Game of the Month – Son of Blagger

Title: Son Of Blagger img_0192

Released: 1985, Alligata Software Ltd.

Platform: Commodore 64

Format: Cassette





Alligata Bites Back is, I think, simply a re-release series from Alligata Software, cut down versions (in terms of packaging) and cheaper. This one is released in 1985, 1 year after its first showing.

I recently got this as a present, along with lots more goodies, so we’re good for Game of The Month for another year at least!


The packaging is standard for the Bites Back series, green labels with stamped name, and minimal cover details.

Simple instructions on the inner sleeve include movement key mappings, and loading (press shift/run-stop).

Left = Z    –   Right = X   –   Jump=Return

The Restore key switches to Joystick Control.

Loading time was about 4 minutes and there is no loading screen or any other entertainment during that time. Just the flashing lines we all know so well.






Straight from loading you are presented with the welcome screen, and pressing space takes you directly to the first level.

The air starts to decrease Manic Miner style and you need to have your wits about you to find all the keys strewn around to end the level. Keys are off screen as well as on so you’ll need to move about  and shift the scenery left and right, and think logically to get them all in the time allowed. Mechanics are a little frustrating but you soon get used to them – movement is again similar to Manic Miner, in fact the game is, of course, heavily influenced, as was Blagger before it.


One thing that hasn’t improved with age is my skill at the Blagger games! I find it really hard, and soon found myself wanting to load in a hacked version from my trusty 1541 Ultimate II, but resisted cheating to play through properly. Well honesty only gets you so far, and in my case that was the 2nd level! I will persevere though.

Playability is good. Good enough to be addictive, and the game is quick enough in terms of restarting to get you replaying once dead in a matter of seconds.

blaggerMusic is really good – I didn’t get annoyed with it at all, just the right level of benign, background tune to help move the game along. And the sound effects are few and far between but work.

All in all I enjoyed playing Son of Blagger and it will be one I’ll return to, added to the list of games I want to beat without cheating.


As I have previously mentioned, if a video/play through exists elsewhere I will link to it rather than reinvent the wheel, so please see AL82’s video below. It WILL contain spoilers including the ending so if you don’t want to see that, don’t click!




Journey – 15 Minute Play Through (PS4)

I don’t mind weird. Or odd. I’m a fan of both, actually, but I don’t know…I like games to have a beginning and an end. Or at least a journey where you have a vague idea of where it is you’re going and where you might end up. Ironic, then, that Journey just leaves me with a sense of bewilderment.

I have read other reviews gush out descriptive platitudes about how beautiful it looks, how moving it is and how some players inexplicably cry when playing the game, seemingly moved to tears by sand dunes and flying ribbons. Barely a mention of the ‘game’ or the mechanics.

There are puzzles to solve, how to create a bridge and gather ribbons to populate your scarf and fly etc. but no sense of what to do when you solve them. You may find yourself accompanying another player (CGI or real life) but the way they just sort of stand around and wait to see what you are going to do adds to the sense of confusion.

Admittedly I haven’t given it very long, about 20 minutes is all I could manage. Although by all accounts that leaves only another 1 hour 40 mins gameplay, and I may revisit to see if it improves, but honestly, as a gamer for over 30 years I really don’t understand the fuss made about Journey.

I’m fully prepared to admit that it’s probably me, that I might be missing something, but games are very much personal experiences, one man’s meat and all that.

Maybe I’m dead inside, but I’d take zombie blasting, shot gun slinging shooters any day of the week over this!


Programs on Vinyl

About 12 years ago I ran a successful Vinyl to CD/iTunes service and was really busy – from entire Jazz collections (literally, hundreds of LPs) to one off privately recorded 78s, I digitised them all. Then with the advent of cheap plug-and-play USB turntables the demand petered out. I still do it for myself and friends and the occasional commission, but no longer can it be called a business.

Anyway, the upshot of all that is I have boxes of vinyl lying around that I have acquired, and one of those boxes was a closing down sale, old stock from a record shop, full of around 1000 7″ singles. It was in this box I came across a single by Mainframe – Talk To Me.

mainframe          img_0136

What really grabbed my attention was the B Side. Talk To Me contained 4 programs for the Apple II, ZX Spectrum, BBC B and ZX81 – Vinyl and Retro Computing? All in one place? To the audio cleaning lab!

So of course, I had to get the vinyl recorded and hopefully somebody can load it in to one of these great computers to see what Mainframe were trying to tell us back in 1983. I don’t have any of these anymore (see previous post) and sadly the Commodore was not catered for. Audio at the end of this post.

I did find a great article over at so do click through to read more about programs on vinyl.



BBC Model B

Apple II


The big news this month is I have sold, yes, sold some vintage computers to make some room and get a bit of much needed cash. Obviously not the Commodore 64 stuff, that would be silly, but the Amiga and Spectrum have now gone.

3D Illustration of a Gavel Placed Above the Word Sold

Actually, apart from money and room, the other major reason is time. I just don’t have the time to dedicate to lots of different hardware, and I really do need to dedicate myself to learning Assembly on the C64. So decision made, the Commodore setup in the Retro Corner is now fully geared towards development, and I have sourced some definitive books on the subject, thanks to the great Commodore 64/128 facebook group.

This blog is where I will be keeping a track of my game dev – first things first, storyline/title stuff like that. Not even sure what genre. All great fun though and I’m excited to see what I end up with.

Oh and I’ll keep the Amiga/Spectrum tabs as I am absolutely certain that I’ll be collecting these machines again once space/time/money allows! This is the curse of the collector. The cycle of selling and collecting continues….