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Blue Meanies from Outer Space

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Released: 1981

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: VIC-20

Publisher: Commodore

Developer: N/K

Submitted by: Alfred Wessex

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. 1981/82 was a torrent of exploding testosterone and sulky behaviour in my house but it was also when I switched on my new Vic 20 and Blue Meanies exploded onto my screen and into my heart.  Basic in more ways than one, it nevertheless excited as you tried to shoot with side-mounted lasers at meanies which descended inexorably down the screen. Lasers burnt out quickly meaning often having to change strategy on the fly to stop them reaching the ground and destroying your whatever it was you were supposed to be defending. There was no cutscene, no boss and no ending,  save when you finally switched off the 3.5K bread bin because dinner was ready. 

I played it again the other day prior to writing this and the waves of meanies only served to engender the warmest of feelings which I am sure the original programmer never, ever envisioned. After having a great time playing I stopped and looked at a mirror and just for a second I thought I saw that little boy who used to play staring back with a smile through my tired reflection. That moment is a little part of why we all love this time and these machines and to the meanies, my undying thanks and appreciation always….