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Information and, where possible, downloads relating to unreleased, withdrawn, pre-release or rare versions of BBC games. If you have something to contribute, whether it be files or info, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


From Matthew Atkinson, December 2001:

Saw it up and running. Basically Star Wars underwater. No Elite style trading, although that was proposed. The programmers name escapes me (Danny?) but he went on to form/join Vektor Graphics. Inadvertently sent a whole lot of business their way. Was down at Domark in Wimbledon (don't ask, I never tell the whole story) and saw a version of Star Wars running on an ST and was informed that they were having difficulties finding companies to do other versions until I told them what I had seen up at Superior and who by.... I think both parties owe me a drink!


  NEMESIS - THE FINAL CHALLENGE by "The Spirit" (Kenton Price)

From A & B Computing, November 1987:

Another mega-arcade hit is on its way for Beeb gamesters - this time none other than the Konami classic Nemesis - The Final Challenge.

Conversion is currently going ahead by a relative newcomer, currently masquerading as "The Spirit". Ho hum! I know who he is but this is all supposed to be secret and stuff like that. So far all I've seen is a demo screen with scrolling stars, spaceship with two pods and a control panel which looks okay, but is obviously going to be beefed up a bit.

The C64 conversion from the arcades was a major hit and, since Konami are handling the conversion/release, there is no reason to doubt that this will be one worth waiting for.

In the original the basic gameplay involves shooting aliens in their underground space stations, picking up pods which they leave behind for extra firepower and so on and then, after some major blasting sessions, destroying a mother ship at the end of each level. Lots of fun in the arcades and should be lots of fun on our machines - the programmer is skillful at close conversions that still exploit the nature of the BBC OS.

Release date? Well, maybe November or December or, just possibly, slipping into 1988.

From Kenton Price, January 2002:

No sign of the early cut of Nemesis I was doing ... a screenshot was published in A&B Computing but then Konami UK went bankrupt and I had to do my A-levels :(


  ODDJOB by Mike Wyatt

From Mike Wyatt:

OddJob is a game that I wrote during my school holidays in 1985/86! I did send it to a couple of publishers at the time and though it was never released, it is quite fun to play (if a little difficult!). There are 8 levels to complete and they increase in size as you progress. Level 7 is the largest (see map). If you manage to complete all 8 levels there is a cool animated finale!

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]


Click here for a larger image

From A & B Computing, September 1988:

News too at last of One Night in Bangkok, which has been talked about for ages - it is apparently some kind of conversion of the stage musical Chess. As far as we can tell, Superior have the rights to that song and to 'I Know Him So Well' also. Sounds intriguing.

From Matthew Atkinson, December 2001:

The programmer had the idea of the game having an isometric layout and being based on the game of chess. All the puzzles would rely on chess moves etc. and it ran in mode 4. It was very ambitious which was its undoing. I was handed the work at a late stage, four months before the rights ran out, to try and whip it into shape to recoup some of the money.

Alas the game was not as developed as I'd been led to believe and it got abandoned. Strangely when I got sent the disc, design etc it came unregistered post direct from him and these were the only copies. It was as if the programmer were willing it to disappear...

From Darren Izzard, December 2001:

Superior were also going to release it on the C64, and my friend Chris Abbott was hired to do the music (he also did the music for "By Fair Means Or Foul" on the BBC). I know he completed at least a version of "I Know Him So Well" before the project was shelved - he has placed the SIDPlay files for it in the HVSC archive, so you can actually hear what the game would have sounded like! (Well, on the Commodore, anyway!)

From Gil Jaysmith, February 2002:

It came to Superior on the Spectrum, and the programmer was a Welsh guy called Bill Percy, who had already self-published a game called Mount Challenge through his company Aasvoquelle Software (my spelling may be wrong there!). He came up with the Chess idea after seeing a feature about the musical on breakfast TV, so he designed and coded a game and sent it to Superior. This landed him the job of the Repton 3 conversion, since this had just come out on the BBC, Superior was thinking of breaking into the Spectrum market, and it was an obvious conversion. Bill then worked away on the Spectrum R3 for a long while and as I was working independently on the R1 and R2 ports we got in contact. R3 got finished, and I playtested it in 1988 to make sure it was completable, but Superior took their time over marketing Spectrum titles, and eventually only two were released: the boxing game By Fair Means Or Foul, and ReptonMania (my Reptons 1 and 2 bundled on one tape). Superior decided that they couldn't get enough 'push' behind further titles and gave up on the Spectrum. Oh well. I don't know who the initial BBC programmer was, who sent Matthew Atkinson the work-in-progress for him to complete, but I'm fairly sure Bill's version was finished. (It seems unlikely to me that it was Bill himself doing the BBC version, but it might explain the state it was in if he'd had to learn 6502 & BBC stuff from scratch!) In those days ports were often done by eye rather than by any thorough exchange and conversion of data and algorithms, so it could easily be that someone intervened who wasn't up to it. Game project management wasn't then all it is now, either!


