Forget robots taking over the world: in 1985 they were perfectly content with just taking over each other. This, at least, is the message from the classic C64 game Paradroid, which combined top-down wandering with a mini-game that gave you an advanced course in robo-micro-electronics. You had to run around a ship shooting or taking over other droids, while logging into computer decks to figure out where to go next.
Five reasons to love it:
1. It was written by one man, Andrew Braybrook, in the days when you
didn’t need a small country’s worth of coders and artists to make a
game. His other games weren’t half bad either: Uridium, Morpheus and
Gribbly’s Day Out.
2. As a youngster playing Paradroid, frankly the circuit-diagram
mini-game – which you used to take over other droids – made no sense at
all. I just hammered the joystick and hoped it’d work, which it usually didn’t. It’s only now that you realise what a corking idea it was, complete with logic gates to help your weedy low-level droid take over much scarier foes.
3. The game features a variety of droids, and you might recognise the No. 883 security droid (right) – Braybrook snuck in a cheeky dalek in the days before you’d have 17 lawyers suing your arse for such copyright-infringing silliness.
4. Like many games in the 8-bit era, Paradroid didn’t actually end. You just went back to the start of the ship with harder droids to beat up. It’s thought that at least one expert player is still bashing away at the game he started in January 1986…
5. Yes, someone has tried to update Paradroid for the modern era. Check Project Paradroid for a version which keeps the spirit of the original, while tarting up the graphics nicely.
FIND OUT MORE
Andrew Braybrook’s development diary, published in Zzap 64 magazine