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X=Y=Z (2014)
Roll, slide, twist, and teleport your cube around the levels in order to reach the exit, with a limited palette of commands available, across 34 levels of increasing difficulty.
It's been five years since W*H*B was released, and I felt that the experiment of trying to involve other people in the game's development could be tried again.  The Spectrum scene online, and the people in it, has changed dramatically in that time, leading to a completely new set of people contributing levels and audio for the game.  The game itself is a spiritual successor to W*H*B, but uses a different game mechanic and so required a completely new engine (especially as the old engine couldn't actually cope with the more populated levels), but is just as complex and very difficult to master.

RetroGamer - Sizzler - "X=Y=Z might be a different style of game to W*H*B but is just as playable and even more thought-provoking" - 91%.

Gem Chaser 2 (2013)
Simply collect the coloured gems to match your colour - then change your colour to collect the others - simple - but amazingly challenging with 70 levels to beat.
Not just more levels, but a sequel with all-new levels, game mechanics and level structure making for an evolution in the franchise.  New mechanics include gravity-flips, horizontal gates, and portals, all of which make for some devious new levels.  Awards are now given on your speed through each level, always being the correct colour when collecting gems, and whether you managed to collect the level;s secret star - all of which can be achieved in a single game or across multiple sittings, making your progress through the game a much more open affair.  Retro Gamer's comment on the original game of not being able to keep your progress between sittings has also been addressed by adding a way to save, and restore, your progress to tape.

More details on the original Xbox 360 game can be found at the Electric Wolf website - - which also contains a link to the Xbox marketplace where you can download the demo or full version of the game.

MicroMart - "Bob Smith is back with another fine release for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum...  The graphics are simple but colourful, and there's some excellent beeper music provided by Chris Cowley.  Much like its predecessor, there are 70 levels to play through, with a similar learning curve and fast, fluid gameplay."

Gem Chaser (2013)
Simply collect the coloured gems to match your colour - then change your colour to collect the others - simple - but amazingly challenging with 70 levels to beat.
Another fine game from the Electric Wolf crew, and the first of their Xbox 360 games I've converted to the Spectrum (the previous two - Noir Shapes and Miner Man - being converted to the ZX81).  When I saw the original game its bold colours were a perfect match for the Spectrum, and having it run within a frame makes for a fast, fluid, sometimes frustrating, but always frantic game.  It doesn't have cutting-edge graphics, but it doesn't need them either, the gameplay is king here.

Many thanks also to Andrew Owen - previously famed for naming splATTR - for producing the front-end music for this game, and overseeing my work on the in-game SFX.

More details on the original Xbox 360 game can be found at the Electric Wolf website - - which also contains a link to the Xbox marketplace where you can download the demo or full version of the game.

RetroGamer - "A glance at the original game's screenshots reveals a simple and stylised graphical style that works remarkably well when converted to the Spectrum.  So, even though it might look more primitive than other recent games and there's just a hint of colour clash, the result is pleasant and uncluttered...  Gem Chaser really isn't a game to be attempted by players who suffer from high blood pressure" - 85%

MicroMart - "The layouts are well designed and require a lot of thought to take the correct paths in order to move onto the next challenge.  There are 70 to work through, and is a good enough cross-over to please both platform and puzzle game fans"

LumASCII (2012)
Join Chi-Chi Skyrocket on her quest to keep the multiverse safe from invaders, taking the fight to the stars, underwater, and inside the machine.
I'd never written a traditional side-scrolling shoot'em-up game before, and I don't think anyone has written one for the Spectrum which only uses ASCII characters throughout instead of pixel-based high-res graphics.  I'm rather pleased with the end result though as (I think) a unique one-of-a-kind game on the Spectrum.  Indeed, it doesn't even seem like a Spectrum game, more a launch title from a mythical ZX82 machine which kept the character display of the ZX81 but added colour and sound to it.

