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some sort. Two such titles, Attack Of The Mutant Camels and Meta-Llamas from the ’80s, aptly illustrate the man’s strange fetish. His company Llamasoft also produced some of the first commercial randompattern generators – or “Light Synthesizers” as they dubbed them; a programme they’re still perfecting and making ever more psychedelic with the last iteration named Neon.


Perhaps the ultimate marriage of psychedelic lights and game play was on the ’01 release from Sega, Rez, which even came with a trance vibrator that connected to the console and pulsated in time to the music. Unfortunately unscrupulous gamers took to using this revolutionary device as a masturbatory aid, thus ensuring an unfortunately short lifespan for this clever innovation.


On a similar tack came Vib-Ribbon (1999), which interpreted your music into weird 2D levels that had to be negotiated by a line drawing of a rabbit. This is better than it sounds (honest), especially if you put on some death metal as the musical backdrop. These earlier experiments with lights, shapes and geometry have kept on coming. Witness newish title Echochrome (2008), where players navigate worlds


where physics are warped by perspective.


Mel Croucher is another name from the ’80s with a taste for the surreal and bizarre. His 1982 text adventure Pimania was a bizarre psychedelic mystery game featuring a phallic-nosed hero in search of a sundial. His titles became increasingly strange and were perhaps the first example of meta-video games. ID (’86) was


attempting to create the “Citizen Kane of computer games”. Added to the game’s odd allure was a soundtrack tape that included contributions from Jon Pertwee, Ian Dury and Frankie Howerd.


Perhaps in many ways the last 25 years have been a golden age of video games – a never to be repeated time (much like the ’60s and ’70s for rock ’n’ roll) where


Surreal and Dali-esque, the game dropped gamers into a frightening dream trope where


the only escape was to battle giant wasps in a candy floss machine.


a text-based game where your task was to gain the trust of a mysterious consciousness that has inhabited your computer. His ultimate expression came in Deus Ex Machina (’85), however. The game lets you nurture an artificial human through the seven stages of man from conception through to death, participating in many strange philosophical tasks along the way. Croucher himself described this work as


innovation has been ripe and creative energy at its peak. Hopefully video game creators will at least partially retain their pioneering spirit and continue to create similar psychedelic experiences. As technology improves and life becomes increasingly virtual, how long before our consoles are mimicking all the full sensory perceptions involved in an acid trip? At the moment we’re at the level of glue- sniffing, but it’s getting there.


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