back to article Earthworm Jim

I can’t think of one person I’ve met who didn’t enjoy the run and gun fun of Earthworm Jim. Released in 1994 on both the Super Nintendo and Sega Megadrive (Genesis) it made my eyes pop. The graphics were revolutionary (and surreal) and it’s certainly one of the most popular platform games ever made. It went on to spawn a cartoon …


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  1. Piro

    I even remember the manual fondly

    For the SNES, at least, it used to say the X button turned on the porch light in someone's house somewhere because it did nothing. They definitely put a lot of imagination into this game, and as you say, creating something that's not only different, but worth playing, is something to be lauded.

  2. jake Silver badge

    This is getting boring.

    The last computer game I played was "hunt the wumpus", in roughly 1975 (V6 unix?).

    Everything after that demonstrated (to me, anyway) what a total fucking waste of time computer gaming is. Honestly, kids ... get a life.

    1. Piro

      Re: This is getting boring.

      Says the man wasting his time angrily pushing buttons on a keyboard (during work hours for me, don't know about you). That's clearly a much better use of time than doing something you enjoy.

      You have such mighty insight.

    2. LaeMing

      Re: This is getting boring.

      And what, prey tell, Mr Jake, is so important in your life that will be remembered 5 years after you die that your life is worth the energy it requires to maintain that wet salty bag of joyless entropy you slob in front of your screen on an internet forum in?

      I am not at all into games, but I am happy for those who are to enjoy whatever harmless recreation gives them pleasure.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is getting boring.

      I'm sorry Jake but you are so very wrong.

      My son was doing his history homework last night on WW2, and being a boy chose weaponry of WW2.

      Due to my hours playing Day of Defeat, and Air Attack (now released as Storm Raiders in iPad) I could explain all the different guns and air planes, the history behind their creation and issues with their operation from simulated first hand operation. Like the M1 end of clip ping sound which would alert the enemy that you had just used your last round or the devastating Hawker Hurricane armament over the Spitfires.

      Shame you haven’t played a game since 1975 – you have missed out on a great deal of enjoyment as the technology has moved on since then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is getting boring.

        Gaming does give a base level of certain knowledge that can be relied upon, I can recognise plenty of weaponry by silouette alone but the handling isn't usually very accurate. For example in World War 2 is was said it wasn't worth firing a Thompson unless there was a group and it was closer than 50 yards as there were occasions where you'd just miss completely. My Grandfather on my Dads side used to help train members of the Norwegian Resistance in the War and he said that the Bren gun was far too accurate for a machine gun designed for suppressing fire, something that doesn't really show up in games either.

        One interesting thing about gamers though is apparently we have very quick decision making processes, faster and as accurate as non gamers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is getting boring. - Bren Guns

          When ah were a lad we were told the same thing about Brens

          Told that the usual fix was to ding the barrel with a hammer to make it spray the bullets a bit or to use an older barrel.

          They fixed that later on though

          1. Elmer Phud

            Re: This is getting boring. - Bren Guns

            Apparently - or so I was told by a gunnery instructor in 1960 something - it was possible to keep it steady on a tripod and get really tight grouping on a target 100 yards away.

    4. Valeyard
      Paris Hilton

      Re: This is getting boring.

      Last game: 1975

      Last sexual encounter: TBC

      1. Jedit

        "Last sexual encounter: TBC"

        You meant "N/A".

    5. David Given

      Re: This is getting boring.

      You should play Andrew Plotkin's seminal remake, Hunter, in Darkness:

      (Press SPACE to get past the title screen --- it's not obvious.)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Rise of the Neo-Luddites

      jake strikes again

      Why did you even open this article? Did the title make you think you would get some farming tips?

    7. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: This is getting boring.

      I was about to downvote then realised I play Minecraft >_<

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Actually I think it's quite interesting

        Especially all the comments about games I've never played.

        What's boring is not looking outside your own front door.

    8. Martin Lyne

      Re: This is getting boring.

      Well, I guess the game was too hard for you so you gave up. Poor diddums.

      Also, you're posting in every thread even if you despise teh topic makes your trolling/medal-hunting supremely obvious. Take your vitriol elsewhere.


