Posts Tagged ‘Famous Five’

Hallo and welcome to the eighth and final Famous Five Friday! Gosh, we’ve had some larks. But fear not: while our time with the wholesome fivesome might be coming to a close, you can relive all the magic with the numbered links I’ve added to the top and bottom of each entry, and this spiffing new, easily-navigable home page. So – for one last time – let’s break out the ham rolls and ginger beer and set sail with Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy for grand adventures on, and off, then finally once again on a Treasure Island. Wizard! (more…)

…or, at the very least, might have had second thoughts about recording the entire process. Nevertheless, we are but one week away from revealing Uncle Quentin’s lurid secrets to the world and George’s glorious ascension to middle classdom. Forthwith: our penultimate adventure with the intrepid fivesome. Tally-ho! (more…)

Really, Enid – you’re making this too easy.

So, some slight changes this week. First: if the screenshots look a little different, it’s because I was forced to switch from the VICE emulator to CCS64. Confessedly, I did prefer the former (CCS64 has an awful habit of turning every button on the keyboard into a command at random – particularly problematic in a game that requires you to get by solely on typing) but every time I loaded a save file on VICE, it would freeze whenever I moved to a new area of the game. Consequently, I had to start from the beginning every time I played, and – since I was screwing up with alarming regularity – I couldn’t bear the thought of taking that god-forsaken train journey one more time.

As a result of actually being to save my progress, however, I can exclusively reveal that there is an end in sight (!), making this Famous Five Friday, Part 6 of an eventual 8. I’d actually made enough of those title screens above to take me into double digits, but – for your time and my sanity – that thankfully proved unnecessary.

And now: Five on a Treasure Island…on a treasure island! (more…)

…or not, as our gender-dysmorphic cousin is about to prove! And – on that note – an excerpt from the original novel: “She won’t answer if you call her Georgina,” explained Anne. “She’s awfully queer, I think.”

Oh, Anne: you don’t know the half of it.

Just in case you were wondering what the Five were planning to do with all that treasure.

As is inevitable when reading Enid Blyton at any point after Rosa Park’s fateful bus ride, one soon runs afoul of fairly glaring racism, sexism, classism and most any other –ism you can think of. In this week‘s instalment, we encounter the hired help, Joanna: who – despite being one of a very limited recurring cast across the 21 Famous Five novels – somehow became “Joan” midway through the series. Oh, those little people – so difficult to keep track. Of course, this seems practically gracious when compared to an Elf named Chinky or three “Gollies” whose names have to be seen to be believed. That Enid – what a brick. (more…)

Enid Blyton is – no joke – the only reason I know the difference between a stoat and a weasel (albeit via the Children of Cherry Tree Farm and not the Famous Five). Oh, the shame of it all.

In last week‘s instalment, we witnessed Aunt Fanny’s questionable childminding skills and her struggle to cope with her daughter, George (née Georgina)’s burgeoning lesbianism. This week, she gives us free license to rummage through her possessions, and the game’s limited scope for understanding written commands once again leads us into an endlessly regressive loop. (“Remove the batteries.” “You don’t have the batteries.” You don’t say.) (more…)

Get it? Because they’re both lesbians.

Hallo, and welcome back to Famous Five Friday – where I continue to attempt the impossible in actually finishing a Commodore 64 game, and Aunt Fanny continues to deny that her daughter is tipping the Kinsey Scale.


Like most people whose childhood spanned the late eighties/early nineties, I had a Commodore 64: to this day, the best selling personal computer model of all time. Indeed, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that some of my earliest memories involve my time spent as an anthropomorphised egg, or waiting impossibly long for one of those cassette tapes (yes: tapes) to load, only to receive a message thirty minutes later that the C64 had encountered a ?SYNTAX ERROR forcing me to start the process anew. And yet, despite my entire teenage years into adulthood spent in the service of obsessive completism, I don’t recall ever finishing a single game on the C64. Whether this speaks to the difficulty level of games then vs. now, or whether I was – at six years old – simply unfit to meet the 8-bit challenge, I can’t say; but the fact remains that I was never able to make a single one of those tapes run to its horribly-rendered conclusion.

The most egregious offender by far remains, to my mind, the text-based “adventure”, Five on a Treasure Island. The game tasked you with leading Enid Blyton’s intrepid, prepubescent explorers on a jolly ripping adventure through coastal England; with lashings of ginger beer and coding so poor that it took no less than ten attempts before one chanced upon the one, hyper-specific phrase that would allow the children to disembark from a train in the opening scene. We’re talking Mario Teaches Typing-levels of excitement here. Whilst the game did provide unintentional hilarity in allowing you to beat your siblings (“Ouch! That’s a bit off!”) or reprimanding the use of bad language in an otherwise “wholesome adventure”, it also presented a challenge so impossible that neither my brother nor I ever made it onto that god-forsaken island, but rather were left to wander the streets of Kirrin Village for all eternity.

But now – armed with two decades of gaming knowledge and the somewhat embarrassing admission that I actually went through a Famous Five phase at some misguided point in my youth and know generally how the story is supposed to play out – I’ve decided to set sail once more for Treasure Island. Will I succeed? Will I ever escape Aunt Fanny’s seaside home? Will I even make it off the train or will Julian, Dick and Anne be left in that first-class carriage to murder one another Battle Royale-style for the last remaining sandwich?

Join me each Friday for jolly japes and a gay old time with the Famous Five!