media & technology e~maii:scamwc:new U)

Earth worm

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With computer game WORMS, Andy Davidson hit the big time. Now the twenty-something designer is wiggling it again with a sequel that proves the worm has far from turned.

Words: John Henderson

Andy Davidson is 24. When he was only 22. he had his first computer game published. That game was the bizarre and utterly addictive li’orms. one of the most successful releases in the industry's history. In November. Worms 2 will be published. and there is every chance that it too will top the charts. In an industry increasingly made up of faceless conglomerates, Davidson is one of the few real characters left.

So how did he go about creating such an original block-buster? ‘I didn‘t set out to write a commercial game.‘ he says. ‘It was just something my mates could play. It was either that or .»\-level art.‘

Once he had seen how popular ll’orms proved amongst friends. he decided to try and attract a wider audience.

iii/211g“ Format magazine was running a competition and I thought that it would be a good way of getting it noticed.‘ he says. ‘But it wasn't.‘ Worms didn‘t even make it onto the prize list. yet Davidson wasn‘t ptit off.

‘The last way to get it recognised was to take it to the trade shows held every Septeinbei‘.' says Davidson. ‘so I just turned tip holding a floppy disk. I asked 'l'eam l7 if they were still looking at games. told them they wouldn‘t like it. and they turned round the minutes later and asked if I‘d like it published.‘ The rest. as they say. is


So how did those around him react‘.’ ‘My parents didn't know there was a

computer game industry.‘ he up somewhere.’ says. "l'hey supported me while I w as doing it. but I think in the beginning they just wanted me to get it otit of my system. and then get a nice. normal job in a bank.‘ (ietting his hands on the Worms cash did cause the odd problem though.

‘All some people think about is the money.‘ tells Davidson. ‘Some people. my friends who played it at the beginning. aren't bothered. but others can‘t handle it. There have been a fair few arguments over taxis. I can tell you.‘

Despite. the financial rewards. Davidson is genuinely paternal in his enthusiasm for Worms. ‘One of the nicest things to see is that Worms has


’This is the only thing We ever wanted to do. If it wasn't for computer games, I’d be locked

Andy Davidson, games designer

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Worms 2: wriggling its way up the games charts any day now

achieved a real following. Even two years after its release. it‘s still in the top ten.‘

So what can we expect from Worms 2'.’ Davidson immediately expresses his concerns for the disenfranchised in society. and their need for better representation in computer games.

‘Old women.‘ he proclaims. ‘Obviously old women. very neglected in society. so l thought it was only right to get them out in the public eye again. That took a fair bit of work. because accurately simulating old women is tricky.‘ Kooky. me?

Well-meaning concern for Davidson's own state of mind is met with a direct admission of his fortune. "This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do,‘ he confesses. ‘I can now get away with all my talk about sheep. mad cows and old women. if it wasn’t for computer games. I‘d be locked tip somewhere.‘

For anyone else hoping to rescue their sanity through such video game transference. Davidson offers encouragement while beinoaning the poor quality of many of today‘s releases. ‘Anybody who‘s got anything remotely different or original will stand out so much. in the same way that Worms“ stood out.’ he says. Anyone remotely like Davidson was always going to stand out anyway.

' Worms is due for release in the first week of

November, priced approx £35.


Games oWeb Sites 0CD ROMS

GAME Lylat Wars (Nintendo 64 £69.99)

Lylat Wars, sequel to the SNES classic Stem/mg, is the space-based shoot 'em up that thousands of Nintendo owners have been waiting for. They won't be disappointed. Classic Nintendo gameplay coupled with furious action render the fact that your ship doesn’t have complete freedom of movement irrelevant. Two new vehicles with very different handling attributes add variety, and the graphics are so good that they almost distract from the job in hand. Lylat Wars is also compatible with the N64's Rumble Pack, which slots into the controller to give a physical response to your heroics. This is a game to be reckoned with.


The Com lete National Geograp ic

(PC £199.99)

At this price, you’d expect a very substantial work of reference, and with 30 CDs worth of material, that's what you get. Every word and picture from 108 years of the National Geographic magazine is included, along With an efficient and much-needed search engine. it’s unlikely that you'll ever View all of the 175,000 images, but if you're looking for information on anything from Polar Bears to the Grand Canyon, you'll find it as well-presented and accessible as in the magazine itself. Even advertisements are included, and indiwdual decades will be released at the more affordable price of £29.99.

WEB SITE The Yuckiest Site On

The Internet (

If you want to see a worm's five hearts beating, or find out why poop (sic) smells, and you are, preferably, a kid, then this is the place to be. Hosted by top scientific reporter Wendell The Worm, Yucky provides science for kids, with the emphasis on all things disgusting. Burps and farts can be downloaded, and information on zits, pus and earwax is promised in a section entitled 'Your Gross And Cool Body'. Creatures without backbones feature heaVily, but Wendell will answer any science—based questions you might have. The whole site is neatly put together, and strikes a clever and entertaining balance.


26 Sep—9 Oct 1997 THE LIST 97