George the Starfish Elephant

Screenshot from George the Starfish Elephant 1.21Version 1.21 (23rd August 1999) is the final version of George the Starfish Elephant. Unfortunately it can hardly run on modern machines. But fear not: thanks to DOSBox the game can run on almost any platform so it has more than just nostalgic value. The story is also worth reading even if you can't or won't play the game.

George 2: The Quest for the Golden YoYo - was planned but never started. It was supposed to be for Windows and in full 3D. But who knows, it might still happen some day.


Screenshot from George the Starfish Elephant 1.18George the Starfish Elephant is a platform game featuring George. This George character just happens to be a starfish elephant, that is a strange animal accidentally created from an elephant and a starfish (read the story below to see how this amazing thing happened).
The environment is in 2.1D, that is a world of two dimensional tiles with wall tiles in 3D). Its main characteristics are smooth movement, huge levels, many unique worlds, top secret areas, lots of stuff to collect, insane bonus levels, cute animation, stereo sound effects and music, incredible graphical effects, doors, swithes, teleports, deadly traps, poison and fire, water pools, springs, ladders, special abitities to collect, lots of monster characters and several kinds of peanut ammunition to shoot at them. The behavior of the enemies was improved using genetic algorithms as part of a faculty project, which made the game much harder.

ContentsScreenshot from George the Starfish Elephant 1.21

The story

Artistic impression of George the Starfish Elephant

It all started in a little town called Elephant not very far from a nuclear power plant. In the town they had a secret laboratory, a zoo, a kindergarten, a school, mayor's house, a swimming pool, 175 houses, 342 citizens and a lot of empty rooms. Their main source of income was tourism. The main tourist attraction was a young elephant called Muffy. But he was not very pleased with his life in the zoo. He just couldn't stand the parrots in a nearby cage. They always made fun of him because he only had one tusk. The other one was cut off by some poachers back in Africa. So he decided to escape.

He waited for more than a year before he finally got his chance to escape. The weather on that day was extremely bad. The rain was falling for so long and so persistently that the lions had to swim in their cages. No wonder his keeper forgot to lock the door. Muffy only had to push against the door with his trunk and he was free. He walked out the zoo slowly and as quietly as an elephant can because he couldn't run in such weather and he didn't want to be heard.

Next day the whole town was looking for him. The workers from the zoo wanted to put him back in the zoo. The kids from the kindergarten wanted to catch him and make him their little pet elephant. The kids from the school and their teachers wanted to catch him so they would become famous and their town would attract more tourists. The famous town hunters wanted to become more famous by catching an elephant. The mayor wanted to have the remaining tusk for his living room. The local travel agency seized the opportunity to attract more tourists with safari. So Muffy had only little chances of staying free. He was very lucky not to have been caught on the first day of his freedom.

After a few days of hide and seek he hid in a huge strange looking barrack at the edge of the town. It was very late in the evening so he couldn't see anything. He fell asleep. At the middle of the night he was woken up by a strange noise. It sounded like an alarm clock. He looked around but he still couldn't see anything, until a very powerful light suddenly appeared through the window. He could see the whole sky was lit up. Then he saw a huge strange cloud of smoke on the horizon. It was shaped like a mushroom. It was so ugly he had to turn around. What he saw shocked him even more. There were cages everywhere he looked. He thought he had somehow gotten back in the zoo. He was horrified. He wanted to run away. He started running but he crashed into some cages and broke them. Rabbits started jumping all over the place. One of them jumped into a little aquarium and knocked it over so the contents fell on Muffy. Another one jumped on a table. On the table there was a little bottle containing some liquid of a strange yellow color (you thought I was gonna say green, didn't you). It flew up to the ceiling and fell down right on the poor elephant's head covered with starfish. The bottle broke and the contents poured all over Muffy. The transformation began. He didn't feel a thing. He fainted as one of the rabbits knocked over a cage of white mice.

He dreamed someone saying "We should call it George after my uncle, who lost his ears in a bicycle crash."

He woke up much later with a horrible headache. He looked around and all he could see were vertical stripes. He thought he only imagined them. But he couldn't get rid of them. He needed quite a long time to find out they were bars. He was trapped in a cage. His first thought was that he was back at the zoo. But wasn't his cage bigger? Maybe the small cage was a punishment for running away.

He suddenly realized he was thirsty. No problem. There was water at one of the corners of the cage. He lifted his trunk to dip it into the water, but it remained in the air. He stared at the water. He didn't believe his eyes. What kind of exotic animal was this in his water? It didn't look like anything he ever saw. It didn't even look like anything I ever saw. Was he in a "Candid camera goes to the zoo" show? He didn't care. He finally dropped his trunk in the water and took a deep gulp. The image on the surface disappeared. He thought it was just a hallucination. But not. When he stopped drinking and the water stopped making waves, the image returned. He remembered a sentence: "After eliminating the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." With the help of this thought he concluded the image in the water had to be him. It took him a long time before he could accept that. Why were his eyes so big? Where were his big fluffy ears? Why did he have wing-shaped arms? Why was he pale-blue? Who cut off his beautiful tiny tail? Why was he star-shaped? And where the mouse was his tusk? He couldn't answer any of these questions. Neither can I. He could see there was a board hanging on the outside of the cage. He wondered what it said. With his trunk he grabbed it and turned it so he could read: "George the STARFISH ELEPHANT."

