Further Adventures in Oxford

So, eventually we arrived at our friends’ place for a quick bit of catching up before the aforementioned gathering of Spec-chums. A little food, a little drink, an introduction to the latest addition to the family (a guinea pig named Spike, which thankfully kept its bodily fluids to itself), and then on to a brief introduction to what’s up in the X-Box Live Arcade. Speedball 2 was as fantastic as it ever was (although the demo version didn’t seem to have a two-player mode, which was annoying), and then there was a shooter I’ve completely forgotten the name of (it looks a bit like Geometry Wars, and you have to blow yourself up to score points). Being a vector game, it looked a bit unusual, and being a modern overhead shooter, it got rather hard to see what was going on occasionally. That was when Jon made a near-fatal error.

“It’s a bit, well… trippy, isn’t it?”

With an evil grin, our host switched off the game and started up a new one. His wife knew what was coming and left the room. The rest of us were left with… Space Giraffe.

It's even worse when it's moving.
You know how you can’t really tell what’s going on? It never looks as good as this when you’re playing.

Normally a picture tells a thousand words, but in this case even that isn’t the whole story. Everything is moving. The score, the lives counter, the background, the foreground – everything. For the three of you who’ve missed out entirely on this game, it’s basically Tempest Again, however much the author protests it isn’t. You can’t tell what’s going on after the first couple of levels, simply because it’s impossible to see anything. (According to a lot of people you’re either supposed to be able to hear your way through it, or/and just ‘get in to the zone’ for playing it. Personally, I’m not going to take seriously a supposed arcade-shooter that won’t even display basics like the score and how many lives I’ve got in a readable form, let alone is called Space Giraffe yet doesn’t have any giraffes in it.)

About fifteen minutes into this hideous light show, I realised why Kate had left the room. For the first time in over twenty years of gaming, I felt nauseous. Where Doom, Quake, Outlaws and Postal 2 had failed, Space Giraffe had succeeded. It was time to leave. It was time to get back to a more dignified, less arrogant kind of gaming. It was time for the Oxford Speccy Meetup. (At last! The entire world.)


  1. The blow-yourself-up game was Every Extend Extra Extreme. It’s basically a test of stamina rather than a game, as it’s virtually impossible to actually die. I played it for 2 hours on my first go, before turning it off as I was bored.

    As for Space Giraffe – well. It’s horrific! And I don’t just mean because of the visuals…

  2. That’s the closest graphical representation I’ve ever seen of the event horizon of a perpectual lettuce. Lawkes. With lashings of devonshire custard in its wellies. Jinkies.

  3. Being a person who adores violent colours making psychedelic patterns, I think that Spacce Giraffe appeals slightly!

  4. I go to EVERY english class!!!
    and I was actually in PE, supposed to be doing a Personal Exercise Plan.
    Dull, much?

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