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Greatest BBC Micro games


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Pretty much anything by Superior Software because it was the best-presented, slickest stuff on the system by miles.

I'd say my top games, top 10 may be a struggle:

1. Repton 3

2. Elite

3. I can't honestly remember, it's nearly 30 years since I played any BBC games.

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Elite. 'Nuff said. I played this for about a year, on and off. Think I made it one level down from Elite. Thargoids and all. I first saw this at an SF convention - there was a Star Trek film showing, but we all crowded around a bunch of BBC Micros set up at the edge of the room, crashing into space stations. One of those games that spawned rumours - colony ships you could find; sure fire ways to enter Thargoid space.

Repton (3). Good arcade puzzler, with some devilishly fiendish levels. I think the only Beeb game I ever saw an original, retail copy of. I'm not saying Beeb owners were pirates, but...

Exile. Superb arcade adventure (I started with the ST port, I have to admit).

Revs. Geoff Crammond takes on Formula 3; the first racing sim.

Castle Quest. Another tough arcade adventure. Although I ended up breaking out of prison waaaaaaaay too many times (grab torch, throw on bed, jump onto door, jump down, exeunt stage left). [EDIT: Hah! even the wiki article shows the jail; because THAT'S WHERE YOU END UP EVERY 5 MINUTES!:


Excellent, near arcade-perfect ports of Scramble and Defender (although scramble on keyboard was unplayable).

Thrust was originally a Beeb game. Although I had played Gravitar first (heck, and Lunar Lander in the arcades, back in the day), swinging that load through the caverns was nail-biting stuff.

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It's a toughie alright.

I remember a couple more games we used to enjoy in the computer room at school (the only time you ever got to see a BBC Micro). Daredevil Dennis, simple but slick arcade game where you had to get this chap on a motorbike to the end of the screen. And there was some text-mode (7) election game I can't remember the title of but we somehow managed to pump loads of time into.

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There were a couple of other platformers - FRAK! is remembered by most people, but I don't recall it being any good (basically, nice graphics, but terminally slow).

Oh, heck - The Sentinel was a Beeb game as well; I played that on the Speccy, not the Beeb, but another brilliant game. Superb atmosphere - mix of serene strategy, plotting your route up the levels, interspersed with buttock-clenching panic as you were spotted and your energy started to drain off, and you had to find somewhere, anywhere, out of sight to flee to. Still very little like it.


Yes! That was the other platformer I was trying to remember; the giant spider on a later level scared the shit out of me the first time I got there, as I'm arachnophobic. It was one of those pixel-perfect jobbies, but with some nicely designed levels.

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I'll drop in a rough list, and then probably rejig or change things later. I think we got a BBC B in '82, as my Dad was teaching computing at the local college, and ended up with quite a good collection of games. Superior Software pretty much made me as a gamer.

1. Exile - I still have no idea how they fitted such a complicated game into so little memory. I recently watched a playthrough, and it's an astounding feat and a hell of a game. The BBC's finest hour.

2. Repton 3 - I was never a Repton fan, but this gets a spot as my Dad loved the series. He won a mug and certificate from Superior for being one of the first people to complete it.

3. Dunjunz - My final year of primary school was spent playing this instead of going to lessons. It was a (probably fairly poor) Gauntlet clone, but with four people clustered round the keyboard it made for hours of fun/elbows in the ribs.

4. Codename Droid

5. Spycat

6. Citadel - "Ceeetadel, Ceeetadel, CEEETADEL." I'll always remember the speech synthesis which greeted you on loading this.

7. Imogen

8. Football Manager

9. Sabre Wulf

10. Dr Who & the Mines of Terror

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There were a couple of other platformers - FRAK! is remembered by most people, but I don't recall it being any good (basically, nice graphics, but terminally slow).

I remember seeing FRAK! in Acorn User or some other Beeb mag and thinking it looked amazing. Someone got hold of a copy and yes, it was not a great game to play. Painfully slow and the platforming was not great. Looked amazing though, and we got a good 10 minutes of giggles from the FRAK! speech bubble when you died.

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1. Elite - because This Man is Harmless/This Lady is Deadly.

2. Exile - such freedom, such exploration, such physics.

3. The Sentinel - This game is still good. One I still play, and still start panicking when the robot can see me! 10,000 procedurally generated 3D landscapes being rendered on a humble 8bit is still pretty darn impressive.

4. Chuckie Egg - which is rightly revered as a arcade action classic (although the Speccy version is the version I'll play these days)

5. Thrust - Physics again - frustrating but brill.

6. Mr Ee! - A Mr Do! clone that deserves a mention as it's flipping excellent, and saved pumping lots of 10p pieces into the arcade.

