Greatest game failures: 1984's Bandersnatch


Oh Shenmue, Daikatana, and Bandersnatch... how much massive damage you've caused.

What do the three games have in common? They are among a few infamous games that drained their publishers to the brink of nonexistence, each in their own decade. In this ongoing series we'll revisit a painful spotlight on video games that brought financial wreckage to their publishers, starting with Bandersnatch for the ZX Spectrum which probably should have failed out of principle for its name alone.

Did you ever catch that '90s dot-com angst movie Startup.com? The egos and fashion sensibilities were a little different in the '80s, but you'll find a lot of the same excitement, ambition, greed, and utter disregard for feasibility in this lengthy BBC television program. The 30-minute video follows the Imagine team in the midst of their meanderings: a young company fascinated with dispensing large amounts of cardboard and building the most intricate video game ever invented: Bandersnatch.

"The game was to come in an A4 sized box containing around 30 'goodies' including a required additional piece of hardware for your Spectrum computer. The retail price of Bandersnatch was expected to be around $50 and it was to be a completely new concept in computer games. Apparently 10 professional artists were working on the graphics alone."

As you know, Bandersnatch was never released... and that's probably for the best. On July 1984, Imagine went bust after only 18 months of operation. Later that year, ex-Imagine director Ian Hetherington started a new company of adventure game fame Psygnosis.

History has a way of repeating itself. So who's down this path today?

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Niero Gonzalez
Niero GonzalezMeat Vessel   gamer profile

I keep Destructoid weird. Also I'm a playable character in Retro City Rampage, look: (along with the whole 2009 Dtoid Editorial team) Sometimes I have a villainous mustache My dog CoCo chec... more + disclosures



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