Flicky (フリッキー Furikkī?) is an arcade game developed by Sega and released by Bally Midway in 1984, using Sega's System 1 hardware. After the official arcade release, it has been ported to numerous platforms, including SG-1000, MSX and Sega Genesis. It is known to be the first appearance of Flicky, who went on to be one of Sonic's original animal friends and a recurring character in the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
The player controls Flicky around a series of simplistic levels. Flicky moves left or right and has one action button to jump and to shoot. Flicky has a very good jump range, but cannot actually fly.
The aim of the game is to collect chicks called Piopio (Chirp in the Sega Genesis version) who are scattered around each level, and return them to the doorway that Flicky used to enter each level. To get a Piopio to follow Flicky in a line like ducklings, the player needs to touch them, usually this involves jumping to reach them. If the player has more than one Piopio and place them in the doorway, their score per Piopio will increase by 100 (i.e. 100 points for the first Piopio, 200 for the second, 300 for the third...). If the player places the Piopio separately player will get a flat rate of 100 points.
The player's main obstacle is the Nyannyan (Tiger in the Sega Genesis version), tabby cats that are similar to the cats in the Mappy franchise. If the player hits a Nyannyan it will cause them to lose a life. If a Nyannyan touches the player's Piopio line, the clipped Piopio will scatter and the player will have to re-collect it and any behind it in the line. Choro (Iggy in the Sega Genesis version) is an Iguana that does the same thing. Each level has a set of objects, ranging from telephones to chairs to flowerpots that the player can grab by touching them and can throw it upon jumping (this is because 'throw' is the same button as 'jump'). Thrown objects can hit Nyannyan or Choro and net the player extra points. Hit more than one with the same object and a gem will appear and give player even more points.
Each level loops, thus making the game endless. Between every few rounds is a bonus round, where Nyannyan catapults Piopio up in the air, and Flicky must catch them in the net.
Ports and re-releases
The game was ported to Sega's home consoles, the SG-1000 in 1984 and Mega Drive (or Genesis) in 1991. Both lack the animated title screen of the arcade original and suffer from the downsized graphics, due to the consoles' limitations. In Japan, the Mega Drive version was released via the Sega Meganet subscription service, which, in conjunction with the Sega Mega Modem peripheral, allowed users to download games to the Sega Game Toshokan cartridge. This version was also included in the Game no Kanzume Otokuyou compilation, released in Japan through the Sega Channel subscription service. Flicky was ported to Sega Mega-CD in 1994 as part of the Game no Kanzume Vol.1 compilation; this version is identical to the Sega Meganet release, but features an enhanced CD-quality soundtrack.
Due to her close links with the Sonic franchise, the Mega Drive port of Flicky was included as an unlockable game in the Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Mega Collection Plus compilations that were compiled under Sonic Team's supervision. The game was included in Sega Smash Pack 2 compilation for the PC. Flicky is also one of the many classic games to be ported onto the Sonic Cafe service. A low quality version of the game was released in the early days of Sonic Cafe, but has since been replaced by a graphically enhanced version.
Connection to Sonic the Hedgehog series
Flickies as a species have been explained further in Sonic 3D Blast, where they were able to travel between dimensions by using giant rings. The gameplay mechanic in Sonic 3D Blast is similar to the Flicky game, involving collecting birds and delivering them to an exit, receiving extra points for delivering multiple birds at once.