The Young Ones computer game cassette tape
1985, 1986, The Young Ones

The Young Ones – Computer Game

Who remembers this? I never had a home computer during the 1980’s or even throughout the 1990’s come to that, and I have never had much interest in computer games, but during the early 1990’s I did manage to find one of these games. It was in a big box of junk at a car boot sale and was buried underneath a whole load of other items from a seller who obviously dealt in house clearances. The type of stall you get where the seller just shouts out “everything a pound” and all items are thrown out of the back of a van onto wet grass or dirty gravel and you just have to madly scan and rummage through boxes of crap in the hope of finding something of interest.

Well that day I did find something of interest, this game and so my teenage self went home feeling quite chuffed that I’d found something new to add to my comedy collection. Then about 15 years later I regretfully sold it on Ebay to raise a bit of cash. Anyway, I was reminded of this game recently, so I thought I would see what information I could find out about it.

The Young Ones video game was released in 1985, published by Orpheus Software. It was available for Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum platforms. (My car boot find was for a Commodore 64)

Photographs of the box courtesy of Andy Hollingworth

The concept of the game was created by Orpheus director Paul Kaufman and the majority of the game was programmed by John Marshall, with input from Geoff Phillips. The characters of The Young Ones were licensed from the owners of the BBC television series, Ben Elton, Rik Mayall, and Lise Mayer.

Due to difficulty in licensing the original series music from the BBC, an alternative music sound track was commissioned to sound similar to the original theme. Over 10,000 copies of the game were sold, mainly through Boots stores, Woolworths and independent computer stores.

Here’s an advert for the game, note the alternative music and awful voice over impressions of Vyvyan and Neil.

The game takes place in the students’ house. Landlord Bolowski is turfing all four housemates out, you must help them pack up their belongings so they can leave. You choose which character you want to become and play as either Vyvyan, Rick, Neil, or Mike. A different set of belongings has to be gathered up for each character. Mike for example, wants to take his loud ties while Rick won’t leave without his anarchic girlie dresses.

Inside poster image for the young one computer game.
Inside poster. Photograph courtesy of Andy Hollingworth

Each character has to collect his belongings and put them into an appropriate container. Rick packs a ruck sack, Neil has a wheelbarrow, Mike a suitcase and Vyvyan chooses a bin liner. You then explore the house and enter different rooms trying to locate the right objects. While the other characters become computer-controlled players. All characters can move around the house, picking up and dropping objects, as well as breaking and fixing things. The characters often talk, giving the player clues as to what the character is intended to do.

The aim of the game is to try and move out of the house with all your character’s belongings in the shortest time possible. This isn’t very easy because your possessions are typically not in their preferred condition, or are hidden around the house, and you will need various tools to get to them. The other characters will move around the house, behaving in-character, occasionally moving all your possessions around, and occasionally damaging them, making things difficult.

The Young Ones computer game cassette tape for amstrad.
Photograph courtesy of Andy Hollingworth

Unfortunately there were several bugs in the game that caused Mike, Neil and Rick to put down different objects when certain ones were selected from the menu (if they are carrying the “different” objects). It seems it was only possible to finish the game if you selected to play as Vyvyan. Orpheus also went out of business before the bugs could get fixed, so the game was withdrawn from sale in mid-1986.

Reviews of the game were not favourable either:

“There’s nothing about this game that stands out or impresses me in any way. It’s unplayable, unaddictive and generally boring.”

“I really wanted this to be a good game, but it’s the exact opposite: useless.”

“”Yes, the TV series was great, but I’m afraid The Young Ones computer game is a terrible let down.”

Did you have this game? Did you enjoy playing it? Or was it as rubbish as the reviews said?

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