Transistor Blast

17 February 1997

Transistor Blast was a computer adventure game I wrote (well, half-completed) that revolved around the songs of XTC. It was done around 1989 and features the characters of Sunny Jim and The Scissor Man. In a plot part Piers Anthony, part Yellow Submarine, you played Sunny Jim, hurled by the evil Liarbirds into a hanging tapestry (Nihilon) from which you had to escape, bringing the power of great music back to the world. You were hampered in your efforts by the persistent "Scissorman" who chased you through the tapestry, cutting the threads out from under you at opportune moments. Your only weapon was your music machine, which you had to assemble from parts stored around the tapestry world, and then load with music tapes each of which would defeat a certain enemy or obstacle - Great Fire defeated the Scarecrow People, Mermaid Smiled caused the Shark In The Pool go docile, etc. Parts and tapes were acquired by the means of solving puzzles. Can you tell that I was miles away from my girlfriend for most of that year?

I also had (none too subtle) songs chosen to get past the situations listed below, I challenge you all to guess what the songs were (All songs were prior to 1990, and were drawn from the available albums and singles, as well as a list of known recordings in a discography from Limelight which included demos and Helium Kidz tracks). I'll award one point for a correct (the same as mine) answer, and half a point if your suggestion is a workable alternative. Best score (if anyone can be bothered) will be awarded with a special "Braniac's Daughter/Son" mention on Bungalow.

  1. You reach a section of the tapestry which is girdled with roads. The great lumbering juggernaut that is Mother Motor runs you down whenever you try to cross. What song do you need in your player?
  2. The Somnabulist is walking up and down a narrow corridor blocking your exit into the Outside World. You reach into your pocket and pull out which tape?
  3. Your way is blocked by a huge machine which knocks you like a peg into a hole when you try to pass underneath it. Which tune? (Tricky this, I admit)
  4. You are lost in a desert. A plane goes over but it can't see you. How do you attract its attention?
  5. There is a table with three tapes on, you know you'll need them but they are guarded by the Mole From The Ministry who peers menacingly at you through his shades. What will get him running?
  6. The Human Alchemist wouldn't let you pass until you'd helped him with his experiments? Which tune?
  7. You are in the Sargasso Bar. The sign has been attacked by vandals and now reads Brass Or A Gas. The bar keeper will let you pick a couple of tapes out of the jukebox if you can help him put the sign right. How?

Send your answers to Simon Sleightholm.

Groove is in the heart,


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Simon is the author of Bungalow, and a regular contributor to Chalkhills