Vintage & Modern Tech Blog

Top 20 ZX Spectrum Games From My Youth: PART ONE

November 21, 2015

There are over 10,000 games available for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, here are my personal favourites from when I was a teenager:


20. Pixy the Microdot 2
A sort of bouncing platformer, this game was included on the March 1992 covertape of Your Sinclair (Issue 75). The premise (apparently there actually isn't one according to the magazine writer) is that you are a dot and have to bounce around avoiding stuff. 


19. Maze Chaser
Included on the user guide companion cassette of my 48k+, this was probably the first program I ever played on a ZX Spectrum, and it was a lot of fun. The aim of the game is to paint the entire maze whilst being chased by some form of monster. It came with a UDG (User Defined Graphics) editor for making your own graphics and a level designer.


18. Paperboy
You play as a paperboy, surprisingly, and have to deliver newspapers on your bike, in an isometric 3D world filled with hazards including pets, playing kids, and runaway tyres. Aside from the monochrome graphics, the Spectrum version was very faithful to the arcade original and lots of fun to play.


17. Ocean Conqueror
A full commercial game, also included with an issue of Crash magazine later in time, this was a wireframe submarine simulator, in which you must hunt down four convoys - each consisting of two destroyers and a freighter - in 18 hours. I never got anywhere close in between doing my school homework and chores, but still enjoyed chugging around the 3D world years before I picked up my first Silent Hunter game for PC.


16. Ikari Warriors
In this top down game, your mission is to rescue a General kidnapped by revolutionaries. Your plane crashlands in guerilla territory, and you have to make your way through, collecting supplies and ammo as you go. My lasting impression of this game is how you could get into vehicles and drive them around - it's just a shame that the bad guys weren't about to let you take a roadtrip in your commandeered tank anytime soon.


15. Super Robin Hood
I had this on the Codemasters Quattro Adventure compilation. You play as every lowly English serf's favourite medieval hero, running around the platforms and ladders environment on a mission to rescue Maid Marian.


14. Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge
Not to be confused with Durell's similarly titled Lotus game of 1986, this 1990 Gremlin Graphics production was a fairly  straightforward car racer with nice, detailed monochrome graphics that feature the iconic British sports car.


13. Turbo the Tortoise
Released late on in the commercially supported years of the ZX Spectrum, this was an opportunity to experience something a little (note, I say a 'little') like the adventures of a certain blue hedgehog. In typical ZX parody fashion, you play as a plodding tortoise. Also one of a small number of games where the cover tape demo led me to buy the full game, whilst Spectrum software was still available in the shops.


12.  Rockstar Ate My Hamster
With a title based heavily on the sort of trashy headlines often found on the front cover of certain dubious tabloids, this was a management game in which you control the fate of a band trying to make it to the top of the charts. With plenty of decisions for the player to make and comedy elements such as parody names (Razz instead of Yazz, Tina Turnoff instead of Tina Turner) this was a lot of fun to play. One note, I had to watch a walkthrough to remind myself of the details of this game and noticed, it's probably the only game I've seen with a one-fingered salute on the loading screen - maybe NOT one for the kids.


11. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
A chance to play Indy himself! I got a good telling off for staying up into the early hours of the morning on a school night when I first I got this game. Starting off in the mines,  you basically walk around doing Indy-type stuff like avoiding snakes and whipping enemies (and after they offered him their most horrific meals, how ungrateful).

11. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
12. Rockstar Ate My Hamster
13. Turbo the Tortoise
14. Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge
15. Super Robin Hood.
16. Ikari Warriors.
17. Ocean Conqueror.
18. Paperboy
19. Maze Chaser 
20. Pixy the Microdot 2


Top Ten Coming Soon!

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