1995 – Worms


Developer(s) Team17
Publisher(s) Ocean Software
Designer(s) Andy Davidson
Series Worms
Platform(s) Amiga, CD32, Game Boy, Mega Drive, Jaguar, Mac, PC(DOS), PlayStation, Saturn, SNES
Release date(s) Amiga, CD32, Game Boy & Mac EU 1995

Mega Drive EU June 1, 1995

PC (DOS) NA October 31, 1995 (Retail) EU 1995 NA October 19, 2011 (Steam)
PlayStation NA 1995 EU December 1995 JP February 28, 1997
SNES EU September 29, 1996

Saturn NA 1997 EU 1997 JP March 14, 1997
Jaguar NA 1998

Genre(s) Artillery, Strategy
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer


Joel:  There are few things more satisfying than sniping your opponent from the furthest reaches of the map using a shotgun of all things. Maybe an airstrike to a fully occupied bridge… Tough call.

I got my first “proper” PC in late ’96 thanks largely to my late Nan and one of the first games to go onto it was Worms (Liam’s copy, I might add.) I was already pretty decent at it, having whiled away many a hot summer’s day at Liam’s, ninja roping about the place and sending off exploding sheep left and right…

If you haven’t played Worms you would be quite justified in wondering what I’m on about, but then if you haven’t played Worms, in one form or another, I would be surprised to find you reading this. But just in case you haven’t and you are, let me briefly explain the concepts.

You start out with a team of four worms and a completely customisable arsenal of weapons ranging from grenades and shotguns to exploding sheep and banana bombs. Upto 4 teams of four worms will compete on a randomly generated environment which includes water hazards, bridges, edge boundaries and fully destructible terrain. Play commences and you basically blow the bejesus out of each other until there remains only one team. Usually only one worm in fact. You can take a variety of approaches – there are available a selection of tools which allow you to hole up in the terrain – jackhammers, blow torches, girders – or you can go for the far more fun all-out assault style, carpet-bombing the entire map with exploding bananas. An effectively infinite selection of environments are available, with differing physics and random placement of worms making this a game you can come back to time and time again.

This one could go either way. Really. If you tally up every game of worms we’ve ever played, I should think Liam would probably have the edge but not by a lot. I’m going to enjoy this game immensely. By the time this comes up, we are going to be getting into the 12th hour of the marathon, I can’t imagine this is going to be pretty – I suspect brute force and ignorance is going to be the most prevalent tactic, which leans this towards Liam. To quote a popular TV series of the era “Place Bets NOW!”

Liam: Like many of the games on this list – this game is better on the PC. No question. The premise of the game is you have a team of four invertebrates with chirpy voices who wage war against other 4 worm teams in a winner takes all deathmatch. The weapons on offer range from the (relatively) mundane like Uzis, Grenades and Bazookas to the ridiculously sublime like exploding sheep and banana bombs, and in later versions concrete donkeys, exploding grannies and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

Many of the most effective weapons are explosive, with the best way to kill a worm being to either catapult them out of the bounds of the game or, by potentially destroying the landscape, knock them into the water at the bottom of every map. Strewn across the map are landmines which explode on proximity to a worm, which can lead to a generally incontrollable domino effect from your initial shot with the danger of destroying your own team. When throwing around inaccurate shots to try and luck yourself into a kill – friendly fire is a major concern.

A downside of the game is through the use of various defensive tools such as digging tunnels through the landscape or erecting steel girders to block incoming shots, you can barricade yourself away from harm. This defensive approach leaves you protected from enemy shots but can drag the game out into a dull stalemate where no worm is able to fire on another. In Joel’s defence he doesn’t tend to play like this – but I guarantee if either of us starts losing heavily and turtling becomes the best tactic we would both employ this approach without any second thought. I will go out on a limb and say I have the advantage here – not because I am a better player – but because I know that Joel will be spending all his time lining up the perfect shotgun kill while I rain havoc on his team.

We are going to offer the ability to ‘adopt a worm’. That means for a small donation you get to name one of the 8 worms we will be using, we will keep you updated on his welfare and statistics and you will receive an ‘I adopted a worm for the 30in30Marathon’poster you can proudly display to your friends and colleagues!

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