Matt Chat 108: Cannon Fodder and Mega-Lo-Mania

Matt Barton's picture

How'd you like to hear Jon Hare himself perform the awesome theme song to Cannon Fodder? In the fourth installment of my interview with famed C-64 and Amiga designer Jon Hare, we talk about his most famous games after Sensible Soccer: Cannon Fodder and Mega-Lo-Mania, as well as the monumental but ultimately failed effort to complete Sex, Drugs, & Rock'n'roll. And, oh yes, we get to hear Jon break out the acoustic and do a one-off live taping of the famous Cannon Fodder theme. No true Amiga fan worth his Paula would even consider missing this one.

Download the MP4.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
Poppies are a US thing too...

Poppies are a US thing too... but its almost died out. when I was in grade school on memorial day they where sold in all the stores. I think it started to die out about the early 80's... as I dont remeber much after grade school. I do still see them on memorial day , but have never seen any for sale so i supsect Vets clubs and such are mayebt he onlt places to get them anymore.. BUT yes, they where a US thing too.
Now i can understand why they wouldnt like it being in the game.. Its a symbol of the soilders of WWOne who died. WHile the game is cartoony.. and his song is ment as jest (Im sure) I can 100% understand why it wasnt high on teh Poppie peoples list. I understand where the game comes from.. but when you lose family members in a war ( or kill people in real life) i think even cartoony violence when its about a real life event you went throuhg will never be ok in any way to you.. AND enough heavy talk..

Canon fodder was and is a great game, one of my all time favorite amiga ones. As was meglomania.... soccer, i had it but dont remeber playing it. Ocne again a great interview, with a guy who seems to be pretty up and up...

finsih te hinterview.. was great and would love to hear more.

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I think Jon's main complaint

I think Jon's main complaint (and one I sympathize with) was that they AT FIRST they objected to it on moral grounds, which we all find an acceptable reason. But then greed took over and they said, OKAY, BUT ONLY IF YOU PAY THROUGH THE NOSE. Thus, proving it was always about filthy lucre and not so much about honoring vets. Kinda sleazy if you ask me.

I never played Mega-Lo-Mania back in the day and was very pleasantly surprised by it. I'm sure if I'd had it, I would have played it for hundreds of hours. That said, I did need an instruction manual to make sense of it, which was my problem with Populous. I had a pirated copy, of course, with no idea how to play, and never did figure it out (much to my frustration).

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Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
I don't remember the poppy thing either.
clok1966 wrote:

Poppies are a US thing too... but its almost died out. when I was in grade school on memorial day they where sold in all the stores. I think it started to die out about the early 80's... as I dont remeber much after grade school. I do still see them on memorial day , but have never seen any for sale so i supsect Vets clubs and such are mayebt he onlt places to get them anymore.. BUT yes, they where a US thing too.

It's strange, but I grew up in the U.S. military, but I don't recall ever coming across the poppy tradition. And I knew veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam at the time. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention, but I don't think it was a very widespread U.S. tradition during the 70's and 80's.

Matt Barton wrote:

I never played Mega-Lo-Mania back in the day and was very pleasantly surprised by it. I'm sure if I'd had it, I would have played it for hundreds of hours. That said, I did need an instruction manual to make sense of it, which was my problem with Populous. I had a pirated copy, of course, with no idea how to play, and never did figure it out (much to my frustration).

Like Clok, I loved both Mega Lo Mania and Populous, and consider them Amiga classics. Populous had a sort of spooky vibe about it to me, but it was quite an easy game to pick up and play. I found the computer opponent too easy after a while, though.

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
Ah, I rewatched and I guess i

Ah, I rewatched and I guess i see that now.. it didnt come across like that in the first viewing, I aactually went to the WIKI to read on poppies and Cannon Fodder is there (protests against its use in the game).

