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Member Since 07 Mar 2015
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#362 Games Review logo for Gibraltar magazine

Posted by jetsetdanny on 19 September 2015 - 10:54 AM

They both look good to me, although I think the one with the ship is vastly superior. I don't think I could do any better.


There is one little detail. There is a thin layer of water between Willy's feet and the ground (sand). I think it would be better if Willy was standing directly on the sand, to make it look more natural.


Once your business is all under control and going well, is there any chance we will see a JSW remake like "Willy in Gibraltar"?  ;)

#349 The mysterious Room 47

Posted by jetsetdanny on 25 August 2015 - 07:41 PM

Very nice room, Spider  :) .


Once upon a time (back in 2000, to be exact  ;)) Stuart J. Hill (the author of Utility Cubicles, Monstrum! and Willy and the Dodecahedron) undertook a similar endeavour and designed a room called "Wasp's Nest", placing it to the right of "Tree Root". The screenshot of the room has been preserved to this day in the Manic Miner & Jet Set Willy Yahoo! Group photo album and here it is as well:




Some discussion concerning room 47 took place here.


Your Spectrum in Issue 4 claimed the room was above "The Conservatory". 


Then Your Spectrum published the room "April Showers" in Issue 13 (April 1985), indeed using room 47 for it and placing it above "The Beach".


I included "April Showers" in JSW: The 2010 Megamix (as room #216) along with its two redesigns: "Singin' in the April Rain" (#053) and "April Showers - Still Raining" (#054).


Dr Andrew Broad included "April Showers" in Party Willy (as room #47).

#347 ZX Spectrum VEGA - JSW 2 not working

Posted by jetsetdanny on 25 August 2015 - 06:44 PM

I just received the Vega last week, and it is great to have my hands on a Sinclair product again. I was a little disappointed with some of the 1000 games it comes free with. Most I've never heard of, with the exception of a few old classics, Ultimate, Gremlin and the Skooldaze collections.


Most absent is JSW and MM, as I know Elite has the rights to these games, and are bringing out their rival Speccie this year.


I've since downloaded them both from the WOS site, and they work perfectly on the Vega. Unfortunately JSW 2 doesn't work as good. For whatever reason, the Kempston joystick default setting for the Vega doesn't seem to be recognised for JSW 2, which is annoying, so the control pad is useless.


A few of the Willy spin-off games struggle on the Vega too, although Join the Jet Set works fine (which I think is the best unofficial JSW game anyway).


Thank you for this info.


Could you please tell us exactly which "Willy spin-off games" struggle on the Vega? And what you mean exactly by "struggling"?


There are 3 basic types of JSW game engines in existence: the original one (48K, nowadays often referred to as JSW48) and John Elliott's engines developed from the original one: JSW128 and the more advanced JSW64, both 128K. Among the JSW48 game engines there are also modified variants, such as the so-called "Geoff-modes" (1 & 2) and "Erix1-mode".


I see no reason why a game using an unmodified JSW48 game engine should behave any differently on the Vega than the original JSW or Join The Jet-Set!. If the original JSW works fine, they should work fine too. I would not be equally sure concerning the modified JSW48 engines and the JSW128 and JSW64 engines, although I would give it a 99% probability that they should behave exactly as they do on emulators, i.e. work just fine. This said, I am not referring to the use of joystick, because I have no experience with it using emulation.


I keep a list of gamma-released MM and JSW games, cathegorised by the game engines they use, on JSW Central.

#334 "Reverse Manic Miner"

Posted by jetsetdanny on 17 August 2015 - 08:38 AM

Thank you for your explanations, Andrew, and for creating these challenges in the first place.
Whether or not to wish you to keep your current job poses a serious ethical dilemma for MM/JSW enthusiasts.   ;)

#331 "Reverse Manic Miner"

Posted by jetsetdanny on 16 August 2015 - 01:26 PM

After further investigation: the additional data is the tune of "Lord of the Dance" coded in the JSW48 format.

