Having recently had a few random reminiscences regarding retro gaming, one that came flooding back was the 1984 game Trashman. Like many games that came out in the early to mid-80s usually on both popular formats at the time, the ZX Spectrum and the Commodore C64, it was an odd and quirky subject matter for a game. Literally in Trashman, you play the roll of a garbage disposal operative, spending your days collecting peoples bins and emptying them into the garbage truck waiting on the side of the road for you. Sounds boring? You'd be wrong! There was something fascinating and addictive about the game.
Originally developed for the ZX Spectrum, but ported over to the C64 with much better graphics by the short-lived New Generation Software. The game plays over 7 increasingly difficult streets, over 7 days. As you empty the trash, you must avoid walking on the grass, or walking into traffic!
Successfully empty and return a bin, and the house owner may invite you in for a reward. Which sometimes is booze, leaving Trashman to stagger out of the house to carry-on with his work under the influence. Making sure you avoid the cyclists riding on the paths in later levels. Some of the invitations and responses are brilliantly tongue-in-cheek and fun. With in-joke references to other gaming systems and formats. For example to the question "Do you think I'm a megalomaniac?" Trashman answers, "Just give me a ZX81 and I'll control the world." Or "HELP! My pet llama's running amok upstairs!" in reference to the cult game Attack Of The Mutant Camels (1983) by Jeff Minter. (Will have to do a piece of Jeff Minter and Llamasoft soon.) The invites and replies continue in this knowing nod to the computer industry and culture of the time. Playing the game, and still understanding the often obscure references is very satisfying for anyone of a certain age, that played this game when it first came out. An absolute weird classic of early home computer gaming.