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by Emiliano Sciarra

The Sphinx intro screen

We are pleased to bring you CIUFFY, a cute game by an Italian board game creator. He has also given us the background story behind the making of the game.

The title screen

Emiliano writes:

Back in 1986, I designed several videogames on paper, without actually programming them -- I was only 14 then and I knew BASIC only. One of them was a scrolling shoot'em up starring a cute little dog (dubbed "Ciuffy" after one of my sister's most beloved peluche) escaping from the city whose inhabitants ruled against animals. His main weapon were his barks (or, as we say in Italy, "BAU"), while his enemies were all sorts of citizens either on foot or on cars, motorbikes, automatic dog-catchers, farm tractors, roadrollers etc. The more fierce the opponent, the more BAUs were required to send him off.

Two years later, I got
SEUCK and was immediately fascinated by this impressive software. After just days I was, rather unexpectedly, working on "Ciuffy", whose design was almost perfect for such a construction kit. I worked alone, as many programmers then: I did all in the game, from the graphics to the sound effect -- and while I am quite proud of the "BAU" sound, the fact I was not a graphic artist shows in several rough and sketchy parts.

I put all together very quickly, and after about two weeks the game was ready. The game was intended just to get in touch with the basic SEUCK routines (that is why some details are not very refined), but the final result was quite good and entertaining, so I tried to send it to one of the publishing company in Italy accepting games from independent programmers: Systems Editoriale, which at the same time was printing the notorious (in Italy) "Commodore Computer Club" magazine. Very unexpectedly, the magazine director liked the game and decided to release it in one of their monthly cassette-only periodical, "Software Club", as the opening game, the very same year.

Ciuffy on the run in level 1

This has been my first paid job: I remember I got Lire 300,000 (about 300) for the game, taxes aside -- the contract was not based on royalties but on one-time fee. I don't know how many copies it sold and I never heard of this game again.

Until, that is, a decade later I discovered on Internet that two cracking groups, one based in Germany and the other in Denmark, released the game with the same "Systems Editoriale" copyright: so it probably was illegally copied from Italy in Germany since the instructions by crackers tells about the translation of the rules "from German".

I started several videogames by then and I finally graduated in Computer Science in the following years, but for several reasons "Ciuffy" remained my only videogame to be actually released, and in the end I became a professional board (not video) games designer... but that's another story.

Click here to download the game (in T64 format)

The original tape in its packaging