5MA – Great Britain Ltd (1982, Spectrum)

Please vote today, whoever you support and even if you think your vote won’t matter. In honour of today’s plebiscite, here’s a 5MA of an early Speccy sim/management game, where you play as the UK Prime Minister (and de facto Chancellor of the Exchequer) trying to steer the ship of state without sinking her. Politics…

5MA – Mailstrom (1986, Spectrum)

In Mailstrom you play as a postman driving a high-tech Knight Rider-inspired van. Gameplay consists of driving through a seamlessly-linked series of scrolling streets, stopping to break into post boxes, to deliver letters or to make drop-offs/collections from the depots. My main memories of playing the game back when it was given away on a…

5MA – Knuckle Busters (1987, Spectrum)

OK, housekeeping first. 5MA a.k.a. 5 Minutes Alone (named after the Pantera song, natch) is my answer to trying or playing games and never writing about them, either because they only provided 5 minutes entertainment or because I thought they deserved a fuller, infinitely-deferred write-up. Short responses to early gameplay, i.e. explicitly not a “real”…

Who Is Techno Cop?

Techno Cop is a 1988 game for 8/16-bit home computers published by erstwhile industry stalwarts Gremlin Graphics, which was also ported to MegaDrive in 1990. This isn’t a review, but here’s a quick bit of context. The game obviously seeks to riff on RoboCop (you’ve heard of him, right?). Gameplay is an interesting 50/50 combination…

REmember TomorROw

OK, bit of inside-baseball here, but what are blogs for, eh? For years now your humble hosts at VGR have made time with friends for an annual gathering of retro-gaming and catching-up. For the busier among us it’s a rare chance to sink teeth into some solid extended gaming time. Original hardware, pads and peripherals…

What Is Best In Life #20: ZX Moire

Per Wikipedia, moirĂ© fringes are the complex patterns that manifest as a result of interference between overlaid transparent images. Provided you don’t count people on TV with dodgy stripey shirts or ties then I first encountered them as attractive features on naive loading screens for early (1982-83) Spectrum games. Sometimes drawn by the BASIC loader….

ZX81 Manual Cover Art

Here’s the glorious sci-fi cover art for the ZX81 manual minus its usual contrasting red text. Not sure of the original provenance, but was pretty chuffed to happen across it at such a decent resolution online. And just for lagniappe have pics of the French-language cover along with the English original: RUBOUT rubs out the…

Twitch Me I’m Sick!

I signed up for Twitch on a whim. I won’t be streaming anything live this side of a capture card (yeah, right!) but hope to use it to upload the odd illustrative Spectrum game video for posts. Here’s the link to my desultory profile. It’s under the name biokhazad because I prioritise whimsy and wordplay…

St. Dragon SCREEN$

I’d forgotten how good the St. Dragon loading screen looked on the Speccy. For the uninitiated, St. Dragon was a side-scrolling space shooter which pitted your invulnerable-tailed robot dragon against various giant mechanical animals such as pumas, bulls and, er, whatever comes after the first level. Here’s the loading screen (click if it looks weirdly…

Deviants: New Type-in Hack

OK, this is probably the most niche post I could ever make (potential audience: 1 – me!). I originally wanted to pair this with an examination of the use of words and language in Deviants, but circumstances have prevented me from rustling up a post I was happy with, despite having whipped up the hack…

Overview: Deviants

Deviants is an 8-bit flipscreen arcade game from 1987, written by Colin Swinbourne et al, released on the budget label Players for Spectrum, Amstrad and Commodore 64. Here I’m reviewing the Spectrum version, which is playable on 48K or unchanged on 128K save some extra title screen music. Deviants was also a memorable covergame for…

Shockway Rider

Shockway Rider is a 1987 arcade-style game for the Spectrum, Amstrad or C=64. As ever I’m looking at the Speccy version here. The game’s name is pinched from John Brunner‘s proto-cyberpunk ’70s novel The Shockwave Rider, but it has no other connection which I’m aware of. In fact the game’s aesthetic is ’50s sci-fi reimagined…