Pud Pud In Weird World

Why would you stuff flies into Pacman?

Pud Pud is a game where you have to collect hidden puddings whilst avoiding your wife. The puddings are tasty, your wife is deadly. If your wife kisses you, you die. Who hid the puddings? Nobody knows. Why is your wife trying to kill you? Nobody knows. Why does eating the puddings before the wife kills you mean you’ve done really well? Nobody knows.

This is the sort of videogame plot I adore.

We’ve got the technology to be weird and out there

I mean, really, who cares about a bald space marine who has stumbled upon an interstellar station where aliens have taken over and are trying to eat your face so you best stamp on theirs before they take over Earth when you can do things like this? Why don’t we spend more time doing things like this now? We’ve got the technology to be weird and out there but we rarely are at scale. Imagine how much better Half Life 3 would be if Valve announced that after Eli Vance got stabbed up by aliens, Gordon Freeman had to go and collect ten hidden puddings whilst avoiding the deadly kiss of Alyx. I don’t know where we could fit Dog into this but I bet we could and it’d be amazing. Maybe dog *is* the pudding, I don’t know.

Maybe this is the very thing that’s holding up the development of Half Life 3. Maybe Valve are struggling to work out where to hide the puddings. I’d like that to be true. Please be true.

It’s not just the plot of Pud Pud I adore though. It’s a bright, bold videogamey-videogame and although you wouldn’t know from looking at it now, those massive sprites that litter the place were quite the impressive thing. I mean, it’s hard to imagine now a time where graphics just being big was a fairly impressive thing but there we go. I’m old enough to remember when graphics that just looked like a thing were impressive enough, never mind. And don’t get me started on 3d. Blimey.

Why don’t we spend more time doing things like this now?

I also appreciate that whilst it’s doing that unfair random spawning thing that so many 8 bit games baked into their design, it at least tries to address the unfairness by having some creatures it’s safe for Pud Pud to eat. Flies, mainly. I’m not sure what’s with Pud Pud and flies but when you lose a life, 4 of them fly out from his innards as his heart deflates. You know, it happens. I knew some dude who had an uncle who died of four flies leaving his body as his heart deflated. His wife cried for six weeks solid until she died of a lack of salt. It’s a funny old world like that.

Anyway, where was I? Yeah, rather than just rely on the random placement of extra lives as most games tended towards at the time, you have all these different creatures that pop up and by having a bit of a taste test early on you can work out which ones take a chunk of energy away and which ones don’t. Of course, in some ways it’s kind of redundant because leaving the screen resets the spawns so you can technically cheat a fair bit by design but the maze is large enough that you might not find all your puddings without snacking inbetween. It’s every lunch hour ever, basically.

It’s every lunch hour ever, basically.

But my favourite thing of all in it is the transitions. These massive blocks of colour filling the screen to create an almost-Robotron sort of effect. They just look so good and it’s not just that the transitions are great (they are great) but that they’re there in the first place. It might be a small, silly game but if you ever wanted to talk about what a lot of indie developers now term “juicing” a videogame, Pud Pud is a great early example of making something from not a lot.

And, obviously, it’s a game about a flying pac-man filled with flies. That’s worth something, yeah?