Sinclair User

Top 50 Software Classics

Copied by Stephen Smith (, in direct contravention of several major copyright laws. I laugh in the face of solicitors and prod the chest of lawsuits!

This is the Web version of the booklet that appeared on the cover of an issue of Sinclair User around 1985. It's quite interesting to read some of the comments that were made about the games at that time.


Melbourne House

The world of computer games is divided into two types of people - those who have escaped from the goblins' dungeons and those who are still stuck there.

The Hobbit was ahead of it's time when it was released in 1982 and remains the adventure by which all others are judged. You must follow the footsteps of Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins in his quest for the treasure of dragon Smaug. The game features illustrations, character interaction, and a text interpreter allowing the input of English sentences. The plot changes each time you play it, and the list of possible solutions is still growing.



Without a doubt one of the most extraordinary Spectrum games yet devised, Lords of Midnight is an adventure-wargame on a vast scale. Superb programming provides 32,000 possible screen pictures of locations.

Your aim as Luxor the Moonprince is to conquer the armies of Doomdark, either by war or stealing the Ice Crown and destroying it. Numerous characters and forces may be recruited, and the sheer variety of locations and tactics make the game an endless pleasure. Lords of Midnight catapults you into a world of magic and terror which has the power to thrill and inspire like no other game.


Software Projects

The all-time classic of arcade games on the Spectrum. Written by Matthew Smith, originally for Bug-byte, it proved to be the ultimate in ladder and level games, and has caused an influx of lookalike software from other companies.

Your aim is to get through as many wierd and wonderful screens as possible to collect the keys to the mine in which Willy works. You must escape from the mechanical penguins, mutant toilets, poisonous pansies and mining robots. At the end you can access a special screen of evil goodies which will finish off any miner.



The second breakthrough in adventures following The Hobbit, Valhalla set new standards for the interaction of graphics and characters.

You are a minor Norse deity, and you must embark on a series of quests for special ritual objects. A large range of gods, goddesses, giants, dwarfs and the like are also involved, represented on the screen as moving figures, fighting, eating and drinking. Each character may support good or evil with degrees of intelligence and strength, and to win their support you must convince them of your good - or bad - intentions. A sophisticated text interpreter and a strong plot rounds off a most unusual game.


Software Projects

An instant, and not unexpected, success which closely followed on the heels of the classic Manic Miner. Willy the miner has retired and taken to a life of drunken debauchery. His housekeeper, Maria, will not let him get to bed until he has cleared up the bottles and glasses lying around the house.

The arcade-style graphics, the number of rooms and the strange creatures which inhabit them ensure Jet Set Willy a place in the history of arcade gaming. The game is also notable for the colour code system employed to combat piracy - with, unfortunately, limited success.



The first 3D arcade game for the Spectrum was brought out in 1982 and produced a mixed reaction from reviewers. It has, however, continued to be a popular with gamers which is surprising in a market which is so flexible and prone to changes in taste and moods.

The plot involves an attempt by the player to locate the base of the evil aliens who are intent on taking over the galaxy. That involves flight up and down the time gates which can be accessed after all the aliens in a sector have been destroyed.

More to come! (eventually....)

Stephen Smith -