To be honest, it is more full of facts than faq's. It is like a list of trivia regarding Spectrum games rather than the most frequently asked questions, but who cares. Copy as much of it as you want and pass it on to your friends and relatives, but if you should make any money from it, I must ask for 50% of the profits. Thanks. And keep my name on it, in big letters and flashing lights. And write an entry for the Spectrum Games Database - we need as much help as possible!
In addition, since this is now an .html version of the original ASCII document, it now contains links in many of the paragraphs. If you know of a link that I could add, or have spotted a link that is wrong, then I am relying on you to inform me so that I can change it!
I am also removing bits! (Shock Horror). Yes, anything specific to one particular game is going to be taken out and placed in the Spectrum Game Database entry for that game. Examples are the Chaos cheats and Manic Miner answers. This is to un-clutter the faq (which is too big to load into any of my Web editors, so I am having to do it all manually) and leave more room for genuine faqs. So if you have any questions on a particular game, the best place to look is in the Spectrum Games Database.
Also for the moment I am going to refrain from doing a "Where are they now?" section on Spectrum programmers (except for the elusive God Matthew Smith of course) since such a thing exists in the Spectrum FAQ (although it is a bit out of date now I think). However, if you think I should have one, let me know and if I get enough votes and info I might do it.
Steve Gillot, Paolo "Nusco" Perrotta, Conor McMenamin, Steven Fairbarn, Kevin Reilly, Markos Masouras, Hobster, Seamus Waldron, Ian Collier, Owen Massey, Pete Collier, Steve Lake, Richard G. Hallas, Boudewijn Rempt, Matthew Pimm, W.J. Irwin, Matt Barber, Robert Mellish, Russ Juckes, W. Nelson, Kevin Parker, Robert Hazelby, Eric March, Chris Wild, and George Hills.Thanks to you all.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions YS - Your Sinclair SU - Sinclair User MM - Manic Miner JSW - Jet Set Willy AOTMZFECFM - Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh-Eating Chickens from Mars. UDG - User defined graphic(s) DI - Digital Integration NES - Nintendo Entertainment (apparently) System ASAP - As soon as possible SCi - Sales Curve International MS - Matthew Smith PITA - Pain in the ArseThere may be some more that have slipped through. Just have a good guess.
Section 2 - The Legends of Matthew Smith
2.1. Whatever happened to AOTMZFECFM?
2.2. Where is Matthew Smith now?
2.3. Why are there enemy Toilets in MM and JSW?
2.4. What other games has Matthew Smith written?
Section 3 - The First of their Kind
3.1. What was the first Spectrum coin-op conversion?
3.2. What games were the first of their kind?
3.3. What was the first game to have speech?
3.4. What was the first game with an on-screen counter while loading?
3.5. What was the first game with in-game music?
3.6. Which game featured the first piracy protection?
Section 4 - The Future
4.1. What Spectrum game characters have appeared on newer games?
4.2. What Spectrum games have been re-written on newer formats?
4.3. Which Software Houses is the oldest and still producing games?
Section 5 - Miscellaneous
5.1. Where can I play Spectrum games as PBEM's?
5.2. Where do I send information to for the Spectrum Games Database?
5.3. How do I obtain entries from the Spectrum Games Database?
5.4. Which games have never actually been released?
5.5. Working Titles.
5.6. What hidden games are there?
5.7. Which games are legally distributable?
Section 6 - Ultimate Play the Game
6.1. Is there a trailer in Lunar Jetman?
6.2. Was there a third Jetman game?
6.3. The Ultimate Company names.
6.4. The Ultimate games linked.
So, on with the first question!
You might also like to try http://www.nvg.unit.no/pub/sinclair/docs/instructions/.
And what about the second largest? It is of course the legendary Cascade Cassette 50, a terminally awful single tape containing 50 sub-PD-quality programs. They really were dreadful, even in those days! Does anyone know if any of the 50 programs can be downloaded from anywhere? For some reason, I want to play them...
There are two contenders, however, for the third largest compilation. The name of the first one escapes me, but it was released around 1992, and had about 30 formely full-price games, although many were quite old. The other contender is Ultimate - The Collected Works, which contained nearly all of the Ultimate back-catalogue.
