After the hits shrivelled up at the end of 80s, you'd be forgiven for thinking Shakin' Stevens hadn't done anything since, apart from a Heineken advert - but you couldn't be more wrong!
My friend Jon is the world's biggest Shakin' Stevens fan (he also really likes Status Quo, suggesting that he mostly listens to music played by men wearing double denim). Through him I have been made starkly aware of Shaky's ongoing career, and his grumpy reluctance to play the big hits live. Or at least, his stubborn insistence on playing them in a minor key, through gritted teeth,.
It's also via Jon that I was alerted to the fact that Shaky once released his own ZX Spectrum game. It came on the cassette tape for Shaky's 1983 album, The Bop Won't Stop.
Yes... yes, let's take a look at that, shall we?
This was in spite of it spawning a couple of top-10 hit singles, and coming with a free arcade game for the ZX Spectrum - The Shaky Game!
Shaky may have been wedded to his own particular blend of vintage Welsh rhythm "n" blues, and been desperately unable to stop the bop from occurring, but at least he was at the cutting edge of interactive entertainment!
Remember all those other great games made by Olympic Software? No. No you don't. Olympic Software never made any other games, as far as I can tell.
Speaking at the time, one Olympic Software team member, Robert "No, Probably Not That One" Wyatt, admitted: "We thrashed out the idea with the record company over a couple of lunches. It was a hell of a rushed job. We had to finish it in seven weeks. Getting it bug-free in that time was a real headache."
Once you have learned the concept for this game, you may find yourself wishing you had been a fly on the wall at those lunches...
In that evocative, scene-setting, introductory paragraph alone there are many questions waiting to be answered. Are you Shaky's chauffeur? Or is Shaky the car? Is he some sort of rock n' roll Transformer? Or did he lend you his fuel? Why is he so possessive about HIS fuel? Did he refine the oil himself?
And why exactly is Shaky so desperate for you both to reach the ole house of vampires? Is it to kill them? To be bitten by them? To deliver a package? Or just have a look?
At no point does he elaborate, but this is Shaky - The Xerox King - and you don't want to disappoint him!
Note also the clever way in which Shaky - and we must assume that Shaky has written this message himself - weaves the titles of several of his biggest hits into the text; It's Late, This Ole House, Drive Me (You) Crazy, Watch Out For The Flying Bats, You Get Three Lives, and Don't Let My Fuel Run Out.
Also: you might win something if you are to give him your heart tonight. Even though it's raining!
I can't help but feel there is a subtext here that I am failing to grasp. What with the vampires and all that, are we to take Shaky's demand for your heart literally? Is he a cannibal, or the head of a vampire coven?
You can see that your car (or is it Shaky's car? We know, at least, that it contains his fuel) is trapped in a maze. How did it get in there? Like so much to do with The Shaky Game, this is never adequately explained. Perhaps you are a prisoner of Shaky, forced to endure some sick and twisted game at his behest.
Those blobs? Oh, they're the bats. There are two of them. Don't get bitten - or they'll drive you crazy (give you ebola)!!!!
Also: your lives are represented by "Shakys". Why is Shaky losing a life every time you do? Are you driving the car, or is Shaky driving the car, or are you linked symbiotically? Either somebody hasn't thought any of this through properly, or it's just a slapdash load of old guff.
But wait: YOU'RE at the ole house? Not WE'RE?! Is he in the car or not!? What's going on!?!!!?
Shaky: are you drunk, dear?
"OH DEAR!!" he exclaims, no doubt with a sarcastic raise of his eyebrows and a waggle of his hips. "a bat bit you"
Admittedly, getting into Shaky's "TOPTEN" might not seem like much of a prize, but let's remember that when you were first addressed by Shaky he only said you MIGHT win something - not that you definitely would.
Shaky, can we please have a follow-up to your game, which addresses some of the questions raised? It's very important. Your fans (my friend Jon) demand answers.