Favourite 80s Home Computer Games?

AlexH

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The passing of Sir Clive Sinclair got me thinking about gaming in the 80s and how much fun it was. It was the Amstrad CPC for me, though many of the games were the same as Spectrum. I played a ZX Spectrum too and generally preferred the Amstrad renditions.

Some favourites:

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge (Top Gear on the SNES is a brilliant update of this, music-wise too)
Chase HQ
Skiing
Grand Prix Simulator 2
BMX Simulator 2
Super Stock Car
Daley Thompson's Decathlon
Fruit Machine Simulator 2 (for some reason)
World Soccer League
Treble Champions

Starquake
Fantasy World Dizzy
Dynamite Dan (mainly for the catchy rendition of Rondo Alla Turca)
Tubaruba (another catchy theme tune - a similar game to Dynamite Dan actually but more fun thanks to the jetpack and the humour)
Cauldron II

Knightlore
Knightmare (as a kid, I could never get past the second room)

The Colour of Magic

Beach Head II
Smash TV
Operation Gunship
Hostages (the graphics and music seemed awesome for the time)

Raffles (so basic but responsible for lots of massive jump scares)
Oh Mummy
Super Pipeline 2
Breakout
Locomotion

Ghostbusters II (I loved that you could choose a Beetle as the car)

I played so many games - I love how games were shorter back then compared to these days! I'll have forgotten loads. There were great compilations like "We Sold A Million."

Even when my bro' and I eventually had a NES, we still regularly played the Amstrad.

Some of the games are still very playable today too. We played Super Stock Car, Skiiing and Locomotion one recent Christmas. I also played They Stole A Million for the first time and found it compelling. You hire a team, plan then execute jewellery shop break-ins!

Games are still being made for these old computers too. Vespertino is one that seems to push the Amstrad CPC beyond its limits. Orion Prime looks like an awesome horror point-and-click adventure.

Away from home computing to consoles, the greatest game of the 80s was Super Mario Bros. 3!

One of my favourite games on Switch (it's on other consoles too) is Downwell. It's very 80s retro and looks ZX Spectrum-inspired.

Did anyone hand-code games out of magazines or the computer manuals? My mum typed a few up for us, but I remember typing up some of Advanced Lawnmower Simulator. I played around with BASIC code a bit too.
 

paranoid marvin

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Some great suggestions there. I'm not so sure about the Amstrad versions being superior. In the right hands, the Amstrad could produce games with colourful graphics and great sound, but more often than not they were lazy Spectrum ports with terrible sound and jerky scrolling.

I think my fave speccy games were Atic Atac, The Wild Bunch, Quazatron and R Type; but there were many, many more.

And yes, the 80s were definitely the best time for playing games both at home and in the arcades.
 

hitmouse

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Spectrum games:

Ant Attack

Attic Attack, Sabrewulf, Pssst!, Jetpak, and most especially Head Over Heels.

Manic Miner I have never playedanything as much as I played that. Transformative.

Ground Attack by Silversoft. A basic Scramble clone on the Spectrum. I finished it after a week.

Android II. Brilliant maze game. Hard to imagine how the graphics were so immersive from the perspective of 2021, but they were. Panayi went on to write Tornado Low Level
634425AF-C3F3-4661-971B-0DAF0E9536BF.png

Psycalypse and Zip Zap.

Knot in 3D

various Defender clones. Defender was the hardcore gamers arcade game. Really hard to get basic proficiency.

Yai ar Kung Fu

Emlyn Hughes Soccer
 
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AlexH

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Android II! That's the kind of blast from the past I was hoping for. For some reason that's made Atomsmasher come to mind.

I liked Sabrewulf too. I don't think I ever played Manic Miner. I definitely didn't play Head Over Heels. It looks great on Amstrad - maybe I should try it out.
 

hitmouse

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You can get practicLly any speccy game for free download from some very nerdy emulator sites, though I think the most famous games are available for Java-type download, including Head over Heels.
 

hitmouse

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You can get practicallyany speccy game for free download from some very nerdy emulator sites, though I think the most famous games are available for Java-type download, including Head over Heels.

Crash magazine is also available in its entirety.
 

paranoid marvin

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Android II! That's the kind of blast from the past I was hoping for. For some reason that's made Atomsmasher come to mind.

I liked Sabrewulf too. I don't think I ever played Manic Miner. I definitely didn't play Head Over Heels. It looks great on Amstrad - maybe I should try it out.


Yes , HoH was a great version done for the Amstrad.
 

paranoid marvin

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Spectrum games:

Ant Attack

Attic Attack, Sabrewulf, Pssst!, Jetpak, and most especially Head Over Heels.

Manic Miner I have never playedanything as much as I played that. Transformative.

Ground Attack by Silversoft. A basic Scramble clone on the Spectrum. I finished it after a week.

Android II. Brilliant maze game. Hard to imagine how the graphics were so immersive from the perspective of 2021, but they were. Panayi went on to write Tornado Low Level
View attachment 82057
Psycalypse and Zip Zap.

