• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatCommodore VIC 20
DeveloperAleksi Eeben
PublisherMinigame Competition
ReviewFrank and Mark

Main review

Tammerfors is a brand new VIC 20 game written by Aleksi Eeben and produced in just 1K of memory for the 2003 Minigame competition. It is a simplified car racing game from a top down approach, similar to that of Spy Hunter (Or even Rabbit Software’s Race Fun, if you are a VIC 20 fan), but heavily stripped for the competition in terms of gameplay and variety. The aim of the game is simple; drive your car as fast as possible within a time limit, avoiding other cars in the process. Once you have reached the checkpoint, you go onto the next level. Each level is represented as a different season, indicated by a change in colour on the background.

Graphically the game is quite something for the old VIC 20, featuring chunky but colourful shading for the trees at the sides of the road, and some nice looking shaded cars. However, to be fair there is a distinct lack of variety in the backdrops and cars, which is easily understandable considering its 1K competition limitation. So you’ll have to put up with just trees for this game. Another limitation is the fact that the road shape does not change, its pretty much a straight road ahead for our driver which is again all down to the size issue.

The game scrolls very smoothly and also especially very fast when you want to improve on your time and bonus before the next stage. You have to be cautious with your speed however, what with the swarm of cars which you have to avoid carefully. If you hit any one of them, then its “thank you and good night!”

There is no presentation of such for the game, with no title screen, no ending, no game over message. When you die, you simply press fire to start again, and when you hit a car, you just stop dead. If this was ever to be squeezed into 1k, then its understandable why many features like this have been omitted. Still, Aleksi has managed to squeeze in some sound, and there is a simple engine buzz effect which changes pitch as you increase and decrease speed. Simple, but enough for this game.

If you are a real hardcore fan of old school gaming, and I mean back to the days of the ZX81 and the VIC 20, then this will really appeal to you and stir up some old memories, otherwise it may only grab your attention for a few minutes before you go to the next game. It is typical of a classic VIC 20 game of old, though not as typical with its more modern approach to the graphics, smooth scrolling and sound. Technically the game is very good and deserves applause, it is not every day you see a VIC 20 looking this good, but alas this seems to be the new age VIC 20 pushing through.

Grading this game is difficult, as to be fair, Aleksi has done this for a 1K competition and when you look at the likes of Dragonwing which Aleksi has also written, you know what can be done without a competition limitation. The one thing I can end by saying about Tammerfors, is that this is not a game that you will be hooked to for hours, but it is more of an appreciation of what it is, the machine it is running on and the limitations it has been restricted with. If you only load it once, you’ll appreciate what has been done here. It is nice classic title which pushes 1K very far, which is reflected in the grading.

Second opinion

The term “1k game” isn’t perhaps the most alluring prospect. In fact, I would imagine they mostly consist of very little graphics and sound and a pinch of gameplay, bearable only under the heaviest of sedation. Tammerfors is actually a bit better than that. Ok, we still have very little graphics and sound, but there is a game in there.

It’s dressed up as a racing/driving game, but essentially it could have been based upon anything. The term “avoid-em-up” comes to mind as that is what you do; avoid the obstacles. Cars come from both top and bottom, and keeping a steady pace (aided by the engine audio cue) is key to getting far into the game. It’s tricky at first, but with some effort it becomes quite fun – very fun in fact.

I’ve played for a solid thirty minutes on several occasions now. I felt myself being drawn into a hypnotic state while playing it, very pleasant. Perhaps that tells you more about me than the game. Not startlingly brilliant, but for a 1k game it did itself proud.