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Geordie Racer

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Released: 1988

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: BBC Micro

Publisher: BBC

Developer: Christopher Russell & Peter Smith

Like most UK kids of a certain age, I grew up with a school full of BBC Micros and have fond memories of the machine as a result. Seeing the class computer switched on was one of those special moments, much like when the video player was wheeled into the classroom, as you knew that whatever you were about to do was probably more fun than routine lessons. However, what was really exciting was when both were combined as part of the BBC’s educational programme.

The show I remember most clearly is Geordie Racer. The TV series centred around a family of runners who also kept racing pigeons. It’s an odd set-up, but one that had a little more of an edge than the BBC’s usual educational fare due to the decision to include a plot about a smuggling ring. I couldn’t remember the accompanying game too well, though – and I think I know why.

Revisiting Geordie Racer reveals a game that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in any way, thanks to bizarre puzzle design and some gigantic departures from the TV show. Easily the most frustrating scene is the one here, in which any wrong move means instant death. Fly to the top of the tree? Bad idea, player one – the nefarious smuggler Baz is waiting there for you, and he’s a pigeon fancier. What was this trial and error nightmare meant to teach me? I didn’t know then, and over twenty years later I still haven’t got a clue.