Only the Best BBC Micro Games
Many other software companies were creating games for the BBC during the eighties , although by 1988, nearly all BBC development was being done by Superior Software. Companies like A&F Software, and IJK Software made some early BBC games, but moved onto other platforms. In IJK's case, they became the number one software house for the ORIC series of computers. A&F's history was more short-lived - they went on to make a couple of games for other platforms, including the ORIC-1 and Spectrum, but by 1985 had vanished.All of these game images are still under copyright to their original owners, even though they may no longer be in business. These images are provided so that you do not have to convert your old tape and disk copies over to the emulator supported disk format. Rather, it's been done for you already.
Aardvark released a few games in the early days of the Beeb. All of them were noted for decent graphics and great gameplay. Firetrak was a top down scrolly shooter with nice sound, with a fast and furious feel to it. Zalaga was a rip of the arcade game Galaga. It was nice, but the sprites were too big, and it didn't really feel much like the arcade game.
What was interesting about Frak! were the sprite graphics - for the time they really were excellent. The game was a slow moving platform game where you control a caveman called 'Trogg'. Using your handy yo-yo to dispense with the bad guys, you have to work your way through the various levels. That was it. No other story line. Although very slow, and requiring perfect timing, Frak! was popular, and sold well.
To run frak, type in: CHAIN"FRAK" after loading the disc image.
| Download Frak |
A&F Software's first game was Frogger way back in 1981. Unfortunately, it was quite the worst version of the SEGA Classic ever made. It was really horrible. Luckily, A&F proved that they could do a lot better. They released the now famous Chuckie Egg, and a number of other good games like Cylon Attack and Painter. Unfortunately, during their term they also released quite a few games which were pretty much complete rubbish, and this tarnished their reputation quite significantly. Today, there is a general belief that Chuckie Egg was a fluke and A&F have ended up being thought of as a bit of a one-hit wonder.
The mother of all platform games. You control a chicken like creature who has to collect all the eggs on each to level in order to advance to the next one. There were eight unique levels which were then re-used with different monster arrangements. Levels 1-8 were ostrich monsters, levels 9-17 had a giant bird chasing you, and levels 18-26 had both bird and ostriches. The graphics weren't the best, but that didn't matter - this game had SERIOUS playability!
Note: Chuckie Egg does not auto-boot. To run, type in: CHAIN"CHUCKIE"
| Download Chuckie Egg | View product Cover |
Alligata had something of a mixed bag of games. Although I had originally been told they were an Italian company, they were in fact home grown in Sheffield. (Which does beg the question, how do you confuse Sheffield and Italy? Hmm..). Still, Alligata had a big hit with what turned out to be by far their most popular game: Blagger. Alligata produced over twenty other games including popular titles such as Bug Blaster, and Guardian. Like many BBC Games companies, Alligata folded sometime in the mid/late eighties.
A very popular platform game in the mold of Manic Miner, and perhaps (in my mind) a more playable game. The object was to collect all the different flashing tokens to procede to the next level. I'm not actually sure how many levels there were as I always got stuck on Level 3!!
| Download Blagger |
Bug-Byte were very prolific during the early eighties, with their best software coming out around 1983-1984. The rumour is that they developed financial trouble, being unable to pay some of their programmers, and they went bust in 1986. Several of their games seemed to suffer from dodgy movement systems, questionable creature AI, or various other (common to early computer games) problems. They did a couple of decent games, such as Plan-B, Plan-B2, and Dunjunz Adventure.
Twin Kingdom Valley
I really liked this game. It was the first adventure I had ever played which had graphics as well as text. Although the graphics weren't great, and had to be rendered each time they were displayed, they really added some atmosphere to the game. Add this to reasonable room descriptions, and carefully realised fantasy environment and you have a winner.
Note: This game does not currently auto-load, type in: CHAIN"TITLE" to run.
| Download Twin Kingdom Valley | View Game Cover |
Cholo to me, was another Elite-type epic game but in a different setting. This game had atmosphere you could cut with a knife. The graphics, although wireframe are pretty bad by todays standards, and objects tended to vanish far too quickly. Now you see the building, now you don't. Despite that, the involving plot and storyline, and some pretty sophisticated gameplay resulted in a highly playable game. The folks over at Ovine by Design have just finished their remake of Cholo, and you can go to the site and download it Here. It's a fantastic remake.
| Download Cholo | View Game Cover |Get the PC Remake by Ovine|
Invaders came in two versions, one for the Model A BBC, and the other for the Model B. The model A version was black and white, and the Model B was colour. Invaders had a variable gameplay mode where you could adjust your fire rate, number of bases, etc. Quite a playable release, but not really a direct copy of the original arcade classic.
| Download Invaders | View Game Cover |
Level 9 computing were probably the best text adventure game creators ever. In their time they created some amazing adventure games, beginning with Colossal Adventure - a modernised rehash of the original father of all adventure games: 'Adventure'. They continued with many more top class games, including 'Dungeon Adventure', 'Return to Eden' and the Lords of Time, Red Moon, and Price of Majik games - which later, in collaboration with Mandarin software became the Time and Majik trilogy. They went bust in 1991 courtesy of the collapse of the Maxwell empire.
Lords of Time.
