Commodore User

Jonah Barrington's Squash

Publisher: New Generation
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #21

Jonah Barrington's Squash

Naming a squash simulation game after Jonah Barrington is like putting forward Bobby Charlton as the ultimate in soccer prowess - he was a Bobby dazzler, but he's no longer putting in the winners. Anyway, JB is the only squash player most people have heard of.

Never mind that, since the game has little to do with Jonah himself, except that his autograph appears on the insert, along with simple instructions and a set of playing rules - laid down by the International Squash Federation, no less.

Playing the game follows the format adopted for various tennis simulations in that you hit the fire button to play a stroke. You can play either the computer or use two joysticks to battle it out with a real opponent. Levels of difficulty correspond to the four 'dot colours' on squash balls.

Squash is too quick and too energetic to be simulated successfully on-screen. Given that obvious drawback, the shots really do play realistically: getting a tricky shot back off the back wall is just as hard as the real thing - maybe not for Jonah. Still, it's more a case of novelty than lasting value.

Only the sound pulls this game out of mediocrity. The umpire's voice, calling out the score and 'hand in', 'hand out' etc is very realistic. In fact it's none other than our Jonah's digitised voice in glorious 'Reprosound' as the cover tells you. New Generation claim that JB uses the game himself for coaching. One disappointment was the sound of the ball - since when did squash sound like Breakout?