  ONSLAUGHT (DEMO) by Rich Talbot-Watkins & Matt Godbolt (ACORN USER)

From Rich Talbot-Watkins, July 2002:

Superior at this point were no longer interested but we had a deal with Acorn User at the time for it to evolve into a type-in over three issues, together with a "game diary" kind of idea. It was actually really good fun to play - an eight way scrolling platformer with absolutely *loads* of enemies on screen at once, based vaguely on a title we'd seen running on the Sega Master System called "Teddy Boy".

From Rich Talbot-Watkins, April 2003:

This disc image contains the most 'recent' build I could find of Onslaught. I also chucked a slightly older version of the source code on the disc (in the S directory) for interest's sake. Unfortunately, the source for the version of the game on the disc was corrupted. I really wish Matt (my partner-in-crime back then) and I had finished it off, as it is still quite fun to play in a wierd kind of way.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  PANTHEON by Benny Lonstrup & Lars Osterballe (SUPERIOR)

By Gareth Moore, who used to run GLM PD:

It was sent to me by a Polish guy called Lars 0sterballe as a shareware game some years after he said it had been 'not published' by Superior, although I got the impression that it had been going to be published by them until some hitch occurred... I think he was one of the co-authors? It cost a few pounds to register and you got a printed manual in return (you could register via my PD library but being incompetent I never got round to doing anything with the two cheques I got and so noone ever got any manuals and he never got his few pounds. Oops).

Lars 0sterballe also sent various other discs which had literally THE most impressive demo stuff I ever saw on the BBC, including one thing that locked the computer up totally but managed to genuinely display a 64 colour palette on the screen (as opposed to the normal 8 + flashing colours!).

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  PAPER ROUND by M. Edmondson & N. Chamberlain

From A & B Computing, October 1987:

As soon as Paperboy appeared in the arcades, we decided to write a version for the BBC. With this game I think we pioneered '3D flicker-mation' but it looked quite nice. The game was shown to Superior who considered putting it on one of their compilations, but Kix beat us to it!



From A & B Computing, January 1988:

Just enough time to show you a screenshot of this latest shoot-em-up.



Referred to on the high score screen from Ransack.

From A & B Computing, November 1987:

Peter Scott has his next game for Audiogenic worked out - using original ideas from the prototype Ransack! it will be called Pillage.



From James Herriott, February 2002:

I remember seeing the early black and white artwork in The Micro User. Did anyone see any screenshots of what the game did look like before they changed it to being set in space?

From Dick Greening, June 2002:

As I remember at the time, the game was originally designed to take place on an oil platform at sea, but just before it was due to be released, there was a terrible fire on, I think it was the Piper Alpha platform in the North Sea. Lives were lost.

The game was hastily re-designed to take place in a space environment before it was eventually released, hence the confusion!


  PLURIBUS by Matt Newman (SUPERIOR)

From Micro User, December 1987:

... based loosely on the arcade favourite Marble Madness and is provisionally entitled Nec Pluribus Impar ... it was the motto of a German king and translates as "Better than all the rest".

From Acorn User, February 1988:

Superior's Richard Hanson has told me that Mat has sent them 'version 0.1' and although the game is too hard at the moment, Superior is very interested in it.



From A & B Computing, August 1986:

Alligata are biting back, again, with Pub Games for the BBC Micro. It's a compilation of all the traditional favourites for those who like a game with their pint. And you don't have to be over 18 to play!

Naturally, first up is Darts, 501 up, finish on a double. Best of five games for aspiring Bristows. Bar Billiards hasn't quite cut it in the way Snooker has but many pubs retain a table in the corner. Easier sober. For those who don't intend to exert themselves over and above lifting their pints to their mouths there are dominoes and pontoon/poker card games. I didn't think gambling was allowed in pubs.

Most promising of all are Skittles, originally known as "the devil among the Tailors" and Table Football. The games boast fine control over the nuances of force and direction. So no lifting the table of its feet, OK? BBC owners will have to wait a bit longer than the June 24th launch date but we'll bring you a full review as soon as we can. That should give us enough time to try out enough of the real thing to excel in the Alligata pub games league. If it comes out in time you may be able to enter the Alligata free draw for a dream prize up to £500 in value.


  PULSTAR by E Chan

From A & B Computing, September 1987:

E Chan has sent me an unfinished version of a fun-looking shoot-em-up called Pulstar. Borrowing a lot from games such as Psycastria and Galaforce, it has a compulsive quality that should mean that some software house snaps it up.


  Q*BERT by Peter Johnson (SUPERIOR)

From A & B Computing, August 1987:

I managed to finish Q*bert the day before my exams started. I sent it off to about 12 different companies and didn't expect to hear anything for some weeks. After my first exam, my mum told me somebody had phoned offering £1000 for the game and, for the next few days, I'd rush home after exams to find out who had rung!