This was my personal favourite amongst the Level 9 games. In fact the best game ever produced from them in my opinion, was the Time and Magik trilogy. It contained the Lords of time trilogy and, if you had a BBC Master, lots of pictures which really added to each of the games. Lords of Time featured quite an advanced parsar, allowing it to understand almost whole sentences. A great game.
| Download Lords of Time |
Most famous for creating a new genre of beat-em' ups with 'The way of the Exploding Fist', Melbourne House also created that most famous adventure conversion: The Hobbit. Nowhere near as good as it should have been, The Hobbit suffered from poor room descriptions, and tedious gameplay. I often wonder whether the Hobbit was a rushed attempt at cashing in on the popularity of the ZX Spectrum release. They also produced 'The Lord of the Rings' after the Hobbit was released. This game was apparently a lot better. Melbourne House do still exist and are now known as Beam Software. They have recently been making games for the Sony Playstation.
Way of the Exploding Fist
Well this was the game everybody wanted to play. Although originally released on the ZX Spectrum, and Commodore 64, WOTEF was apparently actually written first on the BBC. Unfortunately, it was developed on an enhanced BBC, and there was a substantial time delay in releasing the game as the software house tried to cram the code into 32K. Fist was a basic one-on-one beat-em' up. Depending on how well you smacked your opponent would affect how much of a Yin/Yang symbol you received. You were then able to advance to tougher opponents (who all looked suspiciously similar to each other!). (To load, type in: *RUN FIST)
| Download Way of the Exploding Fist | View Game Cover |
Software Invasion were another early BBC Company, with most of their games written in 1983. I don't know what happened to them after that, does anyone know? They produced many good games, including 'Attack on Alpha Centauri', 'Blitzkreig', 'Gunsmoke' and others. Even though their games were of consistently high quality, none of them ever seemed to really be hugely popular, and I don't remember ever really seeing many of their games in the local computer shop. Even so, I believe they significantly influenced the early development of BBC Games, and so I've included two of their classic titles here.
3D Bomb Alley.
The first thing to remember about this game is we're talking 1983 here. This was a 3D arcade shoot-'em up, with added sound effects and a groovy 'Rule Brittannia' musical theme playing in the background for good measure. This game was excellent. The objective was simple: Shoot the enemy planes before they got to close to your ships and bombed them. One of the great things about this game was the attention to detail. Explosions would sound quiet if the planes were far away, but would get louder if they were closer to you. An excellent game.
| Download 3D Bomb Alley | View Game Cover |
Another impressive 3D game from Software Invasion. The idea is to shoot as many bad guys as you can, dodge as many meteors as you can, and repeat until death occurs. The graphics are amazing for 1983, and I remember playing this game frequently. Perhaps the biggest problem with it, is that you *know* that death will eventually occur. You cannot complete this game - the only ending it has is your death. A shame really as a big end of game boss-type creature would have been magnificent!
| Download Vortex |
Software Projects produced several titles in the mid-eighties. They were primarily based around the ZX Spectrum, and most of their software was produced on that platform first. Their most famous game was 'Manic Miner' and is a true classic. They also produced for the BBC a port of Broderbund's Lode Runner (although I have to say I prefer Monsters by AcornSoft). I believe they went bankrupt in 1987, but I don't know for certain.
Boy did I hate this game! For some reason I could never muster enough patience to get anywhere on it. Level three was the best I could ever achieve. You must guide Miner Willy through many levels of a cave system, collecting all the keys in order to exit the level. This was originally a big hit on the ZX Spectrum and was later ported to the BBC. It's now a true classic, and a great example of 1980's platform games.
| Download Manic Miner | View Game Cover |
Ultimate produced many games for the BBC during the early/mid eighties. They embraced the concept of releasing for many platforms, and nearly all of their games were made for several hardware bases. Most common were the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and BBC. In the mid-eighties, Ultimate stopped developing for home computers, and started developing for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Ultimate still exist today as Rare Software. They were recently acquired by Microsoft (shame) and now focus only on XBox games. Rare used to have a full history of all of their old, 8-bit games, but alas it vanished when they were assimilated into the Borg collective.
Personally, this was one of my favourite Ultimate games, although it was fearsomely difficult. Knightlore was pioneering in being the first isometric game of its kind. Knightlore had you playing the role of a half-human, half-wolf being who has to find a wizard who can cure you before you forever become a werewolf. (To run Knightlore, type in: CHAIN"KNIGHT")
| Download Knightlore | View Game Cover |
Sabre Wulf was a welcome change from Ultimate's many isometric two-colour games. Playing the part of a jungle explorer, your job is basically to stay alive, and once again this relatively simple task becomes exceedingly difficult. I never got close to finishing this game, but it was fun trying. The difficulty level is very high and it's a very tough game to play. (To run Sabre Wulf, type in: *RUN WULF)
| Download Sabre-Wulf | View Game Cover |
Zalaga Aardvark - A rip of the arcade game Galaga. It had huge sprites, and some dodgy collision detection, but it was about the best Galaga clone on the BBC.
Gisburnes Castle Martech Software - A fun, side scrolling adventure game set in medieval times around a (unfeasibly large) castle. The sprites were a bit clunky, the gameplay was rewarding.
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