Jan 30, 2008

Llamasoft still hairy, cuddly, madly inventive and caring about you after all those years...

Space Giraffe by LLamasoftJeff Minter, founder and glorious chairman of LLamasoft, should have been born 20 years before he actually came to be, but, alas, the gods were cruel and mankind lost another chance. Still, the Yak's (for that is our brave leader's much loved nickname) amazing creativity, odd sense of humour, game design talent and all-around surrealism have made gaming so much more interesting. And better. Much better. Even on the exceedingly mainstream Xbox 360 apparently. No, really, have a look at Space Giraffe.

But, let's be frank here. How many of you Xboxers could truly appreciate such a gift eh? Less than 40,000 apparently, but I'm not shocked. In fact, I actually thought so... You uncaring console lot after all let the Atari Jaguar die (horribly). Despite Tempest 2000. Tsk.
Jeff Minter Attack of the Mutant CamelsThen again, the way I see it, LLamasoft was never really meant for the console boys. The dozens of classic computer games it has been coming up with for the past 25 (or is it more?) years are all the proof I need. Games like Revenge of the Mutant Camels, Gridrunner ++, Hover Bovver, Sheep in Space and of course LLamatron. Brilliant and wacky games, that you dearest retro gaming nostalgics and curious aesthetes can now play for free. Courtesy of LLamasoft. Simply follow this link and start downloading every Yak created 8- and 16-bit game ever. Further downloads for the truly obsessed can be found over at MEDWAYPVB.

Oh, and before you visit the excellent resource that is the Llamasoft Archive, which you must, know that you will probably need some emulators to run the games mentioned above. So, uhm, here you go... Try WinUAE (Amiga), Steem (Atari ST), Xformer 2000 (Atari 8-bit), Pfau Zeh (Vic-20), CCS64 (C64), WinEMU (C16) and Spectaculator (ZX Spectrum).

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Matthew Smith in glorious video, the TI 99/4A, Monty's Xmas Special, retro gaming archive

26 comments:

  1. So basically every Llamasoft game ever written, for every platform is available for play, for free, on emulators. My only question, which is the best platform to try? I had a C64 growing up, but no Llamasoft, so I am inclined to try on that. But are there better implementations of some of their games?

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  2. Really now, do you have to insult console gamers (though it is hard resist)? I for one am an avid console gamer, but I also enjoy obscure, fun PC games. While many console gamers might be more casual gamers, not all of them are. As for the post, I did not really know there was so much interest in llamas. I checked out the Llamasoft Archive and noticed a few freeware games. That's got my interest. Nice links.

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  3. Jeff Minter has been a big hero of mine ever since the old C64 days. I was seriously offended by the rants on his blogs though. Even though the execution of his games was orginal and flawless, most of the game ideas themselves are rip offs from Defender, Mattel's "The Empire Strikes Back" on the Atari 2600 and lightshows. After Colorspace he kind of faded out which is a pity because the emperor might have no clothes but he's still a striking character. His ego might be bruised because "youngsters" don't like his style but that just means that he should reinvent himself. I know he can do it!

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  4. I really agree with Singapura. Jeff Minter really comes off as a teen queen stood up on prom night the way he's ranted at times when people don't get the whole "sheep thing".

    If you want to be "popular"... don't be at times so strange that no one understands you. If you choose to do so - then be prepared to accept the consequences.

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  5. Doug, I would say that the 16-bit versions of the games are generally the better ones, as not only was the hardware more powerful but also the Yak and his team were more experienced. I would start with Llamatron for the Amiga...

    Ithmeer, truth be said, I didn't mean to insult console gamers... Just to point out that the majority of them wouldn't care for Space Giraffe. Then again, uhm, you are right. Not all of them console gamers are the same, as we two for example can easily prove...

    Hey singapura, nice meeting you fellow Llama lover. Seriously though, even though you do make some pretty valid though too strict points, I don't think an artist or any creative person should reinvent him/herself just to please the audience. And frankly Space Giraffe is amazing. So, you could say he already did it.

    Dear Dane of War, think that you too have a point. Mr. Minter should decide if he cares for the mainstream or not. Not that wanting to get to as many people as possible is something wrong...

