Most of experts know so, that the last game released for the ZX Spectrum in Western-Europe was Dr. Who - Dalek Attack in July of 1993. But this is quite far from the whole truth. About 10% of the ever released Spectrum games were text adventures, which sold quite well after for years. The last 'independent software house', Zenobi Software released the very last commercial game from Edwina Brown titled Hide & Seek in May 1997.
Although the straight decline was easily noticeable from the beginning of 1993 year, which can be measured by the number of published software. From this year's spring software companies did not accept any new Spectrum games from developers as well the last of Speccy magazines disappeared. New games release section of still alive press were practically empty, or even cancelled. In May Sinclair User, and in September Your Sinclair was also exiting.
In 1992, there was still a relatively huge amount of software published, but in the next year the writing was on the wall: big software developers began leaving the 8 bit micros, and simultaneously moved to PC, Amiga, Atari ST and consoles.
Of course, the Spectrum was not the only 8 bit computer to feel the effect of the developer's defection to the 16 bits; but its ever-popular rival, the Commodore 64 was suffering as well.
Quite interesting turn, that currently a lot more ZX Spectrum games and user softwares developed than for the previously mentioned 16 bit platforms...
About 12.000 games were released for the ZX Spectrum in what is consdidered as the "classic" 12 years era of April 1982 - to July 1993. This kind of productivity is still standalone nowadays. And the story was not finished yet... In fact, the most interesting part is yet to be told!
ZX Spectrum games of ex-Soviet Union
Appear of the clones
Second generation of ZX machines cropped up in the territory of ex-Soviet Union (significantly in Russia, but in another smaller states as well). For the average Russian, a PC/AT was too expensive, so they cracked the original ZX Spectrum and rebuild them from Russian parts. First 48K machines were produced as early as 1985, and in 1991, the boom of the 128K clones began.
It became the school-computer (christened Hobbit 64K), but sooner or later, other clones were produced by bigger or smaller companies such as Scorpion, Kay, ATM, and who knows how many other mutations exist. Even individuals produced their own cloned computers. After the end of official worktime, lots of people, who were employed in electric companies, started to make these clones. This was facilitated by the fact, that the assembling circuits diadgrams were freely distributable in most cases. That way was born Pentagon, one of the most popular ZX clone.
To see the concrete price tags: a contemporary Amiga or PC configuration costed between 300 and 1000 USD, where as a Pentagon or Scorpion was only 20-100.
Even every clone had more variants, and the variants were not perfectly compatible with each other's. The compatibility of different clones was even worse.
This situation led to software-incompatibility. New programmes were not correctly compatible with every clone (and not even with the original ZX Spectrum!), as programmers could test the programs on the clones, what they have. Most of them did not see the original ZX Spectrum machine too. Worth to mention, as in Europe was the C64-ZX "war", the similar happened in the ex-USSR between the owners of various ZX-clones.
Imperia 2 Dune: strategy for Spectrum
Widespreading of disk interface
The originally English-developed Beta-128 disc interface became the dominant mass storage device of Russian ZX Spectrum clones. Casette tapes very quickly disappeared along with the standard 48K machines.
The system can control up to four 640K DD floppy drives as 3';3,5' and 5,25' formats were all supported. Some simplified versions only used two floppy disks.
Most of the clones had this controller integrated into their motherboard. However, the Beta system was not very successful in the UK or Europe.
The new system certainly gave new opportunities for software developments: 640K was so huge comparing to the 128K maximum of the old tape system. It could hold even more, because data of the software is often stored compressed. With this method, averagely 800K can be packed onto a single disk. If we look the ZX Spectrum 128K and the Beta-128 disk system combination in the computing history term, it is the missing evolution step between the classic 8 bit machines (ZX Spectrum 48K, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC 464, 664) and the much more powerful 16 bit micros.
So, the new standard became the 128K machine with a Beta-128 interface along with a very cheap stereo tuning of the AY chip. In the old days, 5,25' floppies were used, later the 3,5' format, and nowadays the virtual .TRD/.SCL image files.
Most programs are runs fine in the above configuration. Although some games are needs more memory (for example 256K: Walker, Atomix, Country of Myths), special ULA modes as Gigascreen (Homer Simpson in Russia), or Multicolor up to 83 colours: (Wolfenstein 2004, Mario Islands, Hexagonal Filler), the 7 MHz Turbo Mode (Dune: Imperia 2).
And demanding 512K if RAM is very surprising in the Spectrum world (Starcraft). So far only one programme, the Seasons of Sakura 16C needs at least 1024K, but this is a fairly different category, as it using a new graphics mode (16C).
While most of the games run well on 128K of memory, but presenting of 256K is very healthy for the speed (Crime Santa Claus De Ja Vu, Homer Simpson in Russia 2).
If digitised and other effects integrated into the game, the optional 512K would also be helpful (Smagly 3). By the way, Season of Sakura can use the memory up to 4096K, utilising the above 128K part as cache memory.
These giant games are usually conversions from another platforms: authors were converted directly the sprites and effects from there.
When did it, at the same time they run out of the 128K and made the practically unsaleable programs (just because most owners have 128K machine, only developers owned more powerful computers). However, it is worth mentioning the fact: most of these programs were successfully converted to 128K standard machines by different authors.
For motivating owners to expand the memory or buying a more powerful clone, these games simple arrived too late in most cases.
Going back to turbo mode. So far, only Wolfenstein 2004 supports higher FPS in turbo mode, another progs "only" run faster. Also only this game supports the video cache memory, giving the turbo coefficient from the usual 1.4x to 2.x.
Crime Santa Claus and Super Mario Bros show extra "snowing" effects in turbo mode.
Of course, developers of Beta-128 never thought, that a ZX Spectrum game will occupy a full 640K disk, or the "Insert next disk..." will appear during the gameplay.
Typically, graphics adventures (Anime Story, Nocturnal Illusion) or puzzle games (Double Xinox, New Puzzle) required the space of a whole disk. Games with more episodes also usually copied into one single disk by the authors (Crime Santa Claus Deja Vu, Smagly 3). The 640K game compo entries certainly using a full diskette (Cheitnot Chess, Wolfenstein 2004). Similarly occupying a full disk those mega-games, which are included intro, screens, different music for levels, bi-lingual communication etc. (Fire and Ice, Mortal Kombat 1, Pussy).
Multi-disk games are less often common, but for example Copper Feet did produced some: Ufo 1 and Black Raven 1 filled two floppies. Last Hero of the Light Force adventure and the network playable Net Walk were released on double disks.
Yes, there is even more. The already mentioned Season of Sacura's both versions (monochrome and color-per-pixel) occupies three full disks with its PC-converted graphics. The result of 16C is very similar to EGA screens and very nice compared to the ordinary Spectrum and any colour-clash is eliminated. Some games by Alone Coder support it, such as: Ball Quest, Pang 16C and Time Gal. Last one is nearly 190 megabytes and a Sony Playstation conversion, plus the first ZX game which requires a CD-ROM.
Musics and effects are also did not remain unchanged. The initially three channel mono sound was soon replaced with three-channel ACB stereo.
With the General Sound card nearly Amiga quality sound can be produced on four channels (4x8 bit, 37,5 kHz). Significantly, not many new software releases were written for GS, but old classics were cracked, and effects and music added to them, which digged out from the Amiga version. If we see the GS128 or GS512 included in the game's title, than this means it is supporting the 128K or 512K version of General Sound card.
The next novelty, the six channels Turbo Sound card becomes widespread nowadays. It has a second AY-chip beside the original. Because one AY chip can sound in stereo, with two quadro music and effects can be realised.
Wolfenstein 2004: teljes 640K-t foglal
Mortal Kombat 2: egyenlőre csak alfa verzió
Hexagonal Filler: 83 szín egyszerre
Anime Story: teljes lemezes játék
Time Gal: az első játék CD-ROM-on
At this point, we can separate the games into two subtypes. On the first hand, programmers realised their own ideas, getting extremely close to the hardware maximum (for example: Star Inheritance, Kolobok Zoom 1-2, Pussy, Technodrom, Last Hero of the Light Force).
Secondly, it was relevant of rewriting the DOS-age PC/Amiga games to Spectrum (Prince of Persia, Civilization, Dune 2 etc.). Another significant conversion platform is the Nintendo Entertainment System's Russian analogue, the Dendy (Ice Climber, Battle City and dozen of Mario games).
The most interesting fact: such games were released for the ZX Spectrum, which is previously said by the press: it is impossible to make its Speccy version! Early programs were quite bad quality, and they often written in Russian language. Easy to understand the reasons: ex-Soviet coders did not know, that lots of users keep on using their Spectrums in Europe as a hobby machine.
It is a pity, because beside the weaker programs, some higher quality games were also published, which quality is equal or higher to the old commercial games, but they are unusable because of the language. It is not very serious problem with an arcade game, but a text adventure is totally unusable.
This bad habit unfortunately is still alive nowadays (Anime Story, Sea Quest).
Readers can ask: what is the situation with the copyrights of these Spectrum games? Mostly, we could say, original publishers even do not know the existence of the ZX-version of these games.
International copyright conventions originally were signed by the Soviet Union, and after the post states resigned them. Anyway, copyright rights now are stricter in the ex-USSR than in Europe. Despite that, Russians are ignoring these laws. So original developers will not see any money from the games.
Sadly, the same piracy is stands for the Russian developed programs too. So, legal copies are sold in quite low volumes comparing with the size of the country. 3.000 sold pieces were a very nice result from a game in the mid 90's.
The most interesting case is probably can be connected to Prince of Persia. Above the original Nicodim and Magic Soft edition, numerous cracked versions were available in the quite huge area of country:Another World Corp, ChuckaByte, Omega (Hackers) Group, Phantom Family, Ticklish Jim and Phantasy all had their own versions. Last group is also released it on tape, and further more promised the Euro-conform Plus D floppy version too.
All ex-Soviet Union games now Public Domain with only two exceptions.
Dune 2. yet was not bought from the authors (not enough money were collected). Anyway, Dune 2 is a very interesting case. It is unsaleable as demands 256K/7MHz. On the other hand, its main rival, Black Raven 1 is freeware since 2000. Initially Infokorm sold it in a special box and with a little user book. Nowadays, this year 1996 product can be bought from Sinclair Club.
For the games of Alex Xor there is an unwritten agreement between Spectrumists: nobody will pirate them, and after a year the author will take them into PD category. The games of Axor are the competitors of the "Your Game" challenge. Detail will come some paragraphs later.
Prince of Persia: the best coversion
Sea Quest: only in Russian
Seasons of Sacura(16C): only three disks...
In general, can be said, smaller groups made these programs, or some friends joined to made them: everyone does the task in which he was the best. The best example for this kind of co-operation is the also mentioned (unfortunately) Russian language Crime Santa Claus: Deja Vu game. (Between brackets I would note, this is the only one game, which uses the special 128-colour mode in the two main screens. Despite this, the result is not so nice as in the 30 colour Multicolor mode).
Demogroups are also often making games, in that case the effects from their demos are easily identifiable in the game also.
As among the demogroups there are elites and average ones, this quality is also reflected in the quality of their published games. A very nice example is Omega Hackers Group's game, Mario Islands. Of course, elite groups only co-operated with same level teams. For example, the graphics of previous game was given from OHG to n-Discovery for develop it further. This group is reached 25 FPS, but finalisation of game was intermitted. Must to denote, that these developing groups mostly consisted of teenagers or youngs at their early twenties. At the moment, they are the leading figures of the Russian computing industry.
There were also "family enterprises". Copper Feet (Vyacheslav Mednonogov) often co-operated with his brother, Alexej.
By the way, Copper Feet was led a development diary of the games, and Alex Xor did the same. These were published in the contemporary (electronic) press. Since these ancient blogs are available on Internet too. So we can read about the circumstances of borning Black Raven 1 and Courier 2: The Lost World.
And now we reached to nowadays. With the help of Internet, virtual communities are also developing games through e-mails, e-mail-groups, forums and chatrooms etc.
Also publishing games those groups, who are normally developing end-user softwares. The previously mentioned Walker is the product of Alien Factory, who made the JPEG-viewer for the ZX Spectrum. Not surprisingly, Walker looks exactly the same, as the pictures the JPEG-viewer...
These programs were advertised in the ZX Spectrum or in other computing magazines. The other category was again Spectrum oriented, as 90% of readers have some clone of this machine.
Some games were sold with the clones, manufacturers give them "freely" along with end user softwares.
Between 1993 and 1997 "regional dealers" were spreaded games on the weekends in the local marketplace (mostly they were youngs, who get some money after each sold software).
The software groups located in bigger cities made contract with them. On the disks, beside the new software they copied the disk version of old games as well the freshest e-magazines.
The most important centre was Moscow, followed tightly by Saint Petersburg as well the Belorussian Minsk. In these cities groups also kept the contact via modems. Some examples from the capital city for the hacker, demo, utility and game making groups: KSA Software, Softstar, L.P.V., RRR Soft, Magic Soft etc. Another significant centres: Voronezh (Golden Disk Corporation), Gomel-Belarus (Dream Makers Software), Kharkov-Ukraine (Codebusters). Of course, the bigger capital city groups also had regional centres in Saint Petersburg and Minsk above the main HQ.
This era is presented by DJ Hooligan's Diller (dealer) game - unfortunately in Russian language only.
Another way of advertising was the disk-magazines. Here were published the semi-finished games - which are often not finished at all (for example Black Raven 2 - Copper Feet). Anyway, could be regard as the sequel of the Black Raven the new mission disks released by Compu-Studio in 1999 and Metallurg in 2004-2005 (2 and 4 full disks!).
Worth to mention, that couple of game making groups also published disk-magazines. So certainly their game-demos appeared firstly in their diskmags. Some examples about the elite group's diskmag releases: Step CG: Spectrofon, XL Design: ZX Format, Mafia: Faultless Magazine, Rush: Rush Magazine etc. Certainly, the demo version of games copied without copy protection onto the disk, and developers even encouraged the people, who already bought the diskzine, to copy these demos to their friends. Of course, the final version (if it was released) was contained difficult copy protection methods.
Making a separate category that companies, which has the main profile of spreading games inline with professional computing literature.
One of most relevant was Infokorm sited in Moscow: most games were released through them. Between 1991 and 1997 they ran ZX-Review magazine.
Also worked in the capital the Solon and VA Print Ltd. firms. They had more joint publications. These companies went "famous" by their low quality book-series titled 500 Games. Solon was also known by their Pentagon development as well selling various peripherals.
Formak Ltd. from again Moscow published and sold game-related books too. Their specialty was the different passwords, cheats and tricks.
Peter Publishing House (Piter Ltd.) is the biggest publishing house in Russia, which is also working today. Beside the publications, best known from their Peters and Sprinter clones.
Of course, most elite groups also collaborated in Ukraine. In that manner, new possibilities given in helping the game development, advertising in electronic journals etc.
Such an association was the X-Project Association (XPJ), which founded in the city of Harkov in April 1 1997 (so the decadence ages of ZX-era in Russia). Its founder and main organiser was Squizer, Alexei Bugai. Right from the start, three another associations were joined in: Enigma, Unicum and United Coders. Later members including again from Kharkov Last Masters and Hell Risers as well Brainwave from YoshkalOla, Aris from Sumy and Energy Minds from Odessa.
Membership totally counted 39 persons, and divided into three sub-divisions: X-Project Netware was developed and supported the network software, X-Project Publishing was managed to publish and advertise the game of authors, and finally X-Project development was responsible for developing new games, system programs and another piece of software.
Certainly, here we interested primarily in games. For example, they put the right contact between authors and traders in case of the games of Mirror, Country of Myths, Operation RR and 12 Secret Books.
In their ZX Power magazine authors gave possibility to introduce themselfes and releasing their ongoing demo-versions, and also giving handful advises for the newcomer game developers. A kind of mentoring thing.
Games released by XPJ: Stalker, Lunar Wind, Snake, Role Playing Game.
Anyway, the Alasm assembler and STS debugger used during most Russian game development, was also the work of the members of the group.
Very similar association was RUSH (RUSH I.S.P.A - International Software Producing Association) too. It was consisted of Avalon, ETC-Group (after joined to him BrokImSoft) and Dream Makers as well some individual persons. In 1997 IMP, the founder of association decided to officially disband it, however members continued the joint works.
Take a short turn to nowadays. Easily can think, that at present only by Internet travelling the programs from A to B. Well, not. Virtual TR-DOS still gets ordinary snail mails with games from regions where no Internet accesses.
Actions of publishers are also leaded to success of developing games. For instance, in 1994 the before mentioned Infokorm called a challenge "Reader's Games". Among the weak quality games, some nice programs were saw the light too.
In 2002, Perspective Group announced a similar competition within the frames of their Abzac magazine. It had money prize, but not too much competitor was interested. In 2004, the previous interest becomes even weaker. But some nice works were born, and PG also takes part in his own competition with one-one games yearly. In 2006, they announced the third round with the help of Internet. 6 games were collected. Unfortunately, the games with one exception very remind us to 1982-83.
We will see... the competition cannot be harmful. By the way, the name of the challenge is "Your Game" - as I mentioned some paragraphs before. The prize fund is 200 USD, which collected from the commercially spreaded disks with all entries. Anyway, the floppies sold for 6 USD. Not so difficult to realise: people will not gain millions with it. In addition, the 2002 year competition's disk was cracked and put it into Internet. No wonder if only 30 pieces were sold.
Also on Russian demo parties very much semi-finished games appearing, the completion of these games regularly missing.
On Millenium 2000 one complete game, in the very next year two full versions released.
On Chaos Constructions 2004 three fullversions and a demo saw the light.
Sometimes very simply games are under construction for ages. For example, the demoversion of Arcaniod was announced on Funtop'98, the final version on Chaos Constructions 2001 introduced to the public.
As the area of the ex-Soviet Union is quite huge, in some case happens, that the same game was developed by two or three different groups and the appearance of the games are quite different (for example Doom, Mortal Kombat, King's Bounty 1, 3, Heroes of Might and Magic and Worms). Sometimes these groups become rivals, who can realise the best conversion.
Being in the progress of game making, they often try to licit to each other's, but the finishing is often terminated. Legends are spreading from lost source codes and games, which were seen by some couple of people only. A very lame thing, but some makers try to catch the attention with some screenshoots without having a real game behind it.
A separate category is the Spectrum adaptations of Russian handheld quartz games. Horrorsoft and CyberPunks Unity was published two such games together. In 2000 they came out with Kool Eggz, and Diver Mystery of the Deep is from 2004. For a change, these quartz games are also not Russian developments, but the illegal copies of the Nintendo Game and Watch series, manufactured by firm Elektronika. Original titles: Octopus (the Russian LCD game was renamed to Secrets of the Ocean) and Eggs. Kool Eggz is based on the Nu Pogodi! cartoon. Eggs has some another less signifficant adaptations too as it was one of the most popular quartz game.
Which is the quickest way of creating games? Of course, using the level-editors. In that way born the new Russian episodes of the famous Dizzy games, in which the egg is roing in Russia or in Ukraine after taking a high level Russian language exam.
Otherwise Dizzy was not only released on Spectrum solely, but also on numerous another platforms. But the ZX has the most releases. This leaded to the situation, to become a so-called cult figure not only in Europe but also in the area of ex-Soviet Union. That is the main reason of countless unofficial continuations. Dizzy games after 1993: Dizzy X (1994), Dizzy X-2 (1995), Dizzy Warehouse (1996), Dizzy 8 (1996), Home Iseland Dizzy (1998), Dizzy 'A' (2000), Dizzy 'B' (2001), Dizzy XII (2001), Dizzy Forever (2005).
Some Dizzy games unfortunately did not dawn: only demo version were born. That ones: Drunk Dizzy (1995), Dizzy XX (1995), and Dizzy in Rainbow (1996).
The top that games could be the game of n-Discovery: Dizzy: The Main Day. Making of the program is interrupted and unfortunately never be released. Because except of some screenshoots and the scenario of the first level nothing was done for a long time ago. In contrast to the previous Dizzy games, drew, full-screen backgrounds would applied and accompanied by AY and General Sound effects. The quality of graphics was planned to improve by the Gigascreen method.
A special variants of Dizzy-clones, when the main character is also replaced to someone else. Fizzy is the creation of the authors of Dizzy X and X-2, here we control a hearth instead the egg. 48 Irons and Operation R. R. are the games of Galaxy. In these cases, the makers going "further": not only the hero transformed, but also the outside of playing area was changed.
Similar methods were applied to Adventures of Winnie Pooh 1, 2 and the Zunny 1, 2 games, as well in the case of Bolsevnik Stranu Oz.
A Russian folk tale figure, Kolobok also could not avoid the transformation into a Dizzy adventure game. The demoversion of Softwarrior stands far closer to the original Dizzy games, like A. Bazarkin's interpretation: this one has fairly primitive graphics.
The hero of Smagly trilogy, Smagly in the first two episodes also appearing in a Dizzy-like game, and in the final part transformed into the aggressive main character of the crack of the Spanish action game, Astro Marine Corps. Flea Tales, Hamon IV and Sliders are also Dizzy-clones.
The pinnacle is the Crime Santa Claus series as mentioned some times earlier. After releasing the first episode, the carry-on was terminated, instead Crime Santa Claus: Deja Vu came out with four years intermission.
Not only the Dizzy-series, but another successful games also leaded to continuations.
The Main Blow is a new Russian episode of the Silkworm series. Myth game has two second episode in Russia: one of them is the version of Gargoyles from 1994 (Myth 2). The another is called Lethargy: The Apathetic Dream and made by Studio Stall in 2003. The very successful Flying Shark coin-op conversion was reincarnated as an A-10 Thunderbolt. But the Ferrari of Crazy Cars 2 is racing along in its original form in the Top Gear demo.
Special Russian series and tales also often giving ideas for games.
Nearly at the same time of the Spectrum in Russia, started the Russian version of Wheel of Fortune, called Pole Chudes. This was written up by Outland and Softland in 1995. Some another individual authors also made such games, but this two are the most relevant.
The two famous cartoons of Szoyuzmultfilm also adapted as computer games. The Nu Pogodi! quartz LCD game was mentioned. Beside this, the game of Titanic also based on the Russian analogue of Tom and Jerry as an adventure game.
The another masterpiece, titled Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was written by Softland in two episodes as Dizzy-clones, but this also mentioned before.
Kolobok, the East-Slavic folk tale hero, a round, yellow, loaf-like creature also starring in some games, which is described also previously.
Often happens, that codes of already half-made games are given from hands to hands as the original developer lost their interest. In the better case "only" they simply left out nice parts from the game. Even worse, if did not finish the game at all.
That is the sad story of Awaken, the Russian Elite clone. Initially was developed by Rage, and a playable demo published in 1999. In 2000, the project was handed over to Fenomen, but was not continued. If we can believe the rumours, the 3D engine of Awaken was approximately 5-6 times faster than its classic forefather. It was realised by using the game engine of Hard Drivin' car race simulator.
In the PC-world, we are living in the age of bugs, patches and fixes. Well, ZX-games are also not bug free. Among the fixes and patches the "Milleneum Edition", "Second Edition" shows, that the initial release was not perfect. Thanks to God, the improved versions are not need more RAM and CPU resources as with a PC soft. Different version numbers (v1.1, v1.4 etc.) are speaking about the same situation. It was happened, that different versions of the same game are differing much more, that its version number suggesting. The best example for that case is Labyrinth v2.0 and v2.2.
Quite interesting, that second editions are sometimes shorter without losing anything from the quality of the original game. The Mortal Kombat 256K by Nikolai Voronev was finally fitted into 128K. Runaway City was occupying originally two disks, and now it is only on a single disk. The 16C version of Season of Sakura is also occupies three disks such as the previous monochrome only version.
If we are at the PC-parallel things: on the Spectrum network games are not so popular as on the IBM-clones. The story of net-games was begun with the 1995 year crack of Laser Squad and followed by some Russian games such as X-Reversi, Gambit, Cheitnot Chess and Quake 1. As I guess, everybody thinks that network games played with machines connected though serial, parallel ports or modem. It is quite unbelievable, but machines can be connected thorough the AY music chip or the tape's MIC-EAR ports (input-output).
Belarus is one of the most outstanding regions. ZX Spectrum was the most popular here between 1995 and 1998.
E-mags and press as well Speccy BBS still exists from those golden ages.
The Belarussian story had begun just in Russia: after the tape conversions new games were born.
The most successful of them: Sex Xonix (by Tankard), Mist (Rage/ZX-Legion), Civilization (Cubeckij Vitalij), Clickmania (Optical Brothers).
The best of the bests is the Fatality group, which was formed in 1996 November. They translated more English-language classic games into Russian (for example SimCity), just as the famous Czechoslovakian game-wonder, Twilight: Krajina Tienov. Their first own game, Margo Puzzle was realised a year later after the forming. They planned the continuation of the game with Margo Puzzle 2 and 3, but these only reached at demo stage. After again a year three another arcades were published (Kolobok Zoom I-II and White Eagle).
The last of their works was the Pussy - The Love Story from the Titanic (1999-2000). With this mega-game they write themselves into the history of ZX Spectrum, as it is one of the highest quality games ever released. It was also nearly remain unfinished because lack of money. But the Polish, currently living in Austria Leszek Chmielewski Daniel were give the financial background for completing the game. At the same time, he also bought the distribution rights in Europe. So tape version is also available.
They are respected, because getting very close to the maximum of Spectrum hardware. The leader of the group, Freeman is gone to mad as the rumours say.
Internet and the international Spectrum meetings are influenced positively the "Euro-conformity" of ZX Spectrum programs.
Soon appeared the bi-lingual, Russian-English language games, such as the brilliant logical-arcade Fire and Ice. In the case of adventure games using English language is even more important, the best example is Viking Quest 3. Here we can follow the adventures of Egil, the viking not only in Russian language, but also in English - opposite of the previous two episodes. The Vera adventure game will also have English/tape version - by the plans.
New games were tested on the original ZX Spectrum too (not only on local clones).
Stronghold game is the development of Red Triangle group. Originally was published on Elektronika BK machine, then was converted to Spectrum. After the English translation (which was the common project of the English and Russian scene) Cronosoft is selling it since 2007 on tape.
International spreading was highly accelerated by Internet, the currency is regularly US-Dollar, and the medium is 3,5' floppy disk.
In some case it is happenend, that a previously commercial game became freeware (Black Raven 1, but we have spoken already about it) and the full version is free to download from different websites.
On platforms, on what not much software released, often happens, that ZX Spectrum games were converted. In Hungary it was common with TVC, Primo and Enterprise machines.
The ever rival C64's games also converted to Plus/4 as well the short ones to the C16.
So, it is not so surprising too much to hear about conversions between ZX and 8 bit Soviet micros. For the Vector 06 and Radio-85 games often ported from ZX Spectrum (and from the MSX too).
These conversions often used the extra capabilities of the Soviet machines (colour, graphics, sound).
Which seems to be unique: Spectrum games also converted for a 16 bit platform, namely to the Elektronika BK machine. Despite it was a 16 bit computer, could only display 4 colours simulatenously, meaning games often look awful! For example Dizzy was red! (Eastern Special Edition?:).
Maybe the only one ZX Spectrum game, which was ported to MSX(2) is Ball Quest. Here the original 6 channels Turbo Sound music was replaced to ordinary 3 channels AY music.
Dizzy 1.00: Dizzy on Vector
ZX Spectrum was arrived a tight decade later to the ex-Soviet Union after its blossoming time in Europe. The ZX era between 1991 and 1998 was greatly influenced the future of computing: who are joined in the right time, now well paid IT-specialists or managers.
Influence of Amiga is clearly recognisable in the 90's: beside the game conversions, the style of intros, craktros and demos was inherited from the 16 bit machine to the ZX Spectrum.
And now about the games: taking a look at the modern age ZX-games, can be very surprising. Because the advantages of the disc system is often used by the programmers.
It is very common to see digitised pictures, intros, stereo music, digitised effects and animations.
The current game position is easy to save of course.
Some programs are automatically recognising the clone type, the size of the memory, the clock frequency of the CPU (3,5/7MHz), the sound card, the mouse, the winchester... and so on.
Another games are easy to reconfigurable for our personal flavour by a nice menu-system.
In one sentence: number of the new software is much-much less as before 1993, but the quality of games can compensate every ZX-fans.
What can the future bring in Russia? There are certain possibilities. For example open more to Europe with bi-lingual websites, where customers can inform about the freshest developments. From the surveys seems, that it is enough demand for commercial ZX Spectrum games. More and more people would happily pay not only to play in emulator, but also holding the tapes in their hands with the highest quality new programs.
Pussy: full of digi pix
What happened in the motherland of ZX Spectrum after the decline? We should begin with the magazines possibly. Following the classic magazines ceasing, the most different mediums were edited by the enthusiastic amateurs.
Spectrum UK was an A/5 monthly, ran by some fans in Leicester. Had quite crude appearance. For example, printed totally with capital letter.