First you must uu-encode the program. Quite often a newsreader/mailer has this feature built into it, or you may need a seperate program. When you uu-encode a program, it turns it into an ASCII equivalent of the code. Simply paste this into your email, and post away. To receive the email, simply uu-decode the email that you have received.
Please bear in mind though, when someone posts to the newsgroup asking for a particular game, that several people will also read the same message. If you have a copy of the software they are asking for, you are recommended to just post this fact to them, asking them to email you back if they want it. This stops someone receiving several copies of one program.
One thing I would recommend not doing is sending the games anything other than uu-encoded. Utilities like Base64 and BinHex are quite rare and very few people use them.
One note though. The general feeling, gained from the previous times that people have attempted to look for him, is that he does not want to be found. Why this is I do not know.
This answer is from an interview with Software Projects from Sinclair User 1984. It is available by ftp, but it's location is unknown.
Take your pick from the following games. Anybody that has it on good authority that one was released before the others then please tell me!
Monty Mole has also appeared on the Amiga in Impossamole (Gremlin), although there was also a Spectrum version of this game.
Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner (Software Projects) both came out on the Amiga (and possibly the ST) and also the Acorn range of RISC computers. The Amiga version of Manic Miner had a 90`s version, as well as a perfect copy of the Spectrum version. The Amiga version of Jet Set Willy increased the size of the sprites and the screen now scrolls instead of being a flick-screen game. Not as good as the original. There is also a game called JetSet, which is a version of JSW for Unix machines.
Chuckie egg (A'n'F Software) was also brought out on the ST and Amiga. Not as good as the original.
I believe there is also versions of Lords Of Midnight and Doomdark's Revenge (Beyond) written by Chris Wild, who is in the comp.sys.sinclair newsgroup. Hello! He now works for SCi and is going to check out the Jetman 3 reference for us (eventually).
There is a proper version of Doomdark's Revenge (Beyond) coming out on the PC (by Mike Singleton). Although it is the same type of game, it does look completely different (which is only to be expected). Probably not as good as the original.
Tir Na Nog (Gargoyle) is being completely re-written onto the PC.
Another PD game is Pssst! which was written for the Amiga, and is a straight copy of the Ultimate game. It was on the cover of "The One" in late 1994. However, this version does not play a tune when the flower blooms, so it's not as good as the original (being an incredibly important part of the game).
Chaos - Battle of the Wizards (Games Workshop) has been re-done as Morkin2, which has appeared on the PC, with a few minor changes. Another game called Morkin1 has also appeared on the ST. There has also been a straight copy of Chaos onto the ST. Chaos ST uses lots of digital samples taken from Red Dwarf, Black Adder, Highlander, Monty Python and stuff. (i.e. when a Wizard dies, it plays a sample from Highlander of the Kurgan saying "There can be only one!" or when a wizard get hit he'll say "Right, I'll do you for that!" or some such (from Monty Python and the Holy Grail). When you select your wizard, you can't select your colour; each of the 8 wizards already have their own colour. Other than that it's utterly identical, right down to the text font. And damn, it's still tons o' fun!
Wheelie (Micromega) has also been written as a PD game for the Amiga.
You can also obtain them via ftp, from ftp.nvg.unit.no/pub/sinclair/docs/game-database/, or select them from http://www.nvg.unit.no/spectrum/stevo/gamedbs/gamedbs.htm.
The June 1987 issue of SU reports that Mire Mare was still an ongoing project at the time. It was to be the next Ultimate game after Martianoids and Bubbler. Ultimate also reported that the game was to be followed by something they described as "Jetpac brought up to date". Maybe that last project was later canceled as Mire Mare was, or maybe it was taken over by the original Ultimate team to become the Jetman game on the NES.
Cyborg (CRL) - Was previewed in magazines around 1987 but never came to light.
Attack Of The Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens From Mars (starring Zippo the Dog) of course (Software Projects). A version was produced but Software Projects didn't like it. It was advertised in Crash. Matthew Smith was also going to write another game starring Miner Willy, called Willy Meets the Taxman (or something similar) but I am uncertain if this was a previous name for AOTMZFECFM or was another abandoned game.
