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| Jilly's Farm Volume 1 - SokoBAArn (2017)
Jack has retired, leaving the family farm to his daughter Jilly. Jilly
wants to keep livestock - pigs, sheep, and ducks - but there's still
the gathering of the hay crop to be done... Maybe the new sheep can
| Last year I decide the one thing that I still
wanted to write for the ZX Spectrum was an isometric game. Having been
a teenage in the 80's I witnessed with amazement what Ultimate had done
with Knight Lore, and what Costa Panayi and Ritman & Drummond
(amongst others) subsequently did, and the look of those games has
always stayed with me
So I started working on an engine, which turned into a test of a player
object pushing other objects around, which looked a lot like Sokoban...
The player has since become a sheep, the objects bales of hay, and so
SokoBAArn was born. Isometric is perhaps not the best viewpoint for
such a game, but I like it, and watching that sheep walking around sure
is fun :)
Two of my previous games - W*H*B and X=Y=Z - have both featured levels
created by other people, and so I thought I'd take that a step further
with this game and provide a full-working level editor within the game,
which produces a 25-character code which anybody can then type into the
game in order to play that level. This, along with the 30 levels built
into the game, should at least provide a brief distraction to the woes
of the world
| X=Y=Z (2014)
slide, twist, and
teleport your cube around the levels in
order to reach
exit, with a limited palette of commands available, across 34 levels of
| 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.
- Sizzler - "X=Y=Z might be a
different style of game to W*H*B but is just as playable and even more
|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
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 - http://www.electricwolf.co.uk/
- which also contains a link to the Xbox
marketplace where you can download the demo or full version of
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."
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.
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 - http://www.electricwolf.co.uk/
- which also contains a link to the Xbox
marketplace where you can download the demo or full version of
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"
Chi-Chi Skyrocket on her quest to keep the multiverse safe from
invaders, taking the fight to the stars, underwater, and inside the
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
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
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"
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"
Mystic Woods (2010)
FOR A STORY
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
until Horace was really lost. Horace is afraid that he will
get out and so has called for your help to aid in his escape.
woods will spring many surprises on you. It will take all
wits and agility to help Horace get home.
64 terrible areas await you, can you help him?
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.
is not a modern-style "re-imagining" of the game, but a warts'n'all
remake where I'm trying to keep
as close as possible to the original game,
the graphics for the new (old!) platform.
"...an 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%.
And Correct (2009)
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.
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.
Beep returns with an excellent beeper tune for the front-end, and
WOS-members Graz & Andrew Owen have designed a number of the
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
musical scores by Mister Beep... ...fill your stockings with this great
& roll your block around the levels in order to reach
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
cool on the Speccy.
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
which actually sounds good! Other WOSers - Jumping Stack,
Gillott, Mulder & ZnorXman - have all provided excellent levels
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 free his friend & mentor Octo the Octopus who has
captured & imprisoned, held by eight locks. Herbert
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
/ 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.
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.
one night the machine mysteriously starts making the wrong toys - all
mis-formed & broken - so you've been hired to keep an eye on
machines to ensure each part of each toy is stamped correctly into
| 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.
"There is very little to complain
about with Factory Daze. The pace of the game varies from
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."
RetroGamer - Sizzler -
"Factory Daze is almost
worryingly cute. The in-game music is cheerful to a degree
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."
Grand Prix 2009 (2008)
Grand-Prix 2009" features all
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...
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
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
|Farmer Jack -
Treasure Trove (2008)
a ganders at
this coin... said Farmer Jack to Farmer Jon, up on a rare
from his farm in Somerset to sunny Yorkshire. "M'combine dug it up
yesterday, caused right damage to these 'ere blades. What do
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.
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
Jon, "then the museum can get them, and nobody will need to dig-up your
"Aye I'll get
right to it said Jack...
is Jack's last outing in the world of single-screen maze games, this
time based on Pac-Man with a little influence from
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
done trying to build up your score?
- "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."
- "Kudos to Bob though for creating the only game I can think of that
has archaeologists as the enemy" - 85% (combined with Hedge Monkeys)
If it doesn't
move, shoot it anyway.
If it drains your
| Starting in autumn 2007, with timeout to code
...Hedge Monkeys! splATTR
is now finished, and published by Cronosoft. Lee du-Caine is
again at the audio helm, and has produced fast & loud tunes
really push the pace of the game.
"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
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
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" -
"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
stages each with playing tips makes splATTR more strategic that it
first appears and a solid, enjoyable challenge" - 91%
- "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,
and shockingly original, Splattr is the killer-app that the 128KB
series never had." - 88%
and the Hedge Monkeys! (2008)
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
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
me fields, looking for a festival. Eavis' farm's not another
away from 'ere in Pilton, but they're all too stoned to notice,
pillocks! Ravers, Hippies and Hedge-Monkeys, same time every
Just as I sow my crops they come trampling around, treading in the
seeds and ruining it all - 'elp me Jack". "Eee, that's
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
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
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
swing of things again, and so Farmer Jack returned with
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 &
Monkeys instead of the insect theme of the original.
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
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!)
"...Lee du-Caine's superb AY beeps and tones for
128K variants ... everything is slickly executed, colourful and cute."
- "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
this is it",
"Here I am, imprisoned by Moosh, with my people in slavery, when all I
wanted was to promote goodwill between our two worlds...".
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
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.
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
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
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.
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"
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%
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
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...
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
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!).
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
final result, and the creative process cannot be underestimated.
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"
simply, this is the best
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%
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%
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%
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
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.
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
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
de Vandemar Croup, produced a loading screen for it, and it is that
screen which is now included with the game.
is a rather original and interesting
take on Tetris. The controls are simple, and play is
sometimes fraught" - 79%
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...
most tiles will disappear once Moosh has passed over them.
level can be completed within the time limit. If it seems impossible,
wait around a while...
| Stranded was my
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
sprite routines, this was what it was all leading up to.
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!
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
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
- "the game
little puzzler that is well worth the £1.75 download cost"