When home computers burst onto the scene we were all smitten! We couldn’t get enough games for our chosen platform. Some people even wrote their own games in their bedroom and sold them for lots of money! We didn’t mind waiting 10 minutes for them to load from a tape, we didn’t even really mind when we got a tape error and had to start again! So whether you were into Spectrum, Commodore, Amstrad or any other computer available at the time you probably loved to play these 10 computer games!
1. The Last Ninja
The Last Ninja contains a blend of exploration, puzzle solving and combat. The object of the game is to guide the ninja protagonist Armakuni on his journey to the palace of the evil shogun Kunitoki to assassinate him, avenging his clan, and retrieve the sacred scrolls. As the player progresses, Kunitoki’s henchmen become more challenging as they learn the ways of the ninja. The interface consists of the opponents’ energy and collected inventory (on the right) and player’s health (on the bottom). The world is viewed in an isometric perspective allowing the player to move in eight directions. Movements are relative to the direction Armakuni is facing but restricted to predefined paths (the scenery being inaccessible). Composure and precision must be used when navigating and jumping around obstacles, traps and fatal features of the terrain. By approaching and kneeling at certain landmarks, such as shrines to Buddhaand water fountains, an indication of what to collect next is revealed. These items are often hidden in trees or bushes and flash shortly after a new screen has been entered.
The game features the player as a schoolboy named Eric, with the objective of stealing his report card out of the staff room safe by accomplishing various tasks around the school. The computer controls all the other characters in the game, including the headmaster, other teachers and other pupils. The four teachers are Mr Wacker (the headmaster), Mr Rockitt (the science teacher), Mr Withit (the geography teacher) and Mr Creak (the history master). Other than Eric, three of the pupils are named: Boy Wander (the tearaway), Angelface (the bully) and Einstein (the swot). The player has the option of renaming the characters before the game begins. There are also many unnamed, undistinguished pupils at the school.
If Eric is caught out of class or otherwise misbehaving, teacher characters pursue him and issue lines. When 10,000 lines or more are accumulated, the game ends with Eric’s expulsion. However, Eric can also receive lines for things that are not his fault, such as lying or sitting on the floor when in fact he has been knocked down, or being nearest a teacher who has just been hit by a projectile fired by one of the other pupils. So part of the challenge of the game is to prevent other pupils from getting Eric into trouble.
In each of the twenty caverns, each one screen in size, are several flashing objects, which the player must collect before Willy’s oxygen supply runs out. Once the player has collected the objects in one cavern, they must then go to the now-flashing portal, which will take them to the next cavern. The player must avoid enemies, listed in the cassette inlay as “…Poisonous Pansies, Spiders, Slime, and worst of all, Manic Mining Robots…”, which move along predefined paths at constant speeds. Willy can also be killed by falling too far, so players must time the precision of jumps and other movements to prevent such falls or collisions with the enemies.
Extra lives are gained every 10,000 points, and the game ends when the player has either no lives left, or completes all twenty caverns and escapes to the open air. Above the final portal is a garden. To the right is a house with a white picket fence and red car parked in front. To the left is a slope leading to backyard with a pond and tree; a white animal, resembling a cat or mouse, watches the sun set behind the pond. Upon gaining his freedom, Miner Willy simply walks off the right of the screen, never looking back.