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Horace Goes Skiing

Snow way to treat a pedestrian.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

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.

With feet like skis, there was only ever one profession for Horace.

Next comes the skiing - which should be familiar to anyone who's played SkiFree recently. A downward scrolling affair, Horace has to nip between the flags, avoid a Sonny Bono tree calamity and, if he chooses, make use of assorted jumps (cunningly disguised as discarded boomerangs). Complete the course and it's straight back to the ski hut to begin again.

And... that's it.

Defying its own mixed qualities, Horace Goes Skiing has somehow acquired classic status. Almost everybody remembers the exploits of the freakishly-shaped chap - perhaps due to the regular inclusion of Skiing in 48k sales bundles, and perhaps thanks to the blissful fog of nostalgia. As a result, the enigma of Horace is recognised as a legendary 8-bit figure.

5 / 10

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