It's like Dennis the Menace if it were utterly confusing and unclear...
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I'm Gaming Jay: Youtube gamer, let's player, fan of retro games, and determined optimist... Join me in this series while I try out EACH of the video games in the book 1001 VIDEO GAMES YOU MUST PLAY BEFORE YOU DIE, before I die. The game review for each game will focus on the question of whether you MUST play this game before you die. But to be honest, the game review parts are just for fun, and are not meant to be definitive, in depth reviews; this series is more about the YouTube gamer journey itself. From Mario games to the Halo series, from arcade games to Commodore 64, PC games to the NES and Sega Genesis, Playstation to the Xbox, let's play those classic retro games that we grew up with, have fond memories of, or heard of but never got a chance to try! And with that said, the game review for today is...
Developer(s) David Reidy and Helen Reidy
Platform(s) ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64
On paper, the idea for this game sounds pretty awesome. Skool Daze has you take the role of a trouble making student who has to navigate through a school in an attempt to cause mayhem and trouble. You get in fights with other students, have to avoid getting caught for skipping class by teachers, and ultimately solve some kind of weird puzzle involving school crests (as, you know, all trouble makers in school must do).
I really did like the idea behind Skool Daze. And the game does have some neat retro-graphics for its time to represent the school yard hi-jinx. However, past that, I had some problems with this game. First off the controls were convoluted and confusing. I can't criticize the game too much for this though, as most older computer games from this era, especially ZX Spectrum games for some reason, seem to have very counter intuitive control schemes and use an odd arrangement of buttons. But getting past the controls, the game itself is quite confusing. I was looking forward to cause trouble with my slingshot and skipping classes, but its easier said than done. It was hard to navigate through the environment, easy to get caught for things, and confusing about which class you actually needed to go to.
In the end, it's possible that with enough time and experience, all these issues would've faded away and Skool Daze might have gotten fun. But all that means is it has a very steep learning curve. And so in the end I wouldn't recommend this as a game to play. If you're interested in the concept for Skool Daze you may instead want to check out Rockstar's Bully, which seems to be a modern reimagining of the game in some respects.
➙ Must You Play It?
A game about school yard hijinx and being a bad student, it actually was quite ambitious for its time and offered some unique and complex gameplay... in theory at least. The actual game is quite confusing and very difficult to control. For ZX Spectrum fans this might be a game to try, but for everyone else I'd say skip it. At the end of the day, much like school itself, Skool Daze just wasn't that fun.