I passed the HND and decided to sign with Superior - I'd seen a lot of Richard Hanson's games and he seemed prepared to give me any help I needed.

Q*bert was only on sale for two months before Sega objected on copyright grounds and it had to be withdrawn. I still managed to make about £1500 and spent it on disc dive, printer and monitor and started work (now full-time) on the next game.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]


As David notes below, this is clearly a pre-release version of Blockbuster. The sprite movements, sound effects and music are virtually identical, but this version contains less-varied levels (it uses the 'Q-Bert' Pyramid-type levels).

From David P, February 2004:

I've just been perusing the Lost and Found section on the Stairway to Hell website, and one of the games there caught my eye - Q*Boyd.

From the look of the screenshot, it is identical to a game I have on my BBC called "Blockbuster" which is the same premise, except the main character is a rabbit, and every so often a bird flies horizontally across the top of the level leaving droppins anywhere, that kill you on contact, and also every now and then, a wolf appears and follows you until it either jumps off because you used a spining disc, or it catches you, where upon the rabbit comes out with "#?!?" in a speech bubble and you lose a life.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  QUAD by Ian Webster

From Ian Webster, November 2002:

QUAD (QUick And Dirty) was an arcade adventure designer which produced games in the same style as Superior's Quest allowing you to design the sprites, levels, title screens and puzzles from scratch. Unfortunately this was finished after Uggie and the BBC market had disappeared by then...

Aqua, WebWorld and NightHunt were created by the above and were submitted for inclusion on a magazine coverdisk (I can't remember which one!) but again, it never actually came to pass.


  QUEST I by Daniel Bowen


From Daniel Bowen, October 2005:

When I was 17 or so (year 11, 1987), I had spurned my Commodore 64 in favour of a BBC B micro. At the end of year 11, some of the departing year 12s gave me the code to a little project they’d been working on: a clone of Ultima for the Beeb. It was really just the core of such a game: the display routine for moving about the map, obscuring objects out of view (such as behind walls), and showing monsters.

At a time when I should have been out pursuing girls, this caught my imagination (I’d played a LOT of Ultima in my time), so I took the code and expanded it. A friend who was into role playing games wrote a basic story for it. Another friend supplied some music for the title screen.

I re-wrote the main display routine in 6502 assembly language for speed, and added maps, extra characters to talk to, weapons and fighting. “Quest I: The Wrath of Mægenmund” (egads, it sounds like something out of Spinal Tap) wasn’t anything special, and was never finished, but it was pretty cool.

It ran in the Beeb’s graphics mode 4, so it was monochrome, 320×256 pixels, I think. It used a lot of loading in and out from the disk, with a main (outdoor) map, and lots of separate maps for dungeons, towns and villages. There was no sound to speak of, but there was a lot to explore. You could buy drinks from bartenders (to gain strength), talk to the villagers, buy weapons and supplies, then go out and fight monsters to get more treasure. The money was measured in pounds, shillings and pence, and the language and fonts of the characters and the interface was a wacky mix of olde English, gothic script and runes.

I kept working on it for a couple of years after high school (the Beeb saw me through part of university, until an IBM PC arrived in our house), but it fizzled out in 1990, when other interests overtook it.

Update from Daniel Bowen, January 2006:

Well I've finally done it, but I had some problems. What's attached is a version from May 1990. There was a slightly later one which sped up a lot of it (re-wrote some BASIC into 6502) but I don't appear to have a copy of that which works (corrupt disk).

Notes (which you may like to display with the file when you put it online):


cursor keys or ; [ ' / to move
G get
A attack (useful to go into the starting town and find some
weapons/armour first)
S status
Q save (and quit)
U use weapon
W wear armour
V view document
R read sign
T talk to someone
C cast spell

There's a lot of characters to talk to, and clues lying around, but I honestly don't remember how far we got the plot developed.

Anyway, there it is, in all its buggy glory... enjoy!

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  RAIDERS by Mark Rogers



From A & B Computing, July 1989:

A pleasing Arcade tradition has just been reinstated by Mark Rogers of Colchester, who the perceptive amongst you will recall was the author of the excellent (if underrated) Kourtyard. This time he's dropped by a copy of his new 100 room arcade cracker, called Raiders.

So, what's it all about? Basically a traditional 'clear the level by killing/avoiding nasties, collecting keys and potions, etc etc' game with an added twist or two - such as possible dual player action and different effects appearing when different aliens are killed. In that sense, it's a bit like a cross between Arkanoid and one of a hundred 'clear the levels' games.

The trouble is, I guess, is that all the extra goodies, like secret walls that are revealed when shot at or moving acid puddles, are really wasted because the basic premise and graphics strike you as fairly ordinary.

In short, there's nothing that immediately gets the adrenalin going and, these days, games that just make you feel some admiration for the programmer tend to be games that aren't played too much.

Meanwhile, I have no idea of a possible release date - Mark has asked me for my comments so I guess no software house has seen it yet. The ideal place for it might have been on one of those Superior Play It Again Sam half reissue, half new material compilations.


  REPOBALL by John Mackay

For months A & B Computing ran a series tracking the development of this game, which sadly never appeared.



In the January 1988 edition of A & B Computing, the Arcade pages featured the above screenshot, accompanied by the caption "Retrogue: unreleased as yet but what a stunner".

It does look rather incredible doesn't it? However, if you look at the top of the picture, you'll see the game design, grafix and coding are attributed to 'JVM' - the initials of one Jolyon Vernon Myers, a graphic artist responsible for designing some of the loader screens for Superior Software games. So is this pic nothing more than a prank, knocked up in some graphics package?

Quite likely, but the June 1989 A & B Computing does state that Australian programmer Chris Knights is "working on a number of games - a nearly complete version of Hoverbod, a just started version of Retrogue (based on a screenshot we ran here some time back), a Gauntlet-type game and an Arc game based on the Crusades". Hmmm.

From Joe Myers, June 2001:

Joe MyersI was amazed to see the picture of the game 'RETROGUE' that I sent to A&B Computing on your website. It was indeed false and purely just a picture that looked like a game. I had previously had an article about me printed in the same magazine about the loading screens I had done for Superior Software when I was 14 years old. So a bit later I just sent the fake game picture in and they printed it saying it was to be released. I dont even think it was around April Fools Day so it must have confused a lot of people! It got me more work though because a few companies phoned up wanting to publish the game!!

From Chris Knight, November 2006:

I noticed the Retrogue section in Lost and Found. I'm the guy who wrote into A&B in '89 mentioning a Retrogue implementation. I remember picking up that Jan 88 A&B Computing edition and being completely blown away by the screenshot. After a year, I got sick of waiting for the game (didn't realise it was a fake!), revisited the screenshot and started a sideways scroller based on the layout. And what a pain it was. I ended up having a running animated character that could fire 4 different types of accelerated shot, an end of level beast just like the screenshot with moving jaw and quite large fireballs, waving tentacles, some nice bubble movement and a sparse starfield parallax in the backgroud, but not much else. My sprite routines just weren't quick enough, nor was my scroller. But then I was trying to get my scroller as smooth as Ravenskull and as quick as Firetrack. At least it wasn't as bad as JCB Judder... sorry, Digger!

The Hoverbod clone was quite playable but needed polish (sound, loading screen, instructions). It also needed me to complete the game on the Arc to ensure that I had a reasonable port. The Gauntlet-type game was based on Garrison on the Amiga. I spent a lot of time playing this with a friend. I had a nice eight-way scroller implemented - but not as smooth as Ravenskull's - had a reasonable set of sprites designed and about 4 levels designed, but wasn't happy enough with the on-screen detail. I wanted a larger viewing area, but shrinking of the sprites lost the detail and the ability to recognise what was what. I simply needed more colours and abandoned the game.

The Crusades game on the Arc didn't get much further than the design phase. The basic premise was to have a first-person helmet view that included jousting and melee - sorta like Doom, but close quarter fighting rather than shooting. I had started on the game engine, but time ran out on me and 1990 saw me in military service doing officer training. I'll have a hunt through my old disks and see what I can find.


  SHANGHAI by Nick Wilkinson

From A & B Computing, September 1987:

Next up, we have an early sight of a conversion of Activision's Shanghai by Nick Wilkinson. A bit like Mahjong with lots of pretty tiles, this is a strategy game that should activate a few dormant brain cells. As yet unfinished and unsold, it is apparently being considered by Electric Dreams.


  SHOVE-IT by Melvyn Garcia

From Melvyn, July 2004:

A few months ago whilst rummaging in my loft I discovered two boxes of diskettes containing a mixture of files and some other games that I had written. One of the disks contains a game called 'Shove It' which I wrote in a standard and enhanced format to run on a normal BBC model B and also a Master/Compact. This was supposed to make my 'fortune' as a programmer, but I never got around to submitting it, as the Archimedes/Risc PC was gaining in popularity then. I do feel that it could be a suitable candidate for the Lost & Found section though.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  SINISTAR by Peter Johnson (ATARISOFT)

Unreleased. Yet another victim of Atarisoft's sudden and unexpected departure from the Acorn scene (see also Crystal Castles, Joust). However, Peter Johnson didn't waste any time and within a year it was being marketed by Superior as DeathStar.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  THE SOFT CENTRE COLLECTION by the Crowe Brothers

From Robert Crowe:

I have now mastered using the makeuef utility and successfully converted a number of original Electron programs written by me and sometimes jointly with one of my brothers when we were a teenagers under the name of "Soft Centre". The only one that was semi -commercial was Dicer (a version of Yahtzee) which appeared in Electron User in Oct 1986. However having played them again, some of them are better than the ones that were for sale!