The game did take nine months to code though - the development process being drawn out somewhat by there being little in the way of tools to aid in the creation of the colour ASCII levels and objects (they all had to be hand-coded into the game) and the fact that it's actually quite difficult to produce good meaningful ASCII art within such a small space.

MicroMart - Game of the Week - "LumASCII is almost a shoot-'em-up in its own genre...  If you really want something that feels familiar, but at the same time is obviously a bit different, then this is for you.  With this and the sublime splATTR, Bob has two superb and entirely unique blasters that shouldn't be missed"

RetroGamer - Sizzler - "Bob Smith is starting to develop something of a track record when it comes to finding unusual ways to utilise the Spectrum's hardware in a game" - 90%

RGCD - "With LumASCII, Mr Smith should be applauded for producing an interesting take on a game that stands out within a very crowded genre.  Recommended very highly as an example of the art of making a retro computer game feel special" - 4/5

Horace In The Mystic Woods (2010)

Once upon a time, a little creature known as Horace wandered too far into the Mystic Woods.  The Mystic Woods, being what they are, shifted and moved until Horace was really lost.  Horace is afraid that he will never get out and so has called for your help to aid in his escape.  The woods will spring many surprises on you.  It will take all your wits and agility to help Horace get home.

64 terrible areas await you, can you help him?

Originally released in 1995, Horace in the Mystic Woods was released only for the Psion-3 series of palmtop machines.  Fifteen years later, armed with the original source code and graphics, I'm trying to bring Horace back to his spiritual home on the ZX Spectrum, where his adventures first began.  This is not a modern-style "re-imagining" of the game, but a warts'n'all remake where I'm trying to keep the gameplay as close as possible to the original game, whilst expanding the graphics for the new (old!) platform.

RetroGamer- " abundance of pixel-perfect jumping action, a collection of curious assailants and a slightly twisted sense of humour. ...this is a worthy addition to the Horace family tree."  - 92%.

All Present And Correct (2009)
Help guide the gifts to the sacks so they can be delivered in time for Christmas day, whilst avoiding the holes and hammers so no child receives a broken present this year.
This is a quick & fun game for Christmas 2009, inspired by the puzzle element of SEGA's Chu-Chu Rocket.

As well as the 40 levels in the actual game, a level editor is included so you can design your own levels and freely distribute them by making an emulator snapshot image of the game.

Mister Beep returns with an excellent beeper tune for the front-end, and fellow WOS-members Graz & Andrew Owen have designed a number of the levels.

MicroMart - "This game shares a couple of similarities with Psygnosis's classic Lemmings, though each level is played from a birds-eye view.  The game is complete with excellent musical scores by Mister Beep... ...fill your stockings with this great game..."

W*H*B (2009)
Tumble & roll your block around the levels in order to reach the exit.  Use the switches, teleports, glass, crumbling & splitter tiles around the level to your best advantage, and to complete each level in the least number of moves.
There are a number of games like this to be found on the internet at the moment, and with my love for puzzle games I thought it was about time it made its way onto the Spectrum, especially as I could utilise an isometric viewpoint for the game which I think always looks cool on the Speccy.

The game itself is a collaboration with a number of the talented people from the World Of Spectrum forums - Mister Beep provides the fantastic 48K beeper tunes used throughout - I'm overjoyed to at last have a 48K game which actually sounds good!  Other WOSers - Jumping Stack, Karl Gillott, Mulder & ZnorXman - have all provided excellent levels for the game, and Kev Thacker provided the name for the game.

RetroGamer - "Things start simple to introduce features... ...but the puzzles soon become devious.  Puzzling through each stage is a challenge that many gamers should enjoy" - 89%.

Herbert the Turbot
Help Herbert free his friend & mentor Octo the Octopus who has been captured & imprisoned, held by eight locks.  Herbert must find the 8 keys in a journey that takes him to the other side of the world, and to hell and back!
In the final stages of development, awaiting AY-Music and a good bit of spit & polish.  The game itself is a classic flick-screen maze / adventure game, spread across over 200 screens, each unique as I always disliked other similar games where all the screens look too similar to be sure where you are.

