Speccy Jam Revives Spectrum Games In A Week

Look at all those lovely colours! At least five.

I know people often feel fatigued by the resurgence of 8-bit and 16-bit art styles, but there’s still not enough games aiming to revive the vibrant colours and sharp edges of old Spectrum games. The Speccy Jam aims to change that. As reported by IndieGames.com, a week of toiling has created more than twenty games almost all of which are playable in your browser.

All the more impressive is that a lot of the games were made in Unity, with the modern game-making package tweaked to turn out the retro graphics. That’s the case for Spectrum Wave, a StarFox-like tunnel shooter. From the game’s page on the Speccy Jam site:

The game was build Unity3D, however non of the engines major features was used. The game was created by writing pixels straight into a texture2D (including fonts which was an array of ints specifying whether to paint the pixel or not!), no 3d software or 2d painting tools used, it was all hand plotted in textedit to keep it as authentic as possible. The ship took a couple of hours on its own to plot out!

Which sounds mad and is quite fun.

There’s lots more over on the site, including the roguelike Are You There Theseus? and, er, Spectrum vs. Nazis, which I can’t get to work but am curious about.


  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    Sad I did not know about this till it was all over.

    • spacefrog says:

      Definitely – wish i’d had heard from that one earlier too . I think would have had something to contribute…
      link to frogsinspace.at

      Direct link to playable version ( Unity plugin required )
      link to frogsinspace.at

      But i guess a retro-remake (Jet Pac) would’nt qualify anyway..
      And of course i made use of more than simple pixel drawing…
      And it took longer than a week too ;-)

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Awesome. The Spectrum + Lego is my childhood in a nutshell.

    Name your most remembered game, fondly or otherwise. Mine was probably Combat School. Damn, I played the shit out of that.

    Or Renegade, Robocop, Myth, Daley Thompson’s Decathlon and Chase HQ. And about fifty more I could mention. Oo, Manic Miner. And Platoon.

    • Recurve says:

      All those you mentioned apart from Myth and Combat School, plus Target Renegade (which I had to play in secret as me mam banned me from playing it when she saw the level where you had to fight a prostitute gang) Emlyn Hughes International Soccer, Jet Set Willy, Skool Daze and I-Ball 2 (which no-one else ever remembers) were the ones I spent half my childhood on.

      *edit* Oh and Kickstart 2! Loved messing with the level editor in that, even if nine times out of ten I’d make levels with nothing but ramps.

    • Niko says:

      I’d say Rex. And Myth. Oh, and Dizzies, and Academy. And for some reason, Firelord (even had to draw a map of all locations to finish it).

      Have to say today I still marvel at Rex’s graphics and animations.

    • Caiman says:

      Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Monty Mole, Technician Ted, Dynamite Dan (there’s a pattern there), Tau Ceti, Academy, Chaos: Battle of the Wizards, Rebelstar, Tir Na Nog, Marsport, Maziacs, Splat!, Fat Worm Blows a Sparky (seriously, names were better back then too), Lords of Midnight, Android 2, Highway Encounter, Dark Star, Forbidden Planet, Halls of the Things, Jet-pac, Lunar Jetman, Cybernoid, Heavy on the Magick, Elite, Rommel’s Revenge, 3D Ant Attack, Time Gate 4D, Trader, Out of the Shadows … my brain is spilling them out. I had better stop because my tea is getting cold, but most of my childhood is up there.

    • Themadcow says:

      Chaos (best multiplayer turn based game of all time), Quazatron, Rebelstar 2, Jet Set Willy and Death Chase 3D for me. Other games of that era (such as the aforementioned awesome Target: Renegade and Elite) tended to be better on my posh Amstrad CPC464

    • Stardreamer says:

      Chaos, The Sentinel, Myth, Starglider, Driller, Into the Eagles Nest, Strider, Ocean’s Batman and Robocop games, Target Renegade, Last Ninja III, Horace and the Spiders, Academy & Tau Ceti, Chase HQ, Gunship…

      Bloody loved that little machine. Made me the Games Addict I am today.

    • Phydaux says:

      Elite, Atic Atac, Paper Boy, Operation Wolf, Rainbow Islands, Jet Set Willy, the Dizzy series, Solar Invasion, Head Over Heals, Rampage, and Quazatron to name a few. There were hundreds of others, free on magazines, and shared on unmarked tapes amongst friends.
      Not forgetting Chaos, and Lords of Chaos which inspired me to learn how to code.

  3. scumblr says:

    Graham, press O I guess? Worked for me.

  4. smeghamr says:

    Man, I was a chuckie egg master. Two times round, not even joking..

  5. Sharlie Shaplin says:

    Trashman, Manic Miner and Renegade, I played those way too much.

  6. Guzzleguts says:

    Anyone else miss rubber keys?

    • Stardreamer says:

      Yes. :*(

    • brawlidol says:

      You dont have to! link to etsy.com

      • spacefrog says:

        Ouchh – that hurts my feelings …
        I would rather put my still existing Speccy into one of those rubber housings again, than buy such a product. It once was an original 16K Spectrum, but soon after i bought that, in arround 1983, i equipped it with the Spectrum+ housing and soldered the additional RAM chips ( to make a 48K Spectrum) in by myself. Thats quite amazing, it still works…
        I got one of those original Dk’tronics Light pens too, just in case somebody rembers …

      • Sharlie Shaplin says:

        Seeing that image makes me feel really old, lol.

  7. iainl says:

    I tried Spectrum Wave, as it’s the one highlighted. Fun, and disturbingly close to a game I tried to write myself back then, but I’m shocked and outraged by the inability of the game to accurately emulate colour clash.

  8. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Oh, given that there’s a javascript speccy emulator now, it would have been incredible was this a competition to make actual Spectrum games that run on a Speccy emulator. Although it’s certainly a better way to revive the style of these old games to have people making similar games on more accessible tech :)

  9. SuperTim says:

    Wait, what? “there‚Äôs still not enough games aiming to revive the vibrant colours and sharp edges of old Spectrum games”??? There are about 100 of good Spectrum games released this year and you still think it’s not enough? Perhaps you should fire up the emulator more often.