A brief description of the files:

There's another game - Zonkers - which is based on a Waddington's board game we had - I'll have to write some instructions for it first then I'll send you that at a later date.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download Electron UEF tape image ]


From Christian Weber, December 2001:

The Atari ST version of Space Harrier has instructions for the BBC/Electron version on the instruction sheet. These are the typical Z, X, *, ?, Return.

Because the instructions appear it would suggest that perhaps the game got quite far into development? Dunno. I've never been able to find any further information out about it. I even got this query published in Electron User back in '89 (I think), so I guess this email also counts as being retro news ... :)



Despite Superior apparently turning their noses up at it, this flight sim eventually found its way onto the market via Alligata Software.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  STAR CLASH by Julian Bushell (GREMLIN)

Review from A & B Computing November 1987:

Who remembers Elite? Everybody, of course, including the programmer of this bizarre item. Who can forget the adrenalin rush when wire frame spaceships spin out of the introductory screen, the thrill when your spaceship spins into the swirling stars, the panic when the elliptical radar at the base of the screen shows the enemy position relative to you in three dimensions, the excitement when the wireframe ships appear on screen to be blasted in pieces, the nerves as your energy display starts to plummet and the mental satisfaction of landing on new planets and trading goods for weapons?

Well, forget the trading bit! This game, however, does have all of those other instantly identifiable Elite features. So what's going on? Could someone have slipped this past those good folks at Gremlin? Don't know. Could the programmer have invented those features independently? Don't know. Could I be going crazy here? Don't know.

What I do know, however, is that this is the closest that anybody is going to come to a cut-down Elite without getting sued. No, on reflection, I suspect that this is going to be withdrawn from the market pretty quickly so, if you want a version of Elite without the trading elements (which, of course, make the game) rush out and buy this one. If, on the other hand, you'd rather spend your money on something original, then pass this by. For shame, Gremlin!

From David Jeffery, April 2000:

Star Clash got Gremlin into hot water as it was basically Elite with the trading taken out. Although the author denied it, Superior/Acornsoft claimed wholesale code ripping off had taken place, and even many of the ship designs were identical. It was withdrawn pretty quickly, making it quite a rarity and of some historical interest to Elite fans.

From Richard Hewison, April 2002:

I'm in the curious position of knowing both "Julian Bushell" (who I went to High School with, and whom wrote the game) and "David Braben" (as I tested "Virus", "Elite" (16-bit versions) and "Elite II: Frontier").

I seem to remember being told there was a bug in the way the scanner plotted ships in BBC Elite, and this was replicated in "Star Clash". However, I have no memory of where I heard this from (i.e. whether it was via David Braben, the press, or Julian Bushell) so I can't vouch for its accuracy.

I did ask Julian about this when we bumped into each other at a computer show a few years later and he denied that he had taken any of the code from "Elite" to me as well!

From Popular Computing Weekly, 13-19 November 1987 (supplied by Dave Edwards, May 2002):


ELITE publisher Superior Software was taking legal advice last week over the appearance of a BBC game STAR CLASH published by Gremlin.

Superior Software claims that the game is a clone of its best-selling game, and as a gesture Gremlin boss Ian Stewart has agreed to withdraw STAR CLASH from sale while both companies continue their investigations.

"Several of the original features first used in ELITE also occur in Gremlin Graphics' game," said Superior managing director Richard Hanson last week.

"There is even a slight bug in the STAR CLASH program which is identical to a bug that is evident in ELITE. Indeed many of the machine code routines appear to have been copied verbatim from ELITE."

STAR CLASH programmer Julian Bushell offered an early version of the game to Superior some months ago but it was refused.

"We took one look at the game and refused to publish it because it was so similar to ELITE," said Hanson. "I must say that my anger is mainly directed towards the programmer, because I have contacted Gremlin Graphics and I firmly believe that they have been duped by Julian Bushell."

Ian Stewart confirmed that the company has written to Bushell about the affair, but was unwilling to comment further pending his reply.

"It's no great hassle as far as I'm concerned - but I don't condone programmers re-using other people's code."

From Popular Computing Weekly, 3-9 December 1987 (supplied by Dave Edwards):


Two weeks ago, Popular Computing Weekly reported a row between Gremlin and Superior Software over a game called STAR CLASH. Superior was claiming that the game was a clone of its best-seller, ELITE, and so Gremlin boss Ian Stewart withdrew STAR CLASH from sale while both companies investigated the matter further.

More recently the row has been fuelled by a letter which Popular Computing Weekly received from STAR CLASH author, Julian Bushell.

