Ghettoblaster was a video game for the Commodore 64 that came out in 1985.

You controlled Rockin' Rodney on his quest to get demo tapes out to the world at large in order to secure his position at Interdisc, the local record label. In order to do this, first you must find the tapes and then, by playing them in your 'blaster, make enough of locals get down and boogie in order to prove their worth.

Of course, this wouldn't be an interesting game if it were that easy. First of all, your 'blaster needs batteries, and the louder you play, the faster the batteries run out. You have unlimited money, but battery stores are rare.

The city itself is kind of funky. The streets are all named after popular songs; you can walk from Positively 4th Street to Electric Avenue on your journey. Every time you enter a building you get a line from a song: "Hit The Road Jack", etc. Some doors won't let you in at all, saying "I Hear You Knocking, But You Can't Come In". The doors you're looking for are flashing; behind those doors is where you find the coveted demo tapes.

And then there are the locals. The pedestrians are all easy to convert to your beat by zapping them with notes from your box. But not everyone on the street is harmless...

The enemies range from bad to totally bogus. Your main enemy to start out with is the Psycho Killer, who will chase you until you manage to duck into a door. If he catches you, he'll pound you while singing the Talking Heads song for which he was named, and it's game over.

Another starting enemy is the Tone Deaf Walker, who will chase you and smash your 'blaster so you need to get it repaired. Later on, the Walker gets more violent and will kill you if you're playing music near him, and he'll occasionally travel in packs.

There are also rival DJs who will walk past you and nick your tape, forcing you to find another flashing door; groupies who will love you to death; cops who will turn off your 'blaster if it's too loud and brutalize you if it's turned up to max; and besides these and other enemies, the record company will occasionally reject your offering, requiring you to find a new tape and start again.

There are some good things: if you're near the local inn when they put out an ad for a DJ, you can play your tape there and get a lot of people dancing. There are occasional house parties announced, and you may luck in on it by ducking through the nearest door. And there's the guy you'll always be looking for:

Jumpin' Jack Flash.

This guy wears a big floppy 'Cat in the Hat' hat, and will run from you when he sees you. But you want to catch him, because if you do, he'll take you where you need to be: either by a tape door or back to the HQ to drop off your tape.

Every time you successfully drop off a tape, the game gets harder with new enemies thrown in. You're given 999 units of time to hand in 10 tapes. Also, every time you hand in a tape, the number of people that have to get down goes up, and if you get too many people dancing, then you have to get even more next time.

One of the stranger features of the game is that you can change the color of the characters from a dark brown to a pale pink depending on your mood and what race you want to play as.

This game is available (with dubious legality) from most of the C64 emulation sites. It's worth picking up; the gameplay is somewhat addictive and the songs are funky (for the Commodore, anyway).

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