I used to love playing this game as a kid, although I used to play is on the Spectrum, I’ve rebooted the little beauty on WinUAE the popular Amiga emulator. It runs great and I’m currently reliving my past with this top game from Codemasters.
It was truly a unique strategy game that involved picking between 1 and 4 Rock Stars and managing them through to the top of the charts in an attempt to win 4 platinum discs. The crack the pop scene was through going on gigs, practicing, recording smash hits and of course pulling publicity stunts. The only issue was the odd phone call regarding charity gigs that could sometimes be bogus and pirates ripping off your tracks.
The decisions you make at these points either make or break you. You also have to be careful you kill off your Rock Stars in a publicity stunt that goes wrong.
It has to be said, Rock Star Ate my Hamster was a really hard game to win. To get one track to the top of the charts was a great achievement, to get four was near on impossible.
At least that’s what I remember!
With the many many more years of the great experience of life behind me, maybe I’ll now find it a lot easier… let’s see.
So the first thing I remember is that you never even achieve a top 5 hit without picking 2 pretty good Rock Stars to begin with. So for my first play in over 25 years, I’m picking Iggy Currust and Maradonna, 2 pop stars that wages add up to 27k a week. If you go over £30k a week, you struggle not to go bankrupt within the first 2 weeks.
After accepting the band name “Rusty Baubles” (well it’s nearly Christmas), I then buy them Spanking New equipment. Again this is important if you want to stand a chance of that no.1 hit.
Next, I make sure they sound good. So go full in for 5 days practice. This does mean after wages as well for the first week, I’m down to a pretty poor £9500. So now it’s time to Gig.
I can only afford Clubs at best and we need to make sure it sells out, so 5 nights at £20 a pop for tickets is the choice for our first outing.
Each night is a sell-out (bing-bang-bosh), and after such success a record contract from “Floppy Disc Records” comes through on the phone. This gives the funds a much needed boost just before the second lot of wages are required.
Then after buying the Rock Stars some drinks (Gifts) it’s straight back to gigs at clubs for £20 a ticket again. This second set of gigs should start to sell out and ramp the funds up to around £50k. It’s important to keep buying them gifts otherwise they make ludicrous demands while they’re at the gig that in these early days will bankrupt you straight away.
At this point I pull a publicity stunt and as luck would have it, I get a good result. That’s not always the case though, so you may want to save the game beforehand.
Stadiums are still a bit too pricey at the moment, so sticking to the clubs I pull a 7 nighter at £20 a pop. Again, it’s a sell out and funds are now up to almost £60k.
We’re now almost into Feb so I think it’s time to have a 2 night practice before attempting a stadium gig for a couple of nights. Trying to fill a stadium is a tad more difficult that a club, so this time I’m setting the ticket price to £2.
After another round of gifts and another gig, the phone rings for an offer of a charity gig. I don’t know if this is random or not, but I accepted the first charity gig and didn’t receive any bad publicity. If you are unlucky at this point you’ll either get the headline “Duped by bogus charity” or “Rock Star in callous charity gig snub”, these headlines harm your sales.
After another 5 night stadium gig with tickets now at £10 a go, funds increase enough to enter the recording studio.
Here I select the 48 track option,
After recording all the tracks, I pull another 5 night stadium tour, again £10 a ticket. This is to get some funds up for the release of our first single.
For the first video it’s a lower budget Celluliod recording in Pinewood. I choose Sick Exploding Hamsters for the video. These choices are all a tad random and I’m sure it’s here the algorithm in the background is calculating how well the track will do.
Obviously you will have charity calls and potentially none existing publicity when you try to pull a publicity stunt, but you could nail all of that and still only reach no.7 in the charts!.
It’s close to this time you will also receive a phone call about someone pirating your records. I chose to “Buy the *******’s out” which costs 100k but at least it doesn’t send you bankrupt.
So at this point I pull a publicity stunt and then go on a massive 7 night stadium gig charging £10 a ticket.
It’s during this gig session that we first enter the charts, only at no.10, but at least we’re now in there!
The phone rings again asking for a charity gig, again I say yes… which as luck would have it is the right choice for me this time – phew!
Unfortunately however my Sponsors TVs start to blow up, which does affect sales and the single starts to drop from no.8. As soon as the single starts to drop, release another. You only have a year to crack this thing.
The next charity gig I say no to, which is again the right decision as I get no bad headlines.
After another single release, I release the Album “Rusty and Busty”. It takes a week or so, but enters at no.10 to further increase sales.
Now, I’ll be honest. This is the best I did…
That’s it for tonight. I’ll give it another go tomorrow night.
If anyone has any tips, let me know.
I’ll keep playing and see if I can share any joy!