Dateline : 10th February 2012


I’d like to make one thing clear about this retro alphabet thing – by no means at all is this a definitive list. There are going to be omissions, this list is simply a start ; a sort of launchpad if you will. It is something I want to add to as time goes on and yes it will eventually see names like Mario, Sonic and Zelda in there. However if you are a regular RetroSection-ite you will know that we prefer to look at some of the more obscure as opposed to the mass marketed.


Prey continue……..


It does help to be a little different



FROGGER : Static but vertical jumping game where the aim is to help a family of frogs cross a dangerous road, then a dangerous river. Often imitated but never bettered, Frogger is one of the most recognisable and copied games of the early days of video games. Yet whilst characters such as Pac-Man and Mario are constantly reinvented, when the Frogger character strays from the norm it’s a disaster. Anyone remember the PS2 3D adventure ? Hmmm me neither…


FLASHBACK : Having the distinction of being both French and weird, this beautiful looking game has you cast as Conrad who must rediscover his memory after waking up in a jungle and eventually will end in deep space. The game looks gorgeous with wonderful roto-scoped character movement, the gameplay is fluid and the whole experience is one where jaws drop constantly. It blew 16 bit owners away in the 1990’s and is still a revered game today.




GAUNTLET : Top down dungeon adventure where taking the role of a barbarian, wizard, valkyrie (when they were still called valkyrie and not Xena) or a dwarf, you had to negotiate your way through many levels of treasure hunting, exit finding and don’t-shoot-the-food-ing of medieval magic. Gauntlet started life as a gargantuan 4 player arcade game and was successfully converted to just about every console and computer. Famous for it’s sampled speech (“Red warrior needs food…badly”, “I know I know I can’t find any……argggh you shot the food you imbecile….”), it spawned a version with extra levels and a sequel, and was the sort of game, when playing with your mates, that could divide friendships. Just don’t shoot the food.


GOLF : There have been many variations of the golf game to grace computers over the years. In the early days you would mostly spend time wacking a pixel around a screen made up of mostly green, blue or yellow colours. Thankfully when Leaderboard came along it redefined the genre and golf games would never be so crappy again. Nintendo thought it best to put Mario in their NES games, and there he stayed through many variations over the years. After Leaderboard came the PGA series, which incorporated a grid system for putting so you could see all the contours and slopes. That series would wind up being the Tiger Woods games we know today. For slightly less serious golf types, check out either the Everybody’s Golf games or Outlaw Golf – the latter being one of the most frustrating golf games I have ever played whilst at the same time one of the most hilarious.




HORACE : A retro based alphabet wouldn’t be the same is we hadn’t included Horace. Created in 1982 and starring in his own series of games, the Horace games were nothing more than a series of copy/rip offs of popular titles : Horace Goes Skiing (Frogger), Hungry Horace (Pac-Man) and Horace & The Spiders (elements of Pitfall, Smurf and Space Panic). You cannot deny though just how successful these games were and therefore cementing Horace’s place in the Retro Hall Of Fame.


HYPER SPORTS : Responsible for providing a generation of children with wrists well beyond their actual age, this is the game that if you looked up joystick waggler in the dictionary then you would find a picture of Hyper Sports. Track & Field set the bar but when this was converted to all the home micros, joystick sales went through the roof. You had your own methods of course to get the best grip – place the joystick on the table, hold it in the air and waggle it etc – but whichever way you did it, you’d end up knackered. So Hyper Sports – Joystick waggling heaven or arthritis inducing pain. You decide…….




IMAGINE SOFTWARE : Set up in 1982, Imagine were well know for their flash image and sailing close to the wind before financially collapsing two years later. If it wasn’t for Imagine then it is likely the image of the computer programmer and games designer would have still remained some beardy, nerdy type rather than young, cool people in Ferraris. That’s the image they had, so when it all went wrong Ocean Software stepped in, bought the group and used the Imagine name on games such as Hyper Sports, Green Beret and Arkanoid, amongst others. When Imagine was sold, former programmers set up Psygnosis and Denton Designs, where such classic games as Shadow Of The Beast, Wipeout and Frankie Goes To Hollywood ended up being created.




JOUST : Not many games feature a flying ostrich – in fact I think this is the only one. Created in 1982 and released into arcades, this had you defeating evil knights riding buzzards set in space. It was just that sort of game. It makes you wonder what sort of things people smoked back in the day and purely for it’s great playability and quirky concept, Joust is an early arcade favourite that is still fondly remembered.


JET SET WILLY : One of the most iconic characters in video game history returns after the success of Manic Miner. Whether you loved the game, hated the game or if it reduced you to a gibbering wreck it makes no difference at all. This is one game that people can recall at the drop of a hat when you mention early Spectrum games.


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