Reader Daniel Dearlove can’t get enough of this Edd The Duck clone (get out – Ed). Seriously, 1989’s arcade convo is an absolute joy. Here’s Daniel to explain why.

It always feels like a bit of a cheat to say that my favourite C64 game is a coin-op conversion, but you don’t get to choose the ones you love.

I bought the budget release of Rainbow Islands with birthday money in January 1992, shortly after getting my C64 for Christmas, making it one of the first games I bought with my own money. I got quite a haul, mostly grabbing anything I’d seen recommended in my first issue of Commodore Format. All I really knew about Rainbow Islands was that it was one of “CF’s all time Top Ten Essential Mega Games” (and a bit easier to find than Ultima VI).

Soon I’d proudly check whether Rainbow Islands still topped the sales charts month after month, until it was finally toppled by Arnie. It’s hard to say what lifted it to the lofty position of my favourite game, a sacred and meaningful title to my young mind. Something about the Japan-meets-Haribo aesthetic, the colourful graphics, the unique mechanic of destroying cute enemies with rainbows. Whether that and the Judy Garland-inspired soundtrack gave me a future affinity for LGBT culture is hard to say.

I can say what really cemented my love of Rainbow Islands, and still impresses me nearly 30 (ouch) years later is the depth and the sense of mystery it holds. The subsequent in-depth guide in CF blew my mind; learning about collecting the crystals in the right order and that it would reveal secret power-ups. Who knew what other hidden secrets there were? Of course all these years later I can say there’s nothing else undiscovered in the C64 version of the game, but my youthful naivety allowed me to wonder.

A few months after first finding my favourite game, I’d pick up another issue of Commodore Format in WH Smith and then, through the plastic bag, see the familiar face of Bub on the back cover. The next game in the series, Parasol Stars, was coming. Of course, that’s a whole other story and would be one of my first real experiences of crushing unfairness and disappointment. CF