The principal competitor was the Alchnews cassette/diskmag from Sheffield. from 1991 to 2002. altogether with 38 issues. Edited by Andy Davis, the leader of Alchemist Research. Andy is working as a webdesigner and as a part time teacher at the university nowadays. Also continuously expanding and restoring of his retro computer collection.
Alchemist Research had wide range of Public Domain software. Its main rival was Prism PD from Rugby, which also offered many programs and PD Power, a bimonthly magazine. There was constants competition between these two groups. Alchemist attacked steadily Prism PD, because of spreading non-PD titles illegally. The back-attack happened with the most different reasons. In the United Kingdom the scene were standing definitely on the one or on the another side.
Fountain PD is the initiation of David Fountain (London) from 1995, mainly keeping the contact with the demo scene.
Paul Howard was operated the Impact PD through some years. Among other things, spreaded the Basic games and utilies made by himself.
Through these PD organisations kept the contact the contemporary scene mainly, including the domestic and foreign demo teams, publishers, etc.
Some examples among the more considerable magazines. Format was the quite expensive magazine of Bob Brenchley, later they opened towards the other Z80 based micros.
Mark Sturdy's again costly colour printed Crashed magazine was popular likewise, the last issues were edited by David Fountain.
James Waddington's Classix magazine dealt with old classic games, while Paul White's ZX Files published interviews with famous Spectrum figures. Also was the earliest bridge to the Russian scene. as reviewed demos and games, which were also attached on the covertape.
Finally, but not for last, Outlet and Fishpaste cassette/disk magazines are also noteworthy.
One of the largest meeting was the yearly-organised NSSS (Northern Sam & Spectrum Show) by the publishers of the Format magazine. This is like a traditional marketplace, where participants set up different kiosks.
The comp.sys.sinclair Usenet group founded in 1993, was the most active between 1998 and 2001. with a dozen of messages every day,, Group members meet once or twice in a year in London, Oxford, Manchester or Wales The recently more popular World of Spectrum forum members also visit this program often.
Raww.orgy meeting yearly organised from 2005. As the name suggest, main organisers are the raww.org team's members, who are also operating the popular international scene newsportal.
The king of this kind of games was Zenobi Software. Its boss, John Wilson (aka Rochdale Balrog) from 1982 as a part-timer, and from 1986 to 1997 as a full time enterpriser made the task of coordinating and posting.
Nearly unbelievable, he was able to live until 1997 from distributing of ZX Spectrum adventures.
The number of posted cassettes and disk were among 150 and 500 weekly, and dropped under 100 for mid of 1996. This is already was a clear sign of the discontinuation from October of 1997. Anyway, beside the postal method, he also tried to sell the games in the local market with a smaller, 200 pieces bunch.
Problems were aroused, that every games were tested at least by three people, but some ones by 10-12 persons. The price of sold games simply did not covered the cost of posting and cassettes of testing, and John did not wanted to sold the games without tests. Some groups also pirated with the games, they published the snapshots made from the games on their website and blogs, making downloadable to anyone. This did not influenced the sales directly, but violated the author's and publisher's rights seriously.
At the moment, John is selling the CD containing all games at 5 pounds, and also possible to order from the old stock of original cassettes.
He was used three main methods for advertising. First, he sent the games for the computer press for reviewing. Secondly, made detailed brochure from the news and forthcoming releases. This was enclosed to every posted cassettes and disks. At last, face to face advertising of the already satisfied customers was as important as the previous two methods.
In the very similar way Dream World Adventures published text adventures up to 1995. As the software demand was decreased sharply, they changed from illustrated adventures (1992-1993) to pure text ones.
Text only publisher was The Adventure Workshop too. Only 48K programs were offered, so huge programs have to load separately in different parts. I mean, after completing a level, you get a password. After entering it, you can continue with the second, third or maybe with the fourth part after you loading as a separate program.
Possible to make more easily games than with the PAW? Of course, you have to sell the games of others. This is the method how Adventure Probe Software worked from 1987 to a decade.
The text adventure factory on the move again, as ZX Format magazine published Blink in 2003. Another 3 tittles being in progress (43 minutes, Floarea Soarelui, Three Tales of Trethevy). The software "division" of the magazine is called ZXIF (ZX Interactive Fiction).
All games will be free and downloadable from the website in .TZX format. The author initially started to sell the game on original tape also, but demand was too low. If enough demand will occur, little series of ZXIF games will available on tapes again.
The male-female Patrick Furlong-Emiliana Deluca duo in 2007 released the Frontier of Warriors: The Mayday Call titled game. Graphics was done by Emiliana, who is his niece.
This was written for the 48K rubber mate and the adaptation of the man's book with similar title.
It is only available as a demo yet. The game is released for the C64 and Amstrad CPC too and written with the Graphic Adventure Creator
We cannot expect too much amazing about it, as the editor was written as early as 1985. The final version - by the promise of the author - will be done with a more advanced editor.
From Simon Allan Software members we cant be said that they hurrying with development. The name anyway covert two mate, Simon D Allan and J.B. Rogan.
All two theiradventure games The Land Beyond Time and Wizard, WhatWizard started to develop. The first was developed until 2006 and the next until 2007. The text adventure games created with The Quilll adventure editor and certainly freeware products.
The Moonscape: Escape from the Moon illustrated adventure from 2008 is Simon's independent work. This is made with the 'The Patch' editor. The original version saw the light in 1985, anno in full-screen graphics. The published version in 23 years later uses split-screen (graphics and text), The purpose of game: to escaping with the hero from the moon base.
Andy Remic (Andrey John Remic) currently a professional thriller and sci-fi write. At the end of 80's and early 90's was known as (co)author of various games.
A part of these games appeared on the covertape of contemporary magazines, while others spread by post under Remsoft Arcade Designs Ltd. and Psychaedelic Software names.
The author returned to the Spectrum in 2009. when released Biohell game (now as Spiral Software) based on his book carrying the same title. The author beside the game, enclosed a cassette cover, an MP3 track for the game and a sample chapter from the book.
Between who among the first solve the game, will rewarded a packet consist of the author's book.
The game is freeware and was made with the GAC editor
Lambourne Games (Terry and June Goodchild) was authored in the very curios Replay Gaming category for the ZX Spectrum since the beginning (anyway, in the United Kingdom and USA it is a quite popular game category).
Description of the games is the following: in the different sport events, and in different seasons, the players and technical details were stored fixedly, and with manipulating the variables, we can replay the whole season - of course the result could be very different from the original.
Terry was pursuing many sport activities, and after the sixth X, still active. And has two and half tons of sports books.
In the ZX Spectrum replay games category Cricket Player Data Cassette 1960s and Champions of Cricket + World Cup Cricket - Data Cassette 1994 released finally in 1994.
Of course, at the moment they made these programs for PC. Since 1996, The Sports Game Shop is selling their games through Internet.
After the commercial age, various Public Domain "companies" also tried to keep inlife the Spectrum in the mother country. For example Fountain PD, Prism PD and the Paul Howard's leaded Impact Software PD too.
Paul between 1994 and 1996 leaded active participation. Impact worked by the followings: anywhere from the world accepted programs, from which regularly catalogue was made. Customers got this list and with the stamped envelope freely could get the specified programs. Beside the tapes, on 3,5" +D disks spreaded programs. Both two rivals (Fountain and Prism) had a little "disadvantage": the first asked money for copying the programs (10 penny/program) while the other sent sometimes non-PD titles violating copyright rights with that.
In this times was born the three games of Paul: Cascade (1994), a Mental Blocks - Flustration 2 (1995) as well the Jet Set Willy: The '96 Remix (1996). The first two are logical games, and details about the JSW clones will appear later.
The two logical games are quite slow, no wonder as they written in Basic.
About the games: it is clear, that they were made with the mentality to keep the Speccy alive. The purpose is nice, but the quality of the games not so.
Cheese Freak Software, alias Lee Tonks playing activ part to keep the Spectrum in life after the commercial age. Beside Crap Games Compo developed some real game too.
Manic Miner 3 - Tales from a Paralell Universe from 1996 was the first such memorable creatur. Because Manic Miner made with Editor it does not deploy a lot of news. Even so was addid to the currently running Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy making mania, as a pioneer creation. The fruit of the same year also the forgetable Speccy Simon.
Ladeks ZX from 2004 is a Gameboy conversion. Its original made by the author for 1999 year Gameboy Coding Compo. ZX version got some colours and sounds, and handsome loading screen, which is the best part of the game.
Sci-fi text adventure On Reflection presented in 2007, more exactly the Santa Claus brought it on 6 December. This 128K program was made with Professional Adventure Writerrel, and the natty loading sreen with BMP2SCR utility.
Zack, alias Dominic Morris was beginning to write ZX Spectrum games, demos and utilies in the early '90s.
After the 1993 "agony years", from 1995 to 1997 he wrote three mini-programs.
Twintris is a Tetris-clone, with a possibility to play two players in the same time on shared screen. The music was composed by Fuxoft. The speciality of the game, that shapes generated by a special random number generator.
Both Magic Fields and Soko ban (1996 and 1997) are logical games and converted from Amiga. By the way, Magic Fields was originally a Commodore 64 game, and music was made by L. A. from XTC Team. One of those few Spectrum games, which can be controlled by mouse too. It was made in 4 days.
All games listed here are public domain.
Nearly forgotten, Zack was also made games for the Crap Games Competition - but more details about this later.
Beside the Spectrum, he was also developed for the Z88.
Bob Smith in 2005 begins again to develop ZX Spectrum games. Firstly, the originally in 1989 terminated Stranded game was finished and sent to Cronosoft (which sells since Bob's games). The continuation of this game is the 2 and half dimensional Stranded 2.5. Dominetris is a special Tetris adaptation with dominos at this time.
Farmer jack series counting three episodes, all of them are Pac-Man style ones (Farmer Jack in Harvest Havoc! , Farmer Jack and the Hedge Monkeys! , Farmer Jack - Treasure Trove).
splATTR is a real hot shoot'em up, with the unique feature, that it is consist fully of from attribute cells.
The very colourful and playable games are filled with Lee du-Chaine AY-tunes, which are also released separately on the Ubiktune CD.
And finally from a community development. W*H*B is an isometric logical game, which was developed together with the members of the World of Spectrum forums. Mister Beep composed the 48K beeper tunes. Jumpinng Stack, Karl Gillott, Mulder and ZorXman were responsible for creating the levels. Kevin Thacker was the person, who christened the game.
The theme of Factory Daze is connecting to our nowadays. Because of the global recession, instead of expensive restaurants the cheaper fast food places choosen by the people. For the fast food bio-degradable gift games must also provided. The automatic machine producing the 'gadgets' went crazy one night. Our task is to control the operation of conveyor belt through 29 levels. In order the customers receive the appropriate toys. In the graphics work helped Jonathan Cauldwell and Javier Vispe Mur too.
One part of the games are freeware, another ones are commercial products available from Cronosoft website as real tapes or .tzx files. Who likes this style of games, will not be disappointed!
The name of Paul Jenkinson was commonly joint with the ZX Hardware Index. But now he was produced some games also, which were created with Jonathan Cauldwell's Arcade Game Designer.
In 2010 released Kyd Cadet, and Kyd Cadet II: The Rescue of Pobbleflu. This two episode game is a collecting-arcade adventure one. In the first episode we have to collect fuel for the spaceship, avoiding the crazy droids. And then, in the second episode we have to rescue Pobbleflu, the very important person with the fully refuelled spaceship. But first, for realizing this, we have to collect the necessary keys, in order to rescue the VIP with the last key from the tower.
With the Chopper Drop (Choppa Drop), we can imagine ourselves as a helicopter pilot.
To collect the boxes, we have to fly onto them, and for release, it is enough to fly above the docks, and the boxes will be automatically released.
These games are fairly qualitative respecting of graphics and sound - al least comparing to the own creations of Cauldwell.
The Shaw Brothers during the 80's and early 90's released about 30 ZX Spectrum 48K games. Graham was designed the gameplay, David did the graphics, and Adrian was responsible for the music.
Their first program was a Basic one, called Boxing, and published in the Sinclair User in 1984. This was inspired by a Casio quartz game.
In the following four years about 20 games were made. Strangers from Outer Space originally planned to release by Essential Consultants Ltd in 1987, but the company bankrupted. That's why the guys later in 1995 decided to publish it by the Fishzine magazine with the The Invasion of the Intergalactic Mutant Halibut (from Mars) title. In the same issue appeared their Shaws III and 20-20 vision games too. In the next volume, but in the same year they released Demonslair and Rakattak programs too.
After the first slow years, Atlantis software house takes them over. Before this point, they self-released their games under various names, or sent them to Spectrum press to appear on covertapes.
Hop 'n' Chop was originally was done in 1992. At the moment it is on sale by Cronosoft since 2003. It has nice, colourful graphics, clearly reminds to the Rainbow Islands. But it is even more similar their previous Superkid, and Superkid in Space games.
From 2004, Cronosoft also trading Football Glory, which released firstly in 1991. This is a footbal managing/simulation game.
Beside Cronosoft they also contracted with Retro-Soft to sell their programs.
Seems, after the 1993 fall-off, they still like to work together. They run Sick Happy Idle magazine, which includes various art themes.
The name of Russel Marks can connected to the Minigame Compo. The author was released his games freely along with the source codes.
Beside the Speccy, he is quite active on Unix/Linux, PalmOS, Dreamcast, Amstrad NC100/200 and ZX81 platforms: not only releasing games, but also develops end user software and utilies.
His 1K games: Dotathon and Dotathon 2, Easyfrog, Semi Stack, Soliyawn, Tinyzb, ztrack 1k.
In the 4K category competed with Scrolly Stack and zblast SD games.
With zblast SD+ title released a compilation too, which contains the tuned-up version of zblast SD, Scrolly Stack, Dotathon 2 as well Soliyawn. The chosen game can be selected by a menu system. This compilation is also sold by Cronosoft. As Russel does not obtain any royalties, it is slightly cheaper, than another games or free to download from the author's website.
Among the games, I can advise the shoot'em'up zblast SD and the Tetris Attack-clone Scrolly Stack. Both are quality finished, colourful entertaining games.
Cronosoft is the premier one-person retro software house of the United Kingdom, founded in 2002. Beside the ZX, for VIC20/C64, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro and Acorn machines offering games and utilies.
If dreams come true, ZX81, Dragon, Tandy, Oric, Sord and Texas owners also can obtain new games from here. Also planning 8 and 16 bit console releases.
The head and the employment of the company is Simon Ullyatt, who started with a ZX81, and suddenly changed to Spectrum. After the closing down of the Oric Atmos computer magazine Rhetoric, he began to think about a retro game shop - simply he needed the retro feeling again.
