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hits of the 80s  aussie games that rocked the world  

featured games


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The Hobbit
The Hobbit
Beam Software (Melbourne House), 1982, Tape (Original release)
Based on Tolkien's book, The Hobbit was Australia's first major game export, selling over a million copies worldwide. Reaching number one across Europe, its user-friendly artificial intelligence named Inglish (developed by Beam Software) revolutionised text adventures. Players found the game constantly appealing because non-player characters existed independently. They had personalities, loyalties and roamed freely through the game-world. This enabled the game to be played with changing outcomes. It can be considered one of the first examples of 'emergent gaming'.

Development team (Sinclair Spectrum): Philip Mitchell (Programmer); Veronika Megler (Programmer and Game Designer); Alfred Milgrom (Producer); Stuart Ritchie (Language and parser researcher)


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Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings
Beam Software (Melbourne House), 1985, Tape
A text adventure, Lord of the Rings was one of the earliest games to offer multi-player/multi-role options. This sequel to The Hobbit allowed the player to be up to four hobbits, each with his own characteristics and idiosyncrasies. The added complexity of the game meant that it could be played repeatedly with multiple endings.

Development team (Sinclair Spectrum): Philip Mitchell (Designer/Programmer); Danny Davis, Lyn C, Stephen Taylor, Doug Palmer (Programmers)


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Hungry Horace
Hungry Horace
Beam (Psion/Melbourne House), 1982, Tape
This Pacman clone was acclaimed as the first arcade game for the Spectrum. Horace wanders around a maze eating everything in sight. The aim is to avoid the park guards and get to the next level. It was one of the few Spectrum games that were also available in ROM format.


Development team (Sinclair Spectrum): Alfred Milgrom (Graphics/Producer); William Tang (Programmer)
Re-release (Commodore 64 Port): William Tang (Design); Gregg Barnett (Programming)


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Horace Goes Skiing
Horace Goes Skiing
Beam (Sinclair Research /Melbourne House), 1982, Tape
A spin-off from the successful Hungry Horace, Horace has to negotiate a busy and dangerous road in order to get to the ski shop to rent a pair of skis. When Horace manages to rent his skis, he has to make his way down the slope, negotiating the flags and not hitting any trees. A third-person perspective is supplied as if a camera was mounted above the course.

Development team (Sinclair Spectrum): Alfred Milgrom (Graphics/Producer); William Tang (Programmer)
Re-release (Commodore 64 Port): Gregg Barnett



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The Way of the Exploding Fist
The Way of the Exploding Fist
Beam (Melbourne House), 1985, Tape
Considered to be the first 'beat-'em-up' game for the home computer, The Way of the Exploding Fist reached number one in Europe. Using the joystick to mimic intuitive movements, it allows for a revolutionary 16 actions. The graphics and sound were unique for the time, allowing for thumps and cries when a character was kicked. One of the most memorable features was the high volume scream of 'ki-ai' during the loading screen.

Development team (Commodore 64): Gregg Barnett (Designer/Programmer); David Johnston (Additional Programming); Greg Holland (Graphics); Neil Brennan (Musician)
Re-release (Spectrum Port): Gregg Barnett (Design); Steven Taylor (Programming); William Tang (Additional Programming); Greg Holland (Graphics); Neil Brennan (Musician)



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Rock'n Wrestle
Rock'n Wrestle
Beam (Melbourne House), 1985, Tape
Rock'n Wrestle was one of the first 3D combat sports games. At the time of its release, televised wrestling was popular and the computer gaming industry was beginning to discover the benefit of tie-ins with other mediums. The game allowed for single or dual player modes using the joystick or the keyboard and featured twenty-four wrestling manoeuvres, including pile drivers, arm-twists and body slams.

Development team (Commodore 64): Gregg Barnett (Designer/Programmer); Bruce Bailey, Cameron Duffy, Damien Watharow (Programmers); Greg Holland (Graphics); Neil Brennan (Musician)
Re-Release (Spectrum Port): Steven Taylor, Frank Oldham, Damien Watharow (Programmers); Greg Holland (Graphics); Neil Brennan (Musician)



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Mugsy's Revenge
Mugsy's Revenge
Beam (Melbourne House), 1986, Tape
Detailed comic-book style graphics, with thinking and speaking bubbles, made this an impressive and rich text adventure. Language and activity was in 1920s gangster-style, with the aim being to survive ten years of Prohibition. As Mugsy, the player pays off the mob, the police and manages his 'old boys'.


Development team (Commodore 64): William Tang (Designer); Andrew Davie (Programmer); Russel Comte (Graphics); Neil Brennan (Musician)



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Street Hassle
Street Hassle (Bop 'n Rumble)
Beam (Melbourne House), 1987, Tape
This street fighting game was released straight after Melbourne House was taken over by Mastertronic. The game has a unique sense of humour, with tongue-in-cheek violence and a running text commentary.

Development team (Commodore 64): Andrew Davie (Design/Programmer), David Pentecost (Programmer); Russel Comte (Graphics); Neil Brennan (Musician)
Re-Release (Spectrum Port): Andrew Davie (Designer); Doug Coward (Programmer); Russel Comte (Graphics); Neil Brennan (Musician)



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T-Wrecks (aka The Muncher)
T-Wrecks (aka The Muncher)
Beam (Gremlin Graphics), 1988, Tape
Renamed after the mascot of British confectionary company Chewits for sponsorship tie-ins, the game sets itself in various Japanese cities where the Godzilla-like Muncher aggressively tries to retrieve her eggs. The Muncher could eat helicopters and stomp on its pursuers on the ground. Left unattended and the computer would assume control of the Muncher, allowing her to create random urban destruction.

Development team (Sinclair Spectrum): David Moore, Dave Woods (Programmers); Rob Howard (Graphics)


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Bedlam!
Bedlam!
Beam (GO!), 1989, Tape
Written especially for the ZX Spectrum 128, Bedlam! is a fast-paced, outer space, shoot-em-up, described by one period magazine as a game with enough 'to blow your mind.' As the player flies through space, scores of aliens swoop in various attack patterns. In all, the game offered fifteen space stations and ten moonscapes to negotiate in either one-player or two-player mode.

Development team (Commodore 64): Gregg Barnett (Designer/Producer); Trevor Nuridin, Nigel Spencer (Programmers); Russel Comte (Graphics)
Re-release (Spectrum Port): Gregg Barnett (Designer/Producer); Bill McIntosh, Steve Taylor (Programmers); Russel Comte (Graphics)


 
 
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