dad on our Acorn Electron trying to beat Chuckie Egg. : )

  10. aizvara says:

    This was one of my formative videogaming experiences. I spent hours playing it in turns with a friend on her elder brother’s Spectrum 48K.

  11. galaxion says:

    the spectrum version was the easiest platformer i’ve ever played.

  12. Vurogj says:

    Easily my most played game of the 80′s. Nothing else came close. I’m scared to play it now in case I’ve forgotten the shortest-time paths that were engraved on my younger mind.

  13. Tomhai says:

    Thank you Alec, for keeping our nostalgy levels high:)
    I know there are java emulators of old games, but I’v never managed to get them working. This is pure gold.

  14. Sinomatic says:

    I had this on my dragon 32 (so this web version is all the wrong colour as far as I’m concerned), but I love that little game to death. Every time I’ve read a ‘gaming made me’ article on RPS, chuckie egg is one of the first in a flood of gaming memories that always springs to mind.

  15. WMain00 says:

    Anno 2070 is out. Could we have a Wot I Think of that?

  16. Taidan says:

    Wait…

    You mean you still don’t play this every day anyway?

    Like playing Chuckie Egg is some sort of special occurrence for you?

    Pah, some people make me sick.

    (Also, BBC-B version, all the way. Other versions are way inferior.)

    • iucounu says:

      +1 for BBC B version. My childhood friend Simon could actually beat it, I seem to remember, or at least get to the bit where the level counter rolls back to 1 and it all glitches out.

    • Lakshmi says:

      BBC-B all the way.

    • gornmyson says:

      another +1 for the BBC B. A friend of mine had one and i remember thinking it was the most amazing thing ever. Ohh, those super sized floppy disks…

  17. pipkins says:

    Enjoyed that and will come back to it. Died on level 3. It said “1″ when I’d finished so I think I scored 1 point.

  18. tossrStu says:

    Why should I play Chuckie Egg on a Thursday afternoon? No reason.

  19. MiniMatt says:

    Everybody knows that the bird is the word. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WNrx2jq184

  20. BenA says:

    What no Super Chuckie Egg? With the cheat where you could clip across the top of the screen?

    Also, I really fancy a game of Frak! now.

  21. Sorbicol says:

    they were killer emus in our house. If you managed to loop enough levels there would be a lot more of the buggers and two assassin hens flying around too.

    Great, great memories!

  22. MonkeyMonster says:

    Ahhh, used to play it on an ages old green monitor… Never knew it had proper colours till we upgraded! Awesome game,.

  23. diebroken says:

    Ah, the memories… and then Fruity Frank…

    /returns to innocence

  24. noom says:

    Spellbound has to be the equivalent defining platform game for me. First game I ever remember playing :)

  25. seanminty says:

    Likewise Alec, i have fond memories of playing this on my neighbours… ‘beige something’ and it was pretty much my first exposure to video games, well this and Shufflepuck Cafe (flaps ear).

  26. TLGAthena says:

    Oh jesus…

    I saw the chuckie egg pic… and I saw Toki Tori in my head… and I screamed…

  27. ZephyrSB says:

    For some reason, the BBC network at my school while I was still just a little tyke had this and no other games on – needless to say, anyone with even the slightest interest packed into the computer room every lunchtime and played the hell out of this. If I recall, the school record was something like screen 48, with double hens and double emus and crazy speed or something. Good times, good times.