Hidden Crown Jewels of British Games History

The other day I was watching Sean Seanson's video chronicling every single PS1 game developed or published by Psygnosis and it got me thinking about the UK‘s footprint on the history of game design. Setting aside the low hanging fruit that is jokes about collectathon platformers or whatever, I want to hear about some lesser known games out of jolly old Britland that you think are cool. There’s the obvious stuff like WipEout, Perfect Dark, Jetpac, Colin McRae Rally, Lemmings, Sensible Soccer, Elite, GTA, the Jeff Minter Expanded Universe Of Sick Vector Games, Tom Braider, XCOM, Haze (of course), the illustrious Speedball 2, etc.

Hit me with the deep cuts. The Insert Credit-y deep cuts. Gimme the weird shit. The Good Stuff. Stuff like _Sentinel_.

I think the late Paul Woakes’ Mercenary on Atari 800/C64 is up there with the best British games. I played the ZX Spectrum conversion back in the 80s and I never got anywhere with the story but loved messing around in its weird world.



A couple of Denton Designs games that I used to play:

Shadowfire - an odd but clever real-time adventure RPG with a menu/icon interface. Again, I never progressed much with the story but loved the art and would spend ages just looking at it and messing around.


Cosmic Wartoad:

Utterly bizarre action game that I played so much of but, again, never finished. Denton Design’s art is again polished as heck. There’s even proto-windowing. Denton’s games were always super-polished and ambitious.


@“andrewelmore”#p94079 just gotta say neither GTA nor mega turrican are British!

Hidden cool stuff: tinhead, a sonic-like by some folks who went on to work on uncharted

The early traveller's tales games like galahad

Syndicate (maybe too obvious)

Power drive rally

I make a lot of fun of the British but there's some really solid stuff there. I daresay as much influence as Paradise Killer takes from Japanese games, it takes even more from ambitious Amiga games, weird oc/ps1 experiments, and weirder western rpgs. Also, I think paradise killer counts for this!

@“exodus”#p94103 (spits out tea!) Splutter! Good lord, man! GTA not British? Last time I checked Scotland is still part of Great Britain :joy:Plus, it’s still made in the North of England. Mega Turrican is very German though.

@“Punzai”#p94106 my mistake! I always conflate British and English, which is a common American error. I just want Scotland to be free!!!

The first Crackdown is a hell of a big, goofy playground game. The scope of the game is spot on. Maybe we didn‘t need the race side missions but the world isn’t bogged down with open world stuff and you just get to jump around and choose which targets to go after.

The jumping is not weapons grade good BUT it is idiosyncratic and has quirks to master which what I think is kind of more important.

Scotland should be free. A lot of us English love to ruin as many people's lives as possible so won't allow it though.

@“exodus”#p94116 Well, one day we‘ll actually make our minds up what the hell we’re called here. I live in The United Kingdom (lol), Great Britain & Northern Ireland, and England. All on the British Isles. It's always a fun game to find out which one a website has chosen in a country drop down menu.

@“Punzai”#p94118 What about when it's “United Kingdom” but sorted alphabetically as “GB”

what‘s that weirdly unsettling game that takes place in the forest, is that British? Anyone know what I’m talking about? It's for one of those british computers I think

@“Granola”#p94121 I also have the problem living in London. Is it under London, Greater London, or City of London (which is a separate thing from the city of London)?

@“yeso”#p94127 If it‘s Forbidden Forest you’re thinking of, that's a US game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j86veyiIcS8

Dragontorc and Avalon, on the other hand, are very British and also feature an unsettling forest... I think...

Amaurote by the Pickford brothers is an odd isometric budget game with a weird atmosphere and soundtrack. Was utterly baffling to me as a kid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-M_a4VbuWk

But great music and graphics… and was clearly built on the bones of their earlier Glider Rider game.

Argonaut's Starglider has to count even if it's just because of its Star Fox legacy

@“Punzai”#p94134 yeah that's what I was thinking of ty

I'm not sure it counts as a deep cut, but I have to nominate Elite.

Dave Brabham and Ian Bell worked some gosh darned _magic_ on the limited platforms of the time. I still recall the first time I zoomed out on the galactic map and could not believe they had _all of that stuff_ in this one game



  • - Great Britain is the island (geographical)
  • - England, Scotland, Wales, maybe some other ones I can't retrieve off of the top of my head, are nations situated within the island of Great Britain (geopolitical and cultural borders)
  • - the United Kingdom is the nation state encompassing said countries on the landmass known as Great Britain, but also includes countries on other islands, such as the Isle of Man
  • - Tiocfaidh ár lá
  • don‘t worry I’ve got someone who can clear this right up:


    @“exodus”#p94202 I stand, or perhaps fall to the ground wailing and gnashing my teeth, corrected

    Squint hard enough (until your eyes are almost shut) and you can almost see a little GTA in Fat Worm Blows a Sparky