Friday, 12 April 2013

Retro Rubbish - Magic Carpet (C64)

Not all retro games are worth remembering

Some memories are best forgotten. Being kidnapped and held hostage in a foreign land perhaps. Or being beaten unconscious by hooded men weilding bamboo canes. Both of these pale into comparison to the total horror of experiencing Magic Carpet on the Commodore 64.

Well, if the game is so arse-achingly awful why are you writing about it? I hear you say, in my head. Well the simple fact is that this abomination will be forever etched into my subconscious as it was the very first computer game I ever owned – not counting Game & Watch LCD hand helds. My old man bought me a brand spanking new Commodore 64 in 1990. It was the Light Fantastic pack that came with a light-gun and a few games such as Army days, Gangster Town, and Batman The Caped Crusader. He also purchased a copy of Outrun, and Magic Carpet. I had no idea that the C64 was pretty much obsolete by this stage, but I am so glad I had a chance to experience all the 8-bit home computer games such as Monty On The Run, Boulderdash, Bounder, Jack The Nipper and Creatures as well as being able to purchase games for less than £2.

The shit starts right here

I remember thinking Magic Carpet was reasonably bad back then, but just left it to one side and played one of the other great games. Playing it now it is hard to believe how bad it actually is. The game puts you in the curly toed slippers of an Aladdin style guy on a magic carpet. You must move around the single screen using the keys with the only aim being to reach the exit without touching anything. This is easier said than done, much like those buzzing wire games they have at county fairs where you must move a loop of metal along the route of the wire, without touching it. Or even that old board game, Operation. Magic Carpet is impossibly hard. Even getting off the first screen is a nightmare that will get the veins on your forehead throbbing with anger. Throw in some pathetic graphics and an irritating, piercing loop of generic Arabian music and you have one of the worst games on the platform. I hear there are only 3 screens in the entire game, which could be true – I have never made it past the second screen – which, if true, seems a pretty stingy amount of levels, even for a Mastertronic budget release. Yep, Mastertronic – A name synonymous with absolute 8-bit garbage. Of course, I didn't know this at the time, but a year or two of buying budget games from John Menzies and Woolworths (R.I.P.) soon lead me to the conclusion that Mastertronic was a seal of bullshit, a certificate of shittiness – basically, a poor label.

Even getting off the first screen is a nightmare - 
watch out for the saw blade 

It pains me that I cannot erase the memories of this game from my mind, despite 15 years of heavy drinking in order to do so. Now I just have a broken liver and Magic Carpet's first stage repeating over and over in my head. I pray for the day that they invent the memory erasing tool seen in the Men In Black movies. Only then will I be able to lead a happy and content life. Come on boffins – get to work!

Kids learnt the hard way to avoid any 
cassette bearing this logo