The firm is a non-profit organisation. Although programs sold for money, all incomes are reinvestigated into the business. Simon himself copying the tapes and disks, as well the print out and cutting out the covers.
Cronosoft often featured in several computer magazines such as Retro Gamer, GamesTM and Micro Mart, and regularly exhibits at computer shows across the United Kingdom (on CGE UK, OSRAM and Retro Ball).
What they have on offer?
On the one hand, absolutely new developments on sale, but they dealing previously unpublished softwares too. It means the 1993-1995 never-released games in the case of Spectrum.
You can also found the works of the new Russian coders. Simon continuously waiting for the new developments.
The next list is partly covers Cauldwell's, the Shaw Brother's and Russel Mark's softography, as he selling their games too.
Rob Pearmain, Maddie and Graz's Bipboi game primarily aimed the younger age group. In the game was written for three years with Bipboi his friends, Maddo and Beanie have to get back the stolen starts of Bip-Galaxy from the evil attacks of Zargonia. All characters in the game have different special abilities. On the 'B' side of tape, Nipik 2 copied as a bonus game.
2003: Dead or Alive , Egghead in Space , Gloop, Hop 'n' Chop , Rough Justice, Zblast SD+;
2004:Football Glory (re-release), Fun Park ;
2005:Dominetris , Higgledy Piggledy ,Loco Bingo , Stranded, The Fantastic Mister Fruity , ZX Football Manager 2005;
2006:Farmer Jack in Harvest Havoc , Gamex , Ion Sphere, Megaplex, Mpthrilla: The Metal Miner , rEdIvIvUs;
2007: Izzy Wizzy, Quantum Gardening, Stranded 2.5, Stronghold.
From the United Kingdom comes XFAWorld Software, alias Thomas Small too. Quite productive period is standing behind him from 2001 to nowadays, if we only see the quantity. Because the very sounding and promising titles are covering weak quality games.
Surprisingly, the author is not a 30-40 years old recurrent, but a 1984 born young man, who is describing himself as an "unemployment wretch".
Among his programs we can find arcade, simulation, sport and text adventure games. Seems, he likes the series too.
Programs made by XFAWorld: Back on the Burgle! (2006), Bombermice (2003), Cactuar Racing (2001), Cactuar Racing 3 (2003), Cactuar Racing Extreme (2001), Chicken (2005), Crotabin (2005), Diamond Dungeon (2005), Hedgehog Run (2004), Kube's Maze (2004), Legend of the Burgle! (2006), Little Demons: The Angel Hunt (2006), On the Burgle! (2005), Running Stick Man, The (2003), Sky Spiders (2004), Space Race (2005), Stupid Sports (2005), Unresident Evil (2003), Unresident Evil 2: Escape from the Courtyard (2003), Unresident Evil 3: Enter the Laboratory (2004), Unresident Evil 4: The Final Showdown (2004), ZX Spider (2003).
Davey Sludge (also known as Death Squad) was sent two games for the 2013 Crap Game Compo. In fact, none of them are crap, that's why they listed here, among the normal games.
The first game is an April-end creature, called Thunderturds. We control Scott Faece and we must paint the blue tiles, while avoiding the dungy opponents. The game is quite colourful, thanks to the character by character movement. Contains 20 levels altogether. The loading screen utilizes the flash attribute. The genre of the game: scatform (scatological platform).
The second entry of Dave, titled Dung Darach was arrived in September. It has also some problems to call it crap. Nice music and effects, good (multicolor) graphics and well designed levels, which are getting more and more difficult. Also supports the Currah MicroSpeech voice synthesiser. In the game, we must collect Barton Dung's dung - who is a pink hippo - and than unify into a hamburger. First we are a tiny small bug, and must eat until we are not enough big to move the dungs. Opponents must be avoided, and some of them even ignoring us, until we are not big enough. The game needs some logic also.
Let's continue the section with the non-official sequels of the famous Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy games.
Only on the ZX Spectrum more than 60 (sixty!) episodes appeared, which are the works of the fans of the original games.
For those who don't know about these classic games -hopefully not many readers - some short info is provided here.
Manic Miner was released in 1983 on the ZX, but it was also popular on another 8 bit micros. And further on, finally appeared on PC, Nintendo, Archimedes and Playstation too.
Even in the classic ZX Spectrum age some unofficial episodes written, but after 1993, lots more episodes were born (Manic Miner 3-7, comp.sys.sinclair, Eugene, Ma Jolie, Neighbours, The Hobbit).
Very probably these games was facilitated by the Manic Miner Game Designer Editor, Screen Editor, Sprite Editor programs. If we look deeper: both Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy have huge background documentation, so the door is opened for everyone for writing new episodes.
Most games are coming from the UK, but Spain, Norway is also represented as a "maniac" Manic Miner countries.
Official sequels of the Manic Miner are the Jet Set Willy and the Jet Set Willy 2 - The Final Frontier. Of course, these games are also available on Amiga, PC, Nintendo and Archimedes. As with the first episode, in the ancient ages some unofficial episodes of JSW were also published. Uncountable new episodes saw the light later, clearly thanks to the Jet Set Willy Construction Kit, Editor, Room Designer and the Sprite Library.
Some titles for example of the new age JSW games: The ZX Heroes, A Bulgarian Requiem, Fantasy World Willy, Frosya the Cat.
Producers mostly again from England, but Spain and Norway also included - just as Russia.
From both of the new MM/JSW games can be said: as they were made by editors, they not bring many new graphical or sound effects in the ZX Spectrum world.
But for the fans, it is more interesting, that they can play more hours with the new adventures of their old hero.
Darryl LeCount with a simple, black and white game tried to keep the Spectrum alive in 1994. The serious Space Rescue title covers a very simple gameplay: we have to control a small spaceship through various levels.
He is currently living in Germany, and working as a French, German-English translator. Actively popularising Linux. Beside the PC and ZX, the Amiga was also in his view temporarily.
The Proggy Tape, or by his civil name John Westhead is also step into the easy creation of board games category. His product is Connect 4 (1994), a classical four in a row game in Spectrum form. It is runs perfectly on all Spectrum models (48/128K variants) and get big praise for the usage of AY-chip. One of few programs, which using the Currah MicrosSpeech peripheral.
New Hairs Software Ltd.'s (alias Greg Fox) Snail-racing program from 1995 simulating a snail-race (surprising?). The game was written in Basic, so it is as slow as the snails.
Starblade (in other name: Star Blade) game was published in 1995 through the comp.sys.sinclair e-mailing list. This Uridium-clone game was made in 1988 by Barry Adams, who sent it later to the Speccy-fans. It was jointly developed with his brother Bruce, but after some times got forgotten. Randomly, the tape was turn out, from which Barry made a .Z80 file with an Amiga ZX Spectrum emulator, and then published this game. It brings the quality of the (low budget) 80's arcades.
The Church of the Latter Day Speccy nick covers Michael Batty, one of the authors of Zeppelin games from the early 90's.
Batty was introduced by his highly successful Earth Shaker game thorough the Your Sinclair magazine in 1990. The Boulder Dash/Repton style game with 32 levels get positive feedback. The talent of student of the Edinburgh University was recognised by Zeppelin Games. Batty made the Full Throttle II and Tai-Chi Tortoise programs for them. Both games have nice composed 48K music as well very colourful graphics - which was sadly very uncommon in the early 90's.
He was also made an easily can be done logical-arcade game after the decline. Despite this, the 48K Spectris released in 1996, is quite quality one both in musical and graphical terms - this is the common point with his commercial games.
The review of the game will not presented here - as everybody knows, this is a Tetris-clone. Worth to try. Maybe an unreleased commercial game?
Luncheon Club Software's 1997 game, entitled a Terror at Walcote Canyon the hero must deactivate the bombs which were sited by terrorists. Fully simple arcade, nothing more.
The only game from Matthew Westcott (alias Gasman Productions Inc.) is Stevie Dotmamn from 1999, and as the author promised, very probably he will not release another game in the future.
The author maybe better known after his previously mentioned Gasman nick. After some years of being single, joined to Raww Arse, Hooy Program, and AY-Riders. Still an active face of the demoscene, principally as a musician.
Go back for his game, which is unique in an aspect of view. This is a Lunar Lander clone, and not a real game by classic terms. Westcott made a level editor in 1996, and asked people thought the Spectrum magazines and personal contacts to make levels with this editor.
Finally, he never put these levels into a complete game, but released it as 50 separate levels, which can loaded into the editor. But this became the curiosity of the game. Of course freeware.
His last gaming action was composing of the music of Cauldwell's Lunaris game at the 2004 OSRAM exhibition.
Matt currently lives in Oxford as a web-developer. From his blog turns out, he is still an active scener, and regularly takes part in the national and international demo parties.
Klass of '99 is the modern follow-up of the all time classic, the unique Skool Daze. Authors were made it originally for Windows (Richard Jordan) and Gameboy Advance (Martin Eyre).
The Spectrum version is developed by James McKay for years, and if things will go smoothly, he will finished it in 2007. McKay is mostly known about his X128 Spectrum emulator. But also develops the Multi emulator, which imitates the Sega, Nintendo, Colecovision consoles and also MSX1-2 machines. All above that, also making programs for his childhood machine, for the Tandy Coco 2. Of course, he is earning money for developing for the current hardware platforms.
Those, who are interested, can track the development of Klass of '99 as a blog on his homepage.
Clive Brooker was begin to acquire the programming on ZX81 in the self-taught way. After the Spectrum was released, he changed to this machine. He began to sell his programs as Simon Micro-Soft, which were advertised in computer magazines. The name comes from his son's name (Simon), and the mixing of Microcomputer and Software words. At last, a hyphen was fitted because of Bill's company.
With the advertising method, only some dozens of copy were sold. So he had to find new ways. Initially, Hewson released his games, and further Mastertronic, which was dynamically developed company at this time. At this company, he released the famous One Man and his Droid game, which sold more than 250.000 copies and also converted for C16/64/+4, Atari 800 and Amstrad CPC platforms. The success was very probably thanks to the aggressive marketing policy of the company: the game was offered for only 1.99 pounds.
The second part was ready in 1991, but only in 2001 published the author into wide public.
It is because the author was tried to publish this 128K game with half dozen of publisher companies, but he was rejected. Mastertronic was even remarked, that the program is excellent, but they do not care about Spectrum programs anymore. But they would happily convert it to Atari ST or consoles.
The author is decided after 10 years, giving freely available the game trough the Internet. The game contains a built-in editor, so we can make our own levels.
At the moment, Clive is leading the Autolaunch Systems Computer Software company, which is among others making software for the industrial usage of computers.
In 2002, David Pegg also thought, it is high time to make a ZX Spectrum program. The Adventures of Sid Spider is a logical game with nice 128K music. Good news: with the password system, not necessary to begin the game from the beginning, but can be continued where we get last time.
He is a great fan of Michael Batty's Earthshaker game from 1990. It has a different section on his homepage, and concerning the quantity of the informations, he loves this game very much.
At present, he is the head of the one person enterprise called Roadrunner Software UK, which has two main products at the moment. One of them is titled Island Racers, a 3D racing game. The another product is entitled to SFXMagic, which can be produced sound effects and smaller music parts.
Shithead - Simon Laszcz does not speaks roughly, only implements the similarly called card game on Spectrum in 2007. We play against the computer and we who loses, will be the 'shithead'. This is freeware.
In August of 2007, Eye of K3L Corporation published the Total Recall unreleased preview. Active Minds started to develop this game, but they were unavailable to keep the deadline (Christmas 1990). Therefore, another team got the task of development, which finished it almost from zero to complete in two weeks. The preview originally appeared in the Spanish Microhobby Magazine. Mark R. Jones, one of the members of Active Minds found four pictures from the semi-finished game in a Microdrive cartridge. The demo and pictures were packed together by Eye completed with the text about the story of the demo.
Kevin Thacker was already started his webpage in the theme of 8 bit Amstrad micros, which is still under continuous development.
Not surprising, that he wrote some games for it. But now we are only interested in the classical Sudoku puzzle game, as it has a Spectrum version also. Development was begun in 2005, and with stagnations completed in 2008.
The demo version can be downloaded from the website, full version available through Cronosoft.
With the games of Dean Hickingbottom can meet the ZX Spectrum, Atari, MSX and Amstrad owners in the mid 80's. Because his games were published in those platforms under mostly Video Images and Alternative Software Ltd. labels.
In 2009 with Deanysoft name published his Frogger game, which was originally was written in 1992 for Amstrad and then converted for Spectrum. He found it too fast and thus unplayable, so fixed the original code. After published it thorough the Internet.
Ludo_2009 is a Spectrum equivalent of a dice board game from children, which is a creation of Hugh Gammon.
The game has Indian origin and its roots date back to the 6th Century. It gets its final form in 18896,during the time of British reign.
From two to four players (players even can be the computer). Freeware.
Dave Hughes (alias Stonechat Productions) is a cartoon drawer technician. His first 'real' game is Stamp Quest from 2011. In this we control Moebius. The purpose of the game to collect all the stamps before the 48K Spectrums kill us. The original of the game, titled Norman was one of the participants of the Crap Games Compo 2010. The new game is its faster, machine code release. If everything goes well, Dave will create newer games in the near future.
The game titled Flynn's Adventure in Bombland from Tom Dalby is the remix of the well-known Hudson Soft game Bomberman. So, anyone, who is interested about it, please read about that.
The change is minimal; the name of the hero is Flynn in this case. The program got a 'vs' mode too which is a competitive mode between two players.
Malcolm Tyrrell presented a game based on his own idea, MazezaM (pronounce: "may-zam") in 2002. This one is a Sokoban-like game, in which the aim is to get out from the (policeman's) labyrinth with pulling the blocks.
MazezaM compiled to another platforms by Ventzislav Tzvetkov (Gameboy, C64, Oric Atmos, Apple and Amiga).
With the Mazezam engine, the author also wrote a multifunctional puzzle game, which supports also the original game, Sokoban, Hexoban, Trioban and Octoban.
Beside for Spectrum they published their unfinished text adventure called Gob. It was written collectively with his friend Simon Fitzpatrick when they were teenagers.
Presently, Malcolm is working at the Dublin University as a researcher and also a member of the Irish Free Software Organisation.
Soren Borgquist (aka Sokurah), who lives in Demnmark already get relationship with arcade machines and computers in the late 70's. His own first computer become a ZX Spectrum in 1983. He began to write numerous games in Basic, Z80 and 68000 assembler, but then all left unfinished. Then in 2004 with a Sir Lancelot remake awarded the 11st place out of 76 on a game making compo. At this time he decided to make various remakes. Most of them are rarely known ones. The name is from here: Tardis Remake.
The first Spectrum remake is a very little known arcade adaptation, called Dingo from 1983. This is the game of Ashby Computers and Graphics Ltd (Ultimate Play the Game) from which did not made official conversion (but the author made it for PC and OSX also). In the game, with Big Ted, the koala have to collect the fruits from the farm. The opponents are dingos, who is better to avoid as well have to avoid the fruits throw by them. Fortunately, the koala is also able to throwing, with which we can stop the dingos for some seconds, as well destroy the fruits, which were throwed by the dingo. The game is freeware and released in 2011 on Relay Expo in Blackpool. Here was exhibited 60 casettes. 50 of them are numbered and signed by the author and by the graphician, Mark R. Jones. The graphics reminds us Sabre Wulf. Has a minimal colour-clash and pleasant 48K music.
Speccies is a converison an 1991 puzzle classic titled Brainies (Tiny Skweeks). Was released on SNES, ST, Amiga, Apple Iigs, Macintosh and CPC. At last for Spectrum in 2013. In the game we control four Mexican jumping beans through 101 levels. The target of game to take the bean for the appropriate colour gate. Things are harder, because only can give the starting direction of the beans, and then they will roll until do not touch anything. Some things also make task more difficult; the arrows are modifying the direction, the teleports, which are brings us back to the starting point. But we have also some helper items, such the the extra time. The game also released on real tape, on deluxe, single and double cassettes. Support the ULAPlus mode. The graphics is the work of Craig Stephenson (RedBalloon), the music was composed by Chris Crowley. In the blog of coder and gfxman we can read about the detailed developing process of the game made in Z80 assembler, which levels were compressed by the LZ method.
The second part of the game, The Speccies 2 only contains 45 levels, but runs fine on even 16K Spectrum. It was inspired by the Pathologic Flash game. The original has 50 lelles, but 5 of them were too big to fit into the Spectrum's screen. Levels were compressed with bitstream and LZ methods. The essence of game to collect all the circles in the labyrinth. Once we passed the way, it will be locked down forever. Craig here also was responsible for the graphics work and also give the subtitle of the game Mind over mATRR - so the brain is more important, than colours.
Dingo: faithfull remake
Speccies: at last on Spectrum too
Joonas Lindberg (TMS86, The Mad Scientist, Madsoft) from Finland was ported his own C64 game for the Spectrum, called Morph (Morph ZX). The original was released in 2010 August and it is itself again a port of an 1993 Amiga PD-game, entitled Polymorph (by Andrew Campbell).
As the first Z80-based game, the creator mainly focused for the gameplay not for the graphics and sound. In the Puzznic-like game easy to explore the origins of C64 graphics. It contains 30 levels, and the time limit of Commodore version was removed. The .TRD version is made by Rindex on the basis of the .SNA snapshot.
Ymond Reconstruction Service (YRS) is a Dutch team was founded in the classical times of the ZX Spectrum. At the moment, has only one active member, Dr. Beep, alias Johan Koelman.
He is not only writing games, but various utilies for the ZX Spectrum: for example ZX81 emulator and multitasking program. Also develop for the SAM: Gameboy and ZX81 emulators connecting for his name.
With his hardware development, the ZX-PC card, .Z80, .SNA and .TAP files can be loaded into a real Spectrum.
He was published two games. Videopac Emulator is a black and white TV game. This 2000 year game contains for example volleyball, golf, PacMan and Invaders-clones.
Klaverjas was released in 2005, and introducing a national Dutch card game for the Spectrumists. This game was made for the Spectrum Game Compo, details later. The second edition of the game is bugfree.
From the 80's, he is also writing one line games, and announced a competition in this theme. Will detailed in the end of the article too.
In the January of 2008, the founder and leader of German Spectrum and Sam Profi Club in Germany, Wolfgang Haller got into hospital with a serious illness. Because of this, Dr. Beep as a gift wrote him a card game in the hope of speedy recovery titled Halliman. The game is freeware and available on the SSPC website with instructions. Wolfgang is better already since.
The first version of 4 on a Row board game appeared on the 2005 year Spectrum Games Compo by CrisiSoft (Chris Born). Was written in Basic, therefore very slow. Since then, the author continually improves the game, which now already carries V3.0 number, and its speciality the two-player mode through Interface 1 or DiscIPLE network.
C. M. Gilles from Germany was started in 1987 within Kingsoft, but after the official death of the machine, he also gave up this activity such as many another programmers did.
For the first time, in 2001-2002 took again his old games: he was rewrite them for Casio handgadgets (King Royal, Death Streets).
Then he began to adopt the adventures of Harry Potter for ZX Spectrum in 2005. Harry the Magical (2005), Harry the Magical: Harry and the Orden (2006) and Harry the Magical: Harry and the Orden+ (2007) games are all arcade-adventure ones. The first one is released for the Spectrum Game Compo. The second is the sequel of it, a the third one is an 'update': contains poker and mahjong in-games.
All of them are similar, nicely drawn games, but slow speed as well difficulties in control are giving a big minus for playability. The speed problem is not surprising, because the first episode was the competitor of the Basic category of the Spectrum Game Compo. And it seems, that the sequels are also written on the same basis.
Tiger's Claw name covers the Polish nationality, currently in Austria living Leszek Chmielewski Daniel (LCD).
Most of you maybe know about him from the BMP2SCR converter utility, which turns the .BMP files to .SCR ones (the uncompressed screen dump format of Spectrum).
At the moment, he was suspended developing the tool, replaced with Retro X, which is faster, comfortable... and if will be finished, also will work as a retro developing kit and compiler.
He released some games between 1994 and 1996. Seems, that manipulating of pictures was his favourite activity then also, as lots of loading screens contain digitised pictures.
Already made programs: Advanced Patience, Indian Patience, Pyramid Patience (all card games), Godzilla-The Atomar Nightmare (strategy) and Ultra Reflect (logical). All run on standard 48K Spectrum.
After browsing trough his approximately 1500 +D discs, found some frozen game project from the past. Some of them will be finished, some of them have very little chances for finalisation. A Star Trek TOS is a space trading-adventure, which contains huge amount of hand-drawn and digitised graphics. It came from outer Space is based on the similarly titled 60's movie. Kaiju Taisen is the 'simulation' of the Japanese monsters. Zephyr Five is a game begin to constructed with 3D Construction Kit. Legacy of Zer Empire is a multidisc mega-adventure, full of Speccy and converted Amiga graphics. Hopefully will be ready soon! Starport is a space trading game based on Ports of Call. Malefiz and GoBang are two table games. Color Wars and U-boot are logical ones. In the same category two new releases also borning: : Looped and Osmodeus. Another semi-finishhed projects: Pokemon Quest, Ultra Patience, Star Fleet Battles, Global Domination and Nu Pogodi! .
One of the games, which got a chance for finalization, is Chessboard Attack, and its story goes back to 1996. At that time LCD begin to code it as Blind King. But the interest and the source code are also lost. The next version was made with Boriels ZX BASIC Compiler and the authors own BorIDE compiler.
This game is a mixture of chess and Minesweeper. We are controlling the king on an 8x8 table. The figures are randomly positioned on the table. If we 'met' to a figure, we will die. Fortunately, we have five opportunities to make steps and the program indicates what figures are attacking us on our actual positions. If we tipped well, can attack the figures in cursor mode. If we did not tipped well, will happen the opposite.
The music was composed by the also Polish origin Kriss (Krzysztof Leszczynsk) the ex-member of Illusion Group
By the way, he is the European distributor of Fatality's Pussy game (128K/tape).
Other platforms he is active: Sprinter, Sam, PC.
He was one of the leading activist of the Austrian Spectrum Club (ASC)
Until now, he was programming in HiSoft Basic and assembler. Of course, the programming knowledge he was acquired in past times, will be used during game creation.
The name of Ben Collver living in the United States of America was known mostly by the Linux community - till now. Because he published his logic game titled Set in 2008.
The program has quite simple graphics implementation, and it is thinking too long, so presumably is a Basic creation. Despite this, it is making your brain working hard. Public Domain. For those, who want, can play with it through his website.
Before introducing the games, first some sentences about the ex-Czechoslovakian hardvers.
The Didaktik clones produced by Didaktik Skalica Ltd. were the most popular here. Didaktik Gama series had 80K RAM, and Didaktik M and Kompakt contained 48K memory. Thanks to Russian ICs, these machines were close in compatibility to the Russian clones, rather than to the original Spectrums.
This company also developed a disk system based on MS-DOS, they named to D40 (5,25"/360K) and D80 (3,5"/720K).
Until 1995, 128K machines were not widespread, but after they became more common due to the amateurs, who tuned-up the original machines. Some of them even were expanded the memory to 320K.
48/80K machines also often enhanced with Melodik and Best AY-interfaces.
An another later development is the MB-02+ disk interface, which is using 1,8 megabytes 3,5" disks. Unfortunately, was released to late for widespreading.
After all, one can though, since in the ex-Czechoslovakian Republic's territory relatively lately appeared the ZX Spectrum clones, thus after 1993 also actively developed newer and newer games.
It is unfortunately untrue. Until 1993, nice quantity games were produced by Microtech Systems, Proxima Software and Ultrasoft. However, in 1993 was clearly perceptible the decline, but still were born some remarkable works.
Because of disk systems, the opportunity was open to born of the complex, mega-games such released in the ex-USSR. Despite this fact, this never happened, maybe it was because of the short time what the Speccy lived here. Tape games often had disk versions, but except of faster loading, they did not offer any other extras. And because of the Didaktik clones, some games here also became hardware dependant.
The Czech Proxima in 1994 gave out his last program, Peloponeska Valka. This menu driven strategic game guides us to the antique ages. All their programs now Public Domain.
The Slovakian Ultrasoft lasted a bit longer. In 1994 they came out with a nice, colourful Dizzy-clone, called Towdie. It soon became the favourite game among Spectrum fans.
In 1994 Quadrax, a logical game was also released. Even now from Sintech in Germany can be obtained on cassettes. The two authors of the game made the PC-version also, which become similarly loved just as the original.
The really big shot stays for the end. In 1995 Twilight: Krajina Tienov (The Lands of Shadows) came out. This adventure is very similar to the modern Russian games: intro, outro and nice graphics. No wonder, it is 300K long. I guess, I can say: it is one of the top quality European ZX games. Fatality was cracked it, translated into Russian, and adopted to TR-DOS - as was mentioned at the Russian part. Must to mention, that is one of the few Spectrum games, which contains drawn (not generated) background graphics.
NOP tally is the shortening of No Operation group from Mlada Boleslav. The two main members are brothers, Jan (Art - gfx) and Jakub Flaska (Matlas - coding). Scalex (Miroslav Hlavcka) is also helped them in sound editing.
They were quite active on Spectrum, made some crackings, different demos, user programs as well games.
The most well-known work is Color Draw by them, which is a graphics editor for multicolor screens. Mega Screen Scrunger a screen compressor, decreasing up to 50% the Spectrum screen sizes averagely. With the help of BCat, Beta-Disk can be controlled with a similar graphical interface, like the Atari ST had.
Their games are not realising new ideas, but presenting very attractive graphics in Spectrum terms.
Brutal Worms is a classical snake game made in 1994. Although it has a curiosity: can be played with four players simultaneously. Mines is a very colourful Minesweeper game. At last, Yaggoo - The Numeral Madness yet again was a cute Minesweeper clone.
KVL Corp was appeared in the early 1990's and until 1995 producing demos and games. Karel's and Lukas' last game is titled Boovie in 1994. This logical-arcade game was the renewed version of their previous Flappy game. They came out with Boovie on PC in 1998.
At present, they are managing Future Games company with 22 employments, with mainly gamemaking profile for the PC.
E.S.A. (Excellent Spectrum Aces) group (Factor 6, Tuleby, Max and Cri-Cri) joined in 1994. Beside the demos and sound progs they made some games in the same year.
Black Man is a shooter, a Cop Out style clone. Dice is a logical game with dices. And Letris 2 is a further development of the well-known Tetris, with lettered squares. Now some words about their later games...
Firstly they introduced the logical game Axis in Prague in UmCon'97 party, which can be controlled by Amiga mouse only. In the same year, Piggy (Dizzy-clone) was introduced to public in Doxycon. Big surprise of Doxycon'98 was Twister Fruit Machine, an electric gambling simulation game.
On the next Doxycon, they announced the second episode of KVL's game, Boovie 2. Very probably KVL still do not know anything about this sequel...
Another games by the group: Mini Piskworks, a quite unplayable clone of Raxoft's Piskworks game. Their text Czech language adventure was titled Doxy.
They had personal relationship with No Operation.
After leaving the Spectrum, some games also appeared with E.S.A. label for Amiga.
Oldsoft name is covers Zdnek Stary. He joined in (and also left) the development of Spectrum, Didaktik games in the early 90's. Beside his utilies (Kecal 2 and My Copy) and demos he released a Soliter game in 1994.
The game is black and white, menu driven and has a special loader. It was written in Assembler and can be downloaded along with the source code from his website.
One of the members of 7Gods team, Mr. Ped was written his game in 1995 within 50 minutes, which is entitled Descent. The Basic game itself quite forgettable.
It is far more can be called to an invitation to the Demobit'96 party - as its text suggests. By the way, the group was active on Spectrum during the mid 90's.
+Gama Software was released only one game, Mezi Vezemi. It is done individually by +Gama (nowadays known as Dex), only the music was asked from Factor 6, which was so derived from Turrican Demo.
This one is a labyrinth game, and not only ZX128, but also Didaktik compatible.
+Gama is still an enthusiast Spectrum developer, he had written some utilies for the MB-02+ as well an Apple I emulator for the Spectrum. The high quality ZX Magazin is also can connected to his name.
Softhouse Ltd. (Peter Turanyi) made the most different programs since 1989.
Database, word processors, educational progs as well games came from him. And they are in English language.
Influence of Windows is very significant on his works: Minesweeper (1996) and Solitaire (1997) are very close in look to their Microsoft ancestors. In this context it is an unconditional respect!
When got married, also suspended developing ZX games. Good news: he wants to release some new games: Alley Cat, Wheel of Fortune and Turf and Stake.
The common game of Stupidius and MGS Software, Ugly Blaster was made in 1997. Nothing special, a simple logical game. But the loader is not so common: after an MS-DOS style boot procedure a Windows 3.1 imitation seen with network login. Its intro is also a separate, demo-style part.
Thomas Vasko in his Sea - The War of the Ocean game, which was released in 2001 said, this program is the last Spectrum game. This statement was revised by himself, as he was written a newer game titled Tunneller Raider 2079 in 2002.
