I Wrote This ZX Spectrum Game in 1988 – Will it Load?

Back in 1988 I wrote a computer game called Space Encounters on my 48K Speccy. Will it load? Let’s find out!

I began programming on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum back in 1983 when my parents bought a 48K Spectrum for Christmas. Although I played a lot of games on it over the years, I did also learn to program in Basic (and some Z80 assembly language) on the thing.

The following decade I started working as a software developer and have been doing the same career ever since. I’ve also taught programming at high school and university freshman level.

There were no computers for the pupils to use in my own high school. I’m almost entirely self-taught at programming.

Writing games was incredibly valuable life experience. As you can see in the video my game was extremely well polished. This attention to detail served me well later in life when I started selling some business software applications I wrote in Microsoft’s Visual Basic 6.

If anyone’s interested I’ll try and make some more videos covering vintage retro gaming on the Spectrum. If you know how I can circumvent the anti-piracy measures I used on the game then I’d love to know. It would be really interesting to take a look at the Basic source code. There’s also a bit of Z80 assembly in there. I think it did some of the graphical effects and maybe also some of the sound effects.

I might do a follow up video with a full walkthrough of the game. After recording the gameplay footage for this video I realise there’s quite a lot more to the game that I didn’t show in this video. By analysing the memory dump I have found out the ship does eventually land on a planet.

Here’s the loading screen. I can’t remember the name of the application I used to create my graphics in. The ship was designed by a kid I used to go to primary school with.


Many thanks to the makers of MakeTZX and tzxwav, which allowed me to rip my original cassette tape audio to TZX format. I then exported a .Z80 file from the Fuse Spectrum emulator. The gameplay footage was mostly captured from the Speccy emulator, as it can run full screen on a PC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *