Only the Best BBC Micro Games
Program Power / Micro Power Games
I believe that Program Power, who later became Micro Power were possibly the first company to make commercial games for the BBC Micro. Prior to Acornsoft creating games like Defender, Snapper, Meteors, etc., a small software company based in Leeds was selling its first BBC Microcomputer games. These games were Munchyman, Space Maze, and Chess. I have recently converted Munchyman and Space Maze, and you can see screenshots and download them from this page.
Originally, I believe games like Munchyman and Space Maze were only available via Mail Order from Micro Power. The copies I have were originally purchased in this manner in 1981. Obviously, the games sold quite well, as Program Power made many more games, and began selling in stores nationwide. They produced some very good arcade conversions including games like Croaker, Killer Gorilla, and Moon Raider. They also created many other games including platformers, shoot 'em ups, adventure games and the occasional 3D arcade/adventure.
They continued to make games until the mid/late-80's before apparently going bankrupt. Their impact on the BBC Games scene was significant, and together with Acornsoft and Superior software, these three software houses were responsible for many of the best BBC games ever made.All of these game images are still under copyright to Micropower, although Micropower as a business no longer exists. These images are provided so that you do not have to convert your old tape and disk copies over to the BBC. Rather, it's been done for you already.
This was one of the first games to be published on the BBC by Program Power, and was one of the first three games I ever played. Written in 1981 and entirely in BASIC, the game was basically a Pacman clone. Unfortunately, it was not in the same league as the soon to be released Acornsoft Snapper game. One of the major problems was that there was no auto-repeat on the keys. If you wanted your man to move more than once, you had to repeatedly press the direction key you wanted to travel in. It made for a frantic, and finger numbing experience. Despite that, it was still worth looking at though, and I was pleased to be able to successfully convert the original tape after all these years.
View cassette cover | View scan of cassette | Download Munchyman
Another of the very first BBC Games published. Again, this was by Program Power, and was released in 1981. Programmed in BASIC, the idea of the game was to navigate a three dimensional maze and find the Transmat teleporter in order to get home. Also inhabiting the maze are blood thirsty 'froogs' who are intent on getting their next meal by eating you alive. I personally still very much enjoy this game, it has good game play, isn't too slow unlike some other Maze-type games, and still manages to conjure up some traditional suspense. Just what is exactly behind that closed door?
Put the emulator in BBC Master mode, and type: CHAIN"SPACEMA" to run Space Maze.
View cassette cover | View scan of cassette | Download Spacemaze
Chess - Model B
One of the first three games I ever had, and one of the earliest made by Micro Power. It played a reasonable game, the biggest problem being that when you moved past level 2, you had to wait at least 5-10 minutes for it to make each move. The option to play blitz chess, or set up a position were nice additions to the basic game.
| Download Chess - Model B | View game Cover |
This game really put Program Power on the software scene map. A great conversion of Donkey kong, with a wimpy looking guy taking the place of that famous Italian plumber. Nice playability, and good sound - this game had everything that was neccessary to make it a hit, and it became an instant classic.
Type in: CHAIN"KILLER" to run Killer Gorilla.
| Download Killer-Gorilla | View Game Cover |
Cybertron Mission always seemed to be a cross between Robotron and Berzerk in my mind. Whatever it was based on, it's a very good game, and is still very playable today. You have to rescue various items on each level, beginning with a key. Once you have the items, you must return them to a safe to move on to the next level. The screens vary immensely, but are always presented in a logical manner. Great fun!
| Download Cybertron Mission |
Micro Power made a couple of attempts at doing text adventure games including Adventure and Labyrinths of La Cosche. Neither of them were particularly successful. Eldorado Gold mixed simple text with mode 7 graphics. The result was suprisingly good, and this, although small, is probably their best adventure game.
| Download Eldorado Gold |
This was Micro Powers version of Frogger, and it wasn't half bad. I think it was released at the beginning of 1982, after A&F's disasterous Frogger, and slightly before Acornsoft's Hopper. Croaker was fun to play, it's biggest problem being some rather questionable collision detection from time to time. It's still playable today - Frogger doesn't seem to age much.
| Download Croaker | View Game Cover |
I didn't really like Ghouls. It was a nice enough game - reasonable graphics, effective sound, and interesting levels - in my mind, it just didn't gel together. The man moves too fast, some of the sprite action is very cheesy, and the pixel perfect timing required to complete the later levels was frustrating. Even with that against it though, the tape version had some very cool loading music - the first for the BBC during that time period I think.
To run Ghouls, type in: CHAIN"GHOULS".
| Download Ghouls | View Game Cover |
I was always quite fond of Imogen, but never to the point of wanting to spend the time required to complete it. Imogen was a big game - and I mean BIG! The ability to morph into different characters - in this case, a monkey, a cat, or your natural wizard form - was a novel idea. Many of the puzzles required you to switch characters if you were to stand a chance of solving them. There is a re-make of Imogen for the PC available, which has been produced by Ovine by Design. You can see screenshots, and download the game on their Imogen page Here. Definitely worth checking out!
| Download Imogen |
In many peoples eyes, Castle Quest was Micro Power's finest hour, and indeed it may have been. A fine graphical adventure with scrolling screens, many puzzles, and acceptable graphics. I believe it was released circa 1983-1984, and for the time, it raised the stakes for BBC platformers. Only Superior were to double the stakes again, when they released Citadel in 1986. After Castle Quest, Micro Power tried harder with games like Dr. Who and the Mines of Terror which required an additional ROM to be plugged into your BBC. Some people have said that the cost of producing the game put a big strain on Micro Power's resources, and they were never to fully recover. (Mines of Terror is available in the Best of the Rest Section). (Type in: CHAIN"B.CSTLQST" to load the game.)
| Download Castle Quest |
Swoop - Micropower's version of Galaxians with a novel twist - the aliens lay eggs. Good fun.
DangerUXB - A highly original, and fun game where you must defuse a bomb within a time limit. It's played on a flat, square based floor.
Escape from Moonbase Alpha - An interesting 3D puzzle type game, where you must get enough gold to bribe the Doctor into giving you a ride back to Earth. Shaky graphics, dodgy looking sprites, and monsters which move way too fast let down this otherwise very original game.
Bumble Bee - A novel twist on the Pacman theme, with you being able to re-design the level as you block off your enemies.
All of Micro Powers games can be found at the BBC Lives! - File Archive. (Warning: Banner ads on this site)
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