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Ultimate Play The Game

(Spectrum only)

See World of Spectrum for
downloadable versions

Title Year
Jetpac 1983
Pssst 1983
Atic Atac 1983
Tranz Am 1983
Cookie 1983
Lunar Jetman 1983
Sabre Wulf 1984
Knight Lore 1984
Underwurlde 1984
Alien 8 1985
Nightshade 1985
Gun Fright 1985
Cyberun 1986
Pentagram 1986
Martianoids * 1987
Bubbler * 1987

* Published by US Gold

By far the most famous British software company of the early 1980s, Ultimate Play The Game - the trading name of Ashby Computer Graphics Ltd (ACG), based in the English Midlands town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch - produced a steady stream of consistently superb games for the Spectrum and Commodore 64. At the height of their success in 1984, Ultimate's games were selling hundreds of thousands of copies, possibly making them the biggest-selling 8-bit games of all time. Yet the company itself remained mysteriously elusive - its founders Chris and Tim Stamper never gave interviews and shied away from publicity.

At the height of its fame, ACG abruptly left the 8-bit market altogether, selling the rights to the Ultimate name to US Gold. The Stampers made a long-term strategic decision to concentrate instead on the Nintendo consoles and coin-op arcade games.

Although this was a bit of a gamble at the time, it paid off very handsomely for ACG. Under its new label, Rare, the company was responsible for a string of big hits for Nintendo, producing what some have claimed to be amongst the finest console games ever - Killer Instinct, Donkey Kong Country and Goldeneye, amongst others. In 1995, Nintendo bought a 25% stake in Rare to ensure that it retained the exclusive services of its most valuable developer - in the process making the Stampers multi-millionaires. From 13 staff in 1988, the company is now aiming to have a staff of 250, making it one of Britain's largest software companies.

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Chris Owen 1994-2003