Spectrum and cassette games

One Man and His Droid

One Man and His Droid, published by Mastertronic, sold over 250,000 copies in various formats. It has even been suggested that it was the inspiration for the game Lemmings.

One Man and His Droid

One Ramboid just sent home

The 1991 sequel, One Man and His Droid II
Published for the first time on this site
 5 August 2001


One Man and His Spectrum

Sinclair ZX Spectrum Computer games designed and produced by Clive Brooker 1982-1991 including published and unpublished games

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News 5 August 2001

One Man and His Droid II (1991) the unpublished sequel to the 1985 original hit, for the first time, is now available for free download

One Ramboid just sent home


Following the success of Sinclair's ZX81 black and white computer, 1982 saw the launch of their colour computer, the ZX Spectrum, designed as a machine for people to learn the basics of computer programming. However, history reveals that instead, it became a highly successful games machine with over 11,000 titles produced worldwide. This single popular home computer (over 1,000,000 sold) inspired a base of would be computer programmers and graphic artists, that in part, led to where computers and software are today.

These pages are my personal account, sort of a mini autobiographical, of the small contribution I made, together with free downloads of the games, a PC emulator and interesting links.

Before starting at the beginning, so as to speak, lets briefly jump forward in time to 1985, to the release of my third commercially published game, One Man and His Droid. The publisher Mastertronic, had made its entry as a Software House, selling games at the knock down price of only £2.00, on mechanisers in garage forecourts, stationers, just about anywhere that would take them. It was said that their early releases were a little dire, but by 1985 the market was maturing and Mastertronic were ready to release a batch of new games that would achieve critical acclaim, even measured against the full price publishers.

Mastertronic's PR launch to the computer games press, was a pleasure cruiser on the River Thames, from Tower Pier. Downstairs after a superb buffet, the programmers demonstrated their new games to an expectant press and a Disco was laid on upstairs for their entertainment afterwards. Earlier in the day, we all mucked in carrying half dozen TV's and an array of computers into the boat and the whole experience was rather exciting, apart from the panic over not enough power sockets. The Games magazine Crash, later printed a photo from the bash and yes, I was in it. Pity I was looking the other way at the time! One Man and His Droid went on to become a best selling game achieving total sales in excess of 250,000.

The Droid from

One Man And His Droid

The droid from One Man and His Droid

 

The droid from One Man and His Droid

 

The droid from One Man and His Droid

 

The droid from One Man and His Droid

 

The droid from One Man and His Droid

 

The droid from One Man and His Droid

 

The droid from One Man and His Droid

 

The droid from One Man and His Droid


 Year date 1981


Sinclair ZX81 Computer


 Year date 1981


Before starting the games listing, the story begins back in 1981, when by chance, I saw an advertisement for what promised to be a fully functioning computer. Thinking back a further 10 years, to my time at Technical College, I recalled doing (and failing) an O level course in Computer Science. Learning computer Science in 1971, meant that you never actually got anywhere near a computer except a single half day visit to the Computer Department of The University of Kent at Canterbury. Here we all sat in front of what appeared to be mechanical typewriter keyboards, with a printer. Anyway, there was this advert for a Sinclair ZX 81 computer, appearing to be significantly more sophisticated than UKC's computer department of 10 years previous. It was, believe it or not and I took to the hobby with relish. Limited as the computer was (standard 1K of memory) it did work and was excellent for understanding the basics of computer programming using Sinclair Basic.


Year date 1982


Simon Micro-Soft Collection One

Screen from Collection One Tape.

Fruit Machine winning combinations


Year date 1982


The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was vastly superior to its predecessor and boasted 16 colours with sound. It was great fun learning how to program all the additional features that the computer had. Unlike the ZX81 which had no ability to produce user defined graphics, the Spectrum made it easy for the Basic programmer to use up to 26 redefined graphical characters. Of course, designing them was another issue. The initial method was good old tried and tested graph paper using a grid of 8X8 cells (for one character) painting in the dots that were required for the shape. It was then necessary using binary mathematics notation to formulate the eight decimal numbers that would be stored in memory to produce the desired graphic. All rather primitive stuff, but in those days, you didn't think twice about it. One of the first complete programs that I ever wrote was UDG Aid which I actually sold as part of the Collection Two tape. Through 1982 and 1983, purely as a hobby, I developed three games and the UDG Aid, programmed in Spectrum Basic, to the point where I felt they could be marketable.

