Designed by Tom Sloper, Spike is the mascot of Vectrex gaming. When you think of Nintendo you think of Mario, PS2 – Solid Snake, Sega – Sonic, but the Vectrex too has it’s very own cool punk rocker dude gaming hero. Spike was made in 1983. Sloper was a big fan of Donkey Kong but wanted something a bit different from Donkey Kong so the perspective of Spike sought of comes from an on the side, tilted angle. (Sloper 1999)
In searching for a character Sloper was looking for a figure which did not use a large amount of vectors, because of the Vectrex flicker, and he didn’t go for a round character as it would end up looking a bit like a square. So Sloper decided on the form of Spike who incidentally is named after one of Slopers’ friend’s father. Sloper also said that ‘orders from above’ influenced the creation of Spike (Sloper 1999).
Spike was one of the first, if not the first, home console videogames to incorporate speech and throughout the game the ‘girl in distress’ is Molly who utters words of helplessness for Spike to rescue her from the evil clutches of the villain, Spud. Wyrdward (2002) argues, Spike was “more involved than almost anything that came before it.”
Since Spike’s creation his character has featured in many ‘home-brew’ games such as, ‘Spike Goes Down’ by Alex Herbert, ‘Spike Hoppin’ and ‘Spike’s Water Balloons’ by John Dondzila (also the much anticipated ‘Super Spike World’), ‘Spike’s Spree by Mark De Smit and the yet to be complete ‘Spikes Slam Pit’ by Mastrobuono. Also Andrew Coleman developed a game called ‘Spike Goes Skiing’ but was never officially released.
Spike is fun and it is very challenging in the later levels. The graphics are unique and the speech synthesis certainly adds to the appeal of the game. What I would love to see is a Track & Field (Kanomi) type game which uses all of Spike’s characters, like Spud and Molly, for one or two track event. Spike is a good substitute till then.
Review written by Daniel Foot
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