Avatar ‘Chicken Police: Paint it RED!’ – mini review

“The sun rolled over for the last time of that week. I checked my chagrin; it was sitting on a fence down by the side of the street that I daren’t walk on anymore. The air was crisp and clear, it kissed my cheeks and promised me more than it could ever give. I tipped my hat and headed on my way.

‘Chicken Police’ is exactly how it sounds; it is a video game where you play as Sonny Featherland who is both a policeman and a chicken. These are very important details. Sonny, like all of the characters, has a human body but an animal head. His hands do various non-chicken things like pointing and holding guns. He talks like a character from a detective novel from the 1940’s and looks like a modern day Humphrey Bogart would… if he was a chicken.

At the start of the game you are currently 120 days away from retirement and Sonny has been put on suspension by his hard-hitting police chief. Locked away in his hotel room of an office, he is visited by a mysterious femme fatale who wants him to work a case outside the law for her client. With curiosity gnawing at his mind and nothing much else to do, he recruits his old partner Marty to help him work out just what is happening on New Year’s Eve in the city of Clawville.

‘Chicken Police’ is a very simple point and click adventure game. You won’t find any absurd puzzles here (see ‘the moustache’ from ‘Gabriel Knight III’ or ‘the goat puzzle’ from the original ‘Broken Sword’) as everything is catered to the more casual gamer. You can look at things, pick things up, talk to / ask people questions and eventually interrogate them after a period of time (where you are graded on how quickly and effectively you obtained the information you needed to progress the story). You travel between key locations on the map around the city trying to piece the puzzle together. There is the main plot to follow but you can also visit other places to chat and procure achievements for doing certain things; you know, typical video game fodder.

The visuals are lovely, like a new summer’s morn. All of the locations and characters look almost real despite the aforementioned animal head looking back at you. This is coupled with a moody soundtrack and excellent voice acting by all the main cast. The story is interesting and varied and twists at the right points to lead your expectations into red alleys and dead herrings.

Where it falls down is that it is a little too easy. There are no penalties for failing to ask the right questions (you can even re-do the entire conversation if you want to get a higher rating), you cannot die and when you are trying to assemble the clues into a cohesive structure the game is all too happy to tell you where you are going wrong and nudge you in the right direction. The dialogue is a little clumsy too, where what is being said by the characters doesn’t match the written account at the bottom. There are also numerous instances of double spaces where there shouldn’t be (such an egregious error). Sometimes you’ll ask questions of someone and then press the talk button only to instigate a conversation that was leading up to you asking questions, as if you were supposed to talk first (perhaps even more than once) and then choose to question them. The game doesn’t want to move things along based on what you’ve already done making it a little disjointed.

These are only minor gripes though. For the 5 to 10 hours I spent playing it I enjoyed every moment. It’s more a visual novel with light puzzle sections than anything else. It’s also very funny and I do hope that the developers make a sequel.

‘Chicken Police: Paint it RED!’ is available on Steam, Playstation 4, X Box and Nintendo Switch.

Avatar Fly

Death chases us all. How it follows us at every waking moment, waiting for a mistake or an accident. It lurks in the shadows, it stalks you through your dreams and like two young men on zero hour contracts standing outside Morrisons with clipboards and cheery dispositions, desperate for you to change your energy provider it will never leave you alone.

You would think given how many souls he has now Death would be quite bored with the whole scenario. You really want to throw my bits into the great steaming pot with the billions possibly trillions of others? What do you get from this, Death? Did nobody ever buy you a bike for Christmas? If you’re looking for hobbies, origami is very relaxing (that’s a big lie.)

This is Derek.

Derek in real life

We don’t know if that’s his real name because he’s dead. His body was discovered by me a few weeks ago when I was tidying up. Perched upon a picture frame in Reuben’s bedroom, Derek appears to have had a tiny heart attack. He’s not upside-down or smashed into a magazine smear on the window so it must have been natural.

There he stares, with his staring eyes, out across the field. Was it what he saw that caused the trauma or did it happen suddenly, his little light snuffed out without any word of warning? We will never know. For now let us celebrate the brief life of Derek who, by leaving us so early, left the world with one less fucking fly to deal with.

Avatar Twenty years on

This September we take a moment to pause and look back on a major world event. In September of 2001, Ian and myself helped to found a new country.

Filled with youthful hope for a brighter tomorrow, we joined forces with Chuckie and George, and – deciding that the spirit of the Office would serve as a perfect basis for a nation state – declared independence for a small area of Leeds suburbia. Through a complex system of writing down random letters, we named it Zyurisizia.

