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Northern Ireland boasts many excellent things; the Giant's Causeway, Narnia (AKA the Mountains of Mourne), Lieutenant Colonel "Paddy" Mayne of the SAS, Kenneth Branagh, Sir James Galway, Phil Coulter, Liam Neeson, time travelling cars, Bushmills whiskey, Tayto crisps and many others.

However, it has never been noted as a prolific producer of computer games. Indeed, a recent BBC report about Dave Perry quotes the Northern Irish programmer as saying that "That was the problem back then, there was no-one offering me any jobs in Belfast. There were no companies that did this, so there was no option but to go elsewhere."

There was at least one company creating games in Belfast in the early 1990s. Genesis Software consisted of Dave Clarke, Jonathan Smyth (now Temples) and Ashley Hogg and was based in an office in the capital. Genesis created a number of games for Codemasters, including Spike In Transylvania, CJ's Elephant Antics and CJ in the USA on the Amiga.

Genesis also created a Commodore 64 game called Nobby the Aardvark for Thalamus which was a highly regarded platformer with excellent graphics that pushed the 8-bit machine's capabilities:

Gamebase 64
Lemon 64

An Amiga version of Nobby the Aardvark was in progress but unlike the C64 version it was never finished and remained about half complete. However, this didn't stop two magazines, Amiga Games and Amiga Mania, from reviewing the game!

Amiga Games review
Amiga Mania review

Ash possessed what were likely to be the last two disks containing two versions of Nobby the Aardvark. Upon receiving these two disks Amiga Games That Weren't created raw images using the Software Preservation Society's tool and sent them for analysis. SPS's disk guru István Fábián checked the two raw images and found that one was beyond recovery. The other disk, labelled a "Work Disk" contains an incomplete four level version of Nobby the Aardvark. This is the version downloadable from Amiga Games That Weren't. There are several issues to be aware of:

Level 1 (America, 1951 AD)

This level has a train and track at the top, where Nobby should be able to use the train (a mine cart on the C64 version) to travel through the tunnel and on to a balloon to exit the level. Nobby can collect an oil can but there doesn't seem to be a way to use it with the train. The train will only move backwards when the joystick is waggled. It's likely that the oil needs to be used to move the train forwards but that there is a bug which prevents it.

Some keys:

F9 = show Nobby's coordinates
Del = Block Collision Editor
Help [Page Down in WinUAE] = Object List Editor

Level 2 (Skyworld, 1951 AD)

Nobby navigates the level in a balloon and can collect a jar of hornets. The level can be exited after a bird inconsiderately pops Nobby's balloon and causes him to fall into the water.

Level 3 (Underwater)

This is a vertical level set underwater. Nobby dives to the bottom of the ocean, avoiding sharks and octopuses. Once at the bottom Nobby travels through a cave in a submarine.

Level 4 (Submarine)

The cave was a timewarp and Nobby is travelling along the ocean bed in the submarine. This is a first person/cockpit level with zooming sprites.

Level 5 (Atlantis City)

During the loading of this level the game crashes and seems to be incomplete beyond this.


Many thanks to Andy Roberts, who owns the rights to the Thalamus back catalogue, for his permission to allow Amiga Games That Weren't to host the Nobby disk.

Game unreleased
Disks: 1
Players: 1 max, 1 sim
Licence: Commercial
Languages: English, French, German
Developer: Genesis (UK)
Publisher: Thalamus

Genre: Platform - Uncategorised
Programming:Ashley Hogg
Misc:Jonathan Smyth (Jonathan Temples), Ashley Hogg, David Clarke

Nobby The Aardvark

Lore Score: None