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Mrs Mopp

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Released: 1984

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Computasolve

Developer: Tina Billett

Submitted by: Stephen Westwood

As a kid in the 80s, despite my pocket money depending on it, I don't remember ever wanting to do the house work.  Yet I spent my 'hard earned' on this game, Mrs Mopp, which is essentially a house work simulator !  

Written, surprisingly for the time, by a woman ! You play the part of the titular, slightly jerky flickery character for whom, as the end of game text tells us, 'a woman's work is never done'.  So it is your job to help her in this simple looking but fun and fast paced game. And in fact sometimes  things get so frantic that it really does feel like hard work, that you are underappreciated, and that the mess is never ending!

Owing a lot to the game play of earlier Ultimate game 'Psst' different coloured items are picked up from the side of the screen and the right one will dispose of the coordinating 'enemy'.  Rather than moving bugs to shoot however, they take the form of randomly and continuously appearing static pieces of household mess like dirty cups, clothes and dust to wipe up.  Once, for example, your dust pan is full of dust, it will flash and need emptying in the bin.  Difficulty lies in the fact that the mess is solid and cannot be passed through.  this therefore blocks areas, including the route to the bin / sink etc so you are forced to think ahead and wipe up whatever mess is likely to cause the most problems.  You do have a Mary Poppinsesq magic spell to clear around you if you are stuck, but only one of these to begin with, you could have a nervous break down!  Time for a wee drinky poos.  Yep, in typical Spectrum game style there is humour in that you can get Mrs Mopp hopelessly drunk by drinking the bottle which is there to stop you getting too tired… though try controlling her then!

This is a nice example of a well thought out single screen arcade score chasing game, it just happens to be about housework.  And as we all know, playing games doesn't get the washing up done.