At the time, software sales were in their infancy and most companies advertising in the computer magazines were invariably producing the stuff in their bedrooms. Why should I be any different, so I needed to come up with a Trading name. Micro computers and software could be shortened to Microsoft and I used my Son's name Simon to finish the name off. That's how the name Simon Microsoft was born, but I had a nagging suspicion that I might have heard the Microsoft name somewhere, so I added an hyphen. Little did I know -- Sorry Bill.

Was my attempt at selling my own software successful? Alas not, with only 60 or so tapes sold, I just about covered the cost of the magazine advertisements and still had to cover the cost of the blank tapes, printing and tape duplication (two mono Boots tape recorders.). It would be some time before any more of my software would be sold again.

ZX32 Spectrum Emulator


ZX-32 Sinclair Spectrum Emulator (PC)


To use any spectrum software on a PC you will need a special piece of software that runs an emulation of that computer. For your convenience, why not try the excellent ZX32 written by Vaggelis Kapartzianis. His software is freeware, meaning in brief , that you are welcome to use it, provided that you do not sell it. To download this windows program, please click on ZX-32 below, or visit Vaggelis's web site.

ZX-32 version 1.03a by Vaggelis Kapartzianis (1,438,591 bytes)


Fruit Machine

Fruit Machine


Fruit Machine (from Collection One)

Published By Simon Micro-Soft 1982


Written in Sinclair Basic, this program must be run in an emulation of a 48K Spectrum. ZX-32 allows this to be easily changed from Options- Hardware.

Fruit Machine features periodic random holds and occasional Super Nudges, where the reels can be held, nudged up or down. Wins and holds are purely random, so it is possible to win (as well as lose!)


Car Chase

Car Chase

 

Oh dear, look at the exciting fire engine!


Car Chase (from Collection One)

Published By Simon Micro-Soft 1982

Play online at WOS


Written in Sinclair Basic, this program must be run in an emulation of a 48K Spectrum. ZX-32 allows this to be easily changed from Options- Hardware.

Driving the black car, your objective is to collect all the + symbols without crashing into the blue car. The keys to control lane change are the cluster :-

W
A S
Z

with the directions being of course, UP (W) LEFT (A) RIGHT (S) DOWN (Z)

Make sure that you keep pressing a lane change direction key until the car has indeed changed lanes. The game is still a little bit of fun and not quite as easy as it looks and now almost 20 years old! Was it an original idea. No, I'm afraid not, I played a video machine version that ran significantly faster with bumper cars, but can't remember what it was called. I seem to recall that part of my advertising said the game was similar to ??????? with a unique and exciting difference. However, the fire engine has not born the test of time very well!


Planet Defender

Planet Defender


Planet Defender (from Collection Two)

Published By Simon Micro-Soft 1982


Written in Sinclair Basic, this program must be run in an emulation of a 48K Spectrum. ZX-32 allows this to be easily changed from Options- Hardware.

Loosely based on the popular Defender game of it's era, I must confess that Planet Defender is a bit of a turkey! But then again, it was written 19 years ago and may not have been so bad at the time. Why not take a look?

The landscape slowly scrolls underneath the space ship and at this point you are totally safe. The object of the game is to land the craft on top of the periodic objects that sit on the surface then take off into the sky before the baddie wing fighters hit you. When you see (and hear) an object on the ground, press the letter O. Now use the WASZ movement cluster to pick up the object and zoom into the sky. Pick up all the objects to move on to the next phase of the game that I can't remember, whoops!


Take 4

Take 4, Click to download

Take 4, Click to download


Take 4

Copyright Simon Micro-Soft 1982 (Unpublished)


Written in Sinclair Basic, this program must be run in an emulation of a 48K Spectrum. ZX-32 allows this to be easily changed from Options- Hardware.

