• Graeme Mason

The Kids Are Alright

Throughout Antstream Arcade’s 1200+ videogames, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. And while they may lack the experience and size of adults, there’s a whole playground full of energetic and valiant kids who are stepping up and doing their bit. These are the super kids of Antstream Arcade, and yes, we even have Superkid himself!


Kid: Eric

Game: Skool Daze

Format: ZX Spectrum

Let’s begin with a miscreant. Eric’s been a naughty young chap. Having dodged work and annoyed teachers throughout the school year, a damning term report is locked away inside the headmaster’s safe. There’s only one thing for it: stun all the teachers with his catapult so they dazedly reveal part of the combination, get the report and doctor it to show Eric as a model student. Easy peasy.


Kid: Jack

Game: Jack The Nipper

Format: C64, ZX Spectrum

Jack’s another 8-bit kid, and he makes Eric look like Mother Teresa. Keen to break the world record for naughtiness – logged on his naughtyometer – Jack uses his pea-shooter to annoy his family while combining items to create mayhem around his town. Whether it’s sticking the gums together in the false teeth factory or petrifying a poor moggy with a horn, there’s lots of mischief for this nipper to embrace!


Kid: Tom Essex

Game: Superkid

Format: C64, ZX Spectrum

It is the year 2089 and young Tom Essex, an unremarkable sort of kid, wanders into the laboratory of his scientist uncle, Professor Ian Stein. Inadvertently gulping down a whole bottle of secret formula – well it did look like lemonade! – the liquid transforms Tom into Superkid, valiant hero of New York, ready to protect innocent citizens from the gang menace.


Kid: Bitmap Kid

Game: Magic Pockets

Format: Commodore Amiga

Developed by the Bitmap Brothers, Magic Pockets stars a lad called simply The Bitmap Kid, owner of a magical pair of trousers. Bitmap Kid’s strides house the eponymous pockets, able to hide away an infinite number of toys. Unfortunately a strange band of creatures also live inside Bitmap Kid’s pockets and have stolen the lot. Time to jump in and retrieve your stuff!


Kid: Red Baron

Game: Skykid

Format: Arcade

War is colourful and fun in this 1985 arcade shooter from Namco. Dropping into the crimson bi-plane, this juvenile Red Baron flies across the battlefield, shooting down enemy planes before collecting a bomb and dropping it on an important enemy target. Fortunately this ace kid has stacks of piloting skills which will come in handy across Skykid’s frenzied levels.


Kid: Slightly

Game: Slightly Magic

Format: C64, ZX Spectrum and Commodore Amiga

As with Tom Essex, AKA Superkid, Slightly has a notable uncle in the famous wizard Bigwiz. But Bigwiz is a forgetful sort of fellow and has only gone and hastily departed from the castle without locking it behind him. Even worse, he’s forgotten his spare wand and his nephew Slightly. It isn’t long before the spell cabinet is knocked over, spreading magical mayhem everywhere. Can Slightly get things back to normal before his uncle returns?


Kid: Billy

Game: Videokid

Format: Commodore Amiga

The young hero of this game is Billy, television addict and couch potato. One day, Billy’s father brings home a new video recorder and a fresh bunch of cassettes. The lad is thrilled, but this is no ordinary VHS machine: soon the TV sucks Billy in and he must battle across five diverse worlds in order to get back to reality. Throughout Medieval, Western, Science Fiction, Gangster and, gulp, Horror world, Billy will encounter hordes of enemies. Luckily, there are plenty of power ups for Billy to take advantage of, from missiles to flamethrowers and a powerful laser. This wasn’t quite what this kid thought being on TV would be like!


Kid: Wizkid

Game: Wizkid

Format: Commodore Amiga

Our next youngster is Sensible Software’s Wizkid, son of Wiz, star of the previous game, Wizball. The evil mouse wizard Zark is up to his old tricks again and has kidnapped Wiz along with his cat Nifta and her eight kittens. Throughout the crazy, colourful levels, Wizkid pushes, juggles and manipulates blocks in order to eliminate the minions of Zark. Can you reach the evil mouse wizard’s castle and free your family?


Kid: Superkid

Game: Superkid In Space

Format: C64, ZX Spectrum

Superkid is BACK! Having saved New York from organised crime in the first game, the young superhero is now facing a threat to all of humankind. Alien forces have surrounded the Earth and are preparing to invade. With the help of his super-intelligent uncle, Professor Ian Stein, Superkid jets off to the enemy planet-ships in search of the nuclear detonators that will help him destroy the alien menace.


Kid: Ling Ling

Game: Magic Girl Format: Mega Drive

The adolescent star of this Sega Mega Drive game from 1993 is teenage witch Ling Ling. Flying up each level, Ling Ling is seeking revenge for the destruction of her hometown by the dastardly monsters from beyond the Black Hole. This is one girl they really shouldn’t have messed with!


Kid: Naughty Boy

Game: Naughty Boy

Format: Arcade

It’s not quite clear why Naughty Boy has acquired his moniker beyond the fact he chucks rocks around with a gleeful lack of concern for the safety of others. Maybe it’s because he uses those heavy lumps to destroy trees and the various buildings he encounters? With dragons, goblins and worse waiting for this cheeky fellow, he’ll need all those rocks and more if he’s to get out of this sticky situation alive!


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