Remember playing Daley Thompson’s Decathlon on cult ZX Spectrum? Then Hitchin designer Mark’s Future Runner Escape is for you – with added dystopian sci-fi
PUBLISHED: 17:08 19 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:27 19 June 2017
A Hitchin computer wizz has drawn on his love of the cult 1980s computer game Daley Thompson’s Decathlon to create his own app for smartphones.
Design agency director Mark Hodgson, supremo of Bucklersbury’s acclaimed design firm Hand Creative, has devised a game which draws heavily on 1980s nostalgia called Future Runner Escape.
Described as ‘physically demanding’ it is available now on Apple iOS after taking the good-natured dad-of-three 18 months to perfect.
Mark explained to the Comet: “My fave game when I was a kid was Daley Thompson’s Decathlon,
“I used to love hammering my ZX Spectrum keyboard trying to run as fast as I could – and I couldn’t believe it when I couldn’t find a game available on the App Store with that sort of gameplay. So I thought I’d have a go at making one.”
Design boss Mark – who hails from Leeds originally, but has lived in Hitchin for more than a decade – learnt from scratch how to go about developing a mobile game from watching YouTube videos and asking questions in online forums – doing it all in his spare time while juggling full-time work and a busy family life.
He said: “Hitchin’s a great place and we love living here. I just hope the game gets played by as many people as possible.
“It’d be great to have the backing of people in Hitchin too.”
His unique game uses player controls never seen before on a touchscreen phone.
Echoing moves that will chime with anyone of a certain vintage who played Daley Thompson’s Decathalon, Future Runner Escape uses alternate taps on the screen for every single footstep to make the runner move forward.
Indie game developer Mark made a prototype and soon realised how tricky it was to keep the man running, but recalled: “tapping two fingers alternately for a minute is really hard and weirdly addictive.
“I thought, if I could merge this with some interesting backgrounds I’m on to a winner – and people might just buy it.”
The retro pixel-art backgrounds keep the game interesting and constantly evolve as you never see the same background composition twice.
“Playing it is a bit like watching a movie – I guess it’s an iPhone app somewhere in-between a game and a movie,” he added.
Search Future Runner Escape on the Apple App Store to download it or find out more at: www.futurerunner.co.uk.