A few months ago, I was approached by a chap from Croatia named Reni Scavillic. Reni had just started reading Retro Gamer after spotting a few of my posts on social media, and was interested in learning more about the ZX Spectrum and its best games.
In an interesting twist, Reni has interviewed me regarding several Spectrum games that I consider must-plays for any newcomer to the computer. Fortunately, having studied in England a few years ago, his English is top notch.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be typing these interviews up, in a slightly edited form and uploading them to Wizwords. Reni will score each game out of ten and we shall form a leaderboard. My thanks to Reni for his time.
Here is the first of our interviews.
Discovering Spectrum Classics with Reni
Horace Goes Skiing
Reni: Hello! What’s our first game going to be?
Me: 1982’s Horace Goes Skiing by Psion.
Reni: Ha! 1982, the year I was born.
Me: God I feel old.
Reni: Sorry, Graeme?
Me: Nothing, Reni. Anyway, did you see the cassette cover I sent you?
Reni: Yes, very strange. I like skiing very much, my parents used to take me to a resort in Croatia called Sljeme. But tell me Graeme, this – Horace – what is he exactly?
Me: He’s a, err…I think he’s supposed to be….hm. Actually I don’t think I know. He’s a weird-looking blob. On legs.
Reni: He is looking like one of the monsters my father used to say would visit me in the night when I misbehaved as a child.
Me: Okaaaaaay. Did you play the game?
Reni: Yes, of course. I was a bit confused at first because there was a road, not snow.
Me: Ah, yes. Horace has to cross the road first to get to the ski shop and hire his skiing equipment.
Reni: I keep getting run over by ambulance.
Me: I like to think the author was being ironic. It plays quite well though.
Reni: Yes, although difficult, as once Horace goes, he can’t stop. Then, I got to the shop and thought, now I must start skiing. But I had to go back across the road! They should have built the ski shop near the slopes and not a busy road, in my opinion.
Me: Yes, clearly not a lot of thought by the shop’s owner there. Did you make it back?
Reni: Eventually. If I was Horace though, I would consider taking up another sport, like handball.
Me: So, onto the second section and Horace has finally made it to the slopes. The screen scrolls upward and he must avoid the trees and ski between the sets of flags.
Reni: This was fun. The little humps made it tricky sometimes - and what was that noise?! - but I enjoyed it. Simple but fun.
Me: This was one of the first major commercial games released on the Spectrum so it’s not going to be the most complicated. Does its job though, and it moves well and controls nicely.
Reni: I got to the bottom of the slope and was looking forward to another go of skiing. But then I had to go back to the ski shop! What a pain!
Me: Well, those skis don’t last forever you know.
Reni: I got run over by an ambulance again.
Me: At least the skis are cheap.
Reni scored Horace Goes Skiing by Psion 7/10, putting it at the top of the leaderboard!
If you want to learn more about Horace and all the games he starred in, check out the latest issue of Retro Gamer magazine (issue 161), in shops now!
Next Week: Way Of The Exploding Fist