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Have You Played Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Not enough games with commas in the titles these days, if you ask me. It’s all : this and – that. Whither the simple descriptor? Anyway: 1993 Western comedy Freddy Pharkas was probably Sierra’s most overt attempt to catch up with Lucasarts, the rival developer which had stolen most of their adventure game thunder from them by that point.
It has a distinctly naughtier vein of humour than Monkey Island – little surprise, given Leisure Suit Larry’s Al Lowe was at the helm – but it’s easy to imagine the “well, comedy pirates did well for them, so let’s try comedy cowboys” conversations. I don’t know that I’d actually giggle now at puzzles which involved collecting horse farts, but I guess I’m glad they exist.

Truth be told, I’ve never played the entirely of Freddy Pharkas. I had the demo on some coverdisk, fell in love with its Western theme, grumpy cast and comedy songs, and yearned for more the moment it completed, this being a time when adventure games were almost all I cared about, but pleas for the full game as a birthday or Christmas present fell on deaf ears, parents too concerned that too much of my time was already spent in these cartoon worlds with their asinine anti-logic puzzles.

Now I can click a single button and all 8 megabytes of it are delivered almost instantly into a browser window for free, via the uncertain legality of Archive.org. A new frontier snarky old Freddy could never have imagined.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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