Category Archives: Melbourne House

The Hobbit, ZX Spectrum

Written by Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler, The Hobbit is a legendary text adventure, with graphics, that was published by Melbourne House in 1982.

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Horace and the Spiders, ZX Spectrum

The third and final Horace game on the ZX Spectrum, written by William Tang and published by Sinclair/Psion in 1983.

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Horace Goes Skiing, ZX Spectrum

Hungry Horace author, William Tang, also produced this sequel – Horace Goes Skiing – the same year as its predecessor: 1982. It was again published by Sinclair/Psion.

This one is part Frogger clone and part skiing game, and is slightly more playable and enjoyable than its predecessor.

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Sir Lancelot, ZX Spectrum

Another game I have fond memories of buying and enjoying back in 1984, Melbourne House‘s classic ZX Spectrum platform game: Sir Lancelot.

Considering that it was squeezed into only 16K of RAM (yes, it even ran on 16K Spectrums) it is a remarkable achievement.

Sir Lancelot is a simple collect ’em up set across 24 screens of platforms and ladders, with you as the titular ‘Sir’, jumping around trying to collect flashing artefacts, which in doing so will open an exit in each of the levels.

It’s basic platforming fun, but feels good to play and isn’t so hard as to be head-bangingly frustrating.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Lancelot_(video_game)

Penetrator, ZX Spectrum

Penetrator is a side-scrolling shooter, developed by Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler (as Beam Software) and published by Melbourne House in 1982.

Basically, Penetrator is a ‘tribute’ to Konami‘s classic 1981 arcade game, Scramble, with you controlling a space ship, flying down a series of a side-scrolling caverns, avoiding collisions, and shooting things that get in your way. And – just like in Scramble – your ship can shoot forwards and drop bombs downwards too.

What made Penetrator so memorable on the ZX Spectrum was the speed, the smoothness, and the exciting nature of the gameplay and graphics. Although we know it not to be the case now, it really did feel as though Penetrator might actually be better than Scramble at the time. Be that: only in the minds of 1980s schoolchildren, way back in 1982.

Penetrator was one of the very first games available for the – then – brand new ZX Spectrum (48K version required though), so had a very long shelf life and benefitted from lots of exposure. If fact: as a game, Penetrator is still living on now, in the lives of many a retro gamer.

It’s worth noting that Beam Software later went on to create some of the best video games of all time, and that all started with Penetrator.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penetrator_(video_game)