7. Monsters - An early Acronsoft riff on LodeRunner that, despite having quite awkward keys, was dangerously addictive.


8. Killer Gorilla (Shameless Donkey Kong clone, but a good one)

9. Repton (although it's no Boulderdash, is it? eh? Cue for playground fighting).

10. Bumble Bee (A blatant LadyBug ripoff I later found out, but a good one)

Edited into a list of 10

Edited by uglifruit
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Myself and my dad used to play a Galaga clone called Swoop that I used to absolutely love... I still fire it up occasionally even now.

Obviously Elite. Another one I used to love playing was Spycat.

I had the Beeb version of Empire Strikes Back and that was a surprisingly decent port given the hardware.

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Thrust -

Probably the first thing I'd play today if I had a BBC and a stack of tapes in front of me. Still holds up.

The Sentinel -

Surreal, nightmarish game that terrified me when I was a kid but I couldn't get enough of it.

Skirmish -

There was an official Atari licensed version of Joust but this later rip-off improved on it in almost every way. A stunning home version of one of my favourite arcade games.

Defender / Planetoid -

Another legally ropey but stunning port of an arcade classic. The name was changed after the first print run for legal reasons but you couldn't ask for a better 8 bit port of the original.

Citadel -

The first and best of a whole slew of BBC proto-metroidvanias. Colourful, weird and sprawling.

Elite -

For obvious reasons.

Exile -

Again, not much to add, insanely ambitious.

Imogen -

Random, fun puzzle adventure with brilliant animation and loads of unique setpieces.

Dunjunz -

Was always billed as a Gauntlet clone but the 4 way split screen made it stand out.

Repton 3 -

Solid combination of the best ideas from the first 2 games, although the various reskins were decent too this is the one to go for.

Won't bother with honourable mentions as the list would be huge.

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1. Soccer Supremo- I can't remember if this game was Acorn Electron only or not, far as I remember it worked on the BBC as well- amazing soccer management game, made even better by the fact your players got star ratings after a game, which was mind-blowing at the time. Kevin Toms' Football Manager was probably more technically accomplished, but Soccer Supermo was the first game I ever got properly hooked on.

Qualsoft followed it up with the equally fantastic Mexico 86. And the cover of the game was even better. Who needs graphics or fancy artwork?


2. Terrormolinos- I loved the fact that it was a text adventure set in 'reality'- you had to organise your family and get them on holiday (a mind-breaking task in itself) and then survive the holiday and return home with ten happy snapshots of it. It even had a fourth wall breaking moment when you could wander so far off the beaten track that you'd accidentally end up in a different game- a swords and sorcery text adventure- one of the better ways to fail the game.

3. Elite - it's Elite. The game that made docking stupidly hard and the docking computer essential. Also boys points for The Dark Wheel novella it came with, where you learnt things like one of the alien races having had their 'fear glands removed', which for a ten year old was totally hardcore and made it's way into a lot of creative writing essays at the time.

4. Twin Kingdom Valley- an epic fantasy mostly-text adventure filled with numerous NPCs, it seemed pretty revolutionary at the time, even if the dwarf did keep killing me. To be fair Sphinx Adventure and Philosopher's Quest from Acorn Soft were probably better text adventures, but Twin Kingdom Valley's in-game pictures dazzled me more as a kid.

5. Bobby Charlton Soccer- it was the Pro Evo of the day. Super fast arcade style football game, seem to remember it had a manager mode as well.

6. Repton - a big shout out for Repton 3 as well which had a map editor too, meaning you could create your own stupidly hard Repton levels.

7. Dunjunz - like Matt0 said, it was pretty much Gauntlet. At the time I'd sneak into Marco's Leisure Centre in Edinburgh and me and my friends would blow our save up lunched money on epic Gauntlet sessions, so being able to play a version of it at home was pretty amazing at the time.

8. Citadel - with it's amazing Fighting Fantasy style cover of a wooden skeletal figure with glowing eyes, Citadel felt like a proper journey into a dangerous castle of traps and terror. I remember the graphics at the time as being totally atmospheric and I'm avoiding looking at screenshots as they'll just ruin that illusion.

9. Starship Command - it was the Elite game that wasn't Elite. The best thing was that your top-down spaceship had an escape pod, which made dying an even more tense and thrilling affair.

10. Millionaire - start your own software company, decide on game genre, publicity budget, weigh up the pros and cons of buying dodgy software from Honest Harry. Your success wasn't just illustrated by your bank balance, you'd move up to nicer and nicer houses if you were doing well.

edit: shit, just saw matt0's post and realised I totally forgot Dunjunz and seeing a screenshot of that gave me one of those major nostalgia rushes when you're faced with a bit of your youth that you'd completely forgotten about.

I'll edit my list once the rush has stopped... :blink:

(Dropped poor Football Manager from the list... onto the subs bench...)