This is a reworked version of the popular game Connect Four, where discs are dropped into a framework by two players. The objective of Connect Four is to be the first person to complete a line of four. These lines may be vertical, horizontal or diagonal.

This version (Take 4) is similar, but all the discs must be placed into the grid first, then the winner is the person with the greatest number of lines.

After entering the names of the two players, simply press the space bar when it is your go to drop a disc.

The second picture shows the lines that score at the end of the game. Once a line of four has been detected then a fifth disc in the same colour is ignored.


Kiddie Cubes

Kiddie Cubes, Click to download

Kiddie Cubes, Click to download

 


Kiddie Cubes

Copyright Simon Micro-Soft 1982 (Unpublished)


Written in Sinclair Basic, this program must be run in an emulation of a 48K Spectrum. ZX-32 allows this to be easily changed from Options- Hardware.

My young daughter (at the time), felt a bit left out with what she regarded as the boys games I wrote. Claire always enjoyed playing the children's paper game dots. Draw a grid of dots then each player takes it turns to draw a line between them. The objective is to form a complete small square which you claim as yours, then get another go to finally own the greatest number of cubes.

The advantage of a computer version, was that her older brothers' couldn't cheat, as each player has their own set of controls and it always shows the current players name on the screen.

Player 1 uses the keyboard cluster W-A-S-Z with the key 1 to start the line.

Player 2 uses the keyboard cluster I-J-K-M with the key 0 to start the line.


See-Saw

See-Saw Click to download

 


See-Saw

Copyright Simon Micro-Soft 1982 (Unpublished)


Written in Sinclair Basic, this program must be run in an emulation of a 48K Spectrum. ZX-32 allows this to be easily changed from Options- Hardware.

This program wasn't a game, but a piece of educational software written for a local school. It was intended to be used in physics lessons, to test the understanding of what weights balance a system, when they are placed in a different positions either side of the fulcrum.

If the first answer is wrong, the program offers the route to the solution. After ten questions, the session is finished and the time and scores are shown. This program contained a small amount of machine code to prevent pupils cheating or altering the Basic program.


Boat Run

Boat Run, Click to download

Boat Run, Click to download


Boat Run

Copyright Simon Micro-Soft 1983 (Unpublished)


This program must be run in an emulation of a 48K Spectrum. ZX-32 allows this to be easily changed from Options- Hardware.

From computer game magazines of the time, it became clear that it was no longer possible to sell software written in slow Sinclair Basic. It had become necessary to write code that directly drove the Z80 CPU, affectionately known as machine code! Pure machine code is simply a series of numbers (0-255) that manipulate the Central Processor Unit. As a novice, it is a difficult language to learn and Boat Run was to be my first attempt at moving a small portion of the screen as fast as I could.

The space key starts the scenery moving horizontally, with the W (up) and Z (down) keys used to navigate the boat. The objective of the game is to get to the end without crashing. Not a very good game, more an attempt to write Machine Code that worked.


Buggy

Buggy, Click to downnload

Steer the arrow around the course

Buggy, Click to download


Buggy

Copyright Simon Micro-Soft 1983 (Unpublished)


This program must be run in an emulation of a 48K Spectrum. ZX-32 allows this to be easily changed from Options- Hardware.

Reworking some of the program code from Boat Run, Buggy was to be a little more ambitious, and provide 8 way scrolling. The program is a combination of machine code with Sinclair Basic for the non speed critical parts.

The game objective is to simply steer the "rocket" around the course without colliding with anything. However, driving through the black elements within the maze is legal and awards extra points.

Pressing any key starts the game and the two control keys are A - rotate Anticlockwise, and S - rotate the rocket Clockwise.

The game itself is a little frustrating until you master the responsiveness of the control keys. Certainly, not a commercial product, but I had learnt enough fundamental programming skills to entirely rework the concept for what would become my first commercially published game, Knight Driver.

Lap of the Gods

The droid from One Man and His Droid


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