Geographically, it faced certain challenges, with its capital city located inside an office in a school building. Most of Zyurisizia’s territory lay across the path between the music block and the sunken playground, and its vast rural hinterland took in the wildlife area, a small field, and a slightly bigger field that we didn’t really go in much.

Moving on from the sixth form in 2002, the four of us bequeathed this fledgling nation to the youth of tomorrow, hoping that it would serve to bring them enlightenment and liberty as it had us, and hoping that one day its boundaries would extend to a worldwide empire where equality, justice and silliness would be shared by all humankind.

Let’s see what became of Zyurisizia in the two decades that followed. Here are the borders of the nation superimposed on modern-day satellite photography.

Satellite imagery © Google. We were unable to source pictures from the Zyurisizian Space Agency for some reason

As you can see, the rapidly developing country has been completely urbanised. It’s delightful to see that the wasteland we left behind has been turned into this sprawling metropolis, known to its inhabitants as “Scholars Gate”, stretching in every direction to meet the borders of the nation. The name of the settlement is a clear indication of a society that prizes education and enlightenment above all else.

One can only assume that the proud citizens of Zyurisizia are continuing to uphold the traditions of free-spiritedness, self-determination, and occasionally writing unsolicited letters to Tony Blair. As a founding father, and a former passport holder of Zyurisizia myself, I could not be more delighted.

Here’s to the bright future of Zyurisizia. If I could remember the national anthem, I’d sing it.

Avatar Further travels with the Pernickety Dickhead

We’ve already discussed, back in February, that I spent a number of years in the early 2000s where my single most prominent personality trait was that I was absolutely insufferable.

It’s not really necessary to go any further to prove that point, but flogging a dead horse is one of the pillars of this blog and its rampant popularity, so flog a dead horse we will. Please enjoy this further example of my absolute arseholery towards innocent people working in customer service jobs, and please also believe me when I say that I am truly sorry for everything I’ve ever done.

Read More: Further travels with the Pernickety Dickhead »

Avatar Slime Mystery

There has been an invasion of my privacy and I want the world to know about it!

In-between running away from cows, I do like to take the time to keep my flat tidy. I had noticed recently that the windows haven’t been cleaned since I moved in almost two years ago so I did make an effort over the Bank Holiday weekend to buff them to a suitable sheen. I also made sure to put all the washing away and clean the dishes although admittedly I half-heartedly hoovered on Monday evening; it needed a charge and I soldiered through regardless.

It’s a level of domesticity that I don’t normally document because it interferes with my macho image. You can’t be seen as a spokesperson for toxic masculinity if you’re too busy wiping down the kitchen tops and dusting the blancmanges (or whatever it is that people dust).

Whence I awoke in the fresh morn though I noticed a familiar sight; over the living room carpet, in and around the sofa and armchair, there was a trail of glistening slime. It’s fragile and tranquil beauty was a wonder to behold, what a marvel indeed. It was also a huge annoyance in the backside given the time I had spent trying to keep the bugger clean.

What is it that keeps messing up my carpet? If David Bellamy was here, and he’s not, something I am very pleased about, he would probably say that it was a small insect, a woodlouse or a spider, that was carrying out some antics during the night when I slept. The faint lines of silver goo were to indicate the presence of my fellow animals, my houseguests, who were happy to live in a steady harmony in that I would be there during the day and they were there to fill their boots during the evening.

I aspire to something else though, an uneasy thought process which could indicate something much more deadlier and much more sinister. What if it isn’t insects scurrying about the place, what if it is English television and radio presenter Andy Crane who has taken to compressing his body into a flat state and living underneath my sofa? He waits in some kind of bizarre chrysalis, a state of hibernation, lying dormant for most of the month but every so often comes out and leaves a long, winding reminder that he is there and he isn’t going anywhere.

What is his reason for being there? How did he get in? Did he fly in when I had the bathroom window open to get some air in? I suppose we’ll never really know. I do, however, try to be considerate when sitting on the living room furniture so as not to damage him if he is there. I would hate to squash the old boy.

Avatar ABOFB 27: Through the Grey Hemisphere

We talked about forming a supergroup formed only of newsreaders, in the process we discuss:

  • All the newsreaders we could remember
  • The “Grey Hemisphere”
  • It all goes pervy
  • Ian’s creative process
A Breath of Fresh Beans
A Breath of Fresh Beans
ABOFB 27: Through the Grey Hemisphere
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