SFTW: Somersault Game

Every week Iain Simons chooses a game for you to while away a few hours at your desk. This time it's

Ordinarily I wouldn’t put forward games that required a further plug-in, but this is well worth the effort.

Somersault is on the surface a simple bouncing ball game in which you guide a character through a course, traversing all manner of hazards to reach your goal. What sets it apart though, is the control scheme with which you drive the ball. Strokes of the mouse allow you to draw a paddle on screen, and keeping the button pressed allows you to swing the paddle on its end batting the ball around. Helpfully, the projected path of your ball is drawn ahead of you in rainbow-coloured lines - it’s fair to say that without those guides there the game would be a frustrating experience.

The game enjoys a simple, clean aesthetic which looks a lot like the early VR environments of a few years ago and has plenty of fun with its environment design. As Bally makes his way through a the kitchen level, wine glasses are toppled, knives are unsheathed and if you’re very unlucky you might find yourself in a blender faced with the question, ‘will it blend?’ The answer probably won’t please you…

Play Somersault Game

Iain Simons writes, talks and tweets about videogames and technology. His new book, Play Britannia, is to be published in 2009. He is the director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University.
Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.