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Complete BBC Micro Games Archive (bbcmicro.co.uk)
130 points by tosh 9 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 48 comments

Another awesome resource for BBC Micro/Electron software: https://www.stairwaytohell.com/bbc/index.html

That one is especially cool IMO because it provides archives of the old cassettes in UEF format, which aims to preserve some of the audio properties as well (i.e. phase switches, dead spots, etc.).

Not super practical, but it does let you experience the screaming speed of 1200 baud while the computer makes loud noises at you!

Someone even wrapped it with a JS decoder, so you can assault your eardrums in your browser: https://www.8bitkick.cc/playuef.html

This is a rabbit hole I’ve been avoiding for years. My childhood and teenage years were spent glued to a BBC. I’d got bored of the games within a couple of years though and proceeded to learn 6502 assembly and stick things in the user port instead.

Got my BBC B in 1983 for passing my 'O grades' with reasonably decent scores.

Whilst I loved the gaming it was the programming that I enjoyed the most and honing my 6502 assembly chops I'd been getting to to speed with on the school Apple ][; to the extent I wrote a sideways ROM (to provide modem control capability for running a BBS app I wrote) with some bodgery around the user port as well to capture the RS-232 signals the RS-423 port couldn't...carrier detect, ring indicate (all before the days of AT Hayes commands and responses).

I think this is the first time I've seen Demolator available on an emulator, I spent hours playing that, and of course Elite.

Ooh, the waves of nostalgia are almost overpowering :)

Shameless promotion to my twitter handle for retro tech adverts. I've been posting those amazing old tech adverts out of magazines 90s, 80s and older.


Thank you for your work, some of those are amazing!

Thanks. Glad that you are enjoying it.

Most games aren't interesting anymore. I can't play Revs again after Trackmania. But some of them I still enjoy: Repton, Thrust, Chuckie Egg.

Thrust is a masterpiece

It looks like a Scramble clone.

Scramble is a side scrolling shooter. Thrust has a different sort of game play, with a lot more in common with Gravitar.

It's a physics game really, about velocity, mass and angular momentum

With pixel perfect collision detection.

And once you finish all 6 levels you get to play them again, with inverted gravity. And once you get used to that it reverses back but the walls are invisible. And then both inverted and invisible

You can’t have a complete BBC Micro Games Archive without Granny’s Garden!

It's not included because, astonishingly, it's still for sale. http://www.4mation.co.uk/retro/retrogranny.html

Wow, amazing! The same approach Nintendo has taken with Super Mario 3D All-Stars.

£15.50, an absolutely insane price.

Whoa, total grade 2 flashbacks. I forgot this game existed but spent ages on it at school.

No BBC tie-in games like Geordie Racer or Through the Dragon's Eye either!

The educational games like Dragon's eye, Podd and Granny's Garden are what really cemented my interest in computers at a young age.

Ah this looks great. My Dad would buy and sell second hand BBCs and my whole family were well into all of the Repton 3 games. I remember loving discovering the level editor too and proudly making my own themed set of levels which I think scratched a similar itch to programming for 7 year old version of me.

I always thought Repton was the greatest game ever. Am keen to see how it holds up now.

I also remember Imogen being very clever, Citadel I found a bit creepy, and everyone loved Chuckie Egg except me for some reason.

Repton was one of the best games for the Commodore 64 but a completely different game.


Today I learnt that BBC kids had a weird knock-off of Boulder Dash called Repton instead of a weird knock-off of Defender called Repton. :)

(Wikipedia claims that Beeb Repton was built entirely on the description of Boulder Dash found in a review, rather than actually playing Boulder Dash.)

This is going back a fair few years now, but having played both, my recollection is that Repton is a bit of a different game. The diamonds in are always stationary, and everything else runs in lock step, so there's no chance of outrunning the rocks or the scrolling.

Repton has been released as an Android version, and it's a very good port, with all the original levels plus some more.

I completed a lot more than when I was 7, but I still haven't solved them all.


Castle Quest is the game my family measured all games against for couple of decades following its release. There is no way that game will live up to my expectations if I attempt to play it again now.

i should have read your last sentence before i shattered some childhood memory of the graphics of Citadel.

I think nostalgia hits me harder than you: I yawn at the latest PlayStation demos with a gazillion polygons - but after image-searching "BBC Citadel", I'm all "take my money!".

I gotta play that this evening. I'm sure the game play will be awful, but I love the graphics ;)

I don't care for graphics really, dwarf fortress is the best game ever, IMO. this was more how my memory from 35 years or so compares to reality.

Agreed on Castle Quest, on both counts.

Did you ever play Imogen? I think that one honestly holds up, graphics included. And of course Elite and Exile.

When I got hold of a BBC emulator, I played many of these games through to completion with the use of "save state". Castle Quest ended up being pretty underwhelming. Exile, on the other hand, is absolutely insane in its level of complexity. This is the full map:


The game is still genius to me. I love the teleport mechanic: in the game, you're invincible, but if you sustain too much damage in a short period, your suit teleports you away to safety so you can recover. You can "remember" up to four teleport destinations, with the ultimate fallback being your spaceship. Being forced to teleport is usually bad. You can potentially drop important items in a dangerous area, or find yourself having to redo a tricky navigation back to the area you teleported from.

The brilliance is that the big-bad Triax and his three robots have the same teleport mechanic. The only way to destroy them is to hit them with massive amounts of damage before their teleports kick in. This meant using physics puzzles, because damage sources would stack: I could destroy the final robot by luring it to and blasting it in the face with the experimental thruster, shooting it with the remote-controlled cannon, and using the icer simultaneously.

I’m amazed that anyone ever actually solved Exile. I think I might have gotten as much as 30% of the way through... I reached the windy tunnel, but didn’t collect much in the way of exotic equipment beyond the icer.

I love the emergent gameplay that comes out of that clever teleportation mechanic, and the amazingly robust physics. As you say, it plays fair -- the enemies use the same teleporters you do, and the monkeys jump in honest parabolas. It’s great how just about everything is destructible, although usually needing much more firepower than you have available.

I used to enjoy just zooming around the central cave with my jetpack, dodging the guided missiles that one of the tall robots launched from its side-tunnel. If you infuriated it enough, it would fall off the ledge and end up at the bottom of the cave!

Wonderful game, and an amazing technical achievement.

> I’m amazed that anyone ever actually solved Exile. I think I might have gotten as much as 30% of the way through... I reached the windy tunnel,...

This was about as far as I got without a walkthrough. And I fear it wasn't close to 30%!

> It’s great how just about everything is destructible, although usually needing much more firepower than you have available.

Yes, I loved this. A significant part of the map, letting you into Triax's liar, is behind a "rune door" that must be destroyed. It seems that the game developers intended you to destroy this door by acquiring two radioactive rocks and dropping one on the other over the door, creating a massive explosion that would destroy it. But I read in a few places that people had successfully destroyed the door by very carefully collecting and stacking grenades to cause damage above the required threshold.

And there was a standard set of cheats for the game, one of which allowed you to fire cannon shot from your normal gun. It makes short work of that rune door.

I really like this way of designing games, where your puzzles aren't simple boolean rules (you must use the red key in the red door) but more real valued (you must deal x damage in y timeframe). For exile, it meant there were multiple solutions to puzzles that I suspect the designers had never considered.

i'd never heard of imogen, which surprised me given that it made the top 20. i'll give it a play through.

One thing I've learned after spending quite a bit of time trying to collect "complete archives" of software for various retrosystems....it's impossible. Somebody somewhere has written something that has yet to be archived, or will write something soon and it won't be part of most archives that are curated by various curation groups.

I kind of find it to be kind of awesome. Some platforms like the BBC Micro, or C64, still have dozens of pieces of software released for them per year!

Once life resumes, if you get a chance I highly recommend visiting the Computing Museum in Cambridge, England.

I’ve visited twice and thoroughly enjoyed it. Has many working classic machines, and a learning room full of BBC Micros, and even a Doomsday Laserdisc machine! It has a great collection of gaming consoles throughout the ages, 70s onwards including many rare gems.


Heh. This got me down memory lane and I started looking things up. Can you believe you can still play Tradewars 2002? https://www.tradewars.com/default.html

sweet, it has "the valley"[1], the first roguelike i ever played. someone remade it for dos, but it didn't have quite the nostalgic feel of the original (the monochrome graphics actually help with the atmosphere).

[1] http://bbcmicro.co.uk//game.php?id=2250

If you are a little unfamiliar with the UK computing scene (as I was) I highly recommend the (somewhat campy) "Micro Men" which ran on the BBC in 2009. It covers the competition between Sinclair and Acorn.


It lacks some of the crazy things people have done with co processor ports. There’s a port of Doom to the ARM 2nd processor.

People did very crazy things with the 2nd processors.

I had a ZX Spectrum emulator running on the Z80 2nd processor, and an Atari ST emulator on the 68000 2nd processor.

Both very limited, and still having to go through the BBC's 6502 display and sound. But amazingly, some 3rd party code for those machines worked well enough in the emulators to give an impression of sort of working.

What about Frak?

Tell me about Frak, please.

had one of the best implemented moving and jumping systems of the games i played; very fast, smooth and responsive.

My memory of Frak! on the model B was glacial speeds, but looked great.

huh, i could be remembering it wrong, the yoyo was fast but you might be right about the dude being slow. definitely very smooth though.

I was going to ask if it had Nohzdyve, but remembered that it was only for ZX Spectrum.

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