Grandia: Parallel Trippers, Game Boy Color

Grandia: Parallel Trippers was developed by Game Arts and published by Hudson Soft for the Game Boy Color in 2000.

Parallel Trippers is a spin-off from the Grandia series that takes place in an alternate version of the Grandia world, but still populated with characters from the original Grandia game.

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Top Gear 3000, Super Nintendo

An old-school 2D racer, developed and published for the Super Nintendo by a British company (Gremlin Graphics), way back in 1995.

Top Gear 3000 is a futuristic race game with tracks set on various different planets, with you driving fairly standard-looking sports cars.

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Pentagram, ZX Spectrum

By the time Pentagram came out in 1986, famous development and publishing house – Ultimate Play The Game – had been sold off to US Gold. How much of Pentagram was therefore down to Ultimate‘s designers, and how much was down to US Gold‘s programmers, is still a matter for debate. Most likely, Pentagram was a construct of US Gold, with Ultimate providing only the initial ideas, graphics and game engine (the famous Filmation Engine).

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Alien 8, ZX Spectrum

The original ZX Spectrum version of Alien 8 was first released in 1985, not long after Knight Lore had already blown the world away with its incredible isometric graphics and characteristic gameplay.

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Beyond Oasis, Megadrive/Genesis

Also known in some territories as The Story of Thor: A Successor of The Light, Beyond Oasis is an action adventure game that was developed by Ancient and published by Sega in 1994.

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Crazy Climber, Arcade

Crazy Climber is an early colour video game, released into arcades in 1980 by Nichibutsu. The basic premise is to climb up the face of a large building to reach the helicopter at the top.

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Double Dragon, Arcade

Released into arcades in 1987 by Technos Japan, Double Dragon is a legendary one or two-player scrolling beat ’em up, starring twin brothers – Billy Lee and Jimmy – who are on a rescue mission for Marian – Billy’s girlfriend who has been kidnapped by a gang of thugs called The Black Warriors.

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Phantasy Star II, Megadrive/Genesis

Released in 1989 for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis, Phantasy Star II is a pioneering RPG for its time. It’s a sequel, obviously; to the classic Sega Master System release of 1987, Phantasy Star.

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Jonathan Smith’s Classic ZX Spectrum Games

A British programmer/developer who made a name for himself with his very first game, Pud Pud, which was published by Ocean Software for the ZX Spectrum in 1984. Smith was just 17 at the time Pud Pud was released, but was fortuitous in that his pitch to Ocean, and them signing him up as ‘talent’, was all filmed and later broadcast on television in an episode of BBC TV’s Commercial Breaks, which gave him an instant profile to an appreciative audience. Bob Wakelin‘s ace cover art also did Smith‘s early games a lot of good.

Unfortunately Jonathan Smith isn’t with us any longer; he sadly passed away in 2010, but I do know – from having read a few interviews with Smith – that he was very embarrassed about his appearance on Commercial Breaks. Which is a pity because he was great in it. And he really put himself on the map by agreeing to do it. Smith liked to work hard and “keep out of the limelight” as much as possible, and seemed to be a humble man. His work on a series of classic ZX Spectrum games will never be forgotten.

Between 1984 and 1988 Smith programmed 13 games for the Spectrum. At least five of which could be considered ‘all-time classics’.

LISTS: as created by The King of Grabs, in chronological order:

Pud Pud (1984)
Kong Strikes Back (1984)
Mikie (1985)
Hyper Sports (1985)
Daley Thompson’s Supertest (1985)
Street Hawk: Subscriber Edition (1985)
Cobra (1986)
Green Beret (1986)
Terra Cresta (1986)
Hysteria (1987)
Batman: The Caped Crusader (1988)
Firefly (1988)
Hyper Active (1988)

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan M. “Joffa” Smith (1 February 1967 – 26 June 2010).