Cookie (video game)
|Developer(s)||Tim and Chris Stamper|
|Publisher(s)||Ultimate Play The Game|
Cookie is an action-platform video game developed and published by Ultimate Play The Game that was released exclusively for the ZX Spectrum in 1983. In the game, Charlie the Chef has to bake a cake, however his five ingredients are sentient and attempt to escape his pantry, enabling his quest to re-capture them.
The game was written by Chris Stamper, and graphics were designed by Tim Stamper. Cookie was one of the few Spectrum games also available in ROM format for use with the Interface 2, allowing "instantaneous" loading of the game (the normal method of cassette loading could take several minutes). A version was also created for the BBC Micro, but was not commercially released. The game received mixed reviews upon release, with critics praising the graphics, but criticising the hard difficulty and its similarities to Pssst.
The game is presented from a single, 2D perspective, and the main objective involves Charlie the Chef baking a cake from evil, sentient ingredients. The five ingredients vary from Mixed Peel, Chunky Chocolate, Crafty Cheese, Sneaky Sugar and Colonel Custard, who will all jump out of the pantry and try and avoid the player whenever possible.
The player starts the game with three lives. Several ingredients will fly around the screen simultaneously, and if the player touches an ingredient with their body, a life will be deducted. The player's objective is to put the ingredients into the cooking bowl before they either fall into the dustbins on either side or knock the player into the bowl. As a defence, Charlie the Cook can shoot flour sacks, which will push the ingredients further in the direction they are moving in. Bombs may also spawn in the game, which will allow the player to push the ingredients further than conventional flour sacks. The player has to push the right variety of ingredients into the bowl, which changes for each level. When the right amount of ingredients has been put in the bowl, a cake is baked and a new level begins.
Ashby Computers and Graphics was founded by brothers Tim and Chris Stamper, along with Tim's wife, Carol, in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, England in 1982. Under the trading name Ultimate Play The Game, they began producing video games for the ZX Spectrum throughout the early 1980s. Prior to founding Ultimate, the Stamper brothers had designed arcade machines, but had no marketing experience in the video game sector. The company was known for its reluctance to reveal details about its operations and upcoming projects. Little was known about their development process except that they used to work in "separate teams": one team would work on development, while the other would concentrate on other aspects such as sound or graphics.
Cookie was one of the few Spectrum games also available in ROM format for use with the Interface 2, allowing "instantaneous" loading of the game (the normal method of cassette loading could take several minutes). A version was also created for the BBC Micro and was scheduled for release in 1984; however, it was never commercially released. The game was released as Crazy Kitchen in Italian markets and as Chef, Lo in Croatia.
Matthew Uffindell of Crash praised the game overall, despite thinking it was overshadowed by Ultimate's Tranz Am, which was bundled with Cookie during its initial release. Uffindell stated the gameplay was addictive and challenging, despite thinking it was similar to its predecessor, Pssst. Lloyd Mangram of Crash considered the game to be overlooked and underrated, despite him suggesting that it was the most difficult of all games developed by Ultimate. Mangram praised the graphics as detailed, fast and "amusing", owing to the game's sentient ingredients. Reviewers of Home Computing Weekly similarly praised the graphics and sound, stating that they "are well up to Ultimate's standards".
A reviewer from Sinclair User stated that the graphics were of "arcade and cartoon" quality, and criticised the game's concept, suggesting that the player would lose interest after completing a few levels. Mangham, however, praised its playability, heralding that it was "great fun" to play and easy to adapt to. Sinclair User opined that first impressions of the game were important to the customer, and stated that the player may feel cheated due to the game's similarities to Pssst.
- "It is easy to get sick of cookies". Sinclair User (Sinclair User) (19). 1983. Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- Uffindell, Matthew (September 1984). "Cookie review (Crash back)". Crash (8): 65. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- "The Best of British - Ultimate". Crash. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- "Interface Games are Fast but not Furious", Sinclair User (EMAP) (24), March 1984: 54–55
- "Lost and found: BBC Cookie". stairwaytohell.com. The BBC and Electron Games Archive. Retrieved 9 June 2007.
- "Cookie BBC Micro release year". IGN. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- "Cookie overview and list of reviews". World of Spectrum. Thunderware. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- "Tranz Am and Cookie review". Home Computing Weekly (26). August 1983. Retrieved 10 September 2015.