Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Vintage, even older than that!

Few, and I mean few people remember a computer called the BBC Micro. It was manufactured by Acorn computers, who today are the creators of the ARM chip. At the age of four it was the first computer I had ever seen, and within minutes I was hooked. Bosting a full 32K of RAM, and a fairly advanced disk operating system (Watford DiscFS), it appeared magical to me. But beyond it's more practical uses, I quickly came to realize that it was also a prime platform for what is now referred to as vintage gaming. With the graphical capabilities of an Intellivision console, the benefits of a floppy disk drive for save games and the clearer image delivered by a vga monitor versus a television, I considered myself lucky to have such a slick gaming machine!

Anyhow, one of the first games I played on the Beeb was called Repton, and involved controlling a little green man (known only as "Repton") around a set of underground caves collecting diamonds, avoiding falling rocks and ravenous monsters. The levels were very challenging, especially to a four year old, and contained some of the most brain-twisting geometric rock-pushing puzzles ever devised. I used to plot the maps onto A1 (approx. 4ft x 3ft) sheets of graph paper and sit puzzling out the solutions by plotting notes onto the maps now mounted on my bedroom walls.

Recently, I was exstatic to find that this wonderful game has been written for the PC and is being published by an old BBC sotware firm called Superior Interactive (previously Superior Software). I immediately downloaded their Trial Version to ensure that my $$$ would not simply grant me a license to junk, and within 10 minutes had purchased the full product. Complete with the original levels, three extra level packs, and a sufficiently complex level editor I am very please with the final package.

Well done Superior Interactive and Richard Hanson for delivering an old favorite and putting classic entertainment like Repton "back in the game" so to speak.

If you want to sample some classic 1980's puzzle gaming and see what all this fuss is about, go to


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