The Nineties, as we know, was a bizarre shitstorm of a decade. Dolly the cloned sheep, the blood pouring from everyone’s faucets that heralded the birth of Justin effin’ Bieber, Will Smith’s craptacularly garish, eye-melting wardrobe from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air… All of these abominations from the depths of the Devil’s dick were thrust upon us at this time. (As was mildly-humorous-yet-primarily-Lifetime TV-fare Friends).
What else did we learn in the years before the internet became renowned for its deft mix of porn and bastard spammers attempting to sell us viagra and/or dick extensions? We learned what angry assholes worms are, that’s what.
In 1995, the first iteration of the Worms franchise was born. There’s surely no introduction necessary here, but we’ll provide one for those tribe dudes dwelling in obscure rainforest settlements in the Amazon (because, naturellement, all those guys have internet access). Team 17‘s much-ballyhooed franchise is a turn-based strategy affair, in which you command a squad of intrepid invertebrates armed with bazookas, dynamite sticks, uzis and an array of pointed implements you wouldn’t want to have brandished at your gonads besides. In a rather sparse, scant arena, each combatant is given a turn to attack -with whichever demise-dealing tool they choose- before the opposing team takes their shot. When one team’s warriors’ HP has been depleted, they lose.
Worms was ludicrously compulsive almost two decades ago. As is our wont with any game of the era, we can excuse the fact that it looks about as attractive as a buffalo’s bollocks; graphical wonderment was a fanciful idea in the Nineties. What Worms did provide (and continues to) is an accessible and amusing strategic experience that offered subtly nuanced deeper play for connoisseurs. Utilizing the current wind level and direction -which would influence the trajectory of certain projectiles- to perfectly pinpoint the eyeballs of a foe from right across the goddamn map is a remarkable skill indeed. Some mad bastards could shoot a bullet up a fly’s asshole from four miles away, demonstrating skills that were presumably dubbed ‘righteous’ by dudes in hideous fluorescent leisurewear (it being the mid-Nineties and all).
The series’ madcap, slapstick humor and personality among its anthropomorphic warriors wasn’t yet fully realized (see the likes of 1999‘s Worms Armageddon and its myriad of comedy accents, preposterous clothing accessories and huge, endearing sprites for that), but there can be no doubt that Worms was the start of a phenomenon. These squelching little bastards may have rather outstayed their welcome since, with more re-releases and spin offs than you could shake your rapidly-wearing-with-this-dead-horse-flogging middle finger at, but there’s no entry in the genre that inspires such nostalgic joy.
Is there an electronic device in the cosmos that DOESN’T run this game, in some form or another? There is not. We were playing on Grandpa Egotastic’s pacemaker just yesterday. The nurse’s death-glares of death suggested that they disapproved of our shenanigans, but the fact remains.
Here, for your delectation, is a little footage of the game, fresh from 1995: