I blogged earlier about buying an Evercade and some of the experiences I've had with that system, mostly playing 80s/90s console games and some cool obscure arcade titles. Blaze Entertainment, which makes the Evercade, is a British company so it was perhaps inevitable that they'd start dipping their toes into releasing emulated Commodore 64 and Amiga games, because unlike in the US and Japan the British gaming scene was dominated by micro computers, many primarily gaming machines.
Now despite being an American I was actually a pretty big PC gamer in the 80s and 90s. I had an NES and a SNES but my dad liked the PC more and I ended up playing more PC games than console games during that period. PC gaming used to be pretty rough. In fact the Apple and Mac environments were considered better for games back then. You had your flight sims and your Sierra games and your RPGs, but action games were very iffy and tended to control much worse than their console counterparts. Commander Keen, considered a good PC platformer, came out AFTER Super Mario Bros. 3 and is so much worse than that game that it's hard to believe Mario 3 isn't a full decade newer.
This all changed in the late 80s and early 90s with upgraded graphics cards and games like Sim City, Civilization, and, above all, Doom, which gave PC gaming its own flavor and in many ways were better than their console counterparts. By the mid 90s PC games still aren't as good as their console counterparts in certain genres but are much better graphically and in some ways more advanced.
Over in Britain, however, the micro computers are holding on and the games released for those all feel like 80s pc action games, which is to say off brand versions of actual good games. There's a game called Qwak that was released in 1989 and again in 1993 (1993!), and it's a single screen platformer game in the mode of Snow Bros. though not as good looking and while at first it seems okay it has all kinds of weird aspects (like a hidden timer that will start dropping spiked balls on you out of nowhere) that make it a frustrating and baffling experience when you start. If you had tried to sell this in the US in 1993 people would have litearlly laughed in your face. Then there's Body Blows, a 1993(!!!!!!!!!!!) 'fighting game' where all moves are executed with 1 button including blocking, which requires pressing backwards and your attack key. This would have been bad during the era of Street Fighter 1 but in a post Street Fighter II world it feels like a horrible prank.
And yes, every era and area has bad games, but then you look at how these games were received in Britain and it's like looking into bzizaro world. Wikipedia shows that Body Blows got a bunch of 90% ratings from magazines, was proclaimed "a true corker" and even better than Street Fighter II, which is only true if you're trying to play Street Fighter II with a one button control pad.
You watch British gamers on Youtube going through their old favorites and they're like "This four color game I played in 1992 is 20 minutes long and has 5 screens. It's amazing! Better than Streets of Rage 2!" Or my favorite was when a guy literally said "This game is great. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do or how to advance but it's fantastic and I want to keep playing." It's literally like watching someone who grew up in an entirely different world and doesn't know what good video games are supposed to be like.
Now I'm not going to pretend that there were NO good British games in the 80s or 90s. Lemmings is a classic. Another World (whcih is French but comes from a similar milieu) looked truly amazing. Cannon Fodder is fun. Obviously once Rare abandoned the microcomputers where they got their start and moved over to the NES and SNES they made some truly spectacular titles (though they didn't really become masters until the N64.) There were some games that are legitimately good by global standards that came out of that scene.
But then you look at something like Body Blows or Stormlord (a 1989 game that is worse than any game you've ever played in your life) and see the glowing reviews and the entire British gaming scene of the period comes off as some kind of weird practical joke. I do understand that a lot of these games were much cheaper than their Japanese or American counterparts, but that doesn't matter. Stormlord is worse than having no video games at all. 93% from Your Sinclair. A "Crash Smash" from CRASH magazine with a "buy it" recommendation.
You've got to be taking the piss.