The young man, who is living in the Czech Republic and his mother tongue is Hungarian, was writing his programmes on Didaktik clones.
All games (the above mentioned excepted) were born in 2001, and all of them was inspired by their PC variants.
Beside incompatibility, the games are also slow. Maybe written in Basic? His another games: Hexagonia and Sokoban. He released a drawing program in the very same year too.
Total Computer Group take the task of the bridge between East and West: they are translating games from Russian to English (and Czech). Beside that, they converting them to tape and the Czech and Slovakian D40/D480 and MB-02 disk systems.
Abe's Mission - Escape is the adaptation of the PC and PSX game for the Spectrum. The game -which has very positive feedbacks from the actual ZX press - is freeware, although planned to release as a commercial product initially in Russia as the winner of the Your Game contest in 2002.
Dizzy X (Journey to Russia) is originally a game of Speed Code from 1994 - as mentioned at the Russian games part. The game was released both in 48K and 128K versions. The Russian Dmytro Gryshchenko was made the English translation only of the 48K game. So TCG was mixed the code of 128K version and the text of the 48K. The result: a full, English game with pleasant tune, intro and outro.
Further games were or being in progress of translating, but they came before the 1993 era.
And now about their own games. Party Worms is a conversion of the Amiga game Dune 3 - Achtung Die Kurve. Main rule, that playing with maximum five worms do not touch the walls or each other's. So it is offers plus one more player as the similar game of No Operation.
Falldown Forever and Vladimira are the fruit of year 2003 international Mini Game Compo. First one is a 1K arcade, the last one is a 4K long RPG.
Zero Team (formed in the end of 1995) is promising his R-Type like game for ages. Operation Cyberia is a two-player shoot'em'up with five levels, great gfx, intro and outro. One day it will be finished... as their homepage said. Those, who want to download the demoversion of the game from the website, I must make them disappointed: it is not there.
But a new 48K game appeared, titled Pariboro. It is the Spectrum version of the Estonia Tonypah's flash game. It recalls lines. We must have to search the randomly generated pairs in the board and 'kill' them with the fire button. When destroying a full line, the machine gives a new one. The game will continue till we get a pair, which are not in the table. Creators of the game: Mike, CVM and Ellvis and beeper music is composed by Mister Beep. Also must to mention the Russian tiboh, who made the TR-DOS adaptation of the game.
About spreading of Czech and Slovakian programs I have quite little informations. On thing is sure: J.H.C.S. (Jan Hanousek Computer Software) located in Prague takes active participation in it in the mid 90's. It was a typical swapping job, although completely made by the agreement of authors (and with paying royalties for them). These were advertised in the computing press, or he simply sent them for reviewing. Beside these methods, also advertised himself in the games: lots of them contain his postal address before the title screen.
At present, Jan is directing the DreamWorx company, which offers full scale of Internet services including hosting, webdesign, and code, graphics optimisation.
In modern days, Czech and Slovakian programs can be obtained by the German Sintech situated in Filderstadt - as partly mentioned.
Thomas Eberle get in contact with Ulrasoft, Proxima and No Operation in the 90's. Ultrasoft sent one copy from their each game, Kliatba Noci (1993), Quadrax and Twilight. Twilight was Slovak language only, so totally unusable for those, who do not speak this language. So Thomas began to sell the first two games. The Slovakian partner was translated the instructions and sent a little quantity from the games. Sintech was corrected the informations and started distributing - only on classic tapes.
Proxima was offered various utilies beside the games. Cassette inlays were provided by the Czech company, the German partner copied the tapes. But all of those year 1993 or before released games. So not belonging strictly to the theme of this article.
No Operation was distributed their Color Draw program through Sintech. This was a special version made for Sintech.
And for last, some words about translating the Czech and Slovak games to English.
Some years ago, Total Computer Group take the task of the bridge between East and West: they are translating games from Russian to English (and Czech). Beside that, they converting them to tape and the Czech and Slovakian D40/D480 and MB-02 disk systems.
Abe's Mission - Escape is the adaptation of the PC and PSX game for the Spectrum. The game -which has very positive feedbacks from the actual ZX press - is freeware, although planned to release as a commercial product initially in Russia as the winner of the Your Game contest in 2002.
Dizzy X (Journey to Russia) is originally a game of Speed Code from 1994 - as mentioned at the Russian games part. The game was released both in 48K and 128K versions. The Russian Dmytro Gryshchenko was made the English translation only of the 48K game. So TCG was mixed the code of 128K version and the text of the 48K. The result: a full, English game with pleasant tune, intro and outro.
Further games were or being in progress of translating, but they came before the 1993 era.
And now about their own games. Party Worms is a conversion of the Amiga game Dune 3 - Achtung Die Kurve. Main rule, that playing with maximum five worms do not touch the walls or each other's. So it is offers plus one more player as the similar game of No Operation.
Falldown Forever and Vladimira are the fruit of year 2003 international Mini Game Compo. First one is a 1K arcade, the last one is a 4K long RPG.
In 2011, a similar initiation was born from Velesoft (Jiri Veleba). Jiri on Pandora (the Czech mailing list) sent a post about translating Towdie to English. Unfortunately he had problems with text decoding. Softhouse recycled some subroutine for searching and printing the texts, and fortunately manage to decode the texts. UB888B (Dusan Gallo) was wrote a text converter in C language. Then Softhouse translated the texts, and published on Pandora for another members for correction. Meanwhile Pavero (Pavel Pliva) translated the animated logo of Towdie. Some anothers took part in translation, such as Pepax (Josef Augustin), Jiiira and finally also Gasman.
After that, Velesoft forced to translate another Czech and Slovak games.
Pavero also began to translate the Pedro trilogy with the help of Roman Borik, jp and Bandit
The next game to translate was Aknadach.
The translation of games takes very different time. For example, translation of Towdie was lasted for one and half month mostly used for correction and communication between the members. Aknadach took two weeks. The Pedro trilogy was finished in even shorter time. Generally speak, the time of translation is depending the quantity of the text in the game.
Hooy Program (or also known as H-PRG) is originally a Polish, actually an international demo group founded back in 1990 by Yerzmyey. Further members: Expirt, Gasman, Habib, Hellboj, TDM and Vavrzon. Ex-members: Adam, Mr. Hangman and Smarkoo.
The group members are very proud of the consistent quality of their works: they made crap demos in the past, and they do the same nowadays. Both the audience and professionals regard their demos as the crapest ones. The team is active on the PC-category beside ZX Spectrum.
The title of their ZX magazine is Hooy Mag, it was survived two issues in 1998 and 2002.
At the 1993 turning point, released their quite primitive Smok text adventure in Polish language.
Their next production is an illustrated text adventure. Droda do duplandu is a crappy game again and (fortunately?) Polish language only - but English translation is promised. Was published in 2003, but Yerzmyey wrote its text between 1994-1997. It has C64 and Atari 8 bit version too.
The similar quality Ucieczka ze spejs-szipu (2003/2004) only released for C64 and Spectrum. From the title, easy to guess its language...
Mariusz Wojtysiak Polish programmer was infected with a Timex 2048 clone at the primary school age. After being a player, soon began to programming. Basic followed by Assembler in a short time, and soon became the member of Illusion group with Maniu nickname. Then changed to PC, and after graduating at computer sciences he is a programmer of IN-Software Poland at the moment.
In 1994 released his Auto Concentration memory game, which is essentially the same as the soon introduced game of WSS Team titled Chage It!, but here we can play with badges of cars.
The game was published in Scene+ disk/tape magazine, which was edited by the Austrian Spectrum Club at this time.
We can meet the name of Rafal Miazga first on the Spectrum Game Compo 2005. He was take part with the Pamela the Zombie Hunter game, in which we control a teenage girl a graveyard full of zombies. The next challenge was in the 2007 year with the Holidays in Amsterdam Frogger clone on the actual Mini Game Compo.
After he changed his style, and give public the Chick&Brick titled Arcanoid clone. After completion a level with destroying all bricks, our reward is a picture of a nice girl (chick).
Similar is the Mockatetris from 2008. Here, at the end of the levels, we can see handdrawn pictures from the author from games, which never released on Spectrum. And the classic Tetris-shapes also got some new variants.
Skyscraper of Doom is again a sharp turn in style. This 2009-year arcade-adventure is playing in the future, and essentially maybe can be the analogue of the Dizzy-series in gamig style terms - of course with totally different graphics.
WSS Team (Weird Science Software) is primarily was well known by their demos in the 90's. Their first game came from 1995. This memory game is Change It! and the joint work of Edy and Roger (Edy: graphics, Roger machine code, Basic part: together).
After a long break in 2001 WSS reformed and came out with Flash Beer trilogy in 2003 (by Edy and Pgyuri). This game is originally a C64 classic - Flasch Bier and it is a Boulder Dash clone. Has a special loader.
Next year's release was TV Game. It recalls the game consoles of 70's with some memorable unique features. One of them is the 288x192 pixels game area (using the border) and another is the multicolor mode. It offers 4 different games including tennis, wall-tennis, football and hockey.
The aim of Ghost Castles game (2005) is collecting nasty ghosts - no matter if it is done by alone, co-operative with your friend or with the Speccy - in that case you will do not need friends anymore:).
The curiosity of this game of supporting the G-Tech interface and ROM-extension.
G-Tech is the development of Csaba Gondos, the main constructor of Sinclair.hu. You can connect and use analogue joystick through a Kempston interface.
ROM-extension is a 256K ROM that gives 192K extras for the game (longer gameplay, digitised speech etc.).
Sadly, both devices are only used by this game. But hopefully soon will be supported in another games and emulators, as all documentations are free to download.
Freshest product is Wizard of Wor, which is a classical arcade game conversion. In the 80's was published on C64, Atari 800 and 2600 as well for the Bally Astrocade console. After more than two decades, the Spectrum version also arrived.
Good news from Edy: all games are free, and the followings will be free too. Every games can be bought on real tapes. Price of cassettes are covering the producing costs only, so sold without profit.
Pgyuri also made a Basic competitor titled Keyhero 50 for the 2011 year Crap Games Compo too.
Change It!: find the pairs!
Ghost Castles: with Hungarian hardwares
Matija Kostevc, a Slovenian young man, got his ZX Spectrum in 1984. Some years later with his Basic text adventure got a joint first prize along with a 5 years older participant, who was made a PC database program.
In the second class of high school, was written his only one post-1993 game, The Legends of the Land, which is a RPG/strategy mixture. Official companies never published this game. So the author decided, to give it to public release in 1997 with the help of Internet.
Remembering, it is a 15 years old young boy's work, it is quite quality one. Maybe it is equal quality to the classical age games - but said honestly, never played with such type of games. The author was inspired by the Lords of Midnight and Sorderon's Shadow games. It was made in Z80 Assembly.
Tangram Design (Srbislav D. Nesic) released only one game in the near past titled Sudoku in 2007. I think not necessary to go into details, what is this game.
Maybe the one and only 'curiosity' of it, that it has two loading screens. First one is honouring to the Swiss mathematics and physicist, Leonhard Euler, and the second one is the real game loading screen.
At least, promising quite a long-playing time the 6000 table puzzles.
Runs on 48K Spectrum, and in addition beside the tape magnetofon format, it is also available as Microdrive cartridge image.
The Romanian Super Soft published some games between 1998 and 2002.
This name covers a 13 years old boy (in 1998), Adam George. His friend, Ignat Cristian is usually helped them.
Adam started to play with a Romanian HC-85 clone. Things getting faster as he got an used HC-2000, which had floppy drive, not only tape.
At the moment, Adam is working on PC as a programmer, graphician and webguru.
So, go back for the games. Quality is fairly remind us to 1983-1985 and games are all Romanian language.
Labirint (1998) is a simple labyrinth game. Pacman (1998) and Pacman II - Razbunarea Lui Phantom (2001) are the remake of the well-known classic, again not in superior quality. Although the second episode has nice music tunes (originality of the track is not sure if you asking me).
Printesa din Superland (1998) and Regatul Magic (1999) are adventures again in low quality.
Simplex (1998) is a compilation of simple games. At last, X&O (1999) is an amoeba game.
Also arrived from Romania the Bothkill game from Marian Cascaval. The 2007 year program again recalls the ancient ages: two pads are shooting each other's. The game is Public Domain.
Rather successful was the ZX Spectrum in Spain also, for example Spectrum 128K was released firstly here. In the classic ages among others Dinamic Software released quality games. Some sources call Spain as the second motherland of the Speccy. So not surprisingly still arriving games from this country.
The quality of these games are often worse than we can expect, and usually communicating in Spanish language - only some exceptions.
Why? Because most of the games, or their "prototypes" are written for the Spanish Bytemaniacos yearly Basic competition, which's story goes back to 2003.
At the same time, works of the CEZ Team are speaking about themselves: the "128K" only programs show us, what a good, old 128K/128K+2 can do. Because in the classic ages mostly sold 48K/128K programs. It means, the 128K brother was running the same game as the 48K machine. Only differed these games in the three-channel sound and loading all separate level in the memory. But, the works of CEZ really using the extra capabilities of the machine, why Sir Clive dreamt this machine.
Another curiosity, that in the 80's Europe was the primary territory of the Spectrum, and after in the 90's it is situated over to Russia. After a sharp turn back, again an European country, Spain is one of the most significant countries.
Arkham Soft (Daniel Boxeda Rodriguez and Ferran Queralt) was quite lately joined to the Spectrum train.
They appeared with their first adventure in 1993 (Darkhouse), and the next and the last game was released in 1994. Stinett & Sinclair Parapsychologists is an illustrated text adventure done with Professional Adventure Writer and unfortunately in Spanish language. The graphics is not that bad and uses the 128K fully. Seems, it is based on a true story, and played in the end of 1800's of Boston.
Radastan, alias Miguel Angel Montejo's Castlevania ZX project we could hear lastly in 2003. The NES classic horror platformer was begun to converted in 2002 to Spectrum. Initially it was strictly a monochrome and 128k+3 version, but soon rumours began to spread about combining the colour background with black and white sprites. Beside this, a 128K tape version began to developed, and maybe a multiload 48K version too. Also the music was begun to converted. Unfortunately, no news since then, although the screens were promising a lot.
The author has two another hanging projects: converting Berzerk and Virtua Tennis games to the Spectrum. From the first, only the title screen, the sprites of the hero and enemies realised. Conversion of the Sega Dreamcast tennis game was abandoned too, the programmer choose Castlevania for first realisation. If it will be finished, maybe Virtua Tennis will be made. So never...
Radastan at the moment is an active member of the Spectrum scene: he is the maintainer of the Bytemanicos homepage, which counted among the most important news resources in his motherland.
