It’s Behind You: The Making Of A Computer Game

It’s Behind You is a free ebook by the programmer Bob Pape primarily about his writing of the legendary Spectrum conversion of R-Type. Engagingly written, the book briefly covers the author’s background and first introduction to the industry as well as a short chapter on his only previous Speccy game which was the Rampage conversion,…

The 10 Greatest Games Ever

Presented in alphabetical order, don’t ask me to start ranking ’em! I had to whittle down from a list of ~13-15 by convincing myself that I had conceptual coverage when my various choices were considered together. tl;dr – unlike acidbearboy I overthought it. Fez (Xbox360) Doesn’t just look like a modern take on a retro…

Overview: Spellbound (1985)

David Jones‘ excellent budget release Spellbound (1985) is the second Magic Knight game for the Spectrum after Finders Keepers and the first to use the series’ iconic larger graphics and “Windimation” menu system. Ignore the 128K flash on the cassette cover picture above as I’m only examining the 48K version here since that’s the one…

Go For High-Score!

Just found this from a while back which I’d saved yet never posted here. For reference, Xavior is an Atic Atac-style game for the Speccy, not an unlicensed X-Men take nor a Xevious clone sadly. One of my earliest posts was about high score tables which on arcade-style/console games are usually populated with three letters,…

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…