Currently unreleased in its final form.  The last work-in-progress version is available to Download.

Factory Daze (2009)
In the midst of a global economic slowdown, families across the country are shunning more expensive restaurants in favour of cheaper fast-food outlets.  The major producer of bio-degradable toys which come with the children's meals has never had it so good, and so to keep up with the increased demand has installed an automated production line to produce everything quickly & efficiently.

But one night the machine mysteriously starts making the wrong toys - all mis-formed & broken - so you've been hired to keep an eye on the machines to ensure each part of each toy is stamped correctly into shape...
A simple and colourful game - easy to get the hang of, but difficult to master - becoming a frantic battle of concentration as you try to juggle the settings of up to four stamping machines at once so each toy is correct and ready for shipping.

MicroMart - "There is very little to complain about with Factory Daze.  The pace of the game varies from sedate to frantic, but even as you get through some of the more pedestrian stages, you get a metal work out.  This is one of the best Spectrum releases that you'll see this year." - 9/10

RetroGamer - Sizzler - "Factory Daze is almost worryingly cute.  The in-game music is cheerful to a degree that could get a job presenting children's television, and the little toys working their way through the production process includes delightful robots of various descriptions, floppy disks, Space Invaders-inspired aliens, assorted kitchen utensils, and even the fast food itself." - 92%

Text-only Grand Prix 2009 (2008)
"Text-Only Grand-Prix 2009" features all the fun of typing, and none of the action, speed, thrills or spills of Formula 1 - including the Singapore night-race.
What more can I say?  Painstakingly written in BASIC (and I mean that - I haven't written in BASIC for over 25 years!) this was my entry for the CSSCGC, and I was very proud of the result.  So far this has been the only release in the text-only series, but you never know...

Rated 18th in the comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Compo 2008 (CSSCGC), with the following comments:

"This is certainly an artisan entry in the annals of the CGC. The thrills and spills of F1 racing completely neutered in the form of a text-only boredom-athon. More than just a quick gag though, in this game each individual track layout has been painstakingly entered into DATA statements in the pursuit of an accurate and realistic text simulation. I just love the use of FLASH attribute on the chequered flags on the track selection screen. Make your way around one or two of the tracks by all means but a quest to play every track would only be attempted by the insane."

Farmer Jack - Treasure Trove (2008)
"'av a ganders at this coin...  said Farmer Jack to Farmer Jon, up on a rare visit from his farm in Somerset to sunny Yorkshire. "M'combine dug it up yesterday, caused right damage to these 'ere blades.  What do you think it is?".

Jon looked at the coin, turning it over in his fingers, and rubbing off some of the dirt on it, "Wow Jack, that be one of those Roman coins, worth a bit I'd say, but I'd keep it quiet if I were you. Down in Somerset I've heard people are going around pretending to be archaeologists once they hear of things like this, digging them all up, and selling them on the black market.  They should be in the county museum, for everybody to see.".  Jack certainly wanted the coins somewhere for everybody to see, but had also heard that along with the fake archaeologists wrecking his fields, the real ones would also appear, with camera crews in tow and turnip loving presenters, and be digging trenches all over his farm searching for buildings and the like - and he didn't want that either!  "You should get 'em all up out of the ground yourself as soon as  said Jon, "then the museum can get them, and nobody will need to dig-up your land"

"Aye I'll get right to it said Jack...
This is Jack's last outing in the world of single-screen maze games, this time based on Pac-Man with a little influence from Lock'n'Chase.  It began life from the question that all such games involve collecting objects and dodging the monsters, but what if the monsters collected the objects to?  And what if that undid all the good work you'd done trying to build up your score?

