Looking Back At Kylie & Jason In The NEIGHBOURS 8-bit Video Game - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Looking Back At Kylie & Jason In The NEIGHBOURS 8-bit Video Game

Because racing down Ramsay Street is when good neighbours become good friends...

There have been a lot of great video games based on TV shows from the 80s and 90s; Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, The Simpsons Arcade Game, Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds to name but three. It makes sense, if you're a big fan of a show then who wouldn't want the chance to control one of its characters and interact within its fictional world? The space exploration of Star Trek, the geektastic vampire genre of Buffy and the potential surrealness of a Springfield based Simpsons game are great springboards for virtual adventures. But I'm not sure anyone would think that a cul-de-sac in a fictional Australian suburb is exactly the start of a thrilling video game scenario. But that is where the Neighbours video game transports its player.

By 1987, Neighbours had become a phenomenon in the U.K. The little Australian soap-that-could had battled, lost and overcome cancellation, moving from the Severn Network to Ten just nine months after its debut. A further 9 months after that, Neighbours would make its debut on daytime British television and viewers would soon become addicted to the daily going's on between the Ramsays, the Robinsons and the Clarkes. The Robinsons and the Ramsays had a long history and were involved in an ongoing rivalry, and ratings really skyrocketed when the show was moved to a later tea-time slot and the two feuding families were bought together by the wedding of Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) and Charlene Ramsay (Kylie Minogue).

A massive 19.6 million viewers tuned into their nuptials, with the song Charlene walked down the isle to, Suddenly, shooting into the top 3 charts, before Kylie and Jason themselves both launched successful pop careers too.

And to think their on-screen romance all started with street racing...

...which, of course, it didn't! But that didn't stop the officially licensed video game of Neighbours from depicting it. Yes, that image above clearly shows Jason Donovan's Scott on his skateboard edging ahead of diminutive Kylie Minogue's Charlene in her funky green go-cart whilst they try to avoid the open manholes, spilled oil and soft-drink cans that are littered around Ramsay Street. Honestly, Mrs Mangle would've never allowed that. Talking of...

...Not impressed with "young hoon" Scott, I can only hope that's a rolling pin Mrs Mangle is holding!

The Neighbours video game was released in 1991 for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST, and Amiga, and promised players the chance to race with the stars in Ramsay Street. As skateboarding Scott Robinson, the player is pitted against the aforementioned Charlene in her go-kart, Matt Robinson on his moped, fellow skaterboarder Mike Young (played in the series by Guy Pearce) and Henry Ramsay (played by Craig McLachlan) on a ride-on lawnmower!

As the poster above suggests, racing with the stars in Ramsay Street might involve avoiding a cul-de-sac the length of Australia itself, and huge kangaroos to rival Uluru. The 'roos did indeed feature along with other Aussie wildlife obstacles like emus, koalas and, of course, Bouncer the dog...

As well as a never ending Ramsay Street, Scott went boarding around Lassiters Hotel Complex, much to the bemusement of Stefan Dennis' Paul Robinson, and Erinsborough High School. All versions came with iconic Neighbours theme tune, with the poor little ZX Specturm pushed to the limits and close to exploding during the final notes of this chip-tune masterpiece...

The sad thing is that just about every character featured in the Neighbours video game had left the series come 1991. Of course, many new and popular characters were introduced but the show would never again achieve its late-80s popularity, so playing this was really the only way you could relive the glory days of Kylie & Jason in the Aussie soap.

So grab your skateboard and helmet, strap yourself in safely to your go-kart, because, to paraphrase Angry Anderson, suddenly every part of me wants to race every part of you...

Do you miss the glory days of Neighbours? Did you ever play Neighbours: The Video Game? Let us know in the comments below, and, although this certainly isn't one, you can view all our 8-bit Heroes articles here.

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