I don't know if it can be launched directly from "Party Willy" by pressing a secret key or something. So I have inserted the code into a file of the original JSW (from #865F to #869E, to make it the in-game tune). The result can be downloaded from here if anyone wants to listen to the tune.
I must say I like it a lot, it is a very nice rendition of "Lord of the Dance" which seems suitable and sounds good in JSW. Well done, Andrew! emo1.gif

#328 JSW Central

Posted by jetsetdanny on 12 August 2015 - 09:48 PM

I am pleased to announce a significant update of JSW Central. All MM games now have their individual pages with some basic information, download links and screenshots of all the caverns and loading screens. Eventually all JSW games will have such pages as well, but it will take time.
"Highest documented scores" for each game are mentioned on these individual pages, referring to performances for which there exist RZX recordings showing the whole process of achieving the score. The recordings are hosted either on RZX Archive or as "JSW Central Specials". The absence of a JSW Central Special download for any given game indicates that the recording of the best known performance is hosted on RZX Archive.
I would like to encourage anyone interested to send me RZX recordings showing the achievement of higher scores than these currently hosted. I will be pleased to make them available for download as JSW Central Specials (new ones or substituting the currently hosted files) with all due credit given in the text files.
Apart from the addition of individual MM games' pages, various minor updates have happened throughout the site as well.
Further significant development of JSW Central will probably have to wait until next year, as my JSW priority now will be work on Willy Games: The First 30 Years Quiz.

#326 Pc Version

Posted by jetsetdanny on 12 August 2015 - 09:31 PM

Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing, I have attached screenshots of Craig's pages (retrieved from the Wayback Machine) to this message.


The page attached as "Craig's Guide" seems to be an understandable enough description of what to do in order to retrieve the "giant keys", which are apparently necessary to complete the whole game (I have never played it seriously, just had a brief look at it, so I wouldn't know from my own playing experience how you progress through the game).


On that page he makes a reference to his main JSW page (attached here as "Craig's Main JSW Page"), saying, "So you have used the cheat (hidden on main jsw page - LOOK at the screen shots now click on the 'cheat')". This part is incomprehensible, indeed, as I don't see any 'cheat' on the screenshots of his main page. I suppose this is what you are referring to, isn't it?


I won't be able to play Craig's game seriously in the near future (devoting my JSW-time to other JSW-priorities), but I look forward to investigating this mystery the day I have the time to play the game... or seeing it solved by someone else in the meantime  ;) .


Attached File  Craig's_Guide.png   243.97KB   105 downloads


Attached File  Craig's_Main_JSW_Page.png   205.22KB   89 downloads

#321 Spectrum 48K Version

Posted by jetsetdanny on 11 August 2015 - 10:10 PM

According to Andrew Broad's summary of the interview with Matthew Smith published in Load 48 issue of Retro Gamer magazine, which came out 

on 28 February 2008:
> The portal in "The Final Barrier" is "omega - the end!", and he says here that the fish and dagger it turns into at the end of the game are simply a couple of sprites he had drawn but hadn't used in the game, although it is claimed elsewhere that they constitute the word "swordfish".



According to information from The Spectrum Games Database published on WoS:


> When you jump into the exit of The Final Barrier (and you haven't used the 6031769 cheat) the door changes from an omega sign to a fish and dagger, one above the other, the answer being Swordfish. You were supposed to quote this in the competition (i.e. the first person to quote what happened at the end correctly must have won, though I don't remember ever seeing who did it, if anyone). Then the game then starts again from the beginning - in the true tradition of Spectrum Games.



According to information published here in 2006 (see the very bottom of the page):


When Matthew Smith did his talk at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham the other year he new mentioned anything about a competition. He said the reason it showed the knife and fish was that you would know those who had the skills to complete the game, as only they would know the final image. (of course, what was to stop every kid in the playground finding it out and boasting they knew what the final image was...)



According to information published here:


> On the last screen – The Final Barrier – the exit door is an omega sign which, when the last object is collected, changes into a pictogram of a fish and a dagger… swordfish!… so Matthew Smith is a Marx Brothers fan too!



