I’ve often talked about my love for the 48k Spectrum. A computer with about as much brain power as an egg timer.
What the Spectrum games did have for the most part was playability. One game company was a master at the playable game and that was Ultimate – Play The Game. Ultimate games were the ones that always got a high rating in crash magazine and were always the ones that people wanted to copy! Remember you could copy games back in those days, those wonderful days of tape to tape recording.
There are many games I could mention but I’m going to talk about just one. The fantastic Atic Atac. The game was released in late 1983 and I “cough” bought my copy soon after. Crash Magazine loved the game and so did I.
The game story goes a little like this, your character, either a knight, a wizard or a serf, has been locked in a castle. The only way to escape the castle is to search the numerous rooms looking for three parts to a golden key that will unlock the front door. Easy stuff huh?
There are a lot of other locked doors that need colour coded keys to get through, trap doors and evil monsters that will suck the life out of you in a heart beat.
I would play this game for hours. I’d get two parts of the golden key and then run out of life. One thing I never did with this game (although I did with others) was cheat. The classic spectrum cheat “poke” was easy to do, but I wanted to complete this game without it. Though being fourteen years old my will power was stretched to breaking. I would get frustrated at getting so close and yet still trapped inside the castle. But I never cheated and I never completed the game either.
To use the line I have used so many times before, “Time goes by and things change.” and yes I got older.
A lot older.
In the distance now I can barely remember 1983,84, or 85 or 86 for that matter. And now twenty years plus my thoughts are on other things. Work, marriage, children, beer. All these things get in the way of completing goals in your life. Though as I teach my soccer kids, you should never give up, on your dreams, on your games, on yourself. Never give up.
So why should I give up on Atic Atac?
Thank heavens for Retrospec. A group of great people who love spectrum games as much as I did, but as they are a lot smarter than I am, they wrote an up to date version of Atic Atac (and many others).
So I downloaded this great version and have been wasting time playing it again, remembering those youthful days, remembering those scary monsters and my way around the castle.
My daughter asked my what I was playing and I told her this story, and she loved the game and thought it was fun. So I showed her what it looked like in 1983 and she laughed. She thought a five-year old could do better graphics. I had to explain to her that back in those days that was state of the art game graphics, and the picture I was showing her probably took up more bytes than the actual game did!
Games were simple and life was simple when you were a kid. But a challenge is a challenge and I finally completed the game. I got all three parts of the key and waltzed out of that castle like a champion. I did it as the knight character.
So really I’ve only completed a third of the game. I need to now complete the game as the wizard and the serf!
Play the game for yourself by clicking this link Atic Atac at Retrospec.