The letter states: "The bug they have been talking about is due to hardware restrictions. A line can only be a maximum of 256 pixels; any longer and it will disappear."

"Coping with longer lines is much too slow and cumbersome, requiring double-byte multiplication; also very near objects overspill the screen, so correct hidden line removal is not necessary. So this is a hardware restriction of an 8-bit micro rather than a bug."

In response to the letter, Richard Hanson, managing director of Superior, commented: "This bug is irrelevant to the one we were talking about initially. This is a new bug we were not aware was there."

Bushell says the coding for STAR CLASH was originated by himself and that Superior wanted him out of the way.

"When I visited them in 1986 I saw another game called NAUTILUS under development which is also a vector graphic game. Could they be bull-dozing me out of the BBC games' market to further increase their monopoly? Incidentally, at the time they asked me to convert NAUTILUS to other machines."

Hanson dismissed such a claim but conceded that Bushell was asked to write a conversion.

"We were dubious that STAR CLASH was an original so we asked him if he had copied ELITE and he said No. We then asked him if he would consider writing a conversion of NAUTILUS; he seemed interested but we heard nothing more from him."

To support his stance against Julian Bushell, Hanson added that independent reviewers had equated STAR CLASH with ELITE. "Two commented that they expected STAR CLASH to be withdrawn from the market," he said.

David Braben, co-author of ELITE, was also critical of Gremlin, saying: "If this sort of this happened elsewhere, like the music industry, people would be sued for a few lifted lines."

The last word was with Ian Stewart, Gremlin managing director. "I hope we are adult enough to settle this out of court as the only people who would benefit from that would be the legal profession," he said.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  STAR WARS by Gary Partis

From Gary Partis, February 2006:

I have just transferred Star Wars to an SSD disk image using the PC you loaned me.

It was never past around 25% (ish) complete but the graphics are 100% 'vector rendered'  i.e. nothing was logically bitmapped, but instead was line drawn to try and resemble as much of the original as possible. All 3D stuff was/would-have-been pre-calculated at assembly time to ease CPU load during game play. The title music is 'as per' the sheet music, which I bought especially for the project

I could have finished it in about a month or two in 1986, but the "authorised" version was released so it was shelved. It has loads of free memory as the main code, being vector based, was very small. I probably missed a good money making opportunity 20 years ago!

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  STORKY by Kevin Edwards

From A & B Computing, February 1988:

All but one of my unfinished projects didn't get past the 2nd week of coding. The exception to this was a 1983 BBC Micro game called Storky, a sideways scrolling game in which you controlled a stork who bounced a basketball! The graphics by Chris Roberts were very good in 1983 but are ok by today's standards. Storky was abandoned after a couple of months for no apparent reason. I might use the idea for a future game if I can bring the game scenario up to date.



Tweaked versions of Acornsoft Defender/Planetoid that give you full control over the game's settings via a dip-switch styled interface. This feature, coupled with the system initiation screens that appear when the game loads in, make them exceptionally faithful conversions of the original coin-op. Though neither are official releases, they do appear to have originated from the Acornsoft studios; they may possibly even be the work of the original author, Neil Raine. Can anybody shed any more light on these little treats?

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download super defender ]  [ download modified defender ]


From A & B Computing, November 1984:

Other unreleased programs worth waiting for are "Malice" from Aardvark software who brought "Frak" into the world and a version of the "Tempest" arcade game which is as yet un-named and not yet sold to a software house. This Tempest has the best 3D shape movement we've seen on any home micro but is a long way from being finished.

From A & B Computing, October 1987:

There are rumours that an Orlando version of Tempest exists, written for Superior but abandoned when they released an inferior version; add that to the Orlando gameography, if you like.

From Dave Banham, May 2001:

I know that this is a long time ago, but when I was about 15/16 I definitely remember being very tempted to buy a copy of (I think PC World), because it contained various demos of 'soon to released' BBC games on the cover disc, one of which was a version of TEMPEST by Orlando. Since the rest of the mag was multi-format and I was skint, I just read the articles inside after completing my paper round and never bought the mag - does anyone else out there remember the issue? or, better still, own the issue? What I can say, is there was definitley some sort of semi-completed version out there somewhere that found itself on the cover of one of the larger multi-format mags, but, as far as I can remember, I never saw reference to it in the Acorn press. Frustratingly, I can't remember what month or even exactly what magazine it was (it was definitely one of the more serious PC mags and not C+VG).

From Sarah Brown, March 2003:

I was browsing through the Lost & Found section and saw mention of a development version of Tempest. Take a look at the Tempest game on the attached disk image, don't know if this is the missing version but the animation is very slick.

Well blow me - it most certainly is.

The following REM statements present in the loader tell all (Nick Pelling's nickname being Orlando M. Pilchard, of course):

REM (C) Carl Heinz Pilchards in tomato sauce Clayderman
REM (C) 1984/5/6 for the sole use of the guy in the red coat (dik)

Sarah, you are a God!

