Last updated on September 3rd, 2023 at 09:59 am
Fat Worm Blows a Sparky is a maze game by Durell by Julian Todd, who conceived a same value of evaluation between creators and players.
Julian later expressed dissatisfaction with the game-play, claiming that young programmers like himself had “insufficient understanding” and that at the time, it seemed logical for players to suffer as much as developers.
The inside of a Spectrum is perhaps the least suitable habitat for an average worm. However, in computer games, this is where this particular worm resides. Ol’ Fatty, the world’s densest worm, has discovered that this is the place where he is least likely to be bothered by blackbirds, robins, and other predators.
As he settles into his new home, he suddenly realizes that things are not as wonderful as they seem. Contrary to popular belief, the inside of an average Spectrum is teeming with life. Creeper bugs fly around in Sputniks, swooping low over the main PCB. The Sputniks, if left unchecked, transform into Crawlies that try to attach themselves to Fatty. To add to the problems, termite-like Crawlies sometimes emerge from the surface of the PCB and chase him around.
Fatty’s ultimate goal in life is to pass on his genes to the next generation. Given the limited intelligence he has displayed so far, this seems like a highly dubious goal. To reproduce, Fatty must collect 50 spindles scattered around the PCB. Then he must find the disk drive, copy all his data, and clone himself.
The microscopic world of Fatty is one of bewildering height and depth. What may appear to be a sliver of silver conductor to you or me is an insurmountable obstacle to him. To get around, he must be carefully guided up convenient ramps and slid along data buses suspended at dizzying heights above the PCB. All the various bits and blocks scattered around the place are given true perspective, so that when they are at the center of the screen, they appear flat. As Fatty moves, and the object approaches the edge of the screen, the sides of the object come into view, giving an impression of height similar to flying over a Lilliputian version of New York.
Fatty’s fate is sealed if he picks up more than four Crawlies, but there are handy debuggers scattered around, and by crawling into them, he can shed any Crawlies he has picked up. He can also fight back against the Crawlies by using blaster sparkies fired horizontally straight from the nose, and by laying burper sparkies that wait until a Sputnik is flying overhead and then rise up to eliminate it. Unfortunately, very high-flying Sputniks are immune. Burpers are also useful for changing direction and can take out any Crawlies that happen to bump into them. Extra sparkies are awarded for picking up spindles, and can also be picked up when zipping along the thin data buses. Furthermore, misfired burper sparkies that end up lying on the PCB can be consumed and regurgitated later. Mapping is an essential feature to find Fatty’s way around the immense circuit, and to help, the game has a small insert map showing some of the nearby obstacles, spindles, and a rough indication of Fatty’s present position.
Fat Worm Blows a Sparky was originally called Killer DOS, a serious simulation of software worms invading computer systems, cloning themselves, and corrupting all the disks. However, Durell decided that it was all getting a bit silly, and instead chose to release a game that had absolutely no relevance to anything whatsoever. And thus, Fatty was born.
Control keys: redefinable
Keyboard play: good
Use of colour: mostly shades of green
Graphics: innovative 3D — remarkable
Skill levels: one
Screens: huge scrolling area
General rating: extremely silly, and wonderful fun
A Remake by NOBY NOBY BOY™ & © 2009 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.