Britain's rubber-keyed 1980s home computer, the ZX Spectrum, turns 35 years old on April 23, 2017. Celebrate its milestone by going back to the originals with six cult classics, or take our suggestions for some modern equivalents.
Manic Miner (1983) / Jet Set Willy (1984)
Where "Manic Miner" had Miner Willy making his way out of an underground network filled with strange dangers, follow-up "Jet Set Willy" had him cleaning up his equally unsafe house after a wild party. Retro homages "You Have to Win the Game" and "Super Win the Game" for Windows, Mac and Linux should hit the nostalgic nerves just right.
Play Manic Miner online: archive.org/details/zx_Manic_Miner_1983_Bug_Byte_Software
Play Jet Set Willy online: archive.org/details/zx_Jet_Set_Willy_1984_Software_Projects_a
Boulder Dash (1984)
Dig around a sequence of underground levels, collecting diamonds and not only avoiding boulders but also ensuring that they fall on enemies. Boulder Dash is also available in an official and updated capacity on iOS and Android as "Boulder Dash: 30th Anniversary." Similar pursuits can be found in "Steamworld Dig" for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, 3DS, Mac, PC and more, in which a mining robot ventures below the crust, and "Super Motherload," for PS4, Mac, PC, and PS3, set on subterranean Mars.
Play online: archive.org/details/zx_Boulder_Dash_1984_Front_Runner_a2
Dizzy - The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure (1982)
Cute adventurous egg Dizzy, who appropriately flips about when jumping from one platform to another, led the start of this beloved franchise, searching for crucial bits and bobs in order to save the kingdom of Katmandu. For more up-to-date riffs on the Dizzy formula, see "Spud's Quest" on Windows PC, which is consciously inspired by the franchise (as well as the later "Zelda" and "Metroid,") as well as another PC release in "Wuppo," featuring a similarly white, rotund anthropomorph on an puzzle-filled action-adventure.
Play online: archive.org/details/zx_Dizzy_The_Ultimate_Cartoon_Adventure_1987_Codemasters
Horace Goes Skiing (1982)
A game in two parts, in which the title character, a bipedal blob with cavernous eyes, has to make his way across a road -- much like in arcade classic "Frogger" -- in order to reach a ski rental shop, before descending a mountain course. These days, try splicing a session on the unending traffice traverser "Crossy Road" (iOS, Android, Windows PC) or its "Disney" and "Star Wars" spin-offs with a go on "Slippy Slopes Extreme Ski Race" for iOS or Android.
Play online: archive.org/details/zx_Horace_Goes_Skiing_1982_Sinclair_Research
Rainbow Islands (1989)
This jump'n'run sequel to bubble-popping puzzler "Bobble Bubble" switched genres entirely, first releasing on Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. Arguably excelling to an even greater degree on the next generation's Amiga, Atari ST and Mega Drive a year later, where programmers had fewer struggles with what, by then, had become the Spectrum's relative restrictions. For a modern equivalent receiving similar levels of critical praise, seek out "Owlboy" for Mac, Linux and PC, which is due a console conversion in due course.
Play online: archive.org/details/zx_Rainbow_Islands_The_Story_of_Bubble_Bobble_2_1990_Ocean_a2_128K