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  UGGIES GARDEN by Ian Webster & Frazer Middleton (SUPERIOR)

Unreleased. Enormous, two player Repton styled-game with built in editor. A real find, discovered in April 2000.

From Ian Webster, November 2002:

It's unbelievable nowadays that Uggie was written on an Electron with only cassette for storage, having to load the source, modify, save compile and relocate in memory every time a modification was made as there wasn't enough memory for source and compiled code in memory at the same time...

I did write many BBC games over the years, starting with Magazine published listings in Electron User to a couple of titles that never did quite make it to publication (I never did have much luck in that respect!).

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]


This ended up being released by CSM/Viper but here is a version with Alligata headers and references.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  UNDERSIDE by Peter Scott

It was a slightly different approach to a platform game I was after, and this was the result. I'd done people, animals, bouncing balls, things on springs... so I figured rolling was next. Marble Madness was big at the time and I thought that idea could inspire a 2D platform game.

The game was going to have ramps and seesaws as well as the usual stuff of jumps, move-up-pipes and the like. The key was getting the rolling ball animation fluid (which you can see from the demo was ok).

As ever, I'm sure I spent as long making the side panel as doing the game itself. The demo here is an early one, testing the different surfaces (solid, ow-that-hurts and jump-thru) as well as the store-what's-behind-the-character and screen-edge-detection routines.

I also wanted a more complex object storage and usage routine, hence the 1,2,3 object thing.

I seem to remember liking this but Superior asking me to convert something very quickly, which was bigger money and, I felt, more prestigious, although usually much more difficult. Maybe I'd finally got sick of platformers - I can't quite remember - but I came back to the game after whatever that conversion was and didn't have the heart to finish it.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  <untitled> by Rich Talbot-Watkins

From Rich Talbot-Watkins, July 2002:

Similar to Onslaught (qv) but using the Firetrack-esque smooth scrolling technique I'd learnt how to do by that point, both vertically and horizontally (and everything in between!).


  V-TOL DEMO by Peter Johnson (SUPERIOR)

From A&B Computing, August 1987:

I wrote nine games for Superior, some with the help of David Lovekin who I took on as a trainee for a year as part of his sandwich course at Newcastle Polytechnic. What should have resulted from this is VTOL, unfortunately never finished although David has said that he will complete it if there is enough interest. Pirate copies of this are in circulation.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

VOLCANO by Michael St Aubyn

From John Simpson, November 2004:

I've found what appears to be a pre-release version of Volcano - the differences that I could see are:

- No Acornsoft branding - it just says (C) M St A which refers to Michael St Aubyn, the author
- No high score table
- The helicopter is green not blue
- No gold rocks on level 2
- Different fire button
- Simpler title screens and instructions.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  VORTEX (DEMO) by Tony Bartram

Demo sent to Superior Software in 1990 when the author was just 16. Visit his homepage here.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]


Not particularly rare as it was widely available under the "Ricochet" label, though a version that runs from disk might have been a little harder to come by (until now!). This revision provides an alternative backdrop (the action takes place inside a dojo as well as the great outdoors) but perhaps more significantly, it is Master compatible. This version was copied from Mastertronic's "Megaplay" compilation disk, which was surprisingly protection-free! :-)

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]

  WEREWOLF WILLIE by Ian Webster

From Ian Webster, November 2002:

A platform game that was frankly a load of pants that never made it to publication despite being sent to several suppliers.


  X*L*C*R by Michael Grant (SUPERIOR / PROACTION)

The author sent a copy of this game to The BBC Lives website in January 1999.

From Michael Grant's email to The BBC Lives:

I wrote the game in 1991 and submitted it to Superior Software. They wrote back saying "We found it well-presented and fun to play. Certainly it is unique in its concept", and added that they wanted to retain it for use in one of their "Play It Again Sam" compilations (they were then up to PIAS 15).

When I returned from a year abroad a year later, nothing had happened, and I wrote to ask why. They responded that the recession had killed what was left of the BBC market, and they were winding up their 8-bit division.

Then in 1996, out of the blue I got a 'phone call from ProAction, who had acquired Superior's 8-bit rights, and they wanted to release X*L*C*R on PIAS 19. They warned me they didn't expect to make many sales. As it happened, they made _one_.

So eventually I made the game public domain, reasoning that it was more likely to get to BBC enthusiasts over the Net.

STATUS:  FOUND  [ download ]


From Acorn User, April 1988:

If you are one of the many BBC owners who have seen Zarch but can only ever dream about buying an Archimedes, then the time of waiting is over. Superior Software has announced the near impossible Zarch on the Beeb! The game is going through its final testing. I have played `Version 0.7' and although there is no sound yet, it seems to be nearly complete.

