Back in 1991 I received one of the greatest Christmas gifts of all, a Commodore 64 home computer. I adored that machine and I adored the magazine I collected alongside it, namely Commodore Format. Through that computer I met a chap named Colin who would go on to be one of my closest friends. He was a long-time reader of Format’s rival, Zzap! 64 and we’d take plenty of well-meaning jabs at each other’s favourite magazine over the next few years. (Actually, this continues to this day.) For the blog I now find myself buying my first copy of Zzap.
In the summer of 1987 the OiNK computer game would be released on the three main 8-bit computer systems of the day, the Commodore 64, the Spectrum range and Amstrad CPCs. I must’ve seen the adverts for it in the comic but having no interest in computer games at that stage it slipped my mind by the time I was loading up cassettes and disks at the beginning of the next decade. Over these next few months on the blog I’ll be covering this unique piece of piggy merchandise, showing you previews, interviews, a review and more. It’ll even include a special issue of OiNK!
The first mention of the game came in issue 26 of Zzap! 64, released on this day 35 years ago. Inside the June 1987 issue the preview followed an interview with none other than Douglas Adams, which was a bit of a scoop! But I digress. The article contained a look at the origins of the comic itself and, unlike modern day press reference to OiNK, it’s an accurate depiction of those events (in other words there’s no mention of Viz). There are also some interesting nuggets of information for seasoned pig pals and a cameo by Marc Riley in his Snatcher Sam guise.
There’s a mention of the original idea for the comic being that of a fanzine, so unsure were Patrick Gallagher, Tony Husband and Mark Rodgers of whether a publisher would pick it up, which is new information to me. However, when the dummy issue was produced (a lot of which made its way into the preview issue) it went down a storm with IPC Magazines and our favourite publication was born. Also here is the first mention of the forthcoming OiNK record and a quick mention of the original flexidisc being played on a local radio station (we already knew John Peel played it on his BBC show).
Here’s the article in full, the opening paragraphs of which do beg the question of how many times can you mention Whizzer and Chips?
As OiNK fans who played the game will attest, the finished product had little-to-nothing to do with the individual characters it was meant to represent. There were some comic panels in it written by Tony Husband to try to bring a bit of the comic’s humour to the game, but that was really about it. As such, the general consensus seems to be that the game sucked because of its lack of OiNK content, but is this actually an unfair conclusion? You’ll find out in a couple of months when Zzap! 64 reviews it.
Already on the blog you can check out a Retro Gamer article featuring an interview with the game’s coder Jon Williams. There’s more to come, including a special issue of OiNK inside Crash magazine, which also had a special article and an extra page from none other than Frank Sidebottom, so look out for that on Saturday 25th June 2022. Then just a few weeks later I’ll show you the Zzap! 64 review of the game to see how it was received at the time, on Saturday 9th July. Later in the year I’ll tell you how I was finally able to play the game decades later when it was released under a completely different name. Plus there’ll be a full guide to beating the game. These both relate to Commodore Format and in keeping with the real time nature of the blog I’ll be covering those issues on Thursday 13th October and Thursday 10th November.