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back to article Ten... eight-bit classic games

Reg Hardware Retro Week Logo I live with geeks, and when they aren't at hackfest they are in the front room playing Vindicators and Spyhunter on a Friday night. I think they only tolerate my presence because my dad works at CERN and I used to be able to program Turbo Pascal before all that PCP melted my frontal lobe. One …

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Elite was incredible. I lost months of my childhood to that game. I still play the updated Oolite today.

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Playing it on Android now...

Search for "3D Space Game" in the "Play" store. Controls are a bit clunky, but it's still the old Elite

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+1 to that, and also +1 to Oolite - great modern update.

And nice to see Elite finally getting into the Antique Code Show, after it's top rating in the poll a while back! Now can we have the full article/review as well pleeeez?

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I thought the ZX Spectrum version was actually better than the BBC version but it was hampered by a stupid copy protection system called LensLok. The C64 version was utterly hopeless due to the low frame rate.

Sadly Elite II was a bit boring concentrating more on realistic astrophysics and less on fun. Frontier (Elite III) was a bug ridden mess.

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Anonymous Coward

Original Elite on the BBC was also well known for its complex protection, although the protection was completely invisible clever use of the 8271 floppy disk controller.

Even after it was finally cracked and "hooky" copies were available (and I had one) I still bought an original copy. For me it was two games. One flying a space ship, and the other trying to crack the protection :-)

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Manic Miner was out on VIC 20(with 16K RAM pack) as well. I still have mine along with my ZX81. The text adventure cartridges of the VIC wasted many hours of my youth(Adventureland, The Count etc). you seem to have missed Jeff Minters awesome collection of games, Matrix, Lazerzone, Attack of teh Mutant Camels, Revenge OTMC, etc.

you do have to wonder how they managed to get so much quality gameplay into so little memory, now each time I decide I want a quick blast of GT5 on my rarely used PS3 it downloads gigabytes of updates.... In fact it would be quicker to get my VIC out the garage and wait for it to load up Manic Miner from tape than it is waiting for GT5 to update! progress eh?

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Paris Hilton

Jeff Minter

Strangely missing from the list unless I've overlooked something?...

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Re: Jeff Minter

It was a short list, there were always going to be missing classics. I also have fond memories of Attack of / Revenge of the mutant camels on my C64 :).

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Re: Jeff Minter

Well they've gone for all the fairly obvious choices :)

Jeff Minter did some rather wacky classics. Hover Bovver being one of them, borrowing the flymo from your neighbour to cut the grass? most people hate cutting the lawn yet someone make a game out of it.

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Gimp

Odd selection

Not a great selection all in all. Missed out any Minter games, but also Turbo Esprit, the game that is said to have partly inspired the Grand Theft Auto series.

For those wanting a proper, definitive, list of the best 100 Spectrum games, try here:

http://worldofstuart.excellentcontent.com/ys100/ystop100.htm

100 of the most varied and individual Spectrum games you are ever likely to play written by a proper games journo who had played them all.

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Re: Jeff Minter

Hover Bovver was my thought exactly!

"Jim won't mind if I borrow his mower."

"I'll just nip and borrow tom's..."

"Good old Alf... He's a decent chap."

and the inevitable "Gimme back my mower!" and that bloody dog!

Great fun and a great sense of humour!

There was a PC sequel but it was never the same as the C64 original, with "An English Country Garden" on repeat :)

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Whatever.

I had 16-bit computers at home before any of that tat.

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1243068

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Re: Whatever.

Jake,

Did you have a GT40 and Lunar Lander as well? First McDonalds on the Moon!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever.

Wow! That's so great! jake, you're so awesome! Or a sad twonk desperately seeking praise. So hard to decide ...

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Re: Whatever.

You must be *so* proud.

Whaddya want? A medal?

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MJI
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I think Jake was taking the piss

That is how it read to me.

He has a PDP11

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Re: Whatever.

Okay, we get the impression you're Californian. Most of the games in the article were for the Sinclair Spectrum, an English computer that played a role in our memory of the eighties. If you read between the lines in the article, you might spot a theme: Enjoyment despite lack of graphical prowess by means of imagination and charm. One title is even a pure text based adventure game.

At the same time, many of us would have still been losing skin by falling off BMXs- and have fond memories of doing so. Being told now that someone had a 125cc motocross bike at the time wouldn't dent those memories.

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Re: Whatever.

I had 16-bit computers at home before any of that tat.

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1243068

Whatever.

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Stike Vomit said "Whatever".

Exactly.

At least someone gets it :-)

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Its a good list.

Glad elite is on there. It got me into fixing me school BBC micros and i'm still coding and designing hardware now.

A little bit disappointed no to see Jet set willy though. I really loved that game. It inspired me to do my very first coding on me Spectrum 48k. I've never looked back.

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Re: Its a good list.

Jet Set Willy WAS good but I think it is correct that the list focus on the original Manic Miner and not the sequel.

Love the list. I would have subbed "The Hobbit" for THGTTG but then, that's the point of these lists. They are personal possessions composed of shared memories.

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Happy

ah memories.....SIM by Joshua Portway

How i miss you.

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Anonymous Coward

How come those games kept kids captivated for longer, seemed more fun and seemed harder to progress than the games that cost millions to develop nowadays?

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Anonymous Coward

Because it's all we had.

I used to think the same.

Then I fired up an emulator and tried to relive my youth...... whoa those games were slow and tedious! Takes an age to get Manic Miner from one side of the screen to the other.

Imagine if we could beam a PS3 or XBox back to a kid in 1983, it would seem like alien tech from a UFO!

