The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

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PeteProdge
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The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by PeteProdge » Sun May 12, 2019 3:19 pm

And yet another poll.

Yes, milking this concept further, I'm going to discover the best (er, based on your highly subjective preferences and this FPTP voting system) Speccy game by a particular software label.

As Manic Miner won the poll of polls, I thought I'd kick this off with that game's publisher. The problem is though, it had two publishers, Liverpool-based Bug-Byte, and then slightly tweaked for Software Projects (a company founded by Manic Miner's author Matthew Smith, which got to re-release Manic Miner due to a loophole in Matthew's Bug-Byte contract). Of course, I'll start off with Bug-Byte, then do Software Projects for the next poll.

And I could well just start the voting off, as Bug-Byte's Spectrum output appears to be just the 34 games I'm listing in this post. However, I may have missed something out, or someone might want to point out an error, or something. Plus we can get to discuss this peculiar software house in detail, in this phase. Bug-Byte isn't that familiar to me, as a latecomer to the Speccy (having got a 128K +2 in late 1987).

There's an oddity in that 1987's Nick Faldo Plays The Open could be a contender for this poll, as the inlay certainly displays the Bug-Byte logo and name, but Spectrum Computing's database attributes the publisher as Mind Games Ltd and the copyright on the loading screen is Argus Press Software Ltd. More on that later...

Obviously, when we cover bigger software houses, like Ocean and US Gold, well, they'll have a back catalogue of hundreds of games, and the poll settings only allow for 127 different options, so these discussion phases are needed to agree on what we should omit.

Oh, and it's very likely that Bug-Byte's most famous release will win the poll anyway. You know, the subterranean platformer that already topped the poll of polls. There's hardly any competition for it, after all. I think what will be interesting is what comes second in the poll!

To summarise Bug-Byte's history, it emerged at the start of the 1980s, when the ZX81, BBC Micro, Vic 20 and Acorn Electron were seen as sensational machines. Like many labels of