MicroMart - "Everyone's favourite 8-bit farmer is back in his latest (and last) single-screen affair, completing Bob Smith's trilogy of games quite handsomely.  This game plays like an evil Pac-Man." - 7/10

RGCD - "Kudos to Bob though for creating the only game I can think of that has archaeologists as the enemy" - 85% (combined with Hedge Monkeys)

splATTR (2008)
If it moves, shoot it.
If it doesn't move, shoot it anyway.
If it drains your energy, move!
Starting in autumn 2007, with timeout to code ...Hedge Monkeys! splATTR is now finished, and published by Cronosoft.  Lee du-Caine is once again at the audio helm, and has produced fast & loud tunes which really push the pace of the game.

The name "splATTR" was created by Andrew Owen on the WOS forums, and "ATTR" is short for attribute, pointing to the fact that the game is entirely based on character squares to provide me both with the ability to render huge graphics, and also to remove the problems of colour clash often associated with Spectrum games.  Since everything was character based smooth movement wasn't an option, and so a fast shoot-em'up was born to make the most of the engine.  The graphics are large and colourful, and are a nod to the later games by Don Priestly who, starting with "Trap Door", produced a number of games with big, bright graphics which were instantly endearing.

MicroMart - "It's a no-excuses, colourful and fast-paced, full-fat, caffeine-driven psychedelic shoot-'em up oozing class, originality, playability and addictiveness like no other" - 9/10

RetroGamer - "splATTR's graphics take 'chunky' to a whole new level, but are colourful, detailed, and pretty smooth moving with it...All of them are the sort of thing that presumably plague Matthew Smith's nightmares.  ...with three levels of difficulty and 32 unique stages each with playing tips makes splATTR more strategic that it first appears and a solid, enjoyable challenge" - 91%

RGCD - "It has to be said that this game just oozes polish – from the great music/sfx throughout and choice of difficulty levels, to the re-definable keys and presentation options of radar type and animated/static backgrounds. It is obvious that this is something quite special and constructed with great care, but it is in the graphical department that this game really excels.  Entertaining, addictive and shockingly original, Splattr is the killer-app that the 128KB series never had." - 88%

Farmer Jack and the Hedge Monkeys! (2008)
Never one to turn down the offer of a holiday, Jack made his way down the M1, M42, and M5 to visit his cousin Farmer Jon in deepest Somerset.  The journey took a while, but everybody seemed friendly - all the cars sounded their horns and waved their arms at him as they overtook his tractor.  Jack was happy to be off the motorway in the end, and along the scenic, familiar winding lanes through the badlands before he got to Jon's farm.

Farmer Jon wasn't in such a good mood when Jack finally arrived though.  "Them buggers", he cried, "every June they come roaming round me fields, looking for a festival.  Eavis' farm's not another 20 miles away from 'ere in Pilton, but they're all too stoned to notice, pillocks!  Ravers, Hippies and Hedge-Monkeys, same time every year. Just as I sow my crops they come trampling around, treading in the seeds and ruining it all - 'elp me Jack".  "Eee, that's trouble at'mill and no mistake", mused Jack, "but m'tractors pretty nippy - I'll belt round and get them seeds up for you" offered Jack. Jon gladly accepted, tired-out by chasing the hippies, monkeys and ravers across the levels all day.  "I've no cows on them fields no more after that blue-tongue trouble, so you can move the gates all you need - that'll really confuse 'em!  Thanks Jack".  "No trouble", said Jack, "I'll start in morning".

"Proper Job!" said Jon, smiling at last."
After writing Stranded 2.5, which with its 48 levels took a while to complete, I needed to do something quick & fun to get back into the swing of things again, and so Farmer Jack returned with  another conversion of an 80's arcade game missing from the Spectrum - this time with "Ladybug" - written as a thank you to Simon who runs Cronosoft and has always wanted a Spectrum version of it.

