Whoopsy (Shards) Review | Everygamegoing - Everygamegoing


By Shards

Published in EGG #013: Acorn Electron


Few Electron games have backstories as, um, interesting as Whoopsy, a mail-order only cassette marketted by Shards Software. The star of the game is a toddler who, as Freud would've put it, is still at the "anal stage" of development. His life stretches no further than playing with toys and filling his nappy. Except that this toddler's decided to ditch the pampers and go on a dumpathon all over his nursery.

His long-suffering mumsy is on the case though, homing in on the troublesome tearaway to bring the dirty protest to an end. Your task is to collect up all the toys from the nursery floor without being collared by mumsy or colliding with any of the patrolling potties. It's easier said than done because the only way to distract mumsy is to poop somewhere so she detours to go and clean that up instead. Trouble is, for some unexplained reason, as soon as you poop, you can't pick up any of your toys until mumsy has finished the clean-up operation.

So it's a case of letting one go, and then going to collect the furthest toy away from it, waiting until it's cleaned up and grabbing as many other toys as you safely can do. When mumsy gets too close, repeat.


As subject matter goes, it's obviously pretty tasteless, even to a fan of toilet humour. Still I suppose the theme would pale into insignificance if the game itself were any good. Alas, whilst I've played a lot worse, there's precious little to really do. Every time you succeed in clearing the nursery, it just starts again, with an extra toy to collect, or an extra potty to avoid. Yes, I suppose it does get (slowly) more difficult. But, whilst the strange objective might initially pique your interest, it naturally struggles to keep it... every new screen is almost exactly the same as the one that preceded it. Ho hum.

Whoopsy is one of those games that runs on both the Electron and the BBC. It's by no means unique in that regard but I think it may well be the only dual machine game that runs in the Electron's most memory hungry screen mode. While I don't want to get deeply into the hardware differences between the two machines in a game review, a big difference between them is that, in the mode that Whoopsy uses any operations performed run about 43% more slowly on the Electron than on the BBC.

Electron Whoopsy isn't snail-paced, but it is far too slow, and, if you load the same game into a BBC, you get the distinct feeling that it is on the BBC that it plays at the "right" speed. An upgraded "turbo" Electron also brings it up to speed.

According to Electron User at the time of its release, several High Street shops "refused" to stock Whoopsy because its sound effects were "too rude". Considering the Electron's single sound channel struggles with any noise that doesn't sound like a beep, if this is even half-true, all I can imagine is that some High Street executive somewhere must take seriously musical-sounding comfort breaks!

EUG was the only magazine to review it, and found that, behind its amateurish photocopied inlay, it was something of "an underexposed gem", with nice colours and good sprite handling. But that was twenty years ago, and time hasn't been kind to it. Even if I believe it was controversial in its day, it's far from that now and, indeed, it feels more than a bit tragic. All that said, for a mail order game, it does seem to appear fairly regularly on eBay. Expect to pay around £6.

Dave E

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