On the technical side, MD Richard Hanson explained that advanced display chip programming coupled with time-critical NMI routines has produced the 'mode in mode' screen. Zarch uses a small control area of mode 1 for the actual 3-D display, surrounded by mode 4 for the score and lives display. This gives vast memory savings, but still leaves space on screen for the less important items of information. It also reduces the number of calculations required for the 3-D display. Obviously, the Beeb cannot display the range of colours used in the full Archimedes version, but stippling and dithered colours are used to depict the landscape and ships.

On a BBC B, at least one bank of sideways RAM is needed. The disc is accessed fairly frequently. Master owners can remove the game disc after loading, as all the data is stored in sideways RAM banks and shadow RAM. The game should be out by mid-May. Sadly, there is no tape version and Electron owners will have to wait until the end of the year. It should cost £17.95 (£19.95 for the Compact).

From Ewen Roberts, November 2000:

I was reading your Lost and Found section with interest, did you catch the date of the Acorn user that was reporting Zarch for the BBC? I vaguely remember it being one of their April fools, but I'm not absolutely certain.

From Matthew Atkinson, December 2001:

Definately an April fools joke. The BBC just didn't have the capability to do it as per the screenshot. The mode within a mode was not possible - the mode switching on Elite takes about 3/4 scan lines to achieve. On UIM I shortend it but only by unrolling loops.

From Andy Krouwel, August 2006:

Browsing for something totally disconnected I came across your Lost & Found entry for Zarch on the BBC. An interesting April fools & nothing more... or was it?

Several months ago I wrote an article for Edge on The Making Of Zarch, for which I interviewed David Braben. I seem to recall that he said he did indeed have one of Lander, Zarch or Virus working on the beeb during development, but the frame rate was so appalling as to be unplayable.

April fools joke the screenshot may have been, but perhaps they came closer to the truth than they were expecting: One of those games did indeed run on a beeb. I'll see if I can dig up the transcript, for confirmation, but it's worth remembering that Virus was also released on the Spectrum, so it wouldn't be so far fetched.

From Andrew Weston, September 2006:

Some more news about the BBC version of Zarch!

I think it's unrelated to the Braben version but Jason Tribbeck says the following:

"I did write a Mode 4 version of !Lander - trees, moving landscape (with water), spinning ship. Just was outline graphics rather than filled in. Unfortunately, I lost the source (and the source to a lot of other code) when I left my bag on a train."



It is quite likely that many of the titles listed below never made it past the idea stage and others may indeed be nothing more than rumours!

3D Golf or 3D All Star Golf or Leaderboard by Gary Partis for Audiogenic
3D Pinball
from Tynesoft
All Star Hits
from Ocean
Armageddon Man
or Satellite or Satellite Wars from Martech
BMX Simulator from Codemasters
Bogie's Pick
 from Top Ten
Chernobyl Syndrome from US Gold
Classical Olympics from Tynesoft
Colossus Mah Jong from CDS
Colossus Roulette from CDS
from CRL / Martech
Dojo Dan - Karate Man (adventure) from Top Ten
Deadenders (adventure) from Top Ten
Discovery from CRL / Martech
Emlyn Hughes Arcade Soccer from Audiogenic
Enduro Racer by Orlando for Electric Dreams
Eureka II from Domark
Freedom Fighter from Power House
Ghostbusters from Activision
Ghosts n Goblins from Elite
Grange Hill from Argus Mind Games
I Was Kidnapped by a Flying Saucer from Tynesoft
Jack the Nipper (arcade western shoot-out) from Gremlin
Joe Blade 3 from Players (mentioned on the cover to 3D Snooker)
Journey to the Centre of the Earth from Tynesoft
Keronick by Gary Partis for Audiogenic
Krypton Factor from Domark
Leaderboard by Kevin Blake for Tynesoft
Lone Wolf - The Mirror of Death from Audiogenic   
UPDATE: P. Calver (ex-head of Audiogenic) says a BBC version was never planned
Malice by Nick Pelling/Aardvark
or Matter/Anti-Matter from Logotron
The Magnificent Seven from Tynesoft
Mayday Squad from Tynesoft
The Munsters from Alternative
Omega Orb II by Peter Scott for Audiogenic
Out Run from Go-dax
Pac-land from Grandslam
Phantom II (extra levels) from Tynesoft
Postman Pat from Alternative
Power Pyramids by Peter Scott
Quiz Quest from Superior
Robocop from Superior
Roller Coaster Tumbler from Tynesoft
The Sacred Mines of Antiriad from Palace
Saigon from US Gold
Sailplane from Pavillion Software
Sword of the Samurai from US Golf
Temple from Top Ten
Think from Ariolasoft
Thrust II from Superior
Tomb of Syrinx from Power House
Warmongers from Peter Scott
West Bank (arcade western shoot-out) from Gremlin
Wheelie by Gary Partis
Zoids from Martech


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