Using the first Farmer Jack game as a base for the code I also tried to address some of the criticisms of the first and so locked the game to a constant frame-rate and improved the controls, but this time did a pretty straight conversion of the arcade - albeit with Jack & Hedge Monkeys instead of the insect theme of the original.

("Hedge Monkeys", as the internet will tell you if you ask it, is a west-country term for hippies as they tend to look as if they live in hedges.  Living in Somerset as a child the game's story is loosely based on the annual invasion of them for the Glastonbury festival, when you could still jump the fence and it wasn't in the least bit trendy!)

MicroMart - "...Lee du-Caine's superb AY beeps and tones for 128K variants ... everything is slickly executed, colourful and cute." - 8/10

RGCD - "Hedge Monkeys is an excellent version of Lady Bug - a game that did not see an official conversion to the Spectrum. ...This is a really phenomenal version of the game with all the addictiveness (and difficulty) of the game that inspired it. Playing this game has even improved my skills on the arcade original. Now there's a testimonial for the box art!" - 85% (combined with Treasure Trove)

Stranded 2.5 (2007)
"So this is it", bemoaned Tyche, "Here I am, imprisoned by Moosh, with my people in slavery, when all I wanted was to promote goodwill between our two worlds...".  Moosh didn't take kindly to Tyche's offers of peace and a bridge for trade between their worlds, and so destroyed the bridge, and in a final daring move kidnapped Tyche before returning to his own world and throwing him in jail.  A better bridge, so much more secure than it's predecessor, now spans the worlds allowing his henchmen to carry the minerals, oils and precious gems back from Tyche's once free lands, with the citizens enslaved to toil for Moosh's greed.

But the resistance is growing, and if only their leader was back amongst them they could start to fight against the tyranny.  And so - with his trusty staff smuggled into the prison - Tyche has escaped his captors and must start to make the journey home...
Back in the late 1980's I wrote Stranded, but my coding skills weren't up to much back then and so I had to limit my ideas for the game to match what I could achieve at the time.  Nearly 20 years later, and armed with a far greater knowledge of the Spectrum, I felt I was good enough to revisit the idea and write the game as I had wanted to all those years ago, and so Stranded 2.5 was born.

Featuring a fully-masked player character, additional features to the original such as switches and rotating blocks, a full music score by Lee du-Caine, and all displayed in a crisp 2.5D (hence the title) I feel I'd achieved what I had originally intended to.  The music needs a special mention here as Lee produced over 35K of original tunes, nearly 10 in all, which was also released on CD by Ubiktune.

MicroMart - "Though this remains strictly a puzzle game, it's simple, yet challenging, and has addictiveness to keep you entertained for hours ... Overall, it's an enjoyable, challenging experience" - 7/10

RGCD - "Lee Du-Caine has scored an excellent soundtrack that perfectly complements the game ... Stranded 2.5 really sets the bar for what fans should expect from a commercially released game ... highly recommended." - 88%

Farmer Jack in Harvest Havoc! (2006)
Jack loves his home-brew wine.

What started as a hobby, with a lone demijohn of elderberry wine bubbling away in the under stairs cupboard, has become big business for him in a few short years, and the number of allotments he owns, to grow the fruits, is getting bigger every year.  Big business isn't easy though - this year another supplier has been flooding the market with cheap nasty wine, but Jack's wholesome organic produce still rules the market - despite all the competition tried.

But last night, at the end of another fabulous growing season, when he had started collecting the fruit for this year's vintage he heard a clanging of metal, smelt the foul smell of big business, and saw huge steel monsters roaming the allotments, trampling the paths and destroying his crops!

"By eck! Me 'arvest! It's a rum-do this!" Jack exclaimed, and off he set again to gather his harvest, and deal with the competition's mechanical menace that was threatening his livelihood...
As Dominetris was well received I decided to turn my attention to converting an arcade game which I liked and the Speccy never had a decent version of - "Mr. Do!".  Improving my coding all the time, and using TommyGun to design all the sprites, the resulting game strayed a little from the arcade by replacing the "magic ball" with a number of bombs (it's my game and I never got the hang of that ball!).  Largely well received it set the character of Farmer Jack firmly on-track to be used again in future games, such as "Farmer Jack and the Hedge Monkeys" which followed early in 2008.

