Australia’s favourite cul-de-sac crammed into an 8-bit game.
What do you do when you have a high rating TV soap opera that’s dominating the Australian landscape, as well as overseas? You cash in in with merchandise.
But shirts and hats are the default ‘go-to’ for a quick dollar. So think outside the square and appeal to the younger demographic. What are the young ones diggin’ in the late ’80s?
Channel 10’s popular soap Neighbours was the water cooler talk of the 1980s and early 1990s, with characters coming and going, getting married and moving to Queensland… so why not make a video game out of the adventures of a highly popular character?16
In 1991, game developer Zeppelin Games created Neighbours: The Video Game. The concept was pretty simple – you play cool kid Scott Robinson, who loves to skateboard around the neighbourhood. You get to choose which other characters you want to compete against, such as Lenny, Henry, Michael and Matt, and skate around the street doing laps. There are obstacles in the way, such as the cliche kangaroo and emu, rubbish, potholes, witches hats and even the neighbourhood dog Bouncer. The Neighbours title is your energy bar, which will depreciate if you get injured. The first person to do the laps, wins.
Neighbours: The Video Game was released on Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari. While it didn’t set the world on fire, you would hope that there would be a game based on setting a burning bag of dog poo on Mrs Mangel’s porch before you get caught.