Retro Resolution Retro Review
System: ZX Spectrum
Developer: Matthew Smith
Publisher: Software Projects (original release), Bug Byte (re-release)
In the early days of video games, long before production required teams numbered in the tens or the hundreds, on rare occasions certain magical titles and their authors become synonymous with the systems for which they wrote. Carmack and Romero, the IBM PC: Doom. Shigeru Miyamoto, the Nintendo Entertainment System: Super Mario Bros. Matthew Smith, the ZX Spectrum: Manic Miner.
Indisputably iconic and absolutely legendary, Matthew Smith and his Miner Willy created a sensation in 1983 with the archetypal platform game; Manic Miner beckons you to traverse twenty single-screen caverns, each encompassing wonderfully distinctive and splendidly animated sprites, precise and cunning platform designs, and intricately crafted enemy movement patterns.
By no means his first commercial release (that honour falls to the little-known TRS-80 title Delta Tower One) Smith’s pioneering magnum opus impresses from the off, presenting a cleverly animated loading screen utilising the Spectrum’s Flash command to alternately display the legend ‘Manic’ and ‘Miner’ in massive, colourful, and chunky (yet friendly) text.