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.
Ultimate Play The Game is a company synonymous with producing ground breaking titles for the ZX Spectrum with their 1983 debut, Jetpac, re-setting the benchmark for shooters on Sir Clive's Technicolor wonder machine that other game developers thereafter had to measure up to.
Only 16k in size, Jetpac thrusts (pun intended) the games main character, Jetman, into an intergalactic quest of spacecraft construction, fuel economics and alien annihilation. The game's objective is simple: Build a spaceship, fill it with fuel then blast off to the next planet.
Each level is contaminated with multicoloured baddies that home in on our intrepid action hero with the sole intent of taking away one of his limited lives. Fortunately, those fine scientists back at base had the vision of integrating a laser gun into Jetman's spacesuit on the off chance that our space explorer bumped into such disposable aliens on his intergalactic travel. A quick blast on the fire button sends a satisfying, vibrant laser bolt across the screen devouring any extraterrestrials in its path.