      1. jake Silver badge

        ROTFLMAO! (was: Re: This is getting boring.)

        GAWD/ESS, but you gamers are easy to troll.

        Note to ElReg ... I'll refrain in the future. You are very welcome :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ROTFLMAO! (was: This is getting boring.)

          Funny thing is, even though we now know this was a deliberate trolling attempt, the general opinion of you as an irritating socially inept waste of carbon hasn't changed one iota...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ROTFLMAO! (was: This is getting boring.)

            But did you know that jake has a smoke house and a room just for batteries and two properties, and he sells horses to posh people and he has a phone that was hand crafted by Alexander Bell

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also available on current consoles

    For those not aware, the game is available in HD on PSN and XBLA, and the Mega Drive version is available on Wii Virtual Console.

    No need to suffer with crappy iOS touchscreen controls. :)

  4. BigAndos

    I miss the humour

    I loved the game, and I think it spawned the most successful game based cartoon series. Very few games are made with anything like the level of humour this had anymore. The odd point and click game has some snappy writing (e.g. Telltale's excellent Sam and Max series) but the majority of big budget games seems to be relentlessly po-faced nowadays.

    1. AceRimmer

      Re: I miss the humour

      The humour these days is still there but not as in your face as some games were back then.

      The problem with in game jokes is that the jokes can get tiring quickly when replaying so they need to remain subtle to both reward the player for noticing and be ignorable once the joke has been acknowledged by the player.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I miss the humour

      Sam and Max had a series of new games released a few years ago, in an episodic format. Check 'em out. You don't get lines of dialogue like "By the sacred sideburns of Isaac Asimov!" everyday!

      Sensible Software also had a sense of humour- at one point in Cannon Fodder you lead your platoon across a Sensible Soccer pitch and can shoot all the players. Worms (Team 17) did too, but were nothing compared to some of the Spectrum era games such as Jet Set Willy and How To Be A Complete Bastard.

      I guess that when modern AA titles require millions to produce, the odd-ball humour suffers.

      1. JaimieV

        Re: I miss the humour

        Borderlands 2 (and the original) is the only comedy-scripted modern AAA title I can think of, but there's a lot of humour in small indie games too. Plus point'n'click is a live genre again these days, just ask Telltale.

        But yeah, very little humour in the rest of the high selling games.

        1. stucs201

          Re: I miss the humour

          No humour in modern games?

          Have you lot not played Portal then? GLaDOS is hilarious.

  5. Thomas 4

    An enjoyable game

    But Earthworm Jim proved, as countless games before and after, that escort missions are the distilled essence of ball busting frustration. X_x

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: An enjoyable game

      >escort missions are the distilled essence of ball busting frustration.

      Correct, as this video shows:

      Witness the player's frustration at Nataliya's tendancy to get shot or walk in front of his gun, whist endlessly chirping "We need to go to the control room!" before she gets stuck walking into a door frame.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: An enjoyable game

        Witness the player's frustration at Nataliya's tendancy to get shot or walk in front of his gun, whist endlessly chirping "We need to go to the control room!" before she gets stuck walking into a door frame.

        I loved that game, but babysitting that daft bint as she continually fails to walk to the computer almost made me break my N64 controller in rage. She'd stand outside the control room, you inside, doors open, all the windows blown off, repeating "We need to get to the control room". NYARRGHH.

  6. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    I love that game.

    My funeral music is from that game, there is a level with some very large blakc woman belting out a tune, it makes no sense but sounds awesome.

    'Doc duodenum' in 'intestinal distress' is the best named baddie in any game ever. And 'lift music' being the background music of hell that is populated by lawyers just adds to it.

  7. Miek


  8. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Earthworm Jim was a computer game? I only ever knew it as a TV cartoon. ;)

  9. MikeyD85
    Thumb Up



  10. Terry 6 Silver badge

    I've never had the patience to do games. But EWJ was one of the few that I could actually enjoy. It was funny.

    Yeah, I can understand that folks might feel a bit dubious about people who want to spend days exploring a dark graphic, trying to find the random loose brick that lets them into the next section. And personally that's as far as I ever got with most games.

