Thomas The Tank En­gine

A very naughty en­gine

Retro Gamer - - CONTENTS -

Nick re­calls his en­counter with the lit­tle en­gine that could

» ZX Spec­trum » 1991

» enigma Vari­a­tions if you were to bor­row my time ma­chine from Back to the noughties and jump back a bit fur­ther to meet me in my in­fant school years, there would be four guar­an­teed ways to get my in­ter­est. Sonic The Hedge­hog is the ob­vi­ous one, of course, and I’ve prob­a­bly men­tioned my fond­ness for the Teenage Mu­tant Hero Tur­tles (as I knew them) in the mag­a­zine be­fore. The ones you might not know about are Sooty and Thomas The Tank En­gine, the lat­ter of which did ac­tu­ally fac­tor into my gam­ing habits as a kid.

I didn’t of­ten dig through the lo­cal play scheme’s box of Speccy tapes – most of the time, I was just con­tent to play Video Poker. But one day, prob­a­bly af­ter some con­cerned adult had taken the gam­bling-themed game away, I did just that and struck gold with Thomas The Tank En­gine.

I had no idea how such a game would play, but I was ex­cited to load it up. As a fairly faith­ful ren­di­tion of the theme tune played, I had high hopes for what I was about to ex­pe­ri­ence.

A piece of my in­no­cence died that day. I’d picked nor­mal mode and was pre­sented with a frus­trat­ing night­mare of a game. The sim­ple goal of get­ting to the end of the track within the time limit was made im­pos­si­ble by on­com­ing trains, ob­jects that would oc­ca­sion­ally be placed on the only vi­able tracks, and Thomas’ in­fu­ri­at­ing ten­dency to de­rail at high speeds. Still, the play scheme staff were pleased, be­cause I put down the joy­stick for once and went out­side.

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