This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release one of the most iconic cult PC games ever made – Worms.
Over the years, Worms has been enthralling gamers with its mix of wacky slapstick humor, inventive weapons and addictive – and competitive – turn-based action.
So, for TechRadar's PC Gaming Week 2020, we caught up with developers Team17 to find out 10 things we didn't know about these games.
1. It was originally called Total Wormage
It became Worms after the original creator, Andy Davidson, signed to Team17. Davidson said that he wrote Worms to amuse his friends and as a distraction from having to complete his Maths A-Level homework; in the final release of the game he was the voice of the original Worms soundbank.
During a TV interview with Davidson about the game, Worms was playing in the background and during a tiny pause in the conversation you could clearly hear a worm declare it was “boring!”
2. Worms was written for an Amiga Format competition
Worms was originally written in Blitz Basic (like an early 90s equivalent of Unity or Unreal) and was entered into a competition being run by Amiga Format.
After sending the disk off Andy never heard from them again, which suggests it didn’t win the competition. There are conflicting reports over the years (from Andy himself) as to whether this is a true story or a wonderful part of the Worms legend.
3. Worms everywhere
Over the past 25 years, iterations of the Worms series have appeared on virtually every games platform under the sun.
As well as launching on every major console platform since 1995, there have been versions of Worms developed for Facebook, Microsoft Messenger, TV broadcasting set-top boxes, in-flight entertainment systems… and even a cancelled version for the Nintendo Virtual Boy. The original Worms was also the last official game released for the Atari Jaguar.
4. Marketing oddities
There was a really peculiar Worms advert made for TV and cinema in a maternity ward where the person gave birth to an enormous worm while everyone around the hospital sang, “You’ve got the whole worm in your hands”.
There’s also been some very interesting merchandise for the franchise over the years, including Worms Armageddon shower gel. In Germany, the franchise has been twice been promoted in a magazine with a Worms condom giveaway on the front cover. For Worms 2, the condom was pink, and for Worms Armageddon it was black.
5. Mine excitement
In Worms Armageddon and Worms Party, when a worm landed on a mine the fuse started burning, which either led to the explosive blowing up (unless you’re lucky and it was a dud… if duds were turned on), this is common knowledge.
What wasn’t widely publicised was if players landed on a mine and tried to run/jump/slide away it would always excitingly blow up. If you held your nerve and didn’t retreat, everyone had a tense moment waiting to see if it was a dud.
6. Worms 3D wasn't a complete waste of time
The 3D Worms game spent years in the conceptualising phase for several years before ever seeing the light of day.
A number of prototypes were created as a proof of concept for both the technology as well as aiming and firing in a 3D space.
The main issue for the game’s developers was the production of technology that allowed for the implementation of fully destructible environments. At the time it was released, Worms 3D was among one of the only games on the market that allowed those levels of destruction in a three-dimensional space.
7. We almost got a Worms kart game
Over the years, there have been a number of Worms-related spin-off games, including Worms Blast, Worms Pinball and Worms Crazy Golf (there’s also a Worms-themed course in Golf With Your Friends, developed by Blacklight Interactive and released under Team17’s games label.)
There have also been other games featuring the creatures that didn’t make the cut. Team17 actually got very far into developing Worms Battle Rally, which started life as a Mario Kart clone with Worms and later evolved into a Twisted Metal-style, vehicular-based combat deathmatch game.
8. Famous voice cast
Over the years, there have been a number of voice actors featured for Worms games. In addition to the likes of Matt Berry (Toast of London, The IT Crowd) and Katherine Parkinson (Humans, The IT Crowd) who have both provided voice-overs for titles in the franchise, there’s even been a cereal superstar – the voice of Tony the Tiger has recorded some lines.
9. Worms 2 was almost in Lethal Weapon 4
In addition to featuring in this cinema ad (‘starring’ a young Andrew Whyment of Royle Family and Coronation Street fame) for the original title, the Worms very nearly featured on the silver screen in 90s action sequel, Lethal Weapon 4!
Team17 was in discussions with the production company so that Mel Gibson’s character of Martin Riggs would be playing Worms 2 at some point during the game. Sadly, the Hollywood Walk of Fame didn’t come to pass.
10. Micro facts
The clock tower in Worms Open Warfare’s London theme shows the correct local time.
The concrete donkey weapon is based on a real garden ornament that scared Worms creator Andy Davidson who, as a young boy, was led to believe by his parents that it was a real donkey encased in concrete.
Team17 once did an April Fool’s joke where they announced Worms would be released for the ZX Spectrum.
Team17 was based in Ossett, Yorkshire during the development of Worms, and features a sign in the Hell level that says (perhaps unfairly) ‘Welcome to Ossett’.
TechRadar’s PC Gaming Week 2020 is celebrating the most powerful gaming platform on Earth with articles, interviews and essential buying guides that showcase how diverse, imaginative, and remarkable PC games – and gamers – can be. Visit our PC Gaming Week 2020 page to see all our coverage in one place.