The first games that I had with my ZX Spectrum for Christmas in 1983 was Manic Miner and Lunar Jetman — they were recommended by a friend in school who was a little older than me, and more up to date on Spectrum games scene. This was THE game played all over that Christmas period with brief respite whilst checking out the Horizons tape that came with the computer and trying to figure out what I actually had to do in Lunar Jetman.
Manic Miner as it is widely known was created by Matthew Smith — it’s a platform game covering 20 screens littered with enemies from the incredulous mind of Smith where killer penguins, evil snapping toilets and mutant telephones are the norm. Collecting all the shiny objects on a level (keys, tennis bats, bananas etc) sees a door open to the next level. Each level becomes progressively harder. As you mis-time a jump and fall to your death with your final life, you scream with frustration as a Pythonesque foot of doom squishes poor Willy, rubbing further salt into the wounds of failure. You cannot help but have one more go to see if you can get further. Highly playable even now and is always one to go to on the Spectrum.
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