Space Giraffe is a great game, but it lacks plot. Here is one of my many plot ideas that Jeff Minter may like to adopt, perhaps for a “Special Edition” of the game:
The Space Giraffe represents a poor, lonely boy born in the wrong part of town. He has fallen in love with a girl whose affluent parents refuse to acknowledge him as a suitable match for their daughter until he makes something of himself. Somebody probably needs to make some FMV here to insert before the game starts, with the Space Giraffe/boy bursting into a particularly mopey song about how awful his life is, and how much he loves the girl and wants to win her parents over.
His poverty and lack of education leave him with few options in life, so he takes a job as a street sweeper, mopping up the streets of an ever-increasing tide of garbage (grunts), some of which is extremely harmful to him. Particularly when he is exhausted (i.e. the power bar has been reduced all the way to the rim), he is susceptible to being engulfed in rubbish and temporarily rendered unconscious.
As well as rewarding him with cash, his employers attempt to provide him with a constant supply of lucozade (obvious product placement opportunity), which he drinks to gain enough energy to be able to jump over the piles of toxic rubbish beneath him, sweeping it away with his special brush, which he can upgrade by drinking enough lucozade.
Repeatedly drinking enough energy drinks is enough to render the boy a bit senseless, at which point he enters a trance where he dreams of collecting flowers for the girl he loves so much (bonus rounds, obviously). Perhaps collecting a particularly large number of flowers should result in another FMV, and some more singing.
The neighbourhoods of the town grow progressively more and more dangerous and difficult to navigate, containing increasingly deadly rubbish. The boy needs to learn to navigate around deadly flowers, as well as rubbish on which his special broom is ineffectual unless he jumps over it or sweeps it away only whilst it’s blowing from east to west (boffins), and even sentient rubbish that has become enraged by his attempts to clean up the town, and which tries to kill him (aggressive boffins/rotors).
Middle of the way through the game, it should be revealed that the girl’s parents are so dead-set against the marriage that they have been poisoning the boy-giraffe’s food and making it increasingly difficult for him to make out the things going on around him. They also resort to poisoning rubbish to make him feel as though the world is constantly spinning. This whole sequence could also benefit from a bit of FMV treatment, with the parents singing operatically about how they’d never tolerate their daughter marrying the Space Giraffe.
About two thirds of the way through, the boy has saved enough to be able to buy himself a Commodore 64, which he uses to write poetry and music and love-letters. His girlfriend gets jealous of all the time he’s spending on his computer, so his quest becomes even more urgent, making it necessary for him to find his way past dangerous electricity pylons (zappers) to get to extremely difficult-to-reach and particularly rubbish-soaked suburbs.
Finally he makes his way to the the girl’s house to ask her hand in marriage, and to demonstrate to her parents how he can support their daughter now that he’s earned a ludicrous fortune from his sweeping activities. The game could end on another FMV of the girl/boy on their honeymoon in an exotic part of the world, strolling hand-in-hand down a beach and singing about their love.