8-Bit Software Online Conversion

Games On The BBC Micro - All you didn't want to know but are going to anyway ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- By Crispin Boylan Ok, so, you've got a Beeb, you play games on it - which ones? Chances are games like Elite, Exile, Revs, Snapper will be named in abundance, but what else is on offer? I mean, if you just look at the well known Superior/Acornsoft/MicroPower band of companies then you will probably be fine, I mean those three Software Houses are the most prolific and certainly they produce the best games - but there are others! Some of you probably know that I run a website dedicated to games on the Beeb, and most of my knowledge of them stems from a very useful archive at ftp.nvg.unit.no which has about 1500 games for the BBC on it. Some are well known, a lot are completely obscure ones, most of them deserve to be completely obscure, but know and again I come across a real Gem of a game, maybe not in the same technical class as Exile or Elite, but they are good fun to play games. One of these is Starquake, by the little known company Bubblebus, which I discovered whilst sorting out the Various directory of the archive, which holds about 300 assorted games, 150-200 of which I have been able to identify as being made by one particular company, and 100-150 games which bear no markings as to who made them, save the odd Author name here and there. Believe me, searching and playing each one of these games is not usually a happy experience, until you have played them you don't know how lucky we are these days to have a Quality Control on games, ie publishers with at least some sort of pride in their name!! Anyway, back to the games, there are lots of them, from obscure companies with titles such as Duckworth and Electrosoft, but just because they weren't well known, it doesn't mean all their games were no good, more like 90%. Another good, but obscure game is Bozo and Beebo by BP Soft, it is based on an old theme of bouncing people on a see-saw to collect objects, it is one of the most colourful games I've seen and looks very good, it also plays ok too. Another theme that seems to run high through the entire collection of BBC Games is repetition, you wouldn't believe how many faceless Space Invaders/Frogger/Defender clones there are, and what makes it even worse is that some companies (notably Bug-byte) released about 4 games, all based on Space Invaders or one of the other well known arcade games, each one with just a different graphics set or the added bonus of being able to move your ship in two dimensions as opposed to one! How companies didn't get sued for this I will never know... Overall, as my website is starting to reflect for those of you that have seen it, the BBC micro games scene did produce a lot of 'mediocre' games, in fact if you put all of them into a big box and ask someone to pick one out at random you will probably find that it will be a crap or ok game, because I really don't think that many companies cared that their reputations were reduced to very fine mud after their first terrible release, and there are a lot of companies which did just release one terrible game - and I feel sorry for people that bought them! My advice to you now that the Beeb scene is almost completely dead would be to voyage off of the Superior/Micropower/Acornsoft path that you have trodden for so long and to check out a few games by unknown companies, you never know you might just find a classic that you will cherish until your Beeb blows up...which will be quite some time! Happy hunting. Cris. E4W.