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Video Game / Soft & Cuddly

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The least scary screen in the game. The one immediately afterwards features a grinning decapitated head, with two more in the background.

Soft & Cuddly is a video game developed by John Janes and published by The Power House for ZX Spectrum in 1987. It's a platformer remembered mostly by the Nightmare Fuel and Mind Screw with gory and weird imagery. In it, you control a small blue man named Dren who must rebuild his mother, who is the Android Queen, by finding eight pieces of her scattered around 256 screens. The game also came with a song by H.E.X. (who later went on to develop and provide the music and art to the rather infamous Top Banana), which can be listened to here.

Compare with an earlier released game Go To Hell by the same developer and Top Banana by the music composer, which despite being far Lighter and Softer, is still surreal and unsettling.

This game provides examples of:

  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: The box art shows a monster sitting on a bunch of decapitated heads.
  • Deceptively Silly Title: Nope, not a kid's game, even if the title would suggest otherwise.
  • Excuse Plot: Essentially all of the storytelling is contained within several sentences of scrolling text on the controls screen. Moreover, it eventually outright asks, "Do you really believe this tripe?", further confirming it's not to be taken seriously.
  • Gorn: Quite a few gory looking traps, and the title screen face is not much better.
  • Jump Scare: The infamous title screen. It pops up after the game finishes loading, and it can certainly be a surprise.
  • Last of His Kind: The text scroll beneath the controls screen states that Dren is the last of the race of Snigniv, and will stay that way unless he manages to restore the queen. However, the same text asks "do you believe this tripe? Are you mad?" immediately after, so this may not actually be the case.
  • Mind Screw: The game has some really weird stuff in it... skulls with berets, weird fish-like creatures, zombie sheep and the like.
  • Never Trust a Title: This game is not soft or cuddly, at all.
  • Spikes of Doom: One of the most normal things about the game. Nevertheless, they look even creepier than usual due to being taller than the protagonist and strikingly monochrome.
  • A Winner Is You: Find all the items, and you get the ending which consists of a single line. It is possible that this was meant to foreshadow Top Banana, the composer's next game.
    "Good, whip me with a banana".