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Technician Ted: The Megamix

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Released: 1986

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Hewson

Developer: Steve Marsden / David Cooke

Submitted by: Lee Tatlock

Technician Ted was tough enough to cause a lot of whining, so doubling the size of the original game was never going to do anything to silence these cries for help, but in an act of kindness the makers decided to number and, hence, put in order the tasks that poor old Ted must perform, which admittedly only helped slightly, but it did help. Now I have never completed Technician Ted either, or the Megamix, but I never really had cause to whinge either as just exploring the chip factory that Ted must traverse was always reward enough for me. Pushing further into the factory and finding new rooms that I’ve never reached before, each filled with their own weird enemies and quirks, is something that I revel in. I mean let’s face facts here people: how good is the ending actually going to be? Fair enough the sense of achievement would be magnificent, but there are easier and far more productive ways of feeling good about yourself.

So what makes Ted’s world such a compelling one, there’s probably more pixels in the first level of Sonic than there is in the entirety of Ted’s little romp, but that’s not the point at all. It’s the inventiveness and the meaning jammed into every one of these little squares that matters, the same way that bringing a real world object down to it’s basic shapes can create an awesome cartoon character Technician Ted: The Megamix is a triumph of minimalist design and atmosphere. With nods to very British sensibilities, events and popular culture of the time such as The Picket Line, The Sky at Night and University Challenge, the entire experience is a crystallisation of ideas, feelings and notions of the time, a time that despite its problems a lot of us remember with fondness.

Technician Ted may not be for everyone, especially people with more of a 16-bit orientation or less tolerant people, but for me it’s an invaluable experience and will always hold a place in my heart.