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Crikey how could I forget Zalaga? That brought it all back. My mate got his (rich) mum to buy him an Electron just so he could play that and Repton 3. Electron Zalaga had some copy protection, not sure how it worked but if you tried to duplicate teh tape it would start playing a nice virtual 3-channel version of the Captain Pugwash theme tune.

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I remember on my floppy disc full of BBC Micro games, there was a great Galaga type game.

Yes - how many of us posting in here actually owned a Beeb? I had a box of disks, and yet didn't own a Beeb. Firstly from when the school got one for the 6th form - we just played Defender, Galaxian, Scramble and PacMan clones (really very good ones).

Then at college, there was a lab of them; they were used as cheap terminals, that could also be used for controlling experiments (as the Beeb had so many i/o ports). So I had several years of vicarious 'ownership'.

But basically all the nerds had a floppy or two containing pirated games for them.

And good shout on Starship Command, rumblecat; I was trying to remember that, and the wireframe flight-sim the Beeb had.

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I was at a school for the visually-impared and we were blessed to have more BBCs than normal, a mixture of As, Bs and Masters. There was a teletext decoder on one of the Masters although the signal was really poor. We tried downloading the software they used to put up on teletext but it never worked. There was WordWise in a few of the machines but that got replaced with the Acorn wordprocessor eventually. There was also one AMS mouse, spent many a happy hour on the paint program, and we used to do a school news sheet every week with the DTP package.

Cub monitors, Cumana disc drives (with the very distinctive formatting program that I'm sure most people here can hear).

We even had those speech chips in a few machines, the one that had Kenneth Kendall's voice on. There was this Track'n'Field sort-of game, the name of which I can't remember, and when you played it with the chip installed it went "Ready, Set, Go!"

And yes, no-one actually owned a BBC but we all had a few floppies. I was offered a BBC B when at college in 1989 as they were trying to get rid of them, but for £200 it wasn't going to happen.

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I owned a BBC Model B. My dad got one in some kind of special deal at work. Of course I was the only kid at school with one and it was hard not to be jealous of my Spectrum and Commodore owning mates, but still. Mine went bang after I left it switched on for 3 days straight - I'd started making my own game for it, but my tape deck was broken and dad convinced me to just leave it on till he had chance to sort me out another one to save my work with. He reasoned the computers at his work were left on all the time and it didn't do them any harm! Ah well...

I did, on the other hand, have a load of floppies with pirated games for the school Archimedes when we got those in. I remember one Christmas dad suggested getting me a new computer and I asked for an Acorn A3010. When the big day came and it turned out he'd done his own research and decided to buy me an Amiga A1200 instead I was genuinely gutted... for ooh, about 3 seconds.

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I think a lot of my highlights have been mentioned already. These are a few in no order.

1. Elite

As per my username. My secret shame is that I never actually got to be Elite. :(

Once I'd learned the trick to docking, it became relatively easy. Of course the docking computer automated it all.

2. Hunchback

The first game I owned on the BBC.

3. Stryker's Run

Sideways scrolling action game. I love the title music on this.

4. Thrust

5. Revs

6. Starship Command

Loved that the graphics were a mix of ships from Star Trek and the hero ship being The Liberator from Blake's 7.

7. Repton 3

8. Castle Quest

I recall this being quite a big deal at the time for some reason.

9. Daredevil Denis

The music is indelibly written onto my brain after having played this for a week at Menai in Anglesey on a school trip.

10. Killer Gorilla

A total Donkey Kong rip-off, but great fun to play. Wow. Just watching a video and the opening music brings back so many memories.

11. Twin Kingdom Valley

Text adventure with animated pictures.

12. Frak!

Sideways platformer with surprisingly good graphics.

Spawned its own porn version, "F*ck!"

13. Chuckie Egg

14. Boffin

Platform game with a scientist equipped with an umbrella to help slow down falls, reach objects on high shelves, etc.

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A friend had one when I was a kid, only game I can remember though is Chuckie Egg (great game). It's possible it's the only game he had. Would have been around '83.

We used to go round his house after school with another mate who owned a c64, they used to argue over which was the superior machine.

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A friend had one when I was a kid, only game I can remember though is Chuckie Egg (great game). It's possible it's the only game he had. Would have been around '83.

We used to go round his house after school with another mate who owned a c64, they used to argue over which was the superior machine.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k ;)

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I actually went from a BBC B (my first computer) to a rubber-key speccy, in what must have been '88 or so. Didn't feel like a downgrade - I was joining a whole new, larger ecosystem of tape swapping, and the stores actually had games for it.

The Beeb was my first computer, and it's interesting how many of my memories of it are about the sound as much as the visuals/gameplay.

