Top Banana

Hex 1991 / Archimedes & Amiga


Oh! How cute!

Top Banana is... a... game?

Created in 1991 by the multimedia group Hex and was ported to the Amiga in 1992. The main artist and programmer was Miles Visman with additional graphics by Sophie Smith, Robert Pepperell and Matt Black.

I was able to find an exhibit site (listed on Visman's website) for Hex, explaining that the group was “a rave culture period collaboration (...) sought to explore and exploit the creative possibilities of personal computers...”

I have a distaste for referring to anything trippy or surreal with drug references but... yeah, psychedelics confirmed.

Aside from information on Hex, what did I find on Visman's site about Top Banana?

Wait for it...

Nothing.

I admit to not looking too hard, but researching this game was like running head first into a wall. I know it exists, I know more or less who made it, and I know literally nothing else.

Especially not how to play it.

My personal game time would probably only clock in at around 10-20 minutes, because this game is so poorly designed and balls breakingly hard I resorted to watching a long play on YouTube; of which even they had to resort to cheating.

I would like to thank Beyond the Shadow of the Nebulus Focus on YouTube for providing me screenshots, thank you :)

I hope you know, I would not be here if this was merely a bad game, nothing more. No, remember the psychedelics I mentioned? Yeah. This game is COMPLETELY BATSHIT


Screenshot from Lemon Amiga

The game starts you out in this overly detailed abomination of a jungle (a good time to mention this is meant to be an environmental game) and you have to try and jump from platform to platform shooting everything and avoiding getting hit. If you're hit you will fall through several platforms. Stages end in a boss and at the end you fall back down through the stage collecting what looks like sweets during your descent, before being greeted by a nonsense phrase like “GET UP GET DOWN” or “BEWARE BEHAVE”

And then,

We get level 2.


R I O T

Level 2 is where you realize you have made a mistake.

As you platform past the nightmarish... ground heads.


Oh god there's a theme.

your screen's colours invert until you reach the next, seemingly arbitrary part of the level, in which they revert back. This happens in every level from now on.

There's a level that looks like vomit.

One that i can't tell if it's gore.

And the ending, where you get laughed at, and your screen cuts to a crude approximation of a bubble clown (maybe...) for several seconds of silence, before the same laugh plays yet again. Lower.

Cut to hi-score table!

I do not recommend you enter your name...

Here's the page on LemonAmiga. Seizure warning. Have fun!

Update: I found a Hardcore Gaming 101 article I missed while researching (somehow). They seem to understand the game much more than I did and offer more insight to the mechanics. And it's worse. So much worse.

back