Knot in 3D

various Defender clones. Defender was the hardcore gamers arcade game. Really hard to get basic proficiency.

Yai ar Kung Fu

Emlyn Hughes Soccer


Some great suggestions there. Costa Panyani was a legend when it came to isometric games , and for me his greatest was Cyclone, in which you control a helicopter battling an unseen 'enemy' in the cyclone. Great graphics, and great wind effects as the cyclone gets nearer; do you try to rescue one more package, or land and ride out the storm? One of many tactical decisions to make.

And I agree with Defender, and insane number of controls spread across the arcade panel to get to grips with. But masters of the art like Jeff Minter could play like Mozart on a piano.

And EHIS - what an amazing game. So many new things in this game, it really was a revelation. Most people said that Match Day II was the pinnacle of soccer games on the 8 bits, but for sure it was Emlyn Hughes.

Pssst! What a wonderful little game, one of my favourite ultimate titles. So simple, yet so addictive.

Yes HoH was a amazing , massive game. But incredible to think that to complete it you had to do it in one sitting with one set of lives. That in itself made it almost impossible. But back then completion wasn't the most important thing, as you knew that you were unlikely to finish many (even if they had a finish to them). Just strolling around trying to get as far as you could. Isometric Batman by the same chap was also great fun.
 

paranoid marvin

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You can get practicallyany speccy game for free download from some very nerdy emulator sites, though I think the most famous games are available for Java-type download, including Head over Heels.

Crash magazine is also available in its entirety.


Crash was aces back in the day, and I remember going down to the news agents waiting for the next months copy, the best of course being the bumper Christmas edition and deciding which ones you wanted on the big day (NEVER let your parents choose!)

Zapp! was also good , although it didn't have ol' Looney Jetman chasing the Eye of Oktup. I never got to read Amtix though having not owned an Amstrad, but all the Newsfield publications were great.
 

hitmouse

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Good grief. It is nice to find souls that inhabited the same universe as me in the 1980s

I am not sure that it is possible to comprehend the visceral thrill of the 16 bit 80s video arcade from the perspective of 2021. Being good at Defender, with its ridiculous buttons was almost up there with being the lead guitarist in Iron Maiden in terms of glory and kudos (girlfriends were an abstract concept). The only thing that came close was being good at Robotron.
 
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Foxbat

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The only game I remember playing on the ZX81 was some kind of moon landing game. It was (I think) the letter B as the landing module and you had to land it on a moonscape made up of the letter A.

I also remember spending many hours playing Xenon on my Atari ST. I can't remember what platform I had it on but Pipemania is a game from way back then that still blows many of today’s games out of the water.
 

Rodders

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In the 80's my Dad had a market stall at Dagenham that sold computer games. I never really played them, but I remember platform games being very popular at the time. Games such as Football Manager was a big seller for us and some of the early flight simulators, i never got it. We tried playing text only adventure games like The Hobbit, but we were really terrible at it.
 

paranoid marvin

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The only game I remember playing on the ZX81 was some kind of moon landing game. It was (I think) the letter B as the landing module and you had to land it on a moonscape made up of the letter A.

I also remember spending many hours playing Xenon on my Atari ST. I can't remember what platform I had it on but Pipemania is a game from way back then that still blows many of today’s games out of the water.

The ZX81 had (at best) a rudimentary graphics capability, no colour and no sound. Often the 'graphics' in a game would be letters or numbers representing cars/spaceships/aliens etc. Yet the gameplay was still there, and skilled programmers could still perform wonders. 3D Monster Maze is probably the best example of a programmer far exceeding the known limits of the machine.
 

Toby Frost

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Head Over Heels was very impressive for its time. I remember laughing helplessly at the "Crap Games" page in Your Sinclair, which included a version of Advanced Lawnmower Simulator set on the moon.

There was a game called Rebelstar 2 that was a primitive turn-based thing, which I loved. Also, there was a strange game called Plexar that had a mysterious picture on the cover. And New Zealand Story. I also had a thing called The Boggitt, which was a parody of The Hobbit, and was incredibly frustrating.
 

HareBrain

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Blimey, no one's mentioned Elite?

Other favourites (C64) were Paradroid, Iridium, Twin Kingdom Valley, Tir Na Nog. There was also a half-decent WW2 strategy game called Theatre: Europe that occupied many happy/frustrating hours.
 

Venusian Broon

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Blimey, no one's mentioned Elite?

We weren't posh enough for a BBC microcomputer - which is the machine I most link with Elite - hence a total Elite-hole in my young life. (Could you get it for a C64?)

Hell, I never saw a C64 in the wild. Though I did know someone who had a Vic-20.

For the speccy 48, I remember playing Football Manager a hell of a lot. The agony of waiting through all those blocky animations trying to score a goal.
 

HareBrain

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(Could you get it for a C64?)
Oh yes, and it played The Blue Danube when you docked. Sometimes the music almost drowned out the horrible scraping noise as you dragged your craft along the docking bay walls.

It was also available for the Spectrum 48k, though, so I don't know why you didn't have it.
 

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