8-bit Heroes: CHUCKIE EGG - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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8-bit Heroes: CHUCKIE EGG

Join Hen-House Harry for a look back at another 8-bit classic.

As hard as it is to get yourself a dozen eggs right now, with the Coronavirus panic buying still happening on certain products, at least you're not pursued around the supermarket by angry hens or under the watchful gaze of a giant caged duck! Spare a thought then for poor old Hen-House Harry, seemingly cursed to spend his days collecting eggs, avoiding hens and ducks and stratagising if it's best to leave those piles of seed on the ground, so the hens pause for food, or gather that up too for some additional points.

Welcome to Chuckie Egg, the classic 1983 8-bit video game released by A&F Software initially for the ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, and Dragon 32/64. Its popularity saw it released over the following years for the Commodore 64, Acorn Electron, MSX, Tatung Einstein, Amstrad CPC and Atari 8-bit family, and was later updated for the Amiga, Atari ST, and IBM PC compatibles. In short if you had any type of home computer in the 1980s then chances are you had Chuckie Egg.

With the random placing of the eggs and seed, the movement of the hens increasing in speed, the caged duck becoming free from level 9 and flying around the screen, and instant death if you're touched by a hen, duck or fall through one of the gaps in the bottom of the screen (or hit your head on the top when on a elevator), Chuckie Egg is one of those games that is simple to pick up but devilishly hard to beat.

Chuckie Egg was written on the ZX Spectrum by 16 year old Nigel Alderton. After a couple of months of development, Nigel took his code to the fledgling software company A&F Software, co-founded by Doug Anderson and Mike Fitzgerald (the "A" and "F", respectively), who loved it. Doug took on the simultaneous development of the BBC Micro version, whilst Mike Webb, an A&F employee, completed the Dragon port.

The versions fall broadly into two groups: those with realistic physics (e.g., BBC Micro and Amstrad CPC) and those without (e.g., ZX Spectrum). Although there is a substantial difference in play between the two, levels remain largely the same and all the 8-bit versions have been cited as classics. In fact, the ZX Spectrum version was rated number 13 in the Your Sinclair Official Top 100 Games of All Time.

In 1985 Chuckie Egg got itself a sequel entitled, simply, Chuckie Egg 2. Rather than the single screen levels of the original, the sequel featured levels split over multiple screens, and this time poor Harry is attempting to created Easter Eggs complete with a toy. Although it never caught on like the original, it's certainly not without its merits, but it just doesn't hold a candle to the addictiveness of the original Chuckie Egg. A genuine 8-bit hero.

Did you play Chuckie Egg? Let us know your memories of this 8-bit hero in the comments below, and view all our 8-bit Heroes articles here.

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