Anyone who hasn’t heard of Manic Miner was obviously not of computer-playing age in the early 80s. This classic platform game saw you guiding Miner Willy through 20 weird and wonderful caverns to the beepy Spectrum version of In the Hall of the Mountain King.

Ultimate had invented this 3D look for a new wave of Spectrum games, but Jon Ritman perfected it for Head Over Heels. Easily one of the best Spectrum games of all, and still stands up to repeat playing today.

Exolon was as good to look at as it was to play. A walking, jumping shoot-em-up and another example of a Spectrum game that can still hold it’s head up high today. The game was by Raffael Cecco and released by Hewson.

Lunar Jetman was Ultimate’s follow-up to one of their first Spectrum games, Jetpac. Hard as nails, it took all I had to get this screenshot without losing lives! Might just be me being rubbish at it.

Spectrum Spectrum

It had an awful rubber keyboard, the worst sound chip of any
computer at the time and you could only have two colours per character square - causing all sorts of colour clash problems in games, but the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was the most popular and successful computer in the UK in the early 80s.

In the late seventies/early eighties my drawing took more of a back seat with the advent of home computers. The first I ever owned was a Dragon 32 which my mum had brought home from work. We had to wait a few weeks for the actual computer, but I had the manual to be getting on with which I read from cover to cover. In the first few weeks of having the actual computer I’d written a game resembling Nintendo’s Donkey Kong.

In 1982 this home computer lark took off completely with the launch of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. I spent any spare time I had playing games and programming and drawing on the Spectrum. Unfortunately I no longer have any of my efforts to share on this site, but I have kept a magazine featuring a simple music-making program which I made around 1984. You can see the program HERE. For virtually anything else you could ever want to know about this computer, click some of the links on this page.

In the late eighties, Commodore launched the Amiga A500, with graphics and sound that were leaps and bounds ahead of that of the Spectrum. This was to be my next foray into the home computer world and three games written by me are still around - Wally World, The Pyramid and Cookie. Follow the links for more details and screenshots for these games and for links to download disk images for the games playable in Amiga emulators.

WALLY WORLD (AMIGA) THE PYRAMID (AMIGA) COOKIE (AMIGA) MUSIC MAKER (SPECTRUM)

Later models of the Spectrum included the Spectrum+, which introduced a much improved keyboard, the Spectrum 128 (left) which added a much more acceptable 3-channel sound chip, and the +2 and +3 which had an attached cassette player and disk drive respectively.

Spectrum The Pyramid Wally World Music Maker

LEFT Parasol Stars. Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands were great games themselves, and this was the home computer only sequel that appeared only on the Amiga and PC Engine. Despite being the cutest game around, later levels were very tough.

RIGHT Speedball. A futuristic sports game. I was crap at it and don’t think I won a single game.

LEFT The famous Lemmings. Infuriating as it could be there was nothing not to love about trying to guide the little creatures home using their special skills to avoid fiery pits, dangerous machinery or just plummeting to their doom.

Below: Some of the best games I remember from the Spectrum days

The Amiga A500 was the first “low-end” Commodore Amiga 16/32-bit multimedia home computer. It was announced at the winter Consumer Electronics Show in January 1987 and competed directly against the Atari 520ST. The Amiga A500 represented a return to Commodore's roots by being sold in the same mass retail outlets as the Commodore 64 - to which it was a spiritual successor.

The original Amiga A500 proved to be Commodore’s best-selling Amiga model. Although popular with hobbyists, its most widespread use was as a gaming machine, where its advanced graphics and sound for the time were of significant benefit.

The games I made on the Amiga were programmed using the AMOS programming language (pictured right), and back then I had no scanner so all graphics were drawn manually using the Amiga’s mouse!