The Marx Brothers connection and the use of the word "swordfish" as a password in numerous books, films and games over the years is described very interestingly on Wikipedia. According to the article, "swordfish first appeared as a password in the 1932 Marx Brothers movie Horse Feathers — in a scene where Groucho Marx, as Professor Wagstaff, attempts to gain access to a speakeasy guarded by Baravelli (Chico)". The Wikipedia article is actually missing any mention of "Manic Miner", even though it lists other computer games where "swordfish" has been referenced: "Impossible Mission" (1984), "Quest for Glory" (1989), "Return to Zork" (1993), "Discworld" (1995), "Enter the Matrix" (2003) and the online game "Kingdom of Loathing".


Is anyone from the JSW & MM Community into editing Wikipedia? It would be good to add a proper reference to our beloved game there  :) .

#320 Manic Miner in development for Acorn Atom

Posted by jetsetdanny on 10 August 2015 - 06:52 PM

It looks very promising, Kees. Keep up the good work and let us know when your Atom conversion is ready!

  • zub likes this

#317 Pc Version

Posted by jetsetdanny on 10 August 2015 - 04:45 PM

Do you recall the 'other' PC version by Craig (roswell or rothwell?) that had a kind of path or 'tree' screen and you had to pick the game to play from there. It was several games in one. I do not have that anymore it seems. It really needed a cheat mode though.


Craig Rothwell.


The game features several early JSW remakes for the ZX Spectrum made to run under DOS. Interestingly, it also has "Manic Miner 7", which in its Spectrum version only has 5 edited rooms (the rest are rooms from the original MM) while here I think it is more developed. In fact, I believe Craig gave up the development of the ZX Spectrum version of "MM7" in order to work on this combo JSW/MM for the PC.


The game can still be downloaded from Jet Set Willy Remakes page and the direct download link is this. Version 1.01a seems to be the last one ever released, although I am not quite sure.

#316 "Reverse Manic Miner"

Posted by jetsetdanny on 09 August 2015 - 11:46 PM

The TAP file of Andrew Broad's 2004 game "Manic Miner: Neighbours - Allana Truman" contains a secret bonus game "Reverse Manic Miner". It is a version of the classic where you play through the caverns in reverse order, starting in "The Final Barrier" and finishing in "The Central Cavern".


"Reverse Manic Miner" offers an interesting concept, a smart solution to some technical problems which arise with the transformation (thanks to a patch by John Elliott) and a slightly strange playing experience.


An RZX recording of the game can now be downloaded from The RZX Archive.



There is also an additional block of 64 bytes of data called "LordDance" within the TAP files of Andrew's "Party Willy" 48K (perhaps also the 128K version, I can't see it there, though). I don't know how to run it to see what it is. Any ideas?

#315 RZX recordings of "Ma jolie"

Posted by jetsetdanny on 09 August 2015 - 11:30 PM

The RZX Archive now hosts a set of recordings of Andrew Broad's Manic Miner game "Ma jolie" (and its easier version "Ma jolite"), which includes the 2009 Special Edition, which has not been hosted there (or elsewhere, TTBOMK) before.


I have spent quite a considerable time (holiday season!) recording and re-recording both hard and easy versions of the three editions of the game (the original one from 2003 and the special editions of 2006 and 2009) so as to produce streamlined, efficient solutions to them. I have been able to achieve decent results, if I may say so myself, including the score of 40,040 points for the original "Ma jolite" upon first re-entry into the first cavern, with no loss of life, which seems to make this game relatively easier than the original "Manic Miner", where I think (and I wouldn't mind to be proven wrong) such a score is impossible to achieve.


The "sixpack" can be downloaded from here.

#307 "Willy Games: The First 30 Years Quiz"

Posted by jetsetdanny on 19 July 2015 - 08:26 PM

Thanks, Spider!


I will incorporate these into the quiz somehow.


