The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby Sut1 » July 25th, 2014, 3:48 am

Thought I'd start a thread with people's opinions on games/software for the classic 8-bit home computers. I know there are a few of us familiar with these wonderous machines and thought we would give them so solve on the VGC forums.

So no NES, Master System or Atari 7800 this is for the Spectrums, C64's, Amstrad CPC's, Acorn BBC Micro/Electron's, Apple II's, Atari 400/800 and any other 8-bit home family computers.

Here's my overview to the games I've recently rediscovered all on a 128k ZX Spectrum

Skool Daze - You will need the instruction manual, but once you get the idea and learn the controls this is super sandbox fun. You play the role of Eric who must recover his school report by a hitting a series of school shields and getting the teachers to drop their part of the safe code. This is a truly wonderful game you don't have to complete the objectives, you can just attend lessons, have fights with the school bully, run from the school headmaster when the swot snitches on you, write obscene messages on the blackboard. I

Back to Skool - Sequel to the above game and just as great, they expanded slightly with having a girl's school as well as your boys school, you even have a girlfriend who will do some lines for you if you give her a kiss (uh-oh don't let Anita hear that!). The objectives and puzzles are deeper like dropping a mouse in the girl's school creating a distraction so you can search the desks. But just like the original the fun is you don't have to you can just run riot at school (and wouldn't want to do that right ?).

Robocop - Some of the console regulars may find this difficult to believe but Ocean software were immense on the 8-bit home micros. This conversion is no exception. Excellent graphics (for a Spectrum) and decent soundtrack playing throughout the game (128k only). The interesting thing with this conversion is they removed Robocop's jump but this actually improved the game. You feel like a heavy, mean, death machine. The games tough initially but once you start to memorise the enemy placements it is winnable. One of my favourites.

Batman: The Movie - Another great movie adaption from Ocean, they had some whiz bang graphic artists for the Spectrum. Again console like gameplay and quality make this a lot of fun. The first and fifth levels are both A+ action platforming sections, with great use of the grappling hook. However what lets this game down are the Batmobile and Batwing stages which while looking and sounding great are far too difficult. Thankfully there is a level skip cheat out there so you can get to the fun levels. It's a tough game this one.

I'll post overviews on Renegade and Target Renegade (two other awesome Spectrum games) at a later time as I don't want this post to be much longer. And yeah I know all the games are good but who wants to play bad games ?

Currently playing: Chase HQ
On my to play list: Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, GryZor and Double Dragon.

So what games have you played and loved on these systems ? Would love to hear from you.

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby Atarifever1 » July 25th, 2014, 11:04 am

This is one thing missing from my library.  As a kid, I had both a TRS-80 CoCo and a Tandy 1000, both hopelessly out of date by the time I acquired them, being of limited means and all. 

One thing I found in my school that still related to these (while my friends were running 386s or some such) were the "Micro Adventure" books.  These things helped teach me to program while my friends were printing  birthday banners in Word Perfect.

I had no sotrage media of any kind of the TRS-80, and only the guide that came with it and these books, and I spent more time on that thing than any other device I have ever owned.  I really should pick one up now and get it all set up.  I should also get this new book on the Tandy computers.  

Great idea for a thread.  It should finally push me to get a CoCo again.   

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby TheLastNightmare1 » July 29th, 2014, 9:03 am

I'm surprised at how often the Spectrum outperforms the C64, especially since it was the poor man's alternative. Golden Axe is at least recognizable as being a Golden Axe conversion - your fingers can't tell the difference, anyways. On the C64, it's a one on one duel between tiny off-color sprites  - the humble Atari 2600 even managed more than that.  

Or take Star Wars: The Arcade Game. Atari's first pass at it on the C64 is closer to Gnat Attack, minus the boss battles. It's a port of the Colecovision/5200 version so lazy that it should have been called "The American Videogame Crash". The second port, for both the Spectrum and C64, is what we wanted at the time - 3d graphics that updated every time they logged into Facebook.

I had no idea it was so hard, to draw so few straight lines.  

By contrast, The Empire Strikes Back is actually a very technical sense... and despite my hopes, seems about roughly the same speed on both computers - but the Spectrum is playing The Imperial March when you face the AT-ATs. And it looks better, unless you have a thing for giant pixels that look like hardcore toaster porn. And faded zombie colors. Seriously, I think the C64 was the first piece of computer hardware that came packaged with spiderwebs included. It's so retro, that people still run head to head comparisons between it and Atari's 8bit computer line from the 70's. That's like comparing the Dreamcast to the N64, and then deciding that the Dreamcast has better music hardware...

Not that I'm ready to give up on the C64, I'm just disappointed that it hasn't lived up to all the hype surrounding it. I was led to believe it had the second best 80's 8-bit library of all time, or perhaps even the very best, if you're not a fan of NES style platformers. Watching it get knocked out in these comparisons, plus a few others, was completely unexpected.

Maybe I'll need to move straight to the exclusives, instead. I just wish I knew what was easy to leap straight into - I have the time to spare, but interruptions are still frequent...

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby Jon1 » July 30th, 2014, 9:57 pm

I've been vocal about my distaste for RPG's, but one might be surprised that I was a huge King's Quest fan, especially KQ4. Sierra was a great, great developer. 

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby scotland171 » January 31st, 2015, 2:02 pm

@ Sut :  I have had this thread in the back of my mind for awhile.  I had a Commodore 64 growing up, and while the original is lost to the time stream, I did get a replacement unit but only had a cartridge game or two. I finally decided to invest in the system.    I hope we can compare some stories in the year ahead, as it must have many overlaps in the library.

I never had a VIC-20, so wondering what that is like.   Any VIC fans? 

@ TheLastNightmare - Is your opinion of the C64 still pretty low or did you find some gems?

@ Atarifever - I had experience on a TRS-80, but not the color version.  According to 'that other wiki', its not compatible with the original due to changing out from the Z80 to better chip than either that or the 6502.  How was the Color Computer?   Talk about marketing issues...if its not using the Z80 anymore why in the world not change the name and call it a TRS-Something Else.   

Any other 8 bit computer fans out there?  Do you think the culture saw computers very differently back in the 80s, in the days of Terminator and War Games?

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby goldenband1 » February 1st, 2015, 3:04 am

I have a CoCo 2, CoCo 3, Commodore 64, and TI-99/4A. Unfortunately none of them see much action, though I grew up with the CoCo 2/3 and it's the dearest to my heart of the bunch.

I also have the Intellivision ECS expansion, though that's really not much of a computer. Its main value, especially from a contemporary homebrewer's perspective, is in adding 3 additional synth channels, a keyboard interface, and 4P support to the base system. Of course since the Intellivision CPU is 16-bit, perhaps it doesn't really belong in this thread! [biggrin]

I'd really like to get a TRS-80 Model III someday, as I have fond childhood memories of playing games on the Model III my mom had on loan from work (it was wildly outdated even then). Most were fairly primitive, yet there was something special about them. Maybe that's why the Mattel Aquarius and Sharp MZ-700 also pique my interest, with their pre-defined character sets. There's a nutso Space Harrier port for the MZ-700.

I also play a fair amount of Atari 8-bit in emulation, and had an Atari 5200 (which is basically the same architecture) as a kid. There are some nice games on that system, though I mainly use it to play text adventures with my wife.

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby Sut1 » February 1st, 2015, 4:00 am

@Scotland. I can remember the Commodore 64 GS console launch with a few C64 cartridge games and a
rather infamous example of shovelware (Batman - I think) in which the game asked you to press space and of course the console had no keyboard ! Not Commodore's finest hour.
Would love to compare games it used to be exciting to see who got the better versions in those days it was normally a 3 way battle between the C64, Spectrum and Amstrad.

Retro gamer used to do a good article on the 8-bit battles, it picked a game every month and compared it over all the versions.

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby FinalLapTwinkie1 » February 5th, 2015, 12:06 pm

The Commodore 64 had some excellent RPG games. There were several Dungeons & Dragons games. You could build your characters up and transfer them to the next game. Thankfully Buck Rodgers Countdown to Doomsday was ported to the Sega Genesis with about ever thing intact gameplay wise. On the C64 I used to have incredible characters with huge stats from playing through a game then restarting and transferring them to the new game. I miss those floppy saves. Not the load times though. LOL.

The C64 had some great strategy games like Conflict in Vietnam, Nato Commander and the board game RISK is even entertaining in computer form. Several simulation air combat games like Ace, Ace of Aces - which is more playable then the Atari 7800 version, Hellcat Ace and Top Gun.  G.I. Joe is a vehicle and character battle game. Something both NES versions should have been.

Most of the arcade ports were faithful to the arcade versions. One of my favorites is BagitMan which is known by Bag Man in arcade form. Spy Hunter is a very well done version. For me it is second only to the Colecovision in home conversions.

Pirates on the C64 is one of the best versions sure it has been ported to the NES, Genesis, Xbox, PSP, Wii and PC but the Commodore 64 has one of the biggest maps. It allowed you to explore more areas and who would not want a crew about to munity from starving before getting to the Yucatan Peninsula. The prize was Gran Granada and overthrowing the governor. Believe me it was worth the long trek. The battles allowed for more strategy when attacking towns or fortresses.

Sports games on the C64 still hold up well today. It had one of the best bowling games in 10th Frame bowling. The Summer, Winter and World games series still make great party games for friends looking for something different.

The Commodore 64 has lots of games to explore and I am still learning of forgotten titles all time.

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby LS6501 » February 5th, 2015, 1:42 pm

I have a VIC-20 with a MegaCart, and every once in a while I connect it to my TV and play some games.  For such a basic system, it actually has some good arcade conversions.  Atarisoft in particular did a great job with some games.

I owned an 800XL with a 1050 drive for several years.  There is one heck of a great games library for the 8-bit computers.

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The 8-bit Home Computer Users Thread

Postby C64_Critic1 » February 8th, 2015, 10:51 am

     I think whether you fall into the C64 crowd or the ZX Spectrum fan base seems to depend almost entirely on what you actually played as a youngster.  Also, where you happened to live. People can argue hardware limitations or software tricks until the cows come home, but it's like arguing politics or religion; people have already made up their minds, and no amount of argument is likely to sway their opinions. 

     I obviously fall squarely in the Commodore fan base, but I don't know that I've ever actually played the Spectrum and I certainly never owned one.  The Spectrum simply never made inroads in American and was almost exclusively a U.K./European phenomenon while the C64 was the equivalent in The US.  I love my C64 unconditionally and just 'assume' it's the superior machine because I have such fond memories of playing it as a kid, but I'm sure if I  lived in England I'd have the opposite opinion.

     I did find this interesting website ( where someone compared 32 games available on both machines and gives his 'unbiased' opinion on which was better; of the 32, he found that 26 looked and/or played better on the C64 while only 2 were better on the Specturm (4 were a draw).  It's a bit of a long read, but he makes some great points about diversity of library for the C64 (games like Pirates, Bards Tale, and Maniac Mansion) as well as the popularity of the disk drive in the US while the Spectrum was always married to a cassette tape loader (at least until the 3+ came out in 1987, apparently).

     Another good, but even longer, read and comparison is by Eurogamer (, who also conclude that the C64 is the superior of the two machines.

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