There are probably very few readers who recognise Gilbert, the slimy (snotty) green alien who appeared in the UK’s Get Fresh TV show. Gilbert and co-presenter “Gaz Top” were a regular feature of my Saturday mornings for a few years but my memories of these two odd-balls are not as fond as they could be.
I did genuinely enjoy watching Gilbert travel around the country in his “Millennium Dustbin” spaceship, not least because it featured The Centurions (Power Xtreme!) and a cool section where callers to the show could play Amiga videogame classic Xenon LIVE on air – seriously, hearing people shouting LEFT, RIGHT, SHOOT down a telephone was as good as TV could be back then :)
So if my young mind thought the TV show was good, why the sad face? We can thank a ZX Spectrum game for that, the horrendous Escape from Drill. For a brief time in my youth I owned one of Sinclair’s marvellous machines, and some part of me thought that the Gilbert game looked like a fun addition to my collection. It was not. Take a look at his walk-through and let me know if you see anything ‘fun’…
Ignoring the usual failings of the Spectrum’s limited hardware, playing this game was an exercise in drudgery which tasked you with finding missing parts of your spaceship in numerous rooms and by playing a few single screen arcade games. I recall the mini-games were a highlight, despite being simplistic clones of Space Invaders, Light Cycles and Arkanoid. Wandering through a dozen screens, firing snot at bad guys and being rewarded by 2 minutes of a TRON-a-like is not the makings of a great game. You would hope that completing the challenge of the mini-game would provide the player with progression but Escape from Drill’s prize was a ‘clue’ for a ship part which you’d then need to go and hunt for… Oh, Gilbert…
The one highlight of this crime against videogames was the rather lovely art in the magazine advert and box-art. Take a better look at the magazine scan over at Atari Mania.
I think the best way to remember Gilbert is to watch him on Get Fresh, in all his snotty glory:
If reading about Get Fresh has inspired happy memories with you, perhaps you’d like to catch my earlier post about No. 73?!