I dunno about you, but when I think of retrogames I always think of pigs. Not because I particularly relate pigs with the distant origins of gaming, but because I have a terrible cognitive association disorder! I’m really quite ill!
Now that feeble setup is out of the way, let’s get on to the meat (specifically: pork) of this thinly-disguised listicle. That’s right: pointing and laughing at a load of rubbish old things, like a thoughtless maniac let loose in a geriatric care home.
I mean, I’m not saying even the programmers thought it was dull, but they managed to get the name wrong and put “Psycho Pig” rather than the plural on the title screen. So clearly, they weren’t exactly enthused during development.
The only other thing stopping this game falling out of the hole in history’s trouser pocket and into the puddle of utter obscurity for many people is the questionable advertising campaign US Gold used for the home version, which featured a ‘page 3 stunna’ in just some pants holding a copy of the game.
It’s often said no publicity is bad publicity, but all this did is make people aware of “that terrible game with the advert where the lady has her bangers out”, whereas otherwise kids might have bought it on the basis of their own ignorance of its rubbishness. Major backfire in your face, sexist 1980s marketing types!
(Also: while researching this article I found out Butasan is the name of a type of butter substitute you can get in the Czech Republic. It doesn’t seem to be made of actual pig, though I assume might be palatable if smeared on some sausages.)
You played a pig, presumably called Newton, who is of course up a tree hunting for a pig’s natural diet – bright blue freshly laid bird’s eggs that look disturbingly like buttocks. He can also drop apples on passing wolves who are trying to chop the tree down, and has to avoid squirrels.
Somewhat fittingly given that coquettishness, it turns out disgraced comedian Louis C.K.’s production company was also called ‘Pig Newton’ – though of course he did considerably more than wink flirtatiously, the awful pervert.
Once more, wolves are your main protagonists despite the fact they’d probably find it a lot easier to go for a sheep. Or, I dunno, just shove you aside and eat the tacos themselves. I thought wolves were supposed to be quite smart, but on the basis of their video game appearances and fictional attempts at breath-based demolition you’d have to seriously question this.
Based on the well-known Star Trek spoof from The Muppet Show, this title demonstrates the surprising power and flexibility of the Atari 2600, and showcases why the new version of that console is such an exciting prospect.
Ha! Only kidding. Pigs in Space is an utter tragedy, and all copies of it should be kicked into an acrid swamp.
As if traversing an apparent giant lower intestine in a haunted pot wasn’t harrowing enough, your craft’s weapon only travels a tiny distance in front of it before falling off to the side like a wet hacky sack. This makes actually clearing the stage an excruciating chore, as you line up a succession of wobbly chip shots.
The most exciting thing about this game is that according to the title screen the developer was called HA! – although having played it, it might just be a Atari executive’s sarcastic expression of disbelief that you have paid for this shambling pile of badness. Still, pigs!