Top ZX Spectrum games from 1982

A few months ago I decided to go through Spectrum games year by year and list my favourites. I got as far as sorting some games into folders and taking some screenshots of a few games, then I didn’t do anything. Recently, the YouTube channel The Spectrum Show did just that.

First things first, their top games were:

  • The Hobbit
  • 4D Timegate
  • Penetrator
  • 3D Tanx
  • Football Manager

with honourable mentions to:

  • 3D Escape
  • Planetoids & Space Raiders
  • Cyberrats
  • Arcadia
  • Great Britain Ltd
  • Invaders (Artic) was mentioned but didn’t end up in their final list.

My Choices

There are a few things which won’t be making my list:

  • Imagine Games:
    This is possibly an unpopular opinion. A lot of people have a fondness for some of the early Imagine games but I they were a bit overrated in my opinion – definitely a lot overhyped. Jumping Jack may have been addictive if you played it at the time but I didn’t. Arcadia is a flickery messes and while I did play it a bit at the time, it hasn’t aged well.
  • The Horace Games:
    Less of an unpopular opinion. I mentioned these in the 16K Games page.
  • Planetoids:
    This was the first game I ever played on a Spectrum. It was at a friend’s house and they hadn’t had the machine long so didn’t have many games. I played it a lot but like many games from that era, it hasn’t lasted well.

I played through a selection of games – not only ones I remembered at the time, but also a few ones which were new to me, to see if there were any classics I had missed first time around. There will be games I have forgotten about which should be here, but this is the list as it stands (in no particular order):

Football Manager, by Addictive Software.

There is no way I could leave this out of the list. Despite being written in BASIC, being a bit slow and having fairly crude graphics, it was such a good game. One of the best ‘management’ games on the old 8-bit machines.

The Hobbit, by Melbourne House.

While it wasn’t my favourite adventure game it was technically impressive, especially when you consider how early it was in the Spectrum’s life.

Penetrator, also by Melbourne House.

An impressive early game, from the opening firework display to the level editor. Who among us didn’t create a completely flat level so you could just fly straight and shoot, getting a high score?

4D Timegate, by Quicksilva.

I recently rediscovered this game when I was originally going through some old games to play (which is what inspired this post). I played through it on ‘Easy’ and meant to go back and try again on a harder level but haven’t done that yet.

Honourable Mentions

There were some games which I remembered playing which I should probably mention even if they weren’t among my favourites. Some were technically impressive, others were a bit crude but fun.

Orbiter, by Silversoft.

I remember playing this quite a lot when I first got it, but it hasn’t aged well compared to other games.

The various Artic Adventures.

I played a few of these and, with the help of a schoolfriend, even managed to complete some. It was often a case of ‘guess the word of phrase the programmer was thinking of’ but you accepted that as part of the game.

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