The mostly worth to mention recent Spanish group is the CEZ Team (Computer EmuZone Games Studio).
At the moment, they are only active on Spectrum, Amstrad and MSX, but planned also to move to C64, Atari ST and Amiga. All their works are free to download with casette inlays and instructions. Even if you want to buy them on original cassettes, you forced to pay only for the manufacturing costs. Soonly they open the on-line store also.
Some of their works at the quality of 1983-1985 games (Alma de Guerreo, Bodorrio Real, Casca Muleas, Castillo Maldit, Galaxy Fighters, Moggy, Pitfall ZX, Run Bill Run, West Gun). These games mostly can connect to Beyker Soft (Sergio Vaquer), who try to sell the games across the CEZ Team. All the games are Bytemaniacos competitors.
But Columns (2005), Phantomas: Saga Infinity (2006) Ragnablock (2006), Nanako in Classic Japanese Monster Castle (2007), Phantomasa 1-2 (2007), Cannon Puzzle (2007) and BeTiled! (2007) are worth to try.
The first is a Tetris-like game originally released in the 90's by Sega. Next one is a nice arcade/adventure game. Ragnablock is a pretty neat Arkanoid-clone. The long name game is a logical-arcade game. Phantomasa is the only one adult category arcade of the group. Following one is a logical-arcade game inspired by the Puzzle Bobble coin-op. The last one is in the same category, based on the successful Bejeweled game.
I Need Speed is a four-up car racing game from 2009. Can be maximum of two real players and two controlled by the CPU. Multiple difficulty levels to choose from, and also a variety of championships. Unfortunately, the finalisation is only average quality. MSX version is also available.
In the 2003 founded, also Spanish Compiler Software is regularly publishing games for ZX nowadays.
The joint point of these programs: not realising new ideas, but adopting classic programs for the Spectrum.
The games, as well the tape inlays can be downloaded from their website, moreover some source codes available for the public too.
The companionship counts three main members: falvarez, devil_net and NoP, and external workers gave help them in making gfx, testing etc.
Let's see the games now!
Another Brick on the Wall 2 (2005) is the sequel of the Arkanoid clone, which was the first prize winner of Bytemaniacos 2004 Basic competition. This second part has 25 levels.
ZX Mines (2003) and ZX Mines 2 (2003) are Minesweeper clones. First was written in Basic, the second in C and ASM.
ZX Poker (2005) What can it be? Yes of course, the famous card game in Spectrum flavour with the possibility of virtual enrichment.
ZX Columns (2005) the same game from Sega, which is converted by the CEZ Team also in a bit different flavour.
Sokonban(2006): think is not necessary to introduce. Both Spanish and English language versions are available.
Octocom was found by two youngsters, Jorge del Llano and David Mochales. They got know about the Spectrum in the '80s, and after that, changed to Amiga. When Internet appeared, take again the Spectrum, and beside the hardware developments (for example 3,5" drive for the 128K+3) they began to manufacturing games.
For the 2004 year Bytemaniacos Basic programing compo they made their first product, titled Infiltrado 2: Return To Reactor. This one is a simple labyrinth-arcade game. In the next year released Deep Scan, a 1979 Sega coin-op conversion. Fortunately, the following products are more quality ones: they using the maximum colourfulness of Spectrum, although the speed is still slow, thanks to the Basic. So, Insert Coins is a Skool Daze and Jet Set Willy mixture, and Pandemia is a 3D arcade in sci-fi surrounding. At last, Isotopia is an Atomix-style game from 2007.
Beyker Soft (Sergio Vaquer Montes) released his first Basic program, Castillo Maldito for the Bytemaniacos challenge, and he won the first prize with it.
Thanks to the success, he was wrote a lot of another programs, also became Bytemaniacos competitors and reached nice results in their category.
Above that, he often helps for the CEZ Team and Octocom in their works.
In the future, he plans to write Assembly games too.
He is selling his games thorough the CEZ Team.
Softography in alphabetical order: Alma de Guerrero (2003), Beastie Feastie (2005), Bodorrio Real (2004), Box (2006), Cascamuelas (2004), Castillo Maldito (2003), Dicky Duck (2005), Galaxy Fighter (2004), Maru-ja (2006), Mision Espacial (2006), Pitfall ZX (2003), Run Bill Run (2005), Tiless (2005), Well 2, The (2006), West Gun (2004).
Josep Coletas Caubet is an old freshman, who started to write his adventures in the '90s. Now again he is on the stage with the 5. episode of Extraordinaros Casos del Dr. Van Halen for the public.
In 2005 once more begin to writing games, and now, in 2007 published the trilogy entitled Codigo Secreto Lucybel.
All games are in Spanish language and freeware.
Alavaro Alea Fernandez (alias ALEAsoft) had two games in 2003 and 2004. Burger Time and Marte Necesita Vacas unfortunately both in Spanish and they are Basic programs.
Carlos Monroe Roig, often called Compiuter Soft also provided his games as freeware products, which are run on 16/48K Speccies. Unfortunately, with one exception they are in Spanish language.
The repertoire: Teleport (2005) and AeroBirds (2006): arcade, PinkBlue (2005) and ZXSimon (2006): table games.
CNGSoft (Cesar Nicolas Gonzales, Radastan) is primarily active on the Amstrad CPC platform. But thanks to the Amstrad-Sinclair relationship, the originally CPC game Justin is available on ZX too. This isometric 3D game is speaking on Spanish, English and French. It was introduced on the MadriSX & Retro 2007 exhibition.
The Spanish Canadul presented one and only one game which entitled to Asto 2008 in year 2007. This is a logical arcade type game, in which we have to control the figure we known from the classical Jet Pac game. It is a pick up and use in appropriate adequate seqence. The game contains 25 levels, which we can be loaded in the beginning of the game. It is Spanish language only but it does not influencing the gameplay seriously.
Programming was done by Jose Miguel Ibanez Rodriguez, the compiling of levels and testing by Jose Sanroma Prius. The instructions translated by Digital Prawn to English.
Mojon Twins (Benway, na_th_an, WYZ, Anjuel) is quite active on Spectrum nowadays. They came out more games each year, and not only for ZX, but releasing the MSX and Amstrad versions of the games too.
More of their products are published under Computer Emuzone Studio label, so these can be bought on original tapes also.
In 2007 they passed out BeTiled! , which is inspired by the game of Popcap Games, the logical-arcade Bejeweled. More arcade-adventures are come out from them (Phantomasa 2: In the Land of the Grunge, 2007; Mariano the Dragon in Carpers in Cityland, 2008; Nanako Descends to Hell, 2009; Phantomas Tales #1: Marsport, 2009).
Two of our games are belongs to the CEZ Minigames series (Judge Morry vs. Baldo Midget, 2008 and Shoot Redux: Marifrisky Space Warrior, 2008).
The 2009 release Subacuatic and Subacuatic Reloaded are the first programs which are using the new 64 colour mode of the forthcoming Harlequin SE clone (which will hopefully available for standard Spectrums too as a simple plug-+in replacement). For the moment only we can see the beautiful MSX colours with emulators... In the game we control Ferdinand W. Templeton, the research professor of Michigan University who arise under the deeps of the sea in the hope of treasure hunt. Running also on a standard 128K machine - of course without the extra colours in this case.
This group is taking part regularly different game-making competitions - but it will detailed later. To summarise: they come out with quality games, and players will like them, if they fond of the style of these programs.
Cyborg: instrussion00 is the fruit of 2008. A Concrete Digital Designs (Joaquim Vidal Uven Tench) edited it with the 3D Construction Kit.
It recalls immediately a Castle Master and Driller. So, a turbo Spectrum would be fine
Fortunately the game is bi-lingual (English, Spanish) and the author also edited promotial material for it.
Digital Brains's (Alberto Otero Mato) game is the Nonocross logical puzzle from 2008, which quality brings the necessary standards of this gaming style. The game was invented by two puzzlers in the same time, but with no connections with each others, namely Non Ishida and Tetsuya Nishio. The game was got its name from the first inventor.
First adaptations was released by Nintendo for GameBoy, Super Famicom and DS consoles with Picross name. Essence of the game to reveal the hidden picture from the grid with colouring the right cells according to the indicated numbers.
His second game, Black Horse is an isonometrical logical game. In this using a horse-chess figure have to solve innumerable levels directing it in L-shape. This is always wanted to prevented another chess figures. On the other hand, things helping us also placed on the boards, such as teleport gate, extra life etc.
The Pharao's Shadow game is also a logical one. Here we have to put out colours 'stones' according to the demanded order of each levels..
And now from a game, which is a pure commercial product. Karoshi Corporation's (Jon Cortazar Abraido, Eduardo A. Robsy Petrus, Daniel Zorita, Francisco Javier Pena, Jose Vicente Maso, Sergio Vaquer Montes) La Corona Encantada titled arcade was presented on the RetroMadrid'09 exhibition for ZX Spectrum and MSX. The game, which can be bought for 14,95 Euros came along with a mini-CD containing extra stuff.
Actually, RetroWorks can be considered as the successor of the already gone CEZ Team. After its dissolution, the Spectrum members (AugustoRulz, Benway, Dadman, IvanZX, Jovo, Lordfred, Metalbrain, Pagantipaco, Sejuan, TBrazil, Utopian, WYZ) decided not to left in lurch the Spectrum, and will do developments for the Spectrum in the future.
Their first game is the finishing of the half-ready development of CEZ Team, entitled Gommy, Defensor Medieval. In this game we have to fight alone against the enemies attacking Gommyland castle. The sublevels are closed with boss-levels.
King's Valley was originally an MSX/MS-DOS game in 1985 from Konami.
Retroworks in 2009 created the ZX Spectrum version. In this game Vick, the Manchester adventurer tries to collect the treasures of the ancient Egypts pharaohs. Each level are became more and more complex, but the task of the hero is also helped by collectable items from levels to levels. Although not particularly a logical game, solution of levels requires a certain level of thinking.
The music is excellent, the graphics is faithfully reflects the original.
It seems so, that not only Russians making non-official ZX Spectrum remakes, because Mastodon' (Francisco Javier Lopez) year 2009 text adventure game the Aventura A: Planet of Death is the implementation of the game of Artic Computing Ltd. from 1982. - now in Spanish language. The interesting fact about this game, that it this program was also remade on Russian language by Ray Software back in 1996. This adventure game was also appeared on more other, more modern platforms since then.
Jorge Arroyo Gonzalez ('George') was written to Spectrum his own-created dice game called Star Trader's Luck under Makasoft label. The original game is from 2009 as well its Spectrum adaptation. The program has fairly simple design, using only text interface. The rules are available both in Spanish and English.
The Relevo Videogames development community founded by Jon Cortazar, the ex-member of the Karoshi Corporation in July of 2009. Their primary goal to develop professional quality games for the 8 bit platforms, principally for MSX, but porting of games to different platforms also will realized. The products are distributed both in psychical and virtual formats via the Internet. Another aim is to promote and popularize the 8 bit platforms in wider community.
Their first creation, Esta en la Caja is an illustrated text adventure originally presented for Elige tu Propia Aventura 2009 Contest. At the time, only in Spanish available, but the English translation is also in progress.
Ring was used the “La Churrera” game engine of Mojon Twins for making the Axel K. and the Lost Bills. game. In the 2013 platform game, we control Axel, the young inhabitant of Daraxia. From our hero the wicked birds were stolen his bills. As turned out, behind the whole action is Mr. Burnstoro, the malicious economical minister. So the adventure begins, we have to collect through 44 levels the 15 bills in the Alex Kidd-like game. In 48K mode it supports the AY-music.
The first game of Dantoine Retro Studios is Justin and the Lost Abbey. The group were ad hoc formed from the employees of Kandor Graphics S. L. meanwhile the making the Justin and the Knight of Valour animated film. The idea of a 8 bit game was born from David Colmenero (D_Skywalk) and his wife, Nuria. Then the big boss and colleagues gave green light for the project. So Justin began to pixelized instead of being a PC/console hero from millions and millions of polygons. And all of those were happened in 2013! The game is a La Churrera one consist of more than 40 levels. The aim of Justin to find the three pieces of sword and became a true knight. Anyway, in the game development involved Mojon Twins, especially na_th_an. The list of creators in the end, just like in the movies: design and concept: Nuria Jimenez and D_Skywalk; development and gfx: D_Skywalk; music: Jose A Chacon (aka: Chanky); cover art: Oscar J. Vargas; moral support and translation: Federica Mastrullo and Ana Trout.
Escape from Asylum game is the result of an 48 hours game coding compo. So the date'n'place of creation is easy to determine: November 29 to December 2013, Sevilla, the Espacio La Mirada Rota cultural place. The game itself is a turn-based RPG, with the aim of escaping from the asylum. Music is done by Sergeeo, code by D_Skywalk, gfx and concept by Jack Shadow and D_Skywalker. Also utilizes the La Churrera engine, but quite different from any previous ones, I think it is clear.
For the ZX SpectrumSega and US Gold never released the Sonic series. Nor for the Commodore 64.
This was only for commercial reasons: they wanted to sell Sega MegaDrive in huge quantity, and forced people to buy the machine simply for playing the Sonic game. At the same time, with widespreading of 16 bit micros and consoles, they did not remain much interested in the 8 bit market.
That is why Anestis Koutssoudis from the Greek Spectrum Club take again the Sonic series. Very impressive intros and nice background- and ingame graphics saw the light from the game.
The author gave the source code and the half-ready game to free to public access believing the faster realisation. By his plan, the game will be monochrome - opposite of the preview pictures - because only that way can remain the gameplay dynamic.
Into the graphics works, Andrew Owen (the constructor of ZX Spectrum SE clone) was also involved. James McKay, the author of X128 emulator was converted the music of Sega Master System to Spectrum.
Anyway, Anestis was beginning to convert the graphics of Mega Drive, but after he took the graphics from the 8 bit Master System. After Andrew was joined, they completely rewritten the graphics part - an if we cab believe, it becomes one of the fastest ZX Spectrum games ever. By the plans, it would run on a 48K machine with multi-loader.
For the Speccy adaptation of the game, Sega was said no temporarily, but not completely denied the project.
No news since 2001... In fact, Anestis was abadoned the project, and wanted to find volunteers to finish it.
Currently he is working on the virtual 3D reconstruction of the antique Greek city, Xanthi.
The another Greek newcomer, The Amazing Roketeer also has some Sega-similarity. Its author, John Fotou never had original Spectrum, but made this game with emulator.
Quite quality, colourful and dynamic game. More levels are expected in the future (so far five are ready now). Really worth to try!