Soon afterwards, the cage opened at the top and a huge snake, with five smaller snakes sticking out of its head, moved into the cage and the five smaller snakes wrapped around him and lifted him in the air. He recognized what it was: a hand, a giant hand. And where there is a giant hand, there must be a giant. And it was. Actually there was a whole giant room filled with giants in giant white robes, sitting on giant chairs behind giant tables. Everything was giant. Especially for someone who used to be an elephant. This was it! He USED TO be an elephant. Starfish elephants must be smaller, as big as mice. Only he was small, nothing around him was really giant. He was so small, that his own mother would run away, because she would mistake him for a mouse. Small as a mouse! That was more than an elephant or even an ex-elephant could cope with. He was overwhelmed with this thought. His ego was just too big for such a small body. Black thoughts blocked his senses so he didn't even know what they were doing to him. He didn't notice they were taking pictures of him with a digital camera. He didn't notice he was under careful examination, didn't see the experiments they were doing on him. He didn't even register hours of testing, moving on ground, under water, jumping in the air because of hot flames under his feet, blowing peanuts out of his trunk like bullets, drinking strange liquids and all the other stuff they did to him. But there was something he noticed. A sharp pain on his shoulder and a moment later something splashing out of his left shoulder together with awful pain coming all over his body. He couldn't stand it. It was unbearable. He thought: "Stop that, I'll be small, just stop hurting me." Finally the pain was no more. He felt calmness coming over him. He was free.

Suddenly he caught himself staring down from the ceiling on the strange people in white robes running like crazy around the table with a strange animal on it, just like the one he saw somewhere before. But where? Reflection on the water. Oh, no! It was him. He was dead. He remembered reading about near-death experiences in a magazine someone had dropped into his cage after being hit from behind by an escaped rhino. He looked around to see where the dark tunnel with a very bright light at the end of it would appear. He found it. But there was something unexpected coming out of it. A beautiful pale-pink female elephant with white wings where her ears should be. He knew she wanted him to put her trunk around hers, although she didn't say a thing. But he didn't want to go with her. He didn't want to be dead. He didn't want to go to the next level of existence, because he didn't believe in reincarnation. He had still things to do in this level of existence. Getting home to Africa and having children were just two of them. So he ran away, right through the wall, like ghosts do.

In the next room he saw a tall skinny man with spectacles and a pony tail sitting on a chair at a big desk. On the desk was a light gray box with colored lights on it and lots of black ropes sticking out of it at the back. There were three more such boxes, two a little bit smaller rounded boxes with nets on the front side making strange noises, and one more square with a picture on one side. He was surprised to see the picture changing. The ropes tied the boxes to each other, to the wall, and to a strange device on the table. It was a board with little things sticking out of it, which the man kept pressing inside the box, but they wouldn't stay in. He wanted to help the man, but his trunk just went through the board and through the table. At that moment he noticed there was a mouse on the table. He panicked. But the mouse wasn't moving. It was tied to one of the gray boxes. But he still wanted to get away.

Then the picture on the screen suddenly changed. There was a picture of him on one side and "George the Starfish Elephant" written on the other. The picture disappeared and there was another one. It was him in a strange environment. He didn't remember being there before. He quite liked it. His image on the screen was running, jumping, shooting peanuts, moving through fire and water and doing all the things he didn't remember doing when he was upset because he was so little. He couldn't stop watching it. He wanted to really be there. Suddenly he felt strangely drawn to it. He did want to be there, but not just on a flat screen. He tried to get away, but he couldn't. He pressed his legs to the floor, but they just went through it. He was helpless. Slowly he was drawn into the screen. "Nooooo...," he cried, but nothing could help him now.

Suddenly he found himself in a flat, 2D world, which was made up of small dots. He looked at himself and he was also different, flattened and little dots all over him. Fortunately this time he didn't feel a thing. He was just a ghost. Then he started to feel something. He was alive again. He was moving, jumping, shooting peanuts and doing other funny stuff without even knowing how and why, he only knew he was enjoying it. He noticed that his actions on the screen were caused by the man in front of the screen. He was very sad when the man stopped moving him around and switched off the lights in the flat world, as he found himself in total darkness. He became very depressed. But he was happy again on the next day when the man turned the PC on, started the game and moved him around as he always wanted.

He asked the man in front of the screen, if he could make more copies of the game for the humans of all ages to play with him and made them and George the Super Starfish Elephant happy. I did my part of the bargain, now it is up to YOU to make George and yourself happy by playing and, if you're good enough, winning the game and release a part of George from the digital world.

