Horace Goes Skiing

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.

Horace Goes Skiing

Horace Goes Skiing

Snow way to treat a pedestrian.

Great unanswered mysteries of the Spectrum age: just what the hell was Horace supposed to be? His torso is utterly baffling. Are those supposed to be... eyes? Vacant holes? What? Perhaps the shameful truth is that a demented blob was simplest to animate.

In the Speccy's early years, Horace was an all-action hero. He battled spiders. He... err... got hungry, and then he took a break at a ski resort. Alas, all is not happy in Horace's holiday habitat, because the ski-hire hut is on one side of a busy motorway and the slopes are on the other. This doesn't seem like a particularly smart way to get the tourists in, but the transaction only costs USD 10. Not bad for a quick tumble on the powdery slalom routes.

This is a game of two parts, Brian. The first is a Frogger-esque dash, during which time Horace is likely to face the ignominy of forking out cash to the same private healthcare vehicle that just ran him down. There aren't really any useful tactics here, it's best just to leg it and hope.

Read more