Rock Star Ate My Hamster

aka: Rockstar
Moby ID: 8893

Description

The player takes the role of Cecil Pitt, a wannabe rock star manager. They must choose from 1-4 rock stars (with names such as Tina Turnoff and Wacko Jacko) to manage by viewing their audition tapes. Once the player has chosen their artists then they have to choose what kind of gear to get them - spanking new, second hand, or dodgy. The dodgy gear is dirt cheap but the player might pay for their choice later on in the game.

To make the group a star the player has options such as practicing, publicity stunts, and buying gifts for their stars. Each action choosen advances the calendar by one day. The player has until December to achieve their ultimate aim of superstardom - represented by a line graph which rises or falls depending on the performance of the band's releases.

Once the player's band has recorded their first album the player can choose to release the single and/or the album. The single needs a video to go with it which costs varying amounts of cash depending on which director is chosen to direct it. The player can choose to go for publicity, but this can be risky as there is a chance that one of the rock stars will be in the papers as an ex-rock star who died in any of many strange ways (all that's missing is a 'bizarre gardening accident'). Publicity affects sales directly and also affects the crowds who attend the gigs. The player loses the game if either they run out of money or all of their rock stars die.

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Commodore 64 version)

4 People

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 74% (based on 11 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 22 ratings with 2 reviews)

Half of me says it's brilliant, half of me says it's terrible

The Good
On first play it's extremely funny, as the spoofs of real stars are selected and you make your way towards the top. The charts are often hilarious, with some great band names like 'Dross' (a take on 80s band Bros) and 'Boring Old Gits From the 60s'.

It's nicely presented as well, with the newspaper headlines making for a great distraction, and an obvious take-off of the low-intellect UK tabloid press.

As a budget release it was ideal - amusing throwaway fun. It's one of the games people always hark back to, and for good reason.

The Bad
There's not very much to do, it's too short, and the managerial side of things is extremely superficial, with the game being far too dependent on luck to be taken seriously. Half the time it seems to make little difference what you do as to whether you succeed.

The Bottom Line
A spoof management game, dealing with all the excesses of 80s rock and pop.

Amiga · by Martin Smith (81743) · 2004

A fun and unique simulation of the 1980s music business

The Good
This game is an enjoyable, subtly nuanced satire on what it took to make it big in the UK pop music scene way back in the 1980s. All the worst excesses of the 80s pop music scene are here - pop stars demanding obscene wages and getting embroiled in salacious sex scandals, publicity stunts that spectacularly back-fire, cheap looking music videos made on shoestring budgets, etc. The pop stars are all thinly-veiled spoofs of artists popular at the time, and there is a certain novelty in having Michael Jackson, Lemmy from Motörhead and Morrissey from The Smiths form a super group.

This game deserves the term "simulation" because the level of micro-management is quite impressive - players have complete control over the music and song titles (kind of), which singles and albums are released and when, how awful/expensive the music videos are, which venues the group plays at, how much the artists are paid, and so on.

Once you've picked your star(s) and spent long, gruelling weeks in the studio recording your mega hits, the group then heads out on tour to promote their latest single or album. This gives the player the opportunity to gauge how successful the group is (based on ticket sales) and the weekly singles/albums charts also helps to track your progress. This is one of the more humorous aspects of the game, seeing all the terrible band names and even worse song titles that made it into the top 10. The publicity element adds an important risk/reward factor here, and either too much or too little is not good!

The Bad
Replayability can be an issue once you've mastered it, but this game is by no means a pushover and there is a lot of trial-and-error involved and random elements that keep the game interesting and unpredictable. The game's pace is a little slow at times, and the micro-management can be somewhat repetitive. Also, it would have been nice to have some representation of the music videos that the group makes, as the descriptions are borderline hilarious (leggy models in the shower vs mindnumbingly tedious live footage?) but you never actually see them.

The Bottom Line
Some cultural context is needed to get the most out of this game, because the UK pop music business at the time was full of fly-by-night managers looking to make a quick buck off of their artists and weren't afraid to cut corners or pay their artists peanuts. The UK tabloid press weren't above printing outright lies about celebrities if it helped to sell papers, which allied perfectly with the music business' willingness to get their stars publicised whatever the cost. So, this game is in some ways a satire of both the music industry and the tabloid press.

This game deserves the praise it received at the time for being an inventive, interesting simulation that was fun to play and had a reasonable amount of longevity, and it still holds up well today. The satirical elements of this game are the icing on the cake and this is in many ways a very British take on the genre on all the Best-of-British micros available at the time. If you have the chance, play it.

Amiga · by D D (49) · 2024

Trivia

References

  • "The Stun", a newspaper that appears in the game, is a parody of the popular tabloid paper from the U.K., The Sun.
  • The title of the game is a pun on a famous article that appeared in The Sun on March 13, 1986, titled "FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER".

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 8893
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Neepie Lantern.

ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith.

Additional contributors: HeX-Omen, formercontrib.

Game added April 19, 2003. Last modified October 1, 2023.