War Was Never So Much Fun.

February 18th, 2009 by Antti Hukkanen

I was reminiscing about old games the other day. 1993 was a good year for computer games. It saw the release of UFO: Enemy Unknown, Syndicate, and of course, Doom. And then there was the little gem, undeservedly largely forgotten since, Cannon Fodder. Cannon Fodder was a fun, addictive and very challenging action game, and everything about it shows that the designers had fun putting it together. Witness this promotional music video, featuring the design team and a professional version of the game’s intro song.

The video plays upon one of the …funny… little details in the game: when you shoot and kill an enemy soldier, then shoot at him again, and again, he keeps jumping and twitching and yelling in agony, while little red pixels spray around. Now, the controversy that seems to be a prerequisite of any successful game had nothing to do with the pixelated blood and violence (except in Germany, of course), but rather, the use of the corn poppy (a symbol for WWI veterans) in the title art. This is interesting because this was just one year after Wolfenstein 3D came out – the game that introduced gore to computer games. (The id Software team had tried to do the same one year earlier with Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion, but the graphic violence was vetoed by publisher Softdisk.)

That’s how quickly public opinion changes.

PS. Back to the song! In all honesty, I prefer the tracked version, heard on the game intro on the Amiga – it has more bounce. Unfortunately, the intro doesn’t make for very gripping viewing. But do listen to the song here.

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4 Responses to “War Was Never So Much Fun.”

  1. I can imagine the insanity that would erupt today if a game had a theme song with lyrics like “Go to your brother, kill him with your gun”.

    Sometimes I miss those simpler times, with less emphasis on making everything illegal.

    And I do miss Cannon Fodder, it was ridiculously good fun. So at least it was truthful advertising :) Though the difficulty did take quite a jump after the first few levels… escpecially when you stubborny refused to let Jops and Jools get killed.

    p.s. Check out the Google advertisements on top of the page. At least this reload the targeting worked perfectly “Cannon Fodder 1&2 now playable on XP and Vista”. Damn!

  2. Sandi says:

    Infamous retroband PRESS PLAY ON TAPE provides this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7XiXQ6wEyM … needless to say that it’s made of pure win and awesome!

  3. Jari Heikkilä says:

    Cannon Fodder, Doom, Syndicate, UFO: Enemy Unknown were great games and we should not forget such games as Ultima Underworld II, Betrayal at Krondor, Civilization, Lands of Lore, X-Wing or Sam & Max Hit The Road. I think the year 1993 was one of the greatest gaming years of all time.

    Year 1992 was great too with such games as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Ultima Underworld, Dune/Dune 2, Darklands, Alone In The Dark, Master of Orion, Monkey Island 2, Eye Of The Beholder 2, Ultima VII – The Black Gate, Wing Commander II… damn that year was great too. How in the hell I had time to play all of these :)

    In fact 1994 was great too because UFO: Enemy Unknown came out at the end of the year 1993 and there was great sequels such as Cannon Fodder II, Star Wars – TIE Fighter, Wing Commander III, Alone in the Dark II, Ultima VIII – Pagan and original games too like Beneath A Steel Sky, Settlers and SYSTEM SHOCK! Those were the golden years…

  4. Sandi: Made of WIN and GOD. Wish I’d been there!

    Jari: Heck, you’re right. Those games are still played today. (I know I’m in the middle of a wicked Master of Orion game. 8P ) I seriously doubt whether even the best games coming out these days will be remembered 15 years from now.