    But hey! It's no more silly than running up and down with a funny shaped ball while people try to jump on you.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      The best part of video games to my mind, like the best part of drinking booze, is laughing with friends. Swearing at your mate cos he's just uppercut your last worm off the map, or overtaking his kart after hitting him with a Kooper shell... lots of fun! It isn't critical which activities you do with your mates, and computer games are as good as many on a cold winter's evening. Other folk might prefer to get their friends around regularly for a game of poker, or just to watch the football game... and fair play to them.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It wasn't real!!!!!!!!! Oh no!

  12. DiskJunky


    I really, really wanted to play and love this game. I was never able to get past level 2 though - on any version of it (I tried 3). I just found it impossible to know what was interactive. The background looked like foregrounds and I could never tell what I could jump on. Cue several hours losing all lives and resetting the game... I never picked it up again. Too difficult :-( And yes, I'm a platform nut (mario, castlevania, megaman, sonic, donkey kong, etc). Never any joy with earthworm jim.

  13. Crisp

    Dear Gamesmaster

    How do you get past the trash boss on the first level? I keep dying when he throws junk at me.

    1. C Yates

      If you're asking the Gamesmaster... might be waiting a while for his reply...


      1. Crisp

        Re: If you're asking the Gamesmaster...

        RIP Patrick Moore

        A celebrity worthy of the name.

  14. adam payne Silver badge

    Brain freeze!

  15. Pete Spicer

    Um... did we forget there was a DOS port then?

    1. thecresta

      Re: Um... did we forget there was a DOS port then?


  16. W.O.Frobozz
    Thumb Up

    Next up...the Neverhood?

    It should be mentioned that the guys behind Earthworm Jim went off to form their own company, producing the incredible Neverhood klaymation adventure.

    I still won't forgive them for making the sequel, Skullmonkeys, a PSX exclusive.

  17. Mark 183

    Is it pedantic to point out that this is a 16-bit game rather than an 8-bit game as it was released on the SNES and Megadrive?

  18. clocKwize

    Antiques Code Show

    Good game. I hate the way its called Antique Code Show though - I'd like to see some code, I'd find that rather interesting. The only significant game code open sourced is Quake right?

    1. Pete Spicer

      Re: Antiques Code Show

      Well, the source to the original Prince of Persia was released a bit back, as was DOOM's, if I remember rightly. It does depend a lot on what you call 'significant'.

      It's called Code Show in an attempt to make a pun out of the name of a certain staple of Sunday night BBC TV, namely Antiques Roadshow. Whether that's a great idea or not is questionable, but to be honest I'm not sure how much interest there would actually be in the code of old games, because an awful lot of the time it was about juggling system resources and hardware tricks that are long since obsolete.

      Mind you, Quake is the rare exception in this case; there are some things about its design and implementation that are actually interesting in their own right, like the way that instead of being built in a peer to peer fashion for networking as DOOM was, it was built from the ground up to be client/server - not just for multiplayer, but single player as well. I can't remember exactly what advantages this gave, though.

      1. clocKwize

        Re: Antiques Code Show

        <quote>It's called Code Show in an attempt to make a pun out of the name of a certain staple of Sunday night BBC TV, namely Antiques Roadshow.</quote> I got the reference ;) It would only make sense were there some code.

        I'd like to see DOOM source. I've never written a game but I've played with the idea and know the SDK of a few newer engines rather well..

        Maybe if I get some time between working and family I'll go find it :)

        1. John 62

          Re: Antiques Code Show

          You could probably write your own Doom-style engine. I peaked at the Doom source once and didn't bother to compile it. It wasn't written for readability and would have been heavily optimised for the hardware and compilers of the time. Obviously seeing the source will not be without merit, but the geometry is pretty simple, so rolling your own, especially on today's hardware would definitely teach you the basics of the 3D rendering pipeline. I'm sure there are handy tutorials around, since I think I remember a few from when I was messing around with voxels for my uni final year project about 10 years ago.

  19. Framitz

    PC version

    I only remember ever seeing the PC version. It was OK at the time.

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