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  6. Why the hell doesn't that camel have any humps?

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  7. Because it's an 8-bit camel and 8-bit camels don't need no stinking humps.

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  8. All camels need humps. Not having a camel with humps is like playing video games without drinking and smoking.

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  9. Without smoking and drinking? Oh dear dear dear... That's not very game-y...

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  10. Drinking while playing games with mates is very game-y! I could do without the smoking though...

    funnyman is right though, 8-bit is no excuse for no humps! :p

    I'd try Space Giraffe but I can't be bothered paying for it when I can get some much Independent game goodness on my PC for free.

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  11. Don't get me wrong mr Gnome, I agree that an artist should stay true to his art. The problem is that most artists can't be artistical AND commercial succesful. Just have a look at American Idol and you know what I mean. If you're too weird, you're out.

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  12. Oh, but smoking is so good for the heart dear Tom, especially when combined with sausages that is. Anyway. I would suggest you try it anyhow and then download a ton of freebies...

    No, no Singapura, I didn't take you wrong. I actually agree that commercial success, especially of the massive kind, is usually not very compatible with quality. Oh, and please, don't make me watch American Idol. I've already tried Super Idol and am pretty sure the US version of the thing wont be much better.

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  13. Yet more generosity Gnome? You spoil us all you really do...

    " Jeff Minter really comes off as a teen queen stood up on prom night the way he's ranted at times when people don't get the whole "sheep thing".

    Ooohhh! that's put me off a bit, but I've heard about this llama thingy and as such (and as you've been so kind as to bring these games to our atention), I guess I'll check 'em out.

    I've now got every Master System game on an emulator, so I have a bit of an 8 Bit backlog...

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  14. I think you'll love the Yak's games immediately Father. They are so very quirky, so very oldschool and so very European you have too.

    Oh, and since you mentioned Sega's 8-bit, did you notice the SMS Junkyard's new favicon?

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  15. Speaking of llamas, many years back I came across a gentleman's website that talked about llamas and how important they were to developing some cultures in South America. How important? It is a humorous piece. Check it out at: http://home.tiac.net/~cri/1998/bread.html

    Check out his entire site. I have found it to be highly entertaining over the years.

    One of these days, I'm going to have to learn which HTML tag to use to make that link active.

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  16. That's an absolutely brilliant website dear Blue Gnome. And this guys definitely knows his Llamas, Egyptians and John Does. Oh, and if you do bother discovering the fabled linking tab, please, do let me know...

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  17. 'Oh, but smoking is so good for the heart dear Tom, especially when combined with sausages that is. Anyway. I would suggest you try it anyhow and then download a ton of freebies...'


    I've tried adding some sausage to my pipe tobacco (I cut it to a fine mince first), but the pipe wont stay lit long enough for the ton of freebies to dowload. What am I doing wrong? Please help!

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  18. I would suggest a further treaming of the bears and the use of blood sausages instead... Oh, and installing Scratches might just help.

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  19. Blue Gnome2/1/08, 6:56 PM

    Maybe this will do it:
    Llamas and Bread

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  20. Blue Gnome2/1/08, 7:24 PM

    I used the "a" html code. Had to search a manual to remember how it was done but I got it.

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  21. I like Mr. Minter and his work a great deal. We need MORE iconoclastic cool weird guys in game development, not less. There are days in which so much of the industry seems to be exclusively the domain of cynical, executive-inspired attempts to convert human character flaws into cash that it's nice to see someone who's still excited about game creation.

    Sadly though, I cannot play Space Giraffe, because I don't have an Xbox 360.

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  22. (stands ands applauds the wise JohnH)

    Absolutely! After all turning games into a huge boring ...uh... thing doesn't seem like such a nice idea, and managers & co. don't seem highly appreciative of originality.

    Don't have an Xbox either, but that's what other people are for: showing off their consoles!

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  23. Hooray for llamas and hooray for originality! We definitely need more Minters in the world.

    Maybe flash games will save us from sequelitis. Some of the best games last year were funny little flash things. Hoshi Saga, I wish I were the moon. Crazyness and originality are back!

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  24. Above all hooray for Three headed Monkeys! And original flash games!

    Mind you, I wish I were the Moon was pure poetry...

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