Sonic: never will finished
Amazing Rocketeer: Sega similarity
Bologna's inhabitant, Marcello Zaniboni only released a tic-tac-toe game in 2005, titled AI Tic Tac Toe. The game was written in C and runs on 48K machine. The graphics was made by Luciano "Lucky" Costarelli.
Unique feature of the game, that Speccy is learning during the gameplay: it learns the loosen steps (storing in the memory) and avoid them in the next games. Game by game it will learn not to loose at all. To tell the truth, it thinks a little bit too long, and very probably, this time will be stretched during this learning phase.
Marcello's hobbies are writing tiny freeware programs and playing on guitar.
More freeware programs can be downloaded from his website. He is working as a software developer at the moment, who is a proud owner of a ZX Spectrum+.
Paolo Ferraris already began to coding in Z80 assembler in the 80's. As beside the cassettes did not had any another mass storage, so delayed the ZX Spectrum game development until the appear of emulators and cross-assemberlers.
On his homepage there are the games he was made for the Mini Game Compo. As he says, optimizing the code for the appropriate size takes ten times more as writing the game itself.
In 2002 wrote there games in the 1K category. 1Kaniod is an Arkanoid clone with 16 different levels. Shisen1K is a Mahjonng-like board game. Spectris of course is a yet another Tetris-clone, which needs 128K machine for the AY-music. Snake1K is a Snake Race adaptation: two snakes and a bouncing ball are the main characters. The task: eat the apples and get out from the labyrinth.
For the 2003 year only submitted the Maziacs1 labyrinth game in the 1K category. The main character is standing at the entrance (exit) of a maze armed with a sword. The purpose is to collect the treasures and find the way back. Of course, the monsters (the maziacs) do not like it too much...
In the next year with the 4K Race car racing simulator he won the competition and he was fully deserve this. Graphics was made by Luciano Costarelli, music by Mario Prato, the constructor of the Chrome clone.
In 2005 rewrote the previous game with 4K Race Refueled tittle, and also made the ZX Sudoku game with 6 different tables.
Alessandro Grussu was born in 1973 in Messina. He got his Spectrum at the age of 10, and he entered into the digital world with it. After graduating at the philosophy faculty of the local university, went to the military serviceas a civilian (conscientious objector). After that began to work in a computer store.
Since 2001 working as a teacher, but photoing was also remained as artistic expression, he has regular exhibitions as well.
In 2012 wrote Spectrumpedia, the 'ultimate' ZX Spectrum encyclopedia. At the moment, only available in Italian language, and published by Universitalia under the aegis of ViGaMus - Video Game Museum of Rome. Also downloadable in PDF format from World of Spectrum or from the author's website.
Lost in my Spectrum game is the first creation of Grussu, with which he began too use Jonathan Cauldwell's Arcade Game Designer utility, namely the 3.2 version. The game was published for the Firenze Vintage Bit 2012, on which the author could not to take part. For making the game, also helped him Paul Jenkinson's 'tutorial' page. The game itself a 48/128K Manic Miner clone with 17 levels. The 128K version has extra welcome screen and two AY effects. Available in English and Italian, the current 1.4 version available in TAP/TZX formats.
Apulija-13 (aka Apuilja 13) is the second game of the author, which was created based on the experiences of making LIMS. The game was made for Apulija Retrocomputing 2013. Also a multilanguage game, available in English, Italian, German and Spanish. The genre of game is 'survival horror', a kind of mix of action adventure and strategy in the style of Laser Squad. We control Jonlan, the action hero, who was emergency-landed on the A-13 rocky planet. His tasks are different. First, to steal the data diskette containing the plans of a weapon of mass destruction by Omni Company . Then to place an armed bomb in the base. At least, to find the space spare nano-reactor with which he can charge the spaceship, and escape from the planet. 128K version is enriched with a welcome tune and three effects. Now it is 1.3 revision and downloadable in TAP, TZX, DSK as well TRD files.
His first multi-level AGD game is Funky Fungus (2013). The background story is the following. The habitants of Fungiland (the mushrooms) living peacefully their everyday. But in a day, Seto Taisho with his army wanted to occupy the territory. The super hero rescue man is who else, than Funky Fungus. With his throwingstar rescues the inhabitants of the village from the enemies come from various folklore of countries (of course, first you have to get the star). The game contains 41 screens (4 worlds + 10 screens + the main main enemy). It is totally international, as also available in Italian, English, German, Spanish and even in Portugal. In addition, released in more tape formats and in +3 and TR-DOS disks too. The game is standard AGD quality (v3.4), but it differs positively by its screens.
The again 2013 release, Cronopios y Famas was made with AGD 4.3 version, but it is not a true arcade, rather a (dinamic) adventure. It was inspired by the book with the same title made by Argentinian writer, Julio Cortazar, which contains short stories from two totallydifferent, but also complemntary personality people. Beside the 48/128K Spectrums, also work on the Argentinian Czerweny Electronica clone - just in style. It is also available in six languages (Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Portugal), with conventional and turbo loader (TAP/TZX, v1.0), and documentation is also available.
Al's Double Bill is the enhanced version of the first two games, which runs on solely 128K machines. They loaded together and can be choose from a menu among them. Lost in my Spectrum Versione Estesa (Extended Version) has 4 more levels compared to the original. Another novelties, we have 9 lives instead of 7. 5 new sprites, 10 new block graphics, a new loader, and a new game end also introduced. Apulija-13 Director's Cut is the extended version of the original. As the deadline of the original was the first day of the new year and it was must be fitted into 48K, was born as a compromise. Here also we got 5 lives instead of 3 and 5 new places. Almost all objects in a new location. Loading screen is modified, and got an alternative game end also. Available in the usual Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portugal languages, in TZX, TAP and TRD formats. Was made with AGD 3.5 and SEUD 1.0 versions, the last covers a hidden mini-game
Gabriele Amore (GabAm) does not know how to code, but decided to making games. For this purpose, Arcade Game Designer and Classic Game designer are the right tools for him.
His first ADG game, Donkey Kong Reloaded is an another new ZX Spectrum adaptation of the Nintendo 1981 arcade. Dave Hughes, the author of CDG also involved into the front end work. The task is: with Jumpman (later: Mario) have to rescue the Lady (Pauline) from the giant ape Donkey Kong.
Pitfall III: Wrath of Kingrock is a honour for the favourite game series of the author. Pitfall! (1983) and Pitfall II: Lost Caverns (1984) originally made for the Atari 2600 console. The first part did not ported for the Spectrum, but this was solved by the Spanish Beyker Soft with a Basic creation in 2003. The game goes further the possibilities of AGD, as Amore - with the help of Cauldwell - tampered into the code also. Thanks to this, the enemies can not only move on fixed paths. Also the hero is not a simple jump'n'run person, but able to do different moves.
In the Cattivik game, we control Franco 'Bonvi' Bonvicini's anti-hero, the always wearing black thief, who lives in the sewers. Amore made the design, graphics, music and effects as well do the testing. Grussu was responsible of Basic programming, arranging the data blocks, and also for testing, and making the effects of the menus. The game contains three levels: you have to stole a cup, a cross, and a diamond. On all levels brain-teaser tasks are waiting for the player.
Oh La La! is a quite hard arcade platformer. In this we control a continuously jumping sponge(?). The aim is to collect the objects, while avoiding the enemies. The game is 'open'. This means, that Amore left open the possibility of the AGD construction. Pushing Enter on the title screen, we can modify the game easily.
After the good reception of the previous games, Amore used the CGD for creating Push'n'Chase. The loading and intro screen is the work of Dave Hughes, who is also tested, gave advices, tweaked the CGD and arranged the game levels. Music was made by Neil Parsons, the author of Program: bytes: 48k blog, and this is the very first game music from him. In the game you have to make traps for the enemies with a yellow bulldozer. Within the frames of CGD is an entertaining game.
AI Tic Tac Toe: thinks slowly
4K Race RF: really only 4K
Apulija-13: survival horror
Funky Fungus: rescues the World
DKR: another new adaptation
Cattivik: Dizzy in black
For the first read maybe seems extreme to hearing about South-American games. But who knows better the story of ZX Spectrum, surely heard about the Brazilian Microdigital company, which made ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum clones - so it is not too surprising fact anymore.
Spectrum clones had similar nice popularity in Uruguay also. Owners kept the contact via modems with each other's. The country has a completely new development: a high-speed tape unit called Hillow. Only some piece was made, and unfortunately was not widespread too much.
The games of Gustavo Brown Rodrigez from 2003 Mastermind and SpecTRIS - they are the rewriting of old classic logical games. Both are the entries of Bytemaniacos challenge. The unique feature of the SpecTRIS, that it detects the machine automatically (48K or 128K) and we can play "two" types of games: the 128K version has some more rich graphics.
Since 1987 developing games for the ZX Spectrum World XXI Soft Inc (Ariel Ruiz). Until now, we could not hear much from him due to physical distance. But thanks for his homepage, these games are in some click length.
The games were written originally in Spanish language, but the author later added English language also for most games. In the same way, he was written bi-lingual (English-Spanish) instructions for each games.
His products were written partly in Basic and machine code, and with his own game development tool, Videogames Design System. This one will also available soon on the webapge. He is categorising his games into four classes.
The most elite one is Platinum Series contains to games under development, Carlos Michelis 4Thieves School (in Spanish: Escuela de Landrones) deserves a separate mention. This 2009 work, in which we are controlling two robber-students (Courage and Mist) is really international. Why is that? First, as the separated intro is a very Russian-like feature. Furthermore, the game offers a choice between Spanish and English language communication. Its music was composed by the Czech Factor 6. And if even this is not enough, beside the tape format, in .TRD file also available. Anyway we are speaking about a commercial product, which is in 'physical' format' (cassette) cab be obtained from Compiler Software.
The virtual formats (.TAP, .TZX, .SCL, .TRD) through the author's website.
Gold Series is consists of only one car game, Streetmania 2008. This fairly simple game contains quite well detailed cars.
Silver Series is quite weak quality. Blue Hellfire is based on the Blue Thunder film. Galactron is a simple vertical shoot'em'up with nice graphics. G. I. Tech and Kung Fu 2 are very simply finished games.
The two programmes of Bronze Series, Cowboys 2 and Off-Shore Racing are the simplest Basic games, as they can be.
By the promise of the author, more and quality games will appear soon, so keep an eye on the website.
The very first announcement of Mini Game Compo is dated back to 2001. The aim of the challenge is to make the best out from the 8bit micros and consoles in different size categories (512byte, 1K, 4K and 8K). Of course, not only the Spectrum takes part in the competition, but Amstrad, Commodore, Oric, MSX, TI, Coleco, Sega and Nintendo machines are also involved.
Themes of the games are free to choose, in the same size categories are compared the games of the different machines. Most games are public domain.
ZX Spectrum games of course continuously representing on this compo, as it was one of the most widespread models in Europe. Maybe an interesting fact: anyone can though, those games are able to run on the standard 16K Spectrums. But huge parts of the games are 128K only, thanks to the compression methods, overlay techniques and another tricks. Of course, we can find some games, which will run fine on the rubber-keyed ancestor.
I think, most of the modern day's programmers can learn many of these games, what are the possibilities of writing games sized only some kilobytes. Not only worth to study the Spectrum programs, but games of the concurrent machines are also worth to see.
Some excellent examples: Scrolly (2003.), zblast SD (2003.) - these the games of Russel Marks, B.A.R.F. (2004.) and 4K Race refueled (2005.).
The previously mentioned Spanish Bytemaniacos competition is arranged since 2003 yearly. It accepts only Basic or Basic+Assembler written programs. The two categories are prized separately.
Products are usually weak quality, but there are some nice exceptions (Cotton ZX - 2003, Fireman - 2005, Insert Coins - 2005, Pandemia - 2006 - the last two is the game of Octocom). The programs must run on some of the originals Spectrums (from 16K to 128K+3).
Awards of the challenge are some retro stuffs, for example a SNES console or a ZX Spectrum 128K+3 machine. The games are communicating in Spanish language.
From the homepage the games can be downloaded, as well the source code, map or manual of some games are also available.
In the 2005 announced Spectrum Game Compo's main aim was to facilitate new ZX Spectrum game releases. They accepted Basic and machine code programs too; as well individual or programming teams also could join to the competition.
Among the entries there are arcade, logical and card games too. Some titles will be known already from the article.
The games: Phibian - Jonathan Cauldwell, HOT-K - Guillermo Castares,BASIC Rally - Radastan, Pamela the Zombie Hunter - Rafal Miazga, Harry The Magical - C. M. Gilles, Klaverjas - Dr. BEEP, 4 on a Row - Chris Born (Crisis), On The Burgle! - XFAWorld.
The already mentioned Dr. Beep was created in 2007 the competition of the on line long Basic games/utilies, which is called to Oneliner Contest.
He is making oneliners since 80's and now got a very comprehensive collection. Not necessary to mention, how important initiative this nowadays, when we are reached the more gigabytes long programmes.
The competition is opened till the end of 2007. The first prize is a ZX-PC card. So far numerous persons send their productions. There are Spacetrip, Snake, Breakout, Fruit Machine, Moon Lander and Space Invaders games among them. Dr. Beep also commenting the games, how can be written even shorter.
Among the participants, the English-Brazil Digital Prawn seems to became to oneliner dependant, as they created a homepage for their oneliners. Numbers of the programs are continuously increasing.
Certainly, lots of other games were also released. There are countless games, which are not registered in the major game databases at all, but they ready to explore on some FTP-servers, in some diskmags or they are on the author's computer or in the attic only, available for just some persons.
Fresh Russian programs very often appeared on the forums, only after that catalogize them ZX Forever and Virtual TR-DOS sites.
Another source of never known games is the homepages of the local Speccy clubs. Who knows, why did not take the effort to send them to the WOS?
Similar good places to find programs on the author's website, where often found previously unknown games.
Due to the nostalgic ages, lot of groups are again take their half-written games from 1993-1995 to finish them.
Lots of fans are missing games for a long time ago, which the press ever promised, but only news and some screenshots saw the light.
Best examples are The Last Ninja and Giana Sisters. We all know, it is possible to make the Speccy version of them, as they realised on C64, and the "sequel" of LN released on Spectrum too. But where are these half-ready games? Ever anybody will finish them? Or they existed at all? The sad answer: very probably they never will be born.
Fortunately, there are some positive examples too. The game of Abzac magazine, the adventure category Vera was finally released after half-decade interruption. Firstly was released as a demo on the second Your Game contest in 2003, ad the final version (which although contained a serious bug, making impossible to complete the game) was sold on Chaos Construction 2008 demoparty for 8 dollars. Since the 'fixed' version is freely available from its website.