In its early promotional material for the ZX Spectrum, Sinclair often went to almost painful lengths to avoid using the word 'games'. Released 35 years ago this month, the microcomputer was designed by Sir Clive Sinclair with serious applications in mind, and an optimistic role as a central hub for the nation's households. Constantly reiterating its expandability, these initial adverts were all about tech, emphasising the Spectrum's 'massive' RAM of 16 or - crikey! - 48k, as well as its high resolution and accessories, including a printer and the doomed ZX Microdrive. As it turned out, the manufacturer was swimming against the tide. Programming? Hmm, might try and type in a few POKEs I suppose. Educational? Game of chess or Scrabble aside, not likely. No, what the majority of kids wanted from the Spectrum was games. And games, much to the chagrin of Clive Sinclair, were what they got - in their hundreds.
Classic 80s video game mascot Dizzy celebrates his 30th birthday today. His first outing, Dizzy - The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure was released in 1987, a fact that should make some of our readers feel more than a little bit old!
If you grew up with the ZX Spectrum, or indeed any home computer that ran games on cassette tape, it might be wise to avoid watching this video - it will make you feel very, very old.
The Oliver Twins have today announced the release of a brand new Dizzy game, although it may not be the series revival fans were hoping for.
To suggest that Philip and Andrew Oliver created a mythology with their most well known and best loved character adds a weight of obligation around Dizzy's neck that he simply doesn't need. The Yolkfolk are better remembered as a modern day fairy tale told in a new and exciting way - independent stories of achievement and overcoming adversity that will be told and retold by the kids who sat at their 8-bit keyboards in awe and wonder all those years ago.
Every system has its recurring characters. In the Spectrum's case, one of the most memorable was a jittery, boxing-gloved egg with an uncanny ability to lose track of his girlfriend. Beloved by many, hated by a few, through the late 80s and early 90s this unassuming egg was ruling the roost in Spectrum-land.
Fantasy World was neither the first, nor last, Dizzy adventure, and while later titles such as Magicland and Spellbound would also gain critical acclaim, it was this third adventure (technically fourth - but Fast Food was a radically different spin-off) which really perfected the formula. Plus it's the only one with a gruff voiced gentleman slurring out "Fantashy World Dissshhy" on the options screen.
Typically for the series, the graphics are bold and bright - mixing cartoon-style sprites with chunky, colourful scenery, whilst the fantasy realm setting allows for an impressive array of trolls, dragons and ... err ... killer hawks to turn up and hamper our unscrambled champion's mission. This quest, in the noblest of computer gaming traditions, is to rescue fair maiden Daisy from a weirdo wizard's cloud-tower. Access to which is tricky, to say the least.