Skannerz TV (Plug & Play TV Game)

HiScore TV // December 2006 – August 2007

Of the three published Radica games I worked on, Skannerz TV was my favourite by far.

Not only was the game clever, colourful and fun, development was handled by the Infinite Lives boys – aka Steve Rowland, Robin Ellis and John Rowland, three of the nicest and most talented people you could hope to meet. They performed miracles with the primitive hardware and squeezed 80 monsters (each fully animated in eight directions and with unique attacks) as well as three landscape tilesets into a miserly 2MB ROM.

Skannerz TV was the fourth release in Radica’s series of Skannerz products. Previous products had been portable handheld devices that let the player ‘capture’ hidden alien monsters by scanning barcodes, and then send them into battle with other players by linking devices.

However, Skannerz TV was a little more advanced. Now, after a hard day collecting monsters with the portable scanner, you could then plug it into a hub unit and see your bestiary come to life on TV. In addition, you could select a team of monsters and send them into battle against the CPU or other players.

These battles were inspired by the old 8-bit classic Archon: each player took it in turn to move their monsters around a grid-like playfield, and when one beast attacked another the players took direct control of them in arcade-style arena duels.

The game offered five battle variants, including Armageddon (destroy all enemy monsters), Infected (tag) and Conquer (kill the ‘king’), and three different landscape types, each with their own unique hazards. Furthermore, victorious creatures earned experience points and improved their stats, eventually ‘evolving’ into more lethal forms.

All in all, Skannerz TV was a great game with a lot of depth and richness, and one that I’m very proud of.

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When two monsters meet, a one-on-one arcade-style battle commences.