Following a Twitter exchange I was prompted to try some of my new game arrivals for the Acorn Electron. I plugged the recently modded composite video out into the recently purchased HDMI upscaler and into our HD tv. I connected the cassette player and powered it all up. The familiar Electron screen appeared once the upscaler and TV had settled down, all ready to start loading with the CH.”” command.

The first game I tried was Daredevil Denis, it started loading and the loading screen appeared. Then the errors started, requesting “Data?” Then “Block?”, and then you know loading is doomed. Being an 80s throwback that just means try again with a different volume setting. Then again, and again, and again with different volume levels each time. Still the same result…

Defeated by Daredevil Denis’ disastrous denial to load I moved onto the next game in the pile. Felix and the Monsters failed to make it to a loading screen even, despite several attempts at volume fiddling, and swearing at it loudly.

So with the first two games back in their cases I was losing hope of seeing anything from the Electron upscaled onto the HD screen. Resigning myself to testing a couple more duff cassettes I placed the next one in the player. It started loading, a screen appeared telling me the correct game was loading and it continued loading until finally an introduction screen flickered onto the TV.

Moonraider was the game, which turned out to be a rather good Scramble clone for the 8bit Acorn. The controls were a little fiddly for my aging fingers, meaning death came often and quickly for a few attempts. What was noticeable was that there was no lag caused by the upscaler or TV and controls were working just as well as I was using them. After a few more goes I was getting some where along the cavern, although still not very far I was enjoying the gameplay. The graphics are good, sound adequate and gameplay as good as any Scramble clone. I like it, a lot.

I moved on to the next game from the pile. So far it was 1 out of 3 for loading successes so I was still not expecting to play another game so soon but put it in the cassette deck regardless. Pressing play I sat back and watched. It loaded successfully, the game is called 3D Dotty, and is a take on the contemporary game known as Pacman.

So Dotty is your character who has to eat dots, so far so Pacman. You are in a maze, yep still pretty familiar. Instead of ghosts you are avoiding a snake like fungus which saps your energy a little at a time but does follow you and take energy all the time it is touching you, so that’s a little different from the yellow pie chart we know and love. The next difference is where it gets the “3D” in the title, it is set on 3 levels each with a snake on, and on a 3 dimensional playing field.

The game plays like Pacman but the ladders and fungus add new twists and change the dynamic quite a lot. It is fun and challenging, another hidden gem on the Electron, this little unsung hero from Acorn is really growing on me every time I play on it.

Due to the failed loads consuming my time I had to end soon before the wife got back but there is always time to fit one more in.

UXB is another pseudo maze game. You can only use the blue blocks to walk on to get to the unexploded bomb counting down to its inevitable destructive explosion. Get there in time and the bomb is diffused and another appears elsewhere. But each blue tile you walk on disappears so you can’t walk there again making the available paths quickly become more scarce. It’s  fun for a while but not the best of this bunch although still playable.

And thus ended the Electron playtime for now, some newly discovered gems more than making up for the earlier failures, and the Electron growing on me with every game I play on it. If you know of any games I should try please pist in comments below.

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