The Special One
Curtis on Curtis
Though Patricia has had numerous games go unfinished or unreleased, we were intrigued to see she’d worked on Dick Special, a lost project begun by Sandy ‘Ant Attack ’ White. “It was Sandy’s ex-partner Angela Sutherland’s thing by the time I got involved,” she explains. “I roped in Nick Pelling (of Frak! fame) and we had a plan to get these massive levels on an Amiga using texture tiling. It was quite bold and I got loads of it done, lots of rooms and a ship, but I kept having to harangue Angela as she was doing the f**king art!” The project died when Acclaim pulled out of the UK but Patricia bought the rights to the character for £1000 and hints that Dick may rise again one day…
rating their » Patricia and Thy in 2006, celeb retum Park. wedding in Nottingham’s Arbo
Patricia picks her three favourite projects ■ MONKEY MOFO
» [C64] Help clear up litter whilst ignoring global deforestation in McDonald Land.
game’s impressive sales figures. “Plus I was king of my nieces and nephews because I could hand out all this Turtles promotional shit they sent me,” she laughs. The first half of the new decade continued in a similarly successful vein. Moving onto the 16-bit computers and consoles, Patricia found a lucrative niche converting SNES titles to the Mega Drive, handling big name licences such as Terminator 2 and Clay Fighters 2, as well as bringing a much loved footy game to the CD32. “If I’m at a party and people ask me what games I’ve worked on, I’ll say Sensible Soccer. That gets you kudos with normal people. For me, the kudos was converting Xenon 2 to the Mega Drive. It’s a beautiful game and the Bitmap Brothers were promoted in the industry as the pinnacle of programmers. They were like Charles and Diana to me!” Patricia still found time to work on original titles, though, producing puzzler Zyconix for the Amiga and ST, which pocketed her the tidy sum of £30,000 for one month’s work, and the C64 Big Mac-based platformer McDonald Land. Did she have any qualms creating a game for a multinational junk food chain, we wonder? “Oh burgers didn’t kill you in them days. Coke wasn’t bad for you and there was no global warming. I hired a team and got a unit. We had plants in the office! They gave us the brief, picking up litter, and we designed all the levels and coded it. If you look at the some of the later levels, you’ll see our names in the stars.” Now heading up a small development team, Patricia landed the biggest payday of her career, earning a staggering £134,000 for Mega Drive title Marsupilami, a puzzle-tinged platformer based on a French comic book character. This large injection of cash allowed the team to develop two original titles for the Amiga and its console spin-off the CD32. Death Mask was a rather jerky Doom clone but Super Methane Brothers was an impressive homage to Bubble Bobble, full of neat touches and excelling in co-op mode. “I think it’s awesome,” she enthuses. “There are loads of secrets in it, too, but yeah, we were backing the wrong horse with the CD32. And we had this marketing guy who, like they all do, promised the earth and was shit.” By 1995, things had reached a tipping point for Patricia, both personally and professionally. It was the year she completed her gender transition, having been living as a
1992 MCDONALD LAND ■ YEAR:1992 ■ FORMAT: C64 You may understandably scoff at a game sponsored by a junk food chain that has a strong environmental message but it’s actually quite a tasty platformer.
It’s been a labour of love. I have put more love into Monkey Mofo than any of my previous games. Don’t get me wrong, though, all my games have had a lot of love put into them, especially my original projects, but Monkey MoFo had the most love piled into it.
1992 TERMINATOR 2 ■ YEAR: 1992 ■ FORMAT: Mega Drive Patricia handled many conversions of big name titles, including this Mega Drive port of one of Arnie’s better videogame outings.
■ BUSHIDO WARRIORS You remember when I said that my time in the videogames industry was like the summer? Well, my time working on Bushido Warriors was essentially the sunniest day of my summer. A whole lot of love went into this project. It was the summer of love!
■ SCORPIUS I like shoot-‘em-ups and I could’ve said Xenon 2 but I’ll say Scorpius, because of the time I did it. It was the start of my career and my first original title and that’s always going to make it special. My first labour of love!
I was the Del Boy of the games industry. I even wore a beige Crombie! ” Patricia Curtis » [C64] One of Patricia’s earliest conversions was Super Robin Hood, quite apt since she’s ended up in Nottingham…
1993 SUPER METHANE BROTHERS ■ YEAR: 1993 ■ FORMAT: Amiga/CD32 Clearly inspired by Bubble Bobble, you play as Puff and Blow battling against the bad guys in an entertaining game which is full of secrets to unlock.
2015 WORD JUNKIE ■ YEAR: 2015 ■ FORMAT: Android Patricia is still coding from her bedroom and her latest project is this ingenious little word game, an addictive mix of Boggle and Meteos.
RETRO GAMER | 93