Remember Putty Squad, “one of the most critically acclaimed platformers of the 16bit-era”? No? Strangely enough, most people seem to have missed the adventures of what the Daily Mail calls “gaming’s best loved characters”. This surprisingly praise for an obscure early-nineties SNES-title struck me as odd, and lead me to dig deeper in the history of “the best game of its time”. What I uncovered can only be described as the weirdest conspiracy in gaming since the great Polybius scandal. Sit tight as this shocking intrigue unravels before your eyes.
What the hell is Putty Squad?
Even if you consider yourself an avid retro-gamer, there’s a good chance that Putty Squad doesn’t ring a bell with you. The game was released in a PAL-exclusive SNES version in 1994 as sequel to the Amiga title Putty. It was developed by System 3, the makers of Last Ninja and published by Ocean Software. The player assumes control of Putty, a slimy blue ball, in a traditional Jump’n’Run environment. Putty possesses several Kirby-esque abilities; it can absorb enemies and shape-change to block enemy attacks or cushion falls. While the graphics were certainly respectable for the SNES era, the game hardly offered anything out of the ordinary. Despite positive reviews at the time, Putty Squad sales remained mediocre. The originally planned versions for Amiga, Microsoft DOS and the Mega-Drive were never completed and eventually got scrapped by Ocean Software together with a possible NTSC release of the title. For the next 15 years, the franchise remained in abeyance as the remaining SNES copies reached a high collector’s value.
Where things get weird
Now for the strange part. As previously mentioned, the Amiga version of the title never reached completion due to the terrible results of the SNES release. There is absolutely no evidence to be found that anything other than a tech demo ever existed for Amiga. Strangely enough, several Amiga magazines from 1994 to 1995 claim having received a full version and gave the title highly favorable reviews. Digging further, one might notice that the ’95 reviews display an almost concerning lack of criticism towards the game. Amiga Power claimed the following:
“We play games all the time because it is our job, but if there is one thing guaranteed to ruin our day, then it is another bland plat former. Just when I was beginning to think that every forthcoming platform game was going to be terrible, Putty Squad has come long and restored my faith in the future of video games.”
Mind you, there is no evidence that this game was ever completed for the Amiga 1200.
Not suspicious yet? Don’t worry, the rabbit hole goes much deeper. This supposedly legendary platformer hasn’t made a lasting impression on anyone as it has absolutely no online fan community to speak of. Not a single tribute website, not a single nostalgic fan forum exists.
Oh, except for one. Puttymoon is literally the only trace of fan activity for this game on the whole internet. Considering those circumstances, the site is shockingly elaborate. It features a custom 16-bit style background, detailed descriptions of every gameplay element as well as cheat codes which are virtually not mentioned on ANY other website. Well, even this website states that the magazine previews of the Amiga version are the only supposed evidence that this game ever existed. What in god’s name did Amiga magazines review back then?!
Going even further, the gamefaq message boards for the PS4 HD remake only feature a single comment by user vonblade:
“Is this the same as the old Amiga game? That was fantastic.”
This game reportedly NEVER EXISTED for Amiga. This whole matter has an increasingly worrying aspect to it.
The weirdness doesn’t stop here though. In March 2013, the original developer of the game Marc Cale announced a remake of the game for every modern platform, as well a release of the long-lost Amiga Putty Squad. This re-release would have constituted evidence that the Amiga version of this game has actually existed. The HD remake of the game would feature a modernized version of the game including achievements, updated graphics, touchscreen support etc.
“What better way to kick off the next generation of videogames than with one of gaming’s best-loved characters.”
“Even the menu screens bring a smile to your face. Whether it’s watching a band of enemies play music, or traversing the Mario Galaxy-style level map, every inch of Putty Squad has been given the love and attention that made the original such a success.”
To put in context, Ocean Software denied the game a multi-platform release because of terrible sales figures.
“Witness the power of the PS4 with this Putty Squad remake”
Video Game graphics can of course be judged subjectively, but the only available gameplay video of the new Putty Squad looks on par with Sonic CD. Oh, the pre-release hype for Putty Squad HD doesn’t stop there though. According to several news outlets, both the PS4 and the Xbox One bundles of British retailer GAME will include Putty Squad, making this remake of an unpopular SNES title the only universal launch title. What might have sounded bizarre earlier is now quickly becoming disturbing.
And now, it is time for the final nail in the coffin for this curious case. In an interview with Eurogamer this November, Mark Cale reluctantly announced that the originally planned Putty Squad release for Amiga was canceled. According to Amiga enthusiast site Codetapper, the excuses provided by Cale, referring to the lacking support by Sony as well as the unavailability of 3.5” floppy disks, were more than questionable. The site also interpreted Cale’s body language as an indicator of his dishonesty. It was further suggested that the promise of shipping the “Holy Grail” of Amiga with the game’s collector’s edition was used as a tool to boost sales. With the original, supposedly long complete Amiga Putty Squad cancelled, it is more questionable than ever if this notorious title has indeed ever existed.
Putty Squad’s story is bizarre. Every sign points towards an unclear conspiracy involving video game journalists, obscure retailer affiliations, as well as the System 3 team itself throughout three decades. Putty Squad is inexplicably overpraised, inexplicably non-existent on Amiga and has now inexplicably reappeared in virtually every GAME next-gen bundle. Take of this what you whatever you want, but be careful if you ever come across a copy of this game. There are powers involved in this matter beyond anything we could imagine. Get your tinfoil-hats ready!
Disclaimer: This article is based on speculation and does in no way claim to be accurate. Everything written in this article is based on extensive research, the conspiracy theory constructed from it however is mainly written for satirical purposes. Feel free to draw your own conclusion.
No member of System 3 is accused of fraudulent activities.
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