Format reviewed: ZX 80/81
Publisher: J K Greye Software
Developer: Malcolm Evans
Submitted by: Alex Reeves
As an 11 year old with an interest in computers, what better birthday present could I get but the latest in home computing the Sinclair ZX81. This was in the days when you could buy computers from John Menzies.
On unpacking it I plugged it in and started typing in some BASIC on the plasticky membrane keyboard…and after about 10 lines got an out of memory error. Apparently I had filled the 1K of memory. So Dad got me a 16K RAM pack, which as long as you didn't jog the keyboard too hard, let you type (and load) much bigger programs.
My favourite of these 16K games was called 3D Monster Maze, which saw you running away from a Tyrannosaurus in a randomly generated maze. Given the limitation of the computers graphics, which were in-built character blocks in black and white only, the effect was amazing for the time.
The game managed to really rachet up the tension as you tried to escape from the Tyrannosaurus, with the status line on the screen telling you how close the Tyrannosaurus was. A bit like Doom did over 10 years later, the tension while you waited for the monster to appear was amazing.
Remember this was a first person perspective 3D game, back when you had to load the game from tape, and the computer would randomly reset at regular intervals when it got too hot, requiring another reload.
A great classic from a time when lone programmers based in computer labs and bedrooms could release a number 1 selling game.