There is more than one MM game which is not in English, but this is not a problem, because the test consists of multiple choice questions, so the question will feature the titles of three MM games which are in English and one which is not, and the player will have to pick the correct answer.


I hope to work on the quiz in the coming weeks, so if you (or anyone else) have any more suggestion, I will be glad to see them.

#295 "Dreams of Willy" - new JSW128 game!

Posted by jetsetdanny on 25 June 2015 - 01:45 PM

Beta version 1 of Dreams of Willy - a JSW128 game by Prophet - has been released on the (recently resurrected) World of Spectrum forums. The discussion page is here. It contains information by the author, a download link and various reactions by forum members, including the results of my beta testing and a download link to an RZX recording of my playtest.

I will not repeat here everything I said on WoS, but I would just like to say that the game Dreams of Willy is really fantastic. It is well designed, visually attractive and appropriately challenging. It is heavily influenced by Sendy's games where's woodyand strangel, which is great. The mixture of classic sprites from the original JSW, Sendy's sprites (copied from or inspired by Monty games, I believe) and brand-new sprites (very good ones, too!) works very well. The game feels both familiar and innovative thanks to it. The same goes for the graphics. There are various nice and cleverly done references to the original JSW and MM.

For me the game has an optimal difficulty level. It is not really diffucult (not when you can reload snapshots or use the Rollback feature; it would be a nightmare on the original hardware), but it is not extremely simple, either, and it does require some well-timed jumps and offers some interesting technical challenges. The biggest challenge facing the player though is the game's geography - it is very difficult, with many Promised Lands.

It is a great joy to see a new (in fact: created in the early 2000s and now revamped by "vigorous polishing") JSW game and I look forward very much to Prophet's completing the project and gamma-releasing Dreams of Willy.


#241 "Willy Games: The First 30 Years Quiz"

Posted by jetsetdanny on 11 May 2015 - 07:39 PM

I am pleased to announce the creation of a new game using the JSW64 game engine (variant V). It is called "Willy Games: The First 30 Years Quiz" and it makes a VERY unorthodox use of the game engine. It will be a multiple-choice quiz in which the player will have to choose the right answers to 120 questions (divided into four sections: Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert) related to MM and JSW games for the ZX Spectrum created between 1983 and 2013. Choosing a wrong answer will cost the player one life (and he/she will have 12 lives to start with).


The game will use all 128 "rooms" available in JSW64 V, with 120 screens devoted to questions (30 in each section) and 8 "special" screens (the opening one, a "small congratulations" screen after completing each of the first three sections, a "big congratulations" screen after completing the whole quiz and three screens belonging to the toilet run).


The game will probably be the least WYSIWYG game ever as far as JSWED is concerned. A large part of the design process will involve using JSWED's Hex editor.


The game will not require any of the traditional skills or manual dexterity needed to complete a MM or JSW game, only knowledge (and intelligence to make intelligent guesses ;) ).


The special screens are all ready now as well as the first question screen. It contains the following challenge:


The question: Who created Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner?


The answers to choose from: 


Jeff Minter

Matthew Smith

Steve Jobs

Bill Gates




This is, of course, trivial for anyone even remotely interested in the subject. However, the next questions will get progressively more difficult, with the ones in the Expert section truly requiring an in-depth knowledge of MM and JSW games.


If anyone would like to put forward proposals for the questions, I will be very interested to hear them. I cannot promise unconditionally that I will use them in the quiz, but it is probable, since my problem will certainly be a tendency to make the questions *too* difficult. So I might use some more balanced suggestions.


I was inspired to start working on this project by my research while preparing the launch of JSW Central and then the Chronology section of the website. I felt that such a game would both be a tribute to those "first 30 years" of the MM/JSW scene for the ZX Spectrum, the people involved and the games created, and a proof that the JSW64 game engine can be used in most versatile and unexpected ways.


I would like to say a big thank you to John Elliott for helping me out with technical problems relating to inserting patch vectors which print text on the screen.


I look forward to your suggestions for the multiple choice questions for the quiz!