Meglomania.. the big trick is evening out research and leaving enough free people... to create more people :) it had one thing I loved.. those "TANK RUSH" attacks could work and gain you a chunk of land, but more often then not blowing your wad of people in one attack left nobody to make more people and was not a good strategy. Even battles where both sides lost about the same count of people, but you won where the sound, you both had to rebuild and you had extra teritory (of course winning battel where you made him pay more alwasy will work :) )

Pop- I am a bit suprised by that.. While it was the VERY first game i bought for my amiga, i never read the manual untill many games in. Pop is simple, yet complex. its one of those game where simple can work well, but like chess, planning your moves well in advance can really make you a "god". Really all pop is about is making more people to worship you. Which in turn is really ONLY about landscaping.. yep one of the most loved Amiga (and other platform) games is about landscaping! level that ground out as quick as you can, get rid of rocks, one HUGE flat area is key. The bigger the flat area, the bigger the house, the bigger the house, the more people that can live in it, the more people in it, the more people they make. There are little flags on the houses, watch them so you can tell how many people are in them (people dont come out till they are done making babies and the house is full). Wandering people with no home will pick the first flat spot they see (or first house with an empty spot)... your job is to make that flat spot as big as possible. people cant wander to long or they will die. You have the GOD ability to make your people go to a area (was it a flag, i forget? I know you have one guy who is your avatar , mayeb the people follow him? man its been ages since I played it). one trick i did was build as many big houses as possible at the start in my main area, this will leave you with time as you will need to let them make babies.. wandering people will also fill slots in big houses. then go clear a HUGE spot on the map a little ways from my first settlement.. you wont ahve enouhg time to do anything major but you should be able to goet some good flat land going. Once you do that. Pop your Attration flag on that land. then go back to your orginal houses , landscape (remove ground) so teh houses shrink, this will kick people out of the houses, they wil then travel to the new area and build. Once this happens, fix the old houses ( one or two people will still be in them) now ytou have 2X the baby makers.. and this can be repeated .. I like to build 2 levels above sea level (the one step ahead thing) as you can in late game have enouhg GOD poer to flood one whole leve and drowned all his guys. It also protects you from him doing that... Sometime you want 3 levels... that way @ good floods will wipe um out for sure :) (floods take lots of god power, you cant spam um).
Also you can go screw with is guys... the AI doesnt do it much but its a great tactic.. if he is getting a nice flat area nd you got some time... Spam a mountian in the center of it (sure it will burn lots of your god power... but it takes like 2 seconds to rapid click on one spot,, i like to do it when i have some time after i just moved some people into a big falt spot of land, i got time to wati for um to make babies).. his people wont be in big house making babies, the other god will need to burn time (and god power) to lower all that land again, and unlick how easy it is to spam it up.. you cant spam it back down.. he will have to expend time (where he wont be leveling other land) to fix it... and alot of the time he wotn.. he will sorta cobble some low spots out.. you effectivly lowered his birth rate in about 2 seconds (this tactic is best used when you have lots of god power as a Mountain will take lots to build).

And (kinda cheap).. the AI is pretty speedy, but if you get lucky and have a pretty fair sized flat spot before he does (which means faster birth rate) you can get a god power that make all people go to center of map (dont do this if there isnt land between you and enemy) and fight it out.. as the people are pretty much an even match.. as long as you ahve 5-10 more guys...you win.. later in the game as the AI starts to get MUCH better... this tactic can save you quite often.. boreing, as part of the fun of Pop is building stuff up.. and you are effctivily cutting the game to mere minutes. This one is a bit tricky as early in the game it really hard to judge your population against his.. so its kinda a "i know" thing..

And god powers.. dont get hooked on one (I loved flood, and the all attack ones) as the game eliminates some powers on some maps.. I also like the "KILL" ones.. lightning and such.. but in all honesy they have poor returns on power used.. babtismal Fonts... they rock.. but are one of the harder things to use.. any enemy who falls in one, comes to your side.. nice placement of one in the enemies expanding area.. instant additions to your army (and dont let that sneaky AI put one where you dont see.. you will lose alot before noticing it).
One of my favorite tactics is look for the enemy avatar (he will be carring his gods symbol) the ai tends to use him to explore.. if you can catch him on singel level ground you can destroy the ground under him... swimming... and they dont swim long.. the AI will build under him.. but if you "fight it out" build and destroy under him.. evnetlaly you will drowned him.. then quickly build around his symbol ( he needs a new guy to pick it up) eithe make it all water.. or get a few of your people building houses around it...(not easy).. anybody who comes to pick it up will face the angry people he is trespessing on there land.. Onece he loses his avatar/sybmol he is much weaker.. and much easier to destroy.

dang, can you tell I loved that game? in fact Im pretty sure Im playing it tonight (if my very weak mind lets me remeber)

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