A conversation in the pub last night started me reminiscing about all the old ZX Spectrum games I used to play in the 1980s, and how they have shaped my thoughts on educational games. Here’s my top five spectrum games that have inspired me the most.
1. Knight Tyme. Graphical adventure classic, this has to be my all-time favourite spectrum game (although the others in the series were good too). Funny and totally logical (of course your photo will come out blank when you’re wearing the cloak of invisibility, duh) – hard but scrupulously fair.
2. The Hobbit. Text adventure based on the book. I never did manage to get past those bulbous eyes.
3. Vallhalla. Kind of adventure but with loads of characters that you can talk to and objects that you can pick up. Massive manual. Lots of Norse gods. All good.
4. Pimania. Is it an adventure? Or a puzzle? Very bizarre and cryptic, half the time I had no idea what was going on but it was all made up for by the scary little man that would pop up, dance and sing spooky songs.
5. Jet Set Willy. As you can see from the first four gams I was much more into adventure games than any other genre but this game – despite being a platformer with lots of nasty bitey killing things – was excellent because it was just so big, you just kept finding new rooms and it felt like you could explore forever. And two of the objects you had to find were invisible – how evil is that? You can see a walkthrough of the whole game here.