Have You Played… Magic Pockets?

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

The Bitmap Brothers made some superb and well-remembered games in the eighties and nineties, including future-sport biff ’em up Speedball, top-down steampunk action game The Chaos Engine and the superbly soundtracked shooter Xenon 2.

So why do I think of Magic Pockets much more often than the rest of them?

Magic Pockets is the story of a kid who is probably radical and awesome and gnarly. He has pockets infinite in size that store all of his many toys, as was common in the early nineties. I’m not entirely sure what happens next but I think he goes inside his own infinite pockets to collect all of his toys when monsters, which also live in his pockets, hide them.

A boy inside his own monster-infested pocket, flipping coins at creatures.

It’s one of those games that has lodged itself in my brain so strongly that I can remember specific animations (the bulge of pockets…pockets within pockets?) and sound effects. What I can’t remember is whether it was actually any good. As with all games of the period, I played them because I only got one new game every couple of months if I was lucky, so even if it were crap I spent weeks with anything new.


  1. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I got on the saturday morning show that had you play Magic Pockets via the shouting down the phone, it was good times. The bitmap brothers were superb, I loved this as well as GODS but nothing got more play time than Speedball 2: brutal deluxe, it’s only now that I play another sport game in Rocket League.

    • deadlock says:

      It was great. Both of my sisters played through it multiple times. The last level was a head-wrecker though – IIRC to finish the game you had to get the power-up helmets in the right order (meaning that you had the start the level at the right point in the power-up sequence), so that you could get the teleporting helmet.

      Can’t believe you didn’t mention the Betty Boo Doin’ the Doo theme tune though.

    • Sakkura says:

      Ice cream! Ice cream!

  2. deadlock says:

    Uh… Didn’t mean to make that a reply to you!

  3. AJ says:

    The Bitmaps ! I cringe at the thought of how many hours i sank into all their titles back on the Amiga. Damn good times.

    The music from Magic Pockets is like crack its so catchy – instrumental version of Betty Boo’s “doin’ the do” .. off to youtoob i go!

    Thanks alot RPS :P

  4. theapeofnaples says:

    I actually played this a couple of days ago (winUAE) for the first time since on the Amiga in the early 90s. It still looks decent as with most Bitmap games of the time but the level design is pretty awful, tbh. Think I gave up less than ten minutes in.

  5. Sin Vega says:

    I could never decide whether it was actually good, but it sure was odd, which is sometimes even better.

  6. Shazbut says:

    In a way RPS is in the lineage of Amiga Power and they didn’t like it, but then it was hard to say with Amiga Power where the journalistic integrity stopped and the arrogant provocation began.

    • PostieDoc says:

      Agreed about Amiga Power, Stuart Campbell was my least favourite of their journalists with his vendetta against the Kick Off games.

  7. Mr_Day says:

    Fun Fact!

    It’s been mentioned, but the main theme is Doin the Doo by Betty Boo.

    Allegedly, she made the Atari ST version of the song herself.

    There should be a link to that song somewhere on this page, might as well be here:

    • Mr_Day says:

      Huh. I thought that would just be a link. Silly me.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        RPS won’t do in-line images, but it will do in-line movies, because the price we pay for top-shelf games journalism is an awful, awful comment engine.

  8. Jonnyuk77 says:

    fwooch, fwooch, fwooch

    pang! pang! pang!

  9. MikoSquiz says:

    Pretty much every Bitmap Bros game had spectacular pixel art and played like an unwashed bum.

  10. CarthAnne says:

    Of all the games RPS features on their “Have You Played…” that I haven’t heard of, so far this is the one that I most haven’t heard of.

  11. Jediben says:

    I never realised Buster Gonad made a cameo.

  12. thekelvingreen says:

    I do like how these Have You Played… pieces sometimes turn into stealth Amiga nostalgia. I mean, when you’re talking about Bitmap Brothers games you’re not really talking about the PC versions, are you?

  13. tomek says:

    I played most off those on my PC as i didnt have a Amiga. The versions were mostly inferior sound wise (at least on AdLib) but vga graphics were nice imo.

  14. CptWhistles says:

    I really like this feature, but just as some constructive criticism, do you think maybe next time you could add maybe a few more screenshots and perhaps a way to (legally) find the game. I like the idea of a game you can barely remember that sticks with you, but this article really didn’t make me want to seek out the game very much.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Archive.org has the PC version, but if you can figure out how to make it do anything except quote back to DOS prompt, please let me know.

  15. RaymondQSmuckles says:

    Man, I just went to the Internet Archive to check out the Amiga games section. The archive has been taken down for now… :(
    “After a beta-testing period, the emulated Amiga programs at the Archive have been taken down for further development.”

    Sounds like they’ll be back up some day, then I’ll try to recall “that pocket game thing I wanted to play 9 months ago…”