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Have You Played... Ashes Cricket 2013?

Dust to dust

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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.

There are certain games I will never delete from my hard drive, and among them is Ashes Cricket 2013. I have absolutely no interest in cricketball, and even less in playing cricketball games. Apart from this one. This, a game so astonishingly bad, that it was cancelled after it was released.

Oh a book could be written about this game. Things began so spectacularly with this trailer:

It was the most extraordinarily prescient and portentous piece of gibberish, for a game that was going to die in flames. A game that, amazingly, managed to miss the deadline for release in time for the Ashes. And then 2013 gave that game a gift – madly there was a second Ashes that year, five months later, meaning they had been given a second chance by the benevolent if naive gods of cricket.

Days after release the game was pulled from Steam, had its own Facebook page removed, and refunds were offered to anyone who’d bought it. Why? Because the game played like this:

And then, in surely a unique move, publishers 505 Games cancelled the game days after it had been released. The reason? Because of the big name, big money sponsors they’d enormously pissed off. The England Cricket Board and Cricket Australia received a public apology from the publisher, who at the same time held no punches while laying the blame entirely on the developers, Trickstar Games. (I can find no news of the developer’s closure, but they’ve not made anything since.) Console versions never appeared at all, rumoured to have failed cert, and the whole thing was buried. Except, I’ve still got it installed here!

I just booted it up to see if it was still great. It is! I managed to score a 4 by tapping the ball gently, then running back and forth to panic the fielder AI such that they threw the ball at the boundary for me. What a game!

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John Walker

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