Solar Jetman (Rare). Came out on the NES only. See the Ultimate section for the full story.
Flashpoint (Ocean) was actually written but never released. It ended up on the cover of an issue of SU and also YS. I can see why they never released it. <- Opinion. Please ignore.
Streethawk (Ocean) is a story all in itself. It was in fact released (very briefly) as part of a contract that Ocean had with a home shopping catalogue, Kays or something, but it was abysmal, and quickly changed for something else, although what, I don't know. The real StreetHawk was also properly released, although by then it was so late, nobody could remember who StreetHawk was, and it also didn't do very well...
Booty (Firebird) had a hidden game - it was a cheap'n'cheerful Scuba-Dive type game, but not nearly as sophisticated. To activate it you had to connect a Currah uSpeech unit, load the game, then wait for the attract mode to play all the way through. Then the diving game appeared. Does anyone know how to access it without needing the speech unit?
There is also a hidden game in Starfarce (Binary Design?), but accessing it is unknown at this time. It tells you in an old issue of SU, if anybody cares to look, and it's reckoned to be quite good.
There is also one in the Boggit (Delta 4). Apparently you type in "Delta 4" to get to it, but this must be in the second part (otherwise you get the message "Try again in part 2."). Unfortunately, to play part 2 you need to load a file from part 1, which is very difficult with a normal emulator. Does anyone have an "open" version?
There is a hidden game in Zub 128 (Mastertronic) and you can see how to access it if you go to pause mode. Pressing 2, 4, 6 and 8 will access the cheat, while pressing 1, 3, 5 and 7 will access a hidden game called Light Farce. However, this will only work with emulators that can read more than two keys at once. This game is exactly the same as the game Zarjas that appeared on the cover of Sinclair User, as part of their Megatape 1 compilation.
Everyone's a Wally (Mikrogen) had an Asteroids game when you entered the Public Telephone. It also had a Daley Thompson's Decathlon (Ocean) style sprint where you raced against a fish.
In fact Herbert's Dummy Run (Mikrogen) was riddled with them. There is rumoured to be a space invaders clone with Daleks for invaders, a breakout clone using the tennis raquet, etc.
All the "hidden games" in MikroGen games, ie Wally etc, were in fact essential parts of the main game, and you had to clear a certain number of waves of aliens, etc, before a certain task could be completed.
Short Circuit (Ocean) has a space invaders machine in one of the rooms that you can play, providing you have found the 1 pound coin to put in it. If I remember rightly you had to get the 10p coin from the plant tub somewhere and then play the hidden fruit machine that was somewhere else, then you'd win the pound coin so that you could go and play the Space Invaders machine.
Forbidden Planet (Design Design) had at least 2 hidden games, `Whino Hunt' which you got to by pressing lots of keys during the game, and a reasonably acurate space invaders clone which you got by holding down a key as the game finished loading.
The Prequel to Forbidden Planet, namely Dark Star (Design Design), had a sort of hidden game, except that it was more like a spoof of Teletext called Spectacle. It was accessed by typing in "we are all mad" (or something similar - can anyone help?). This is available as a snapshot in itself, but the URL is unknown to me.
Vortex's games can also be distributed.
Unless express permission is given by the owner of a title, passing copies around is illegal, but that never stopped us in the 80's and it won't stop us now. Given the fact that the games are old, many software houses don't really care that the games are copied. However, a few do. Elite in particular, is a game that the owners keep an eye on. I have also heard that Ultimate do not like their games being distributed freely. Tsk, capitalism eh?
Apparently a reader of Crash sent in a picture of the Lunar Rover pulling a caravan, about two months after this. (Needless to say a fake).
Sabre Man fell into the land of Sabre Wulf. When he found the exit, he entered the Underwurlde. Unfortunately he was bitten by the junglewulf at sometime during this, turning him into a lycanthrope (werewolf). The only way he could cure this was to go to Knightlore Castle and employ the talents of the wizard Melkhior to free him from the curse.
I damn-well liked that page so much I want to read more!
Compiled by Stephen Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) - He's permanently in a gloomy empty land with dreary hills ahead. (Did I get that right?)
Spectrum users do it with a rubber.