The game also marks the beginning of a fantastic partnership with Lee du-Caine (found via a "Wanted..." add in the WOS forums) who did all the music & sound effects for this and all my games since, and literally adds another dimension to the games.  His input into the final result, and the creative process cannot be underestimated.

MicroMart - "The graphics are nice and bright ... special mention should be made to the wonderful AY music ... Farmer Jack in Harvest Havoc has a good amount of polish to it, and is kind of naive fun which will please most of you out there in the wide world of retro" - 8/10

RGCD - "Quite simply, this is the best single-screen arcade game I've ever played on the 128K Spectrum ... Everything about it is pure class, from the ace backing music to the crystal-clear graphics and pixel-perfect collision detection." - 86%

ZXF - "The graphics are extremely pleasing to look at and the music is superb. It's the kind of game your six year old could get into, and to hell with the PSP. In fact, this is exactly the sort of game we need more of to get that generation interested in the Speccy." - 86%

ZX-Shed - "Farmer Jack is a modern day ZX Spectrum classic. I kid you not. It is extremely playable, fun and addictive ... But don't take my word for it, Buy it, play it.  You will love it." - 93%

Dominetris (2005)
Arrange the dominoes as they tumble from the sky so that matching digits are adjacent, either horizontally or vertically, to each other.  Align the same number of digits as the digit itself to make those dominoes disappear.
Written in 2005 to see if I could get back into writing Z80-assembler Spectrum games (after a lot of hassling by a friend!) this is a novel take on the Tetris theme where, rather than completing lines of block, you have to match digits on dominoes - 2 twos, 3 threes, 4 fours and so on - to make them disappear.

Unlike Stranded, which was written on an actual Spectrum, Dominetris was the first game written on a PC using freeware programs such as Crimson Editor, Pasmo, and Spin before finally being tested on my original 48K Spectrum (from 1983) and a recently purchased grey +2 machine.

Originally intended for the Cronosoft "Cassette 50" charity compilation it never had a loading screen, in order to pack as many games as possible on the tape.  However an accomplished loading-screen artist, de Vandemar Croup, produced a loading screen for it, and it is that screen which is now included with the game.

RetroGamer - "Dominetris is a rather original and interesting take on Tetris.  The controls are simple, and play is thoughtful and sometimes fraught" - 79%

Stranded (1989)
Help Moosh destroy the Bridge between his world and Tysch's by collecting as many tiles as possible on each level of the bridge. While making his way to the exit circle. Some of the tiles you cannot collect, while others do strange things...

Beware most tiles will disappear once Moosh has passed over them.

Every level can be completed within the time limit. If it seems impossible, wait around a while...
Stranded was my first proper machine-code game for the Spectrum, back in the late 1980's when I was still at school.  Although I'd done POKEs for magazines, and some nice sprite routines, this was what it was all leading up to.  Written using the McGraw-Hill assembler, which came along with a book teaching Z80, it proved to me that I could, in a small way, write games like Ultimate did where character movement was pixel-smooth and graphics not limited to the 21 UDGs available from BASIC.

Looking back at it development was a nightmare - all the code was stored in separate files on tape, and that keyboard really wasn't good for typing on, whatever Sir Clive might have said at the time!

Finally finished in 1989 (I had to do my exams!) it was very basic, and didn't find a publisher, but I was very proud of it all the same.  Many years later a friend told me of Cronosoft, and how they wanted new Spectrum games, so I sent it to Simon, and the rest is history...

RetroGamer - "Stranded is another solid release from Cronosoft" - 7/10

RGCD - "the game is nice little puzzler that is well worth the 1.75 download cost" - 71%