From the genius minds at Llamasoft in 1983 there came Attack of the Mutant Camels. Hell yeah! As glorious as it gets on the Commodore 64.
Unless you count Dancing Monster. Which we certainly do! Except that game doesn’t have mutant camels in it. For shame!
Let us Remember Attack of the Mutant Camels
Hang on a few seconds into the intro above, because this is a game you really want to behold in action.
As with many Commodore 64 games, the very best moment of the whole game is often starting it to find what madness lies within.
And it’s the same with the game’s sequel, Revenge of the Mutant Camels.
But never mind that for now! As it’s really still 1983 and that sequel is but a distant memory in English video game designer Jeff Minter’s brain.
As first there came Attack of the Mutant Camels. The surrealist scrolling shooter title launched on Commodore 64 and the Atari.
What’s the idea of it? Well, you don’t take control of a camel. Sadly.
Instead, you’re piloting a small jet plane. It’s your job to manoeuvre the plane around the camels and massacre them all.
Whilst you do that, the camels shoot fireballs at you. If you’re unable to destroy the camel before the end of the level… you’re a loser!
Now, as original as the game clearly is, it also nabbed a few ideas from the 1982 Atari 2600 game The Empire Strikes Back.
So, yes, we guess the idea is Attack of the Mutant Camels was tongue-in-cheek and all of that jazz. A spoof. Lampooning stuff.
And, indeed, it’s confirmed Jeff Minter conceived the idea from the Star Wars game.
Now you’ll never be able to watch The Empire Strikes back without seeing those AT-ATs and thinking about camels.
Anyway, asides from all that, the game seems to have been well received as a bit of good fun and all that.
But there’s much more to this one game and Llamasoft than meets the long-necked ungulate mammal’s eye. Let’s do some history stuff!
Moose Life and Llamasoft’s Future
The great news is Jeff Minter and Llamasoft (based in Reading here in England) are still making games. Huzzah!
Moose Life, launched on Steam in 2020, is one such example.
And you may, by now, have noticed a theme of bovines and other such hoofed beasts in the games he creates.
Heck, it’s right there in the name of Minter’s company! He even used the pseudonym Yak in his earlier professional days.
Why is this so? He explained on a 2019 blog post:
“As anyone who has followed the fortunes of Llamasoft over the years will know, I have a certain affinity with bovines. My coding handle for years was “Yak”. I’ve always identified somewhat with oxen – useful animals, not necessarily the sharpest tool in the box but possessing the patience and strength to get the job done – traits that I find admirable, and that I can usefully hope to emulate in my own work. Completing a project taking a year or more takes a certain amount of determined plodding, bovine stoicness. Oxen are gentle, patient, and get the job done. And often they have lovely horns.”
Some of Llamasoft’s other games include:
- Hover Bovver
- Space Giraffe
- Super Ox Wars
- A PS4 version of arcade urban legend Polybius
- Goat Up
- Goat Up 2
We have to say we’re thoroughly impressed by the mixture of oddball games the developer has thumped out over the decades. Very impressed indeed.
And we must say we’re delighted to still see Llamasoft up, running, and putting out new projects! Moose Life—we’ll playing you soon!