Friday, 1 June 2012

Day 6 - Covering the Spectrum

Obviously, a large part of any book on the British gaming scene in the Eighties must feature the Sinclair Spectrum pretty heavily (unless, of course, I end up doing separate volumes for each machine).  That'll be fun for me in some ways, as I never owned a Spectrum back in the day.  I played on them quite a bit, as some of my mates had them, and I remember a lot of my favourite games.  But I'm not as well up on the Speccy as I might need to be.

I do actually own one of these fellas.  Must take a picture of it at some point...

I've got a decent-sized list of Speccy superstars that I want to cover, and their games.  But I'd be grateful if anybody more knowledgeable than me would chip in with some of their favourites.  You'd be sure to cover ground that I've left untrodden, which would help to fill in a few gaps.

So, who were your favourite Spectrum programmers, or what were your favourite Speccy games?  Let's see how they fit in with what I've already got, which amounts to twenty-odd programmers and about a hundred games.  There are bound to be some obvious ones that I've missed...


  1. Favourite games:
    Commando - brill conversion
    Thundercats - ditto
    Ikari warriors - ditto
    Exolon - Fantastic use of colour
    Zynaps - Super smooth scrolly shoot-em up
    Manic Miner - obviously
    Jet Pac - simple but supreme arcade action
    Fighter Pilot - the best flight sim on the speccy IMO
    Batman - one of the best tv conversion licenses ever!
    Tau Ceti - Stunning shaded 3d and deep gameplay
    Deflektor - one of the few puzzle games I really liked on the speccy

    There were many good programmers on the scene and it would be difficult to name them all but some stand out names were Keith Burkhill, Dominic Robinson, Jonathan "Joffa" Smith, Bob Pape, Pete Cooke, Jon Ritman, the Stamper brothers, Raffele Cecco, Costa Panayi, Matthew Smith amongs many others!

    Good luck with the book!

  2. Lords of Midnight - Mike Singleton
    Denton Designs (Ex-Imagine Team)Shadowfire etc
    Dark Star (Design Design)
    Sandy White{?) Ant Attack/ZombieZombie
    3D Death Chase

    Too early in the morning, my brain isn't warm yet!

  3. Mike Singleton's The Lords Of Midnight.

    This game had no sound and no animation but was rich in scale and so immersing in atmosphere that your mind kind of filled in the gaps at the time.

    This was back in the days when people were happy to read a big manual and get their head around a complicated system, back when being actually able to play a game required more commitment than today's video gamers are used to.

    The game gives you two possible ways to play, either by embarking on a quest to destroy the Ice Crown with Morkin, or build up your armies and take on the evil Doomdark in a large scale strategy war.

    However, when I played this as a child the main attraction to me was the Pokemon-like recruiting of the actual Lords Of Middnight. I nevcer did 'catch them all' but it was fantastic fun searching all over Midnight for these Lords seeing how many I could get before Doomdark started slaughtering them all.

    The game is enormous but perfectly balanced with it and as a child I marvelled out how Mike Singleton manage to create such a world, knowing little of generation algorithms at the time, but even now I think it is an amazing achievement to get so much into 48k.

  4. Thanks for the comments, they're much appreciated. You'll be happy to know that I already had most of those mentioned on my list of people and games to cover. Frankly, if I didn't, then I don't think I'd have any right to even think about writing this book! There are some that I didn't have though, and those have been duly added. And I appreciate the thoughts on those games too... I always love to read how people felt about their favourite games. It's an extra bit of inspiration, in fact!

  5. And thank goodness that a wonderful conversion of LoM to the C64 allowed me to be so utterly sucked into that world that I still class it in my top 5 games of all time.