Garfield's Winter Tail
Review By: Gringo

Well, Thanksgiving is over, the insipid Christmas musak is already playing in Hallmark stores across the country, the festive season has begun...and you know what that means? That's right! A review of a lame 1980s Garfield computer game for the Amstrad CPC 6128. Happy holidays!

I've already reviewed a couple of games that were made for the Amstrad, a clunky old box of a computer, which throughout the formative years of my childhood was my only friend. Ah, what nostalgia I feel when I think back to our times together. Taking sides in computer games, dining out together, dancing the tango, exploring each other's bodies in a way nobody would understand...uh, I mean, it was only mutual masturbation. Really.

So anyway, if you are the kind of annoying person who wants a history lesson in exactly what kind of computer the Amstrad was, go check some of my other reviews like this one Seymour At The Movies or, if you're really in a festive kind of mood, my entirely non-cynical and amazingly upbeat (snicker) review of Official Father Christmas. Hmm, a quick glance at that latter review shows I vehemently deny being the kind of "sick fuck" who has sex with computers. Amen, sister!

Now, let's play like it's X-Entertainment time and go back to the '80s! Because present-day life bites so hard, and the only good stuff to ever be made was stuff from our childhood! YEAH! Oh, just like the VH1 special, I love the '80s! The obsession with money, the soaring unemployment lines in the US and UK, the rise of right-wing politicians in both countries, the ugly clothes, the bad hair, the fact that I wasn't old enough to get away near alcohol. YES, WHAT A SUPER DECADE!

One of the most prominent cartoon characters in the '80s was everyone's detested fat orange cat, Garfield. Never mind that the recent live-action movie made me want to violate a tabby cat. Repeatedly. Oh no, Garfield has bitten harder and longer than a cat once it snaps and clamps its fangs around your finger because you keep poking it in the chest and expecting it to fold over giggling like a Pillsbury Doughcat. The comic strips have never been particularly laugh-out-loud (or LOL, for your internet dorks) funny, although sometimes a few of the drawings made me laugh. I SAID A FEW, JIM DAVIS, A FEW. Don't go linking to this review to sell whatever your next anthology of comic strips is (probably something with the words "big", "fat", "hairy" and "highly marketable product" in it).

The main reason I think I detest Garfield is the fact the little orange bastard is everywhere, and has been for a long, long time. But to save this review from becoming an anti-Garfield rant (which I'm sure has been done many, many times before), I'll just turn my attention to a little old game from 1989 called Garfield: A Winter's Tail. See what they did with the last word? Tail? Tale? Guffaw!

The Garfield video games have never been particularly good, and I'm happy to report that this one is no exception. Having long since lost the documentation that went along with the game (that's right, Toodles McDoubting, I bought this game) I'm not really sure of the plot. However, the first screen of the game provides some clues in all its limited-color glory. Garfield is asleep near the fridge. The fridge door is open. WHAT THE HELL?! THAT'S SUCH A WASTE OF ELECTRICITY! And the food is all going to spoil! Damn it, do you cats know nothing?!

So Garfield has probably had a midnight snack of something else that's a sign of greed, and is now sleeping...and dreaming. Dreaming of the Alps. Just like I always do. But this is a serious kitty mindfuck, because you can scroll through Garfield's dreams and then jump right into them. YEAH! Yeah...

The first dream takes Garfield into what I can only assume is a chocolate factory. At least, I think it's a chocolate factory. The dream bubble for selecting this particular adventure shows a building with the ominous sign "CHOC". I could spend a while thinking of something witty to write about that and what other words it might mean, but I can't be bothered.

Back to the action! Garfield, being very fat, moves very sluggishly through the supposed chocolate factory. Odie, the dog that lives with him in a domestic partnership, is also bounding around the factory. I guess the goal is...wait...what the hell? It's a cat. And it's standing upright. UPRIGHT! Stop the world, I want to get off! No, really, please, stop the world, I'm starting to feel dizzy and I just tasted a little bit of vomit in my mouth. I think I really am going to be sick.

I didn't know what to do in the factory. You can kick Odie, which is fun for about a second, and then that's pretty much it. I fell down a hole, walked around a bit, and then stumbled upon the following scene:

I decided at this point it was time to get out of this particular dream. Seriously, what the hell is going on in this scene? Odie seems surprised to be flying through the air (maybe carried along by his own natural gas), there is some sort of chicken/rooster hybrid linked up to a conveyor belt, and Garfield has an expression that seems a happy blur between stoned and drunk. Bye bye, chocolate factory! Charlie, it's all yours. Well, yours and that weird Wonka guy's too. GOOD DAY, SIR!

Onto the next dream! This one was prefaced by a picture of a sign dug in the snow that said "THE ALPS". It was a pretty big clue that it had something to do with THE SLAP. Yes, Garfield, I can do anagrams! I just know this is all about the kitty giving some tough loving to Odie, smacking him unconscious, then seconds later running over to Odie, cradling him in his paws and whispering "Baby, I'll never do it again...I promise...I love you", before flipping out the next day and doing it once more. And yet Odie, battered and bruised, will never speak out, trapped in his own personal jail cell. A JAIL CALLED TOUGH LOVE.

This Alps level involved Garfield on skis zooming (or, more accurately with this being an Amstrad, chugging) down what is supposed to be a mountain. Odie is on some kind of trash can lid, traveling at an equal speed, and Garfield and Odie's owner Jon stands by the side holding pieces of pie. I tried to catch some of the pie, but instead I only managed to succeed in falling over many times. You know, there's only so many times you can fall over before you lose your temper with a game and quit. For me, it was twice. Bye bye, Alps!

That left just one more dream to jump into. Oh, happy day! This one was yet more nonsense involving Garfield standing upright and doing human-type stuff. Believe me, it's not easy to keep a cap upright. Even pasting wooden sticks to the back of their legs to make it impossible for them to go down on all fours doesn't even really work. Not that anyone should try that at home! After all, I just told you it doesn't work, so why bother?

The final dream is something involving skiing around what I guess is also the Alps. This time, there is a noticeable lack of Odie or Jon. There's also a noticeable lack of fun. At least on that latter point this game is nothing if not consistent. This game has something to do with skiing around and collecting a bunch of arrows that have for some reason been dumped in the snow. Sure. Still, because of the frustratingly slow controls and the general lack of fun generated by the game, I decided these dreams were more like nightmares, and that it was time to wake up. GAME OVER!

In conclusion, I don't think Garfield: A Winter's Tail is a very good game. It probably wasn't even a good game at the time it came out. I seem to recall despising it back in the '80s as much as I do present-day. Take that, hipster metrosexual irony! Oh, and on that subject, when a guy says they're metrosexual, if you're another guy, please try hitting on them. Then you'll see how fast these supposedly ultra-liberal, open-minded types can run.

In completely unrelated news, why is everyone wetting their pants about HBO's series Deadwood and the fact that it represents a "gritty" Wild West in which people swear all the time? Why, Gringo has been saying the word cunt for years!

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