The boring details

System requirements

  • 486DX or better processor. Pentium recommended.
  • VGA graphics card, capable of 320X200 resolution in 256 colors.
  • MS-DOS or Windows 9x's in MS-DOS mode. Might work under Windows 3.x or 95, at least without sound. Doesn't work under Windows NT or OS/2.
  • 8M RAM. Uses only about 320k conventional memory. You also need both EMS and XMS memory (works with EMM386 with the RAM option or QEMM, not tested with other expanded memory managers, but should work).
  • Sound card is recommended. George uses MIDAS Sound System which supports Creative Labs Sound Blaster series (1.0 through SB 16 and AWE32), Gravis UltraSound (regular, MAX, and Plug and Play, with native Interwave support), Media Vision Pro Audio Spectrum series (PAS, PAS+ and PAS16), Microsoft Windows Sound System and compatible cards using the Crystal/Analog CODEC. But George has only been tested on SB16 and SB AWE 32 and was designed on a system using SB16.


Just unzip the archive file to a new directory named George. Type GEORGE to start the game. The game will first ask you a few questions about your sound card. If you don't have one, select "no sound." Otherwise select your soundcard and configure it You'll probably just need to confirm the selections. If you have a pentium, you should select the highest sampling rate, stereo and 16bit. If you don't and experience problems, you'll probably need to make some compromises. To change the sound card configuration type SETSOUND at the command prompt.

Programming information

George the Starfish Elephant was programmed in Turbo/Borland Pascal and assembler. Graphics was drawn in several graphics editors, including a few specially created for George.

Copyright information

This game is copyright (c) by Marko Kavcic.
This version (1.21) of George is freeware.

  1. You may (and are encouraged to) freely distribute it as long as you make no modifications to the game and the supporting files.
  2. The authors are not responsible for any damage it could cause to your hardware or software or even your health.
  3. You may NOT make modifications of any kind to this game.

Please report any bugs in the game and in this file to the author. Your opinions and feelings about the game will be appreciated and seriously considered.

Check this home page for newer version of the game.

This game is looking for a publisher/producer/distributor/sponsor. If you are interested, let me know.

Contact information

Feel free to contact the author via flyingdogfish at gmail dot com or post a comment.

Problems and solutions

  1. If the music is corrupted or the game is too slow (it should run at 25 frames per second), use SETSOUND utility to decrease the sampling rate (better not under 22k). You may also need to use mono or 8bit or both. If this doesn't help, consider no sound option.
  2. Let me know if you have any other problems. This is a testing version, so some problems are possible. Although there are no known bugs at the moment.

Instructions on how to play the game

Use Left and Right Arrows to move left and right. Press Space to jump. You can shoot (actually blow) peanuts (if you have them) with Alt. Up and Down Arrows control the peanut while in the air. P is used to pause the game. Esc will cause an instant game over.

Bananas, eyes and rabbits increase your score.
Drink magic potions to see some special effects and increase your score.
Pick up peanut boxes to get ammunition.
Hearts give you health.
Beware of anything that looks sharp or moves around. If it moves, try shooting at it. If it screams, you can kill it. But be careful not to use up too many peanuts.
Don't stand in fire or poison or you'll lose your health rapidly.
Don't stand still for too long or George will get bored, then he might fall asleept for a moment and lose some health.
Get out of water before you run out of air or you'll die.
Arrows will show you around on a first few levels.
Warning boards with skulls will tell you there is a trap nearby. Shots can show you where.
Use switches to open doors, teleports to move to distant places.
Knock on snails to activate restarting points, so you won't have to start each level all over again if you die.
Find exit to get to the next level. There are also some fake exits possible. If you can't reach it, go find another one.
To get to the bonus level you need to collect every banana, eye and rabbit on a level.
There are lots of secret areas. Find them to increase your score and get other useful bonuses.

Do not give up too easily. George might get so depressed that he will delete some files on your disk.
Never criticize the game. George might hear you. He might format your hard disk.
Do play the game as often as you can. This will make George very happy and he might show his gratitude by scanning for computer viruses.
Do make copies of the testing and freeware version of this game and distribute it as far as you can.
Do not make illegal copies of the commercial version (if and when released). It is forbidden and mortally dangerous, because of the little daemons that will escape out of the commercial version and strangle you with your own bowels, if the game is not copied according to the secret procedure, known only to the author.
Do order the full game for not yet known amount of dollars. This will make George even happier (not to mention the author). He would be so thrilled that he would allow you to play the game for a long long time.
Never make any kind of changes to this game. It might kill George and you'll go to jail for manslaughter. Or it'll make him so mad, that he will implode your monitor.
Never delete this game. This is equal to murder. And the ghost of George will haunt you forever.
Do try to find secret cheat codes by typing on the keyboard, you won't find them anyway.



  • Petteri Kangaslampi & Jarno Paananen
    MIDAS Sound System
  • Jure & Nina
    Monsters & Testing
  • George the Starfish Elephant
    for not running away
  • Internet
    Infinite Source of Information
  • Our PC's
    not complaining
  • Our families
    putting up with us
  • Viljem, Sasha, Dusko, Bostjan, Andy & Others
    no comment


  • Intel
    Strange machine code
  • Microsoft
    Even stranger operating systems
  • Borland
    Never making true Protected Mode Pascal for DOS
  • Petteri Kangaslampi & Jarno Paananen
    No more 16-bit MIDAS
  • Bugs & co.
    Bugging us

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Package icon georg121.zip1.07 MB