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Re: Because it's all we had.

Commercial aspects as well, they want you finishing the game faster so you go out and buy the next one.

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Re: Because it's all we had.

Exactly, back then 12-14 year olds didn't get everything they whined for like they do today to shut them up cos mum and dad are too busy 'working' and forget that kids are not a lifestyle accessory to be ignored when the novelty wares off.

So finding £5 to £8 for your next game was not an instant option.

God I remember saving up £15 to buy Valhalla. Talk about disappointment.

I'd still like my money back.

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Played most of those at one time or another. Even built a dedicated joystick for Elite on the Beeb B.

Could probably add a few more - Halls of the Things on the Speccie was a favourite at the time (modified joystick with 4 independent fire buttons and a custom built patchable interface for that).

Think I've been a Geek for too long!

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You needed a BitStik!

Put thrust on the twist of the joystick and had three buttons. Made complex manoeuvres less like shaking hands with an octopus!

And when you ran Elite on a 6502 second processor (if you bought a BitStik, then you probably had one of these as well to run the CAD software), you got Mode 1 graphics and none of the 'mode change' interrupt tear when it switched from Mode 4 and Mode 5 3/4 of the way down the screen.

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Mushroom

What?! JK Greye and Malcom Evans!

Where's the fathers of 3D maze games without whom we'd have no Doom and all the little Doom-lets? I am talking about the great JK Greye and Malcolm Evans who wrote a full 3D monster maze game on the ZX81 in 1981!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_Monster_Maze

Let alone other obvious ones you missed, Trashman, Skooldaze, Sabre Wulf, Head Over Heels, Dizzy series!

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Re: What?! JK Greye and Malcom Evans!

Seconding all of these.

You also missed classics like Pitfall, Boulderdash and for CPCers amongst you - the Roland series (Roland in Time, Roland on the Ropes, etc). Also, I saw a reference to Adrian Mole but no Monty Mole? For shame.

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Happy

Re: What?! JK Greye and Malcom Evans!

I second that - Monster Maze was excellent. Especially with the lights out.

As long as you didn't suffer from epilepsy.

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Re: What?! JK Greye and Malcom Evans!

Anyone remember a FP3D game on the C64 called Scarabaeous which had you exploring an Egyptian tomb looking for treasure? There were all sort of nasties patrolling the corridors, but I especially remember it for the soundtrack of a heartbeat which got faster the more damage you took. Delivered in splendid Commodore chunk-o-vision, it was still absolutely terrifying.

oooh I wonder if that's available anywhere?

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Let's not forget that before EA owned nearly all the sports franchises, we had a few sports classics.

Who can forget Daley Thompson's Decathlon? Those poor soft rubber keys on the Spectrum didn't stand a chance.

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neither did my zipstick

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...with the RSI inducing "cheat" of using a table-tennis ball when doing the 100 metres!

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"neither did my zipstick"

F'nar!

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Manic Miner, Jetpac and Sabre Wulf were all available for the BBC B as well, and I'd argue they were superior versions compared to the Spectrum.

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And you'd be wrong. Every fool knows that the BBC versions of everything were inferior to the Speccy.

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Yes, how can a computer which could display pixel level colours and do true multichannel sound rival the character based attribute clashing and farting noises of the speccy.

</sarcasm>

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Getting in on the titles-you-didn't-pick wagon...

Chaos? Xeno? Bruce Lee? Stop the Express? Nebulus? Driller? Exolon? Target: Renegade? Thrust? Splat? Turrican? Dan Dare? Wizball?

I'm confident those were all very good.

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Re: Getting in on the titles-you-didn't-pick wagon...

Frak!, Zalaga and Firetrack (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bxdd2_qrpg)

(CoI warning: written by a cousin of mine)

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Re: Getting in on the titles-you-didn't-pick wagon...

FRAK! Oh now that was a game - and IIRC the graphics were way ahead of anything else at the time. The killer yo-yo!

(Had both a BBC-B and Speccy - much preferred the Speccy though I did go through 3 keyboards playing i-Ball!)

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Re: Getting in on the titles-you-didn't-pick wagon...

Zalaga - responsible for the total destruction of the switch under my Return key.

Frak! - impressive graphics handling, but ultimately quite slow.

Firetrack - A fantastic game; one of the greats on the Beeb. I remember the author (Orlando) telling me that the music from the loading routine was called "She's The Main Attraction". He's your cousin? Say thanks for me, please!

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Selection is a bit UK biased for BBC and Speccy

But that's ok since I played most of those. I'd replace two of the lesser know Spectrum entries with two Jeff MinterC64 classics: Mutant Camels and Dropzone.

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FAIL

Re: Selection is a bit UK biased for BBC and Speccy

Remind me what the last two letters of the URL for this site are again?

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Re: Selection is a bit UK biased for BBC and Speccy

The letters O and M.

Handily viewed in your browser's address bar ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Selection is a bit UK biased for BBC and Speccy

dropzone = archer mclean

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Headmaster

Re: Selection is a bit UK biased for BBC and Speccy

Dropzone was written by Archer McLean, not Jeff Minter.

If I had to put a C64 game in there, it would be a toss-up between 'Bruce Lee' (one of the first licensed games that *didn't* suck, despite having a couple of insidious bugs) or M.U.L.E. (OK, it was originally written for the 8-bit Atari, but was one of the first games I bought after I'd saved up for ages to buy a 1541)

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MJI
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Re: Commodore

You do know that they sold a lot in the UK?

You do know that Jeff Minter is British?

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