1) Repton 3. "WELCOME TO REPTON 3 FROM SUPERIOR SOFTWARE" - got to love that speech synthesis. Still a great game - I play iPhone Repton with my 2½ year old daughter.

2) Citadel - "Citadel, citadel, citadel!". More superior stuff from Superior Software. Multi-screen sandboxy platformer in the vein of Jet Set Willy, but with the (at the time) unusual feature of a health bar, and a nice puzzly element.

3) Chuckie Egg - the start of sibling games rivalry with my brother. Although our lodger could clock the game about 3x over. The way the giant chicken came out of the cage and chased you after you'd clocked the game once was awesome. Reminds me of One Tough Zombie mode in the Resident Evil Remake.

4) Firebug - a typically colourful platforms-and-ladders game from Acornsoft where you played a fireman trying to put out fires deliberately started by the titular firebug, before they reached chemical barrels, which would explode with an impressive "dummmmmmmmmmmmmm" sound which I can still hear today. You had to keep the overall temperature down to stop the building burning, and the firebug would repeatedly pop-up and start new fires. Nothing else quite like it.

5) Strykers Run - Superior again, as mentioned above. I think the B version missed out on some extra content that the master had - maybe the music? Great game though, particularly the helicopters.

6) Codename Droid, aka Stryker's Run 2. A late era one, and I think the last BBC game I managed to find in a physical shop in my hometown. Push screen scrolling space themed thing with early stealth elements, from memory, and a surprisingly deep set of controls.

7) Acid Drops - like Arcadians, but with a giant tank of acid at the top of the screen. Your shots would wear it away, and after a while it would start to drip, killing anything it touched (including you). Novel little game, made a nice change from the usual clones.

8) Killer Gorilla - I find it hard to love Donkey Kong, because it isn't exactly the same as Killer Gorilla. Loved that cover art, too, so wonderfully 80's.


9) Thrust - just perfect combination of graphics, fun gameplay and rigorous physics.

10) Star Wars - another port, but my god this was a goodie. Didn't quite look as good as some other home computer versions, but was faster and smoother. We got this from dubious small-print merchants The Home Computer Club (remember them?)

I also have vague memories of Labyrinth (pineapples?), Volcano, Centipede (great port!), Arcadians, Hunkidory (that tune!), Jack Attac, Gorf, Mikey (complete with Hard Days Night tune), Yie Ar Kung-Fu, Way of the Exploding Fist, Manic Miner (speccy version is better), Atic Attack (never got on with it), an excellent snooker game I can't place, and a football management game where we always won by buying Terry Butcher from Ipswich.

I bought Exile via mail-order and honestly couldn't work out how to get out of the first spaceship. I sent it back. I never actually encountered Elite at all, until getting a copy for the Amiga in the early 90s. Revs was impressive, but too much of a simulation for an eight year old.

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Ooh I am going to have to think about this one - I sort of had my own BBC because my dad had one at his work place where I often ended up hanging around after school and at weekends. Sounds like a shit thing to have to do right? Until I tell you my dad's workplace was an indoor go-kart racing centre!

He used a BBC for running the software which displayed lap times and stuff. But when the place was closed I would play games I'd copied of people at school on. I never played Elite so my list will have one notable difference from most.

1. Granny's Garden

Has to be really. I was a hero in primary school for at least a week for being the first person to work out that you have to answer "yes" when the giant asks if you think he should eat you.

2. Stryker's Run 2

As someone up there noted, this was a late game. It looked really great - a few of my friends had Amigas by the time this came out, and although I was fooling myself, in retrospect, I remember thinking this almost came up to the graphical standard of a bad Amiga game.

3. Exile

Just a stone cold classic, as is widely accepted.

4. Magic Mushrooms (thanks Lorfarius for reminding me of the name)

It had a level editor - I played with that for way longer than I played with the actual game. I think it was the first game I played which let you design new content for it, and it stoked an interest in amateur game design which continues to this day.

5. Killer Gorilla

Yeah, basically Donkey Kong although I'd only ever experienced DK as a Game and Watch because I never saw the arcade game over here, and it wasn't released on any of the popular UK home format I don't think? At least, not in my time.

6. Strykers Run

Again mainly because of the graphics, it looked really good and was much more action-packed than most Beeb games.

7. Repton Infinity (I think)

The one that also came with a level editor.

8. A racing game which was probably Revs.

I really don't remember a lot about it except it was really good fun.

9. Yie Ar Kung Fu

I remember playing this for quite a while, so it must have been an okayish port.


That's about all I can remember right now. Most of the other games I played were random things I loaded off those 5 1/4" floppies which were packed with games with a menu system hacked in. Mainly blocky, slow interpretations of popular early 80s arcade games. Quite a few others I did play for a while but really can't remember their names - I remember one where you explored a castle from a side on perspective and played a wizard

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