can buy the PC versions of many bbc games from Superior Interactive.
A&F Software's Chuckie Egg is a home computer video game released in 1983,
initially for the ZX Spectrum, the BBCMicro and the Dragon. Its subsequent
popularity saw it released over the following years on a wide variety of computers,
including the Commodore 64, Acorn Electron, MSX, Tatung Einstein, Amstrad CPC
and Atari 8-bit family. It was later updated and released for the Commodore
Amiga, Atari ST, and IBM PC compatibles.
The original idea is generally attributed to the then 16 or 17 year old Nigel
Alderton. After a month or two of development, Nigel took a pre-release version
of his Spectrum code to the two year old software company A&F, co-founded
by Doug Anderson (the A in A&F). Doug took on the simultaneous development
of the BBC Micro version, whilst Mike Webb, an A&F employee, completed the
Dragon port. Chuckie Egg went on to sell over a million copies and remained
a steady earner for A&F, who eventually went under in the latter half of
The versions fall broadly into two groups — those with realistic physics
(e.g. the BBCMicro and Amstrad CPC versions) and those without (e.g. the ZX
Spectrum version). Although there is a substantial difference in play between
the two, levels remain largely the same and all the 8-bit versions have been
accepted as classics.
This game is often credited alongside Manic Miner and Lode Runner with helping
develop and popularise the platform game, and has gone on to be a cult classic
with a number of unofficial retro remakes appearing online.
Much of the game's cult status was helped by the fact that schools used BBC
Micro computers, and many schools had a copy of the game, introducing it to
a wide audience of youngsters.
The eponymous protagonist, Repton, is a lizard who crawls around in an underground
maze in a quest to find all the diamonds (some being held in safes, their release
being triggered by finding and collecting a key) within a time limit in each
of several levels, while avoiding being trapped or killed by falling rocks and
monsters hatched from eggs. The original Repton game was released in the summer
of 1985 and has 12 levels, with passwords making it possible to jump directly
to later levels.
The sequel to the game, Repton 2, released for Christmas 1985, is much bigger.
It introduces several new features: spirits (that follow walls and objects to
their left and must be guided into cages, turning them into diamonds) and skulls,
both of which are fatal to Repton on collision. There are also jigsaw puzzle
pieces to collect, which eventually spell out the message "Repton 2 is
ended". There are no levels as such in Repton 2, instead 'transporters'
move Repton between different screens which, subject to a few restrictions,
can be completed in any order desired. The entire game is in effect one very
large level without passwords, meaning that it must be completed in one attempt.
Finally, certain screens also contain an exposed 'roof', where meteors (predictably
fatal to Repton) fall from the sky.
Repton's requirements in Repton 2 are onerous: Repton must not only collect
all diamonds (including those held in safes and behind cages), but also collect
all earth, kill all the monsters, collect all puzzle pieces and use all transporters.
Once these substantial tasks have been completed, Repton must then negotiate
the roof of the entire length of the final screen, avoiding meteors falling
from the sky in order to collect the completion piece and thus complete the
game. This part is particularly tricky, since the meteors fall from the sky
in a random fashion, making it difficult for the gamer to guide Repton to safety.
This long list of requirements, coupled with the fact that the game must be
completed in one attempt, is unique among the Repton series and makes Repton
2 by far the hardest Repton game to successfully complete. To add to the inevitable
frustration suffered by anyone attempting this, a bug in the original version
of Repton 2 meant that the game contained one diamond less than the stipulated
number needed to complete the game. This means that successful completion of
these versions is, in fact, impossible.
Repton 3, released in November 1986, was developed by Matthew Atkinson at Superior's
invitation since Tim Tyler wasn't interested in programming it—although
he did design some of the levels for the new game. While the first two games
had only taken a month each to program, Repton 3 took 8 months. It reverts
to the form of a series of limited time password-protected levels. A few new
features were introduced: fungus (a substance that spreads wherever it finds
space and kills Repton on contact), time capsules (resetting the current level's
time limit each time one is collected), crowns, and a time-bomb which must be
defused to complete each level. Repton 3 includes a map editor along with the
game, so that it became possible to create data files with alternate maps and
new graphics for the levels. Three themed sets of such files were released as
expansions for Repton 3, with the titles Around the World in 40 Screens (1987),
The Life of Repton (1987) and Repton Thru Time (1988).