Insert Disk collects Bionic Granny for the Commodore 64 (C64).
Today’s retro game review is Bionic Granny for the Commodore 64 (C64). This retro gaming classic is now very much a forgotten shovelware game from Mastertronic, released back in 1984. Bionic Granny is an incredibly simple one screen game. You control Granny with a simple left and right control scheme in an attempt to zap the school children and avoid the lollipop lady. As part of Mastertronics 199 range you really get what you pay for. Bionic Granny, it looks bad and sounds even worse but I haven’t been able to put this horror classic down all week.
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. Today I have a rather frightening game to share with you, frightening on so many levels. Today we take a look back at Bionic Granny for the Commodore 64. So picture the scene, its 1984. We’ve enjoyed the maze running of Pac-Man and impending doom of Space Invaders. What next? Well, how about a psychotic bionic granny? Yeah, this actually happened.
1984 saw Mastertronic release Bionic Granny for the Commodore 64. It’s one of those games now very much buried in time and supressed from the memories of those who saw it. I think its best I start with the packaging on this one, specifically the synopsis. She lurks outside the school gates waiting to surprise any unsuspecting kids. When the hands on the clock reach 4 o’clock her fun begins. Despite all the efforts of teachers and lollipop ladies she sometimes manages to “Zap” the kids with her laser powered brolly! Better run for your life before she gets you too!
You take control of granny at the bottom of the screen and have a limited left and right move set.
The school children will hobble their way to the bottom of the screen. Your task is to simply bump in to them to zap them. It’s all a bit creepy and bizarre at the same time. Your only real method of being stopped is the lollipop lady. I believe that these are called crossing guards in other countries. You’ve already heard the word brolly today though so I’ll be sticking with the British English. The lollipop lady is just brutal. She will fire her signs at you and occasionally charge at you. One hit from the stop sign and it’s a lost life. Considering it’s the granny that’s meant to be bionic this lollipop lady is virtually unstoppable. Perhaps they forgot to elaborate in the story that she’s a lollipop sent from the future to stop granny, who knows?
There’s something about the packaging that’s just a bit creepy. It’s almost as if this is one of those cursed artefacts that you hear about. You know the urban myths that go around about a haunted tape someone found in the attic.
The inside text is very minimal, almost the least I’ve ever seen in game packaging. It’s the front cover though that will really haunt your dreams. Look at the two children. The faces are just a copy and flip affair. Also there’s just something not on point about the girls head. Her face only makes up about 1/3 of her head, it’s just a bit weird. Granny, well she looks ok. Nothing particular bionic or scary about her…. And then you zoom out. Just look at the background image! This is nightmare fuel if ever I saw it. In truth when you first play Bionic Granny your game is likely to end before you even realise where your character is. It will take you several attempts just to get used to the on screen madness.
In terms of a collectible Bionic Granny is a bit of a non-starter. It was very much a showelware game back in 1984 and any collectability other than for completionists or Mastertronic collectors has faded away. In terms of a price it’s virtually impossible to sell as the postage is worth more than the game. Ok, so it’s not exactly something from the Final Fantasy saga but is it any good? I’m ashamed to say but I can actually see the merit of this game. It’s incredibly simple but it did keep me coming back for more to try to get to stage 3. Nothing really happens, the limited sprite set just moves a bit quicker each level up. This leads to an impossible flaw where you can end up spawning below a stop sign for instant death. If the handful of graphics don’t get you the music certainly will. It’s the same few bars, over and over again. You’ll end finding yourself mentally affected by the off-key tune.
It does feel that this game should have an urban legend surrounding it and with that I dare you to play Bionic Granny. Until next time, don’t have nightmares.