Saturday, 1 March 2014

This week: "Randy Roofer" for the Commodore 64 (1985)

Randy Roofer was a game created by Mark Burrows an 1985 for the Commodore 64.

The game follows the daily life of a roofer called "Randy". Players are given a brief intro of the streets Randy must work before we see Randy set off in his work's van.

The aim of the game is for Randy to make as much money as possible repairing roofs in his town. The player is set against a clock, so they know how much time they have to complete the jobs.

The game starts with Randy driving down his main road looking for work. As the van moves along automatically, it is up to the player to press the fire button to stop the van. This decision though is not random. As Randy must spot the speech bubble that appears with his name inside "RANDY!"

On stopping, Randy begins his work. Along the bottom of the screen is Randy's inventory of tools. These being ladders, nails, tiles, etc. For each job Randy selects all the items and tries to predict quantity for the likes of nails and slates. Then Randy climbs his ladder via joystick movement and competes the actions using fire.

The sub plot of the game would see Randy busy on a roof when a "wolf whistle" would be heard. Randy would have to quickly descend his ladder then go in the house. The player would be presented with a bar across the bottom of the screen. The joystick would then have to be wiggled to quickly to fill Randy's "Bonk Bar".  Once full an "AAARGH!" noise would be heard before Randy would complete his job.

The game progressed like this over many enjoyable levels. As each roof was complete Randy would receive cash in his account. And as his wolf whistle was answered, Randy's "Happy Bar" went up.

This was until of course players got to level 50. Level 50 was the most difficult of them all and was practically impossible to complete. The timer was short. The jobs were many. And answering all the wolf whistles and filling the bar was palm destroying. But it was possible.

Late in the year a young gamer named Simon Stamp wrote to Score Lord Magazine. With his letter Simon had posted a high score photo and questions. The editors of Score Lord were impressed with his score but confused by the 10 year old gamers questions. These questions were thus:

1. Why does Randy slow down after level 50?

2. Why does Randy not climb his ladder in level 51?

3. Why does Randy not get out of the van in level 52?

With these questions Score Lord's best players decided to investigate further. After many hours of hand numbing play, one finally managed to complete the almost impossible level 50. What came next was a little surprising for the seasoned gamers. Level 51 started as every other but there was startling differences.

Firstly Randy's glowing pink face and red cheeks were now off white. Adding to this he moved slowly to his van to start his day. His van then moved off normally and as he approached his first house the ever present "RANDY!" speech bubble was seen. With this the gamer pressed the fire button to make Randy stop. Nothing happened. Again another house was passed with the call and still no stopping. Eventually after minutes of button mashing, Randy pulled over.

Randy sluggishly checked his inventory. But instead of the healthy supply numbers, all that could be seen was random symbols like: £$%&. The gamers played on despite the set back and began fixing the roof. As expected the wolf whistle was heard and Randy descended slowly to complete the task as familiar through every level. When presented with the "Bonk Bar" though it was not red, but green.

The Bonk Bar was practically impossible to fill, but was completed after a hand shredding, 10 minute, marathon. One of the gamers decided to pass over to another game writer as he was spent. Level completed, it was now onto Level 52.

This level was odd. Randy walked to his van before, what appeared to be falling? He got up and set off in his van. Again the calls to him were made but he did not stop. At this point the gamers checked the controller ports and even changed the joystick. But Randy would not stop. The game was switched off and the Score Lord writers decided to contact Mark Burrows for an explanation.

An interview was not granted by Burrows, but he did write a letter to Score Lord. A letter which was never published.

"Dear Score Lord

Thanks for playing Randy Roofer, I'm very proud of it. Oh and well done for getting passed level 50!
I thought nobody would manage it really! What was wrong with the game then?

Well nothing. Everything is correct and there is no glitches or problems. I play tested it to death before its release. I guess I have to explain what the so called "issues" are then I suppose.

Well it was too difficult to put every aspect in the game, but I'm sure you could figure it out. Thing is, is that Randy was working hard and servicing the women, but level 51 is his change right? He starts having it off with the poofs you see and gets that dirty AIDS disease!

Ha, ha, the dirty bastard! He had all that fanny on a plate and the goes and does that! I was trying to point out what's going on now in this country. That lot are putting it everywhere and they need stopping.

My game was just about showing people that if you're it right, you know with women and that, you'll be safe.

If you let him run his van for a good 15 minutes, you'll see the end



With this awful letter Score Lord did indeed finish the game. At the end of Level 52, Randy just keeps on driving. Until he stops.

Here the gamer is confronted by a cemetery. Randy slowly wonders over to an open grave and falls in!

The end titles then read "Stay on the STRAIGHT and narrow and you won't dies like them lot!"

Mark Burrows was said to have died of an AIDS related disease, some 5 years later


  1. Happy St David's Day Mr Palmer! Jeez, it's been ages since I last called you that. :P

    Level 52 a subtle reference to a certain beat combo?

    And did anyone other than Score Lord actually get past Level 50? I need to go and play right now, this would make a most satisfactory YouTube video. Screw the Community Guidelines, they're only there to make Google more money anyway!

    Hmm, can't find this game on XBOX Live Arcade. We must march of the House of Lards to rectumify this... to the 1978 Mini Cooper!

  2. Also, I'm going to try and pull a few strings to get this game made. I can see it being released as a Game of the Year edition in twelve months' time...