June 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm (computers, kids) (, , , , , , , )

Blast from the past this one … and in some senses, a few months too late!

I stumbled across a spectrum emulator for the ipad (can’t remember how now …) and that let me to the World of Spectrum.  Whilst knowing about Spectrum emulators (I had a paid for copy of one courtesy of, was it Brian somebody?  I think I still have it on a floppy disk somewhere from around 10-12 years ago!) I haven’t touched one for a very long time.

Like many, I had a Spectrum in the 80s – the Spectrum+ was my first one, followed by a Spectrum 128 at some point.  I followed all the typical titles from Ultimate (Play the Game), Melbourne House, Quicksilva and the like … and whilst there are so many I could mention, for some reason one that always stuck out in my mind and that I really wanted another go on was Starquake.

Don’t really know why, other than I remember when Crash magazine published the map of the game as a centre page I spent quite a long time exploring, using the teleports and basically working on it until I had actually completed it.  Back in the time when maps were hand drawn and submitted to the magazines!

I wondered about getting the iPad emulator and having another go, but looking at all the instructions of how to get custom games onto an iPad, I didn’t get further than just downloading it .. but then I noticed a Java icon and sure enough, if you feel so inclined you can run games from World of Spectrum directly in your browser – so I had a few moments nostalgia running Starquake once again.

From the opening (always tinny, this being simple Spectrum sounds) jingle, through the in-game sounds and graphics and scarily, I actually remember a lot of how to play it and actually what you need to do at specific points – where you need to ride a platform here, but get off just there to go through this passage and collect this whatsit over here …

I wonder how much of my memory is taken up with trivial paths through games from that era … only to be reawakened via a Java emulator some 30 odd years later …

Its very interesting to note how those simple graphics often hid a simple, but very addictive gameplay.  Something that gets forgotten a little with some of the large franchise titles these days, but something we perhaps are seeing a bit of a return to with some of the addictive mobile and social games.

Curiously, I still have my Spectrum 128 in the loft (along with my Atari 2600) … but I would be absolutely amazed if any of those tapes (assuming I still have a few) play any more.

But that will do for now, I have to go and find Sabre Wulf (with its colourful fauna and orchids), On the Run (more colourful fauna and very distinctive sound effects and puffy graphics), Atic Atac (‘ware the ghosts, find the keys and watch that bizarre roast chicken drain down!)  and a few other real classics from the time and re-live this electronic part of my teens.



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