ZX Spectrum Pyjamarama
Pyjamarama was another outing on the ZX Spectrum for working class hero Wally Week, who had first appeared in the game Automania. Mikro Gen had created a great character in Wally Week, and Pyjamarama was another great outing featuring the same game character.
Mikro Gen would go on to develop other 8-bit games featuring Wally and other members of his family.
The concept of this arcade game was slightly bizarre. In the game our Wally was asleep - and you took control of him 'inside his nightmare'. The character was suitably atired in a pair of pyjamas and a night cap. The aim of the game was to find the key that would wind the alarm clock to wake him up in time for work (in the car factory that was the setting of the previous game Automania - clever huh?).
As the game took place inside a nightmare (inside Wally's house), the surroundings were suitably surreal. Sharp items such as axes flew through the air, ghostly apparitions floated around the rooms, hands rose up through the floorboards to snatch at your ankes and there was also a room with the floor that seemed to prevent you from getting anywhere no matter how hard you tried to run (we've all had that dream eh?).
Controlling Wally was simple enough, move to the left, move to the right and jump. There were a lot of objects to collect around the dream house, most of which served a purpose and had to be used to progress through the game. The more objects you used would open up other areas and the percentage of the game completed would increase - this was your overall score (rather than a straight points scored system).
The difficulty with this was not only finding where to use the objects, but was the fact that you could only carry two items at a time. Carefull planning was needed to progress throught the game.
Coming into contact with a nasty would drain some of your 'snooze energy' which was represented as a glass of milk. Nice novelty. The more contact with nasties resulted in the milk level lowering towards the bottom of the glass. If it reached the bottom then it was game over, and poor Wally would sleep in for work (and probably be fired!). It was possible to top up your snooze energy by eating food that was scattered throughout the game.
In another novel twist, one of the rooms in Pyjamarama was called the 'Video Games' room, and if you entered it you could play a nice version of space invaders!
You could move Wally left and right and fire knives and forks (instead of lazer bolts) at the invaders, which were unusual things such as roast chickens. This all sat in with the bizarre feel of the game, and not at all bad since you were getting a game within the game.
Pyjamarama was a nice variation of the platform genre, and the large and colourful graphics (which really highlighted the attribute clash of the Speccy!), bizarre setting and humour ensured Mikro Gen had another hit on their hands.
A lot of people had a soft spot for Wally Week, and Pyjamarama did not disappoint. Platform games which included elements of puzzle solving were very popular on the ZX Spectrum in the mid eighties and this offering was certainly one of the better titles in this genre. It was awared a Crash Smash and gave Mikro Gen another big seller.
The test of time:
We here in the land of Spectrum games reckon that Pyjamarama still holds some appeal in a retro gaming way. The colourful graphics and setting has a fair amount of retro charm, and the built in Space Invaders is actually better than some stand alone versions that came out on the ZX Spectrum. Pyjamarama is tough to complete - there are plenty of puzzles to solve and steps to re-trace. I doubt that I would have the patience to be honest. It's worth a look for nostalgia and for those that remember Wally.
So, stick on a before bed and give it a go. If all else fails go to the video games room!
We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Pyjamarama for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: Platform game (Arcade Game)
RELEASE DATE: November of 1984
RELEASED BY: Mikro Gen
PRICE: £6.95 - UK
Wally explores his dream world in another of our classic games
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