Tuesday 15 February 2011


I'm not making this up

1986 saw Sensible Software, usually a company known for making sensible... software (such as Sensible Soccer), release the not-so-sensible GALAXIBIRDS (or "Galax-i-birds") for the Commodore 64. Once more, man's most feared enemy, the birds, have got themselves into space, and its time to rid the galaxy of this evil once and for all.

Galaxibirds is a wonderful joke of a game, but don't go thinking this is some crazy homebrew release - it retailed in the real world for a whopping £1.99 back in the day (that's £4.35 in today's money if you're using the retail price index). Mind you, as it's able to provide a full five minutes of enjoyment, you could probably argue that more effort was put into it than some of the smartphone apps of today, so perhaps it's not a hilariously bad deal.

Galaxibirds, as the name may suggest, is a vertical spaceship shoot-'em-up similar to Galaxian in design. Moving left and right, your job as the player is to kill as many birds as possible and rank up a high score. But rest assured, this is no easy task.

The Galaxibirds are ruthless and unlike Galaxian, never stay in one place. They will dive bomb constantly, reappearing at the top of the screen unless destroyed. Initially, this isn't a problem, as the birds stay in formation, but break this formation and they'll start dotting around all over the place, becoming near impossible to predict.

Your only hope is to take risks, and once you've wiped out all the birds on screen you'll be presented with a new set, often with different movement patterns. It's not a particularly well made game, mostly because there's more guesswork than real demonstrations of skill, but it's birds in space for an almost negligible price (and no price at all if you download it off the internet illegally), so who cares. You can't put a price on the novelty of shooting birds in space.

The graphics are fairly average, the music isn't memorable, there's nothing to really come back to but it does have one of the best video game titles ever conceived. Plus, love it or hate it, there are far worse investments on the Commodore 64 than this thing.

1 comment:

  1. God, that font for the score looks ugly, and they couldn't even ensure that it was always kept in multicolor mode, good job Sensible...of course, this was 8 years before SWoS, it stands to reason that they might have been a little rougher around the edges.