Lost Games - Four ZX-Spectrum games recovered from 1983! (Robon II, QOG, WEEDY, HYPERZAX)

During our many write ups we do love writing about old retro games that people have never heard of, or those that have been lost through the years and for one reason or another have been uncovered, much to the delight of the retro community. Today's release for example is a quadruple bonanza! As thanks to a heads up from Cosmium, who wrote the ZX Spectrum game Quadron, released a few years ago. We've been told that not one but FOUR games have been recovered from 1983. In light of this news, not only do we have a video of these games, but Cosmium has also shared with us the details of this recovery.

"Lost Games is a compilation of 4 games, resurrected from tape, that I wrote in 1983. Although they didn't make the cut with the publishers at the time, I think these compiled BASIC 16K games were quite fun for the era, and I'm happy to offer them as a budget download on itch.io, letting them finally see the light of day".

"Robon II is the sequel to 1983's commercially released Robon, adding more frantic gameplay, robot variety and jazzed up lasers. Qog has you protecting the Kith from the Yuj(!), in Weedy you must fight back relentless weeds and critters climbing the garden wall, and Hyperzax places you in a shoot 'em up bravely defending 9 space pods from alien abduction!"

"All four games have been modified so that they can be offered for download linked below. Robon II, Qog and Weedy only exist as final code, so while I wasn't able to make changes to the BASIC source code or recompile, I was able to add a pause on loading, and make them compatible with both Issue 2 and 3 keyboards".

"The games were originally intended for the 16K model, and while they load only into the bottom 16K of RAM, they were developed on a 48K model and saved out from that environment back in 1983. Consequently, they only run on a 48K Spectrum. I don't think this should be a problem as most users either have the much more popular 48K model or are running via emulation, which can easily handle them".

Robon II

"Robon II and Hyperzax didn't have loading screens, so I made some in the style of my other games from the era. For Hyperzax I did find the original BASIC source and was able to add some new features to make the game more appealing, and then recompile it with Colt for the 48K Spectrum. Extras include new red aliens that can fire back, a satellite that makes regular appearances across the screen and drops missiles in later stages, a bonus life every 10,000 pts, and a bonus pod for every 2 waves completed. Sensitivity of the fire key detection was also improved".


A bit of background info: "I found the stash of dusty old tapes towards the end of 2021 and while I was eager to revisit the games recorded on them, repeated early attempts at directly loading these 'ancient' recordings in realtime into Spectrum emulators and tools sadly failed".

"In the end I found the best approach was to work on one game at a time, sampling the audio at 44kHz, then applying post processing the waveform, such as filtering to adjust the EQ trying different frequencies, and then normalising the waveform. The next step was to play with the various settings in tzxwav to hopefully produce a working .tzx file".

"Even with this method, some of the Spectrum recordings were just not recoverable. So it was a real thrill when audio that initially seemed destined not to load and lost forever would finally work, and I'd be once again reunited with a game or graphics that hadn't been seen in 39 years, and that up until that time, had only existed as a fuzzy memory.

"So anyone fancying a blast of early 80s action from these previously unreleased games, can head over to":

Cosmium aka Andy

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated! Constructive criticism allowed, but abusive comments will be removed and you will be IP banned! Banned users will not show up in my comment feed, you will be gone for good as will all of your posts! - Play nice and enjoy IndieRetroNews!