Spindizzy, Commodore 64

In my mind: one of the best 8-bit games ever made. Spindizzy is part Marble Madness tribute; part completely original game, with you controlling a spinning top-like device, called GERALD, exploring a large, isometric game world that is suspended in space.

The basic idea is to explore with GERALD and collect jewels, which are found hidden around the landscape and which extend the time limit you can survive for. You can bring up a map, which shows what percentage of the landscape you’ve discovered – the ultimate goal being: to explore as much of the world as possible.

GERALD can transform into three different configurations – a ball, an inverted square pyramid (the default), and also a gyroscope. Unfortunately these are just cosmetic changes and don’t affect the gameplay in any way (an oversight in my humble opinion – more should’ve been made of them).

Spindizzy was a critical hit at the time, and a commercial success in Europe. Activision released the game in the USA, but it didn’t makes any real waves. There was an unauthorised Apple II version released in the US (by Activision, no less), which rights-holder Shirley wasn’t aware of until the mid 1990s (and which must’ve mightily pissed him off).

The original Commodore 64 version of Spindizzy is probably the one to play, although it is a very difficult game to master. There have been a number of conversions made – and most have been good – but this original version is pretty much perfect. It’s an incredible feat of programming.

More: Spindizzy on Wikipedia

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