Review: Rock Star Ate My Hamster (Atari ST)

ST Format Review

My Review

Equipment:
MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62
– Automation Menu Disk 242
– Keyboard



Rock Star Ate My Hamster is a very simple management game, about managing a band with the goal of making a shedload of cash. Strictly speaking including it here is a bit of a cheat as it’s actually quite a bit older than this, but as its original release predates ST/Amiga Format this cheat allows me to review the game.



For those unaware, the mechanics are pretty simple. Each game turn represents one day, in which you might arrange a publicity stunt (which leads to a mock-up newspaper representing success or failure – tits or death is failure)…



… have your band practice or perform at gigs, among other activities. What then follows is that your gigs will get different audiences depending on how successful the practice and publicity stunts were.



Similar loops exist around releasing singles and albums. In many ways the formula is quite similar to the modern Kairosoft games like Game Dev Story, with Rock Star being a distant great grandparent to those simple but surprisingly addictive little mobile games.



Now mechanically that might sound quite dull, it ultimately boils down to poking a random number generator and watching numbers go up, just like those Kairosoft games. However, what elevates it above mediocrity is that the game is loaded with charm, and more than most it carries a fair bit of nostalgia due to having send-ups of famous singers of the era, with Maradonna replacing Madonna, Wacky Jacko replacing Michael Jackson, Bimbo Baggins replacing Kylie Minogue, Rick Ghastley replacing Rick Astley, Jason Doner-Kebab replacing Jason Donovan (made funnier by Bristol’s infamous Jason Donner-van where you can get a kebab.. assuming it comes back after the ‘rona) and Stiff Pilchards replacing Cliff Richard. Each is accompanied by a grotesque cartoon depiction.



Graphically, the game isn’t especially demanding of the ST but it is presented with considerable charm. On the audio front, there’s a lot of sampled sound used, putting it a cut above much of what you’d typically find on the ST – little snippets of music to represent practicing, etc. It all adds to the atmosphere.

The Verdict
Rock Star is a charming little game, albeit one whos 8-bit origins are clear for all to see. It’s effectively menu-driven,

Resources
Manual: https://worldofspectrum.org//pub/sinclair/games-info/r/RockStarAteMyHamster.pdf

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