The year is 1988 and as a teenager at the age of 15, Thomas Ilg
receives his first computer, a gift from his parents. A mighty Atari ST. Thomas is not the person who has the patience to play games. No, how they are programmed is what intrigues him. So he starts dabbling around in GFA BASIC, mastering his skills by reading books. It doesn't take long for him to start working on his own projects. First in monochrome only (as this was the monitor he got), creating screens (building his graphical skills) and little test games. This continues until 1990. That's when he finishes his first complete game called Laserball
. This time, he feels his product is ready for the public and sents it to a local PD magazine. A few weeks later it gets officially listed...
Fast forward to the year 2009. Thomas rediscovers his code and decides to work on an update. By the end of 2014, as announced on Atari-Forum, Laserball 2015
is ready for release. This time also available in a boxed version.
However, that is not the game we are talking about here.
A few months later Thomas stumbles on a piece of GFA code of a 'moving street', and he is taken back to 1990 again. He was fascinated by racing games, and remembered he started programming one back then, which never worked out. Back to the drawing board. It was time for optimization ... et voila Anarcho Ride
was born. An announcement was made on Facebook and soon none other than Alan Tomkins
joined the team, and the rest is history, as they say...
For some, this is nothing new. What might be news however, is that Anarcho Ride isn't a racing game at all. You see, Thomas does not consider himself to be a good programmer (I'm sure most of you will disagree when you look at this game), and he knew his game could not measure up to the true commercial racing games on the ST. But instead of giving up, he shuffled the cards. He starting thinking out of the box and came up with a completely crazy idea turning this into an interesting title. Thomas managed to turn a weakness into a strength. You wanna know how? Read on ...
...by Alan Tomkins, one of the better pixel artists of the 16-bit era. Nuff said. All the cars in this game are based on existing models and look great. Since this is considered to be an STe game, making use of the specific hardware and extra memory, all the colorful graphics move fluently with a good framerate, even if the screen is filled with crazy explosions - which happens constantly! An amazing looking PD game!
Great YM chiptunes by Xfalcon accompany the explosion and motor sounds. There really are some great tracks to behold. A feast for the ears.
We see a road, we see traffic, yet Anarcho Ride IS NOT a racing game! Instead, the creator tried to build an insane arcade game, and implemented some kind of 'achievement' system (like we see in games of today), to make you come back for more. And he achieved this goal.
Right from the moment you boot up this game you are made aware of two things. First, Anarcho Ride is more than just a game, it is a labour of love, with an enormous amount of options for you delve into. And secondly, this game is filled to the brim with political satire and 'in your face' humour. The first screen represents a 'language selection screen'. Anarcho Ride is translated into 7 different languages. What a service. But the funiest thing definitely must be the 'Bad Mood English' mode...Which is rated R. It really cracked me up.
Next up is the car selection screen. Immediately the achievement system becomes apparent. You see, when you win 'a quest' (more on that in a moment), you receive flowers. When you lose a quest in the game, you also lose flowers. 2 of the 4 cars are available for you to choose from: the Aston Martin and the Audi R8. The other cars you need to buy by winning quests in the game. These are the Bugatti Veyron and the La Ferrari. Once you selected your ride and entered your name, the crazyness can start...
What makes Anarcho Ride so different? Well, actually it is more a parody on a racing game. For starters, you can not crash and die. And most of the time, you need to blow up as much cars and obstacles as possible, either by driving into them or by using your rocket launcher!
A few tracks are available at your disposal from the start. Courses like 'Lovely Flowers', 'Quiet Freedom', 'Snowy Hills' ... You see, everything sounds lovely while you blow up the living sh*t out of it all (You just gotta love this kind of humour). Or what about the course 'On the test track', which places you on the Google test track and you have to destroy all the Google cars. You are able to just test all the courses, or you can bet on a quest. This last option is where most points and flowers are won, but remember, you can also lose things. Some examples of these quests are 'Fuck Global Warming', where it is your job to at least crash into 15 trees. Later on you can win courses like 'City Fun', which places you in London Town. A quest at this track is called 'Who Needs Public Buses', in which you need to crash as many buses as possible. Ah, this game makes me chuckle all the way. There are also missions in which you need to avoid certain objects, which is a hard task once you get accustomed to all the crashing.
Apart from the full game, 2 additional data-disks were released. Adding new rides, courses and missions to the game. All new graphics and music tracks. Just amazing. These data-disks add another layer of absurdity. One of the new rides is called 'Drumpf Ride', which lets you play as Donald Trump on a little motorbike. There is also a 'Brexit' course and another level based on the moon landscape. And much much more ... I haven't manage to unlock everything yet, but I'm loving every bit of the mood of this game. There is just so much to discover. And of course, all your progress is saved, so you don't need to start from the beginning each time you play.
Before its release, Anarcho Ride was promoted on Youtube and Facebook. The artwork and movies can be found on the website
and represent the atmosphere of the game very well. Creating this game must have been a blast. Everything is so well done!
So, is Anarcho Ride a good racing game? Definitely NOT. But as an arcade game (which it is meant to be) it is pretty cool, and the achievement system is addictive. As always, you need to get into it a little, but once you are there, you are in for many hours of fun.
And to think this game is made in GFA BASIC!
I like to add one final thing. Thomas does not consider himself a good programmer. Fair enough. All I can say is I wish there were more of these 'bad' programmers out there, we sure would be having a lot of cool games for our system ;)
- Graphics: 8
- Sound: 8
- Gameplay: 7
- Overall: 8
The language selection screen. 'Bad Mood English' is FUCKING hilarious.
Beautiful art by Alan Tomkins.
Some more points need to be scored to ride this Italian stallion!
An explosion ... hmmm ... that's a first ... NOT!
Ahh, 'Bad Mood English' ... I just feel the love :-D
The Google cars ... Kill those little buggers!
Snowy Hills. Lots of variation in scenery in this game.
Time for a lovely night ride.
You are in Diet Land and you need to destroy as many coffee mugs as possible. Just bonkers ...