Remember Space Giraffe, the Xbox Live Arcade oddity that led to a very public temper tantrum by designer Jeff Minter? It’s coming to the PC next week!
“It is a joyous time of year full of sexy reindeer, inebriated bearded fellows with rosy cheeks and distended sacks, and wanton consumerism gone wild,” Minter said. “What better time to cheer up the entire world with the release of a new videogame. We at Llamasoft are dedicated to our ongoing mission to make the world a better place for everybody.”
Space Giraffe is a “psychedelic shooter” featuring 100 levels and backgrounds that can synchronize with your own selection of music, with basic gameplay mechanics rooted in the classic 80s arcade machine Tempest. WorthPlaying says the PC version of the game is “considerably nicer” than the original Xbox 360 release in many ways and adds “several key new features” to the game. The levels have also been reworked to tone down the visual distortion, designed to make the game more accessible to people who don’t get a kick out of the “balls-out full-on psychedelia of its predecessor.”
I’ve never played Space Giraffe, but I have to think that “reworking” the game is a good idea. I watched a short gameplay video on the Llamasoft website and I thought I was having a stroke. Game reviews have been all over the map, with many praising its gameplay innovations while criticizing the various background effects that can overwhelm the game. Space Giraffe is probably best-known to most gamers because of the public tantrum Minter threw over the fact that its sales were dwarfed by the Xbox Live Arcade re-release of Frogger, which crushed his game at a rate of ten to one.
Calling Frogger “one of the worst games in the history of old arcade games,” Minter complained, “All you want on that channel is remakes of old, shite arcade games and crap you vaguely remember playing on your Amiga. We’ll shut up trying to do anything new then. Sorry for even trying.” Ultimately, however, Minter decided to stick with it, claiming he was too deeply invested into Xbox Live Arcade to just walk away.
Will the PC release of Space Giraffe be Minter’s redemption? It’ll cost you $20 to find out when the game is released next week, unless a PC demo comes down along with it. While you wait, feel free to grab the original Space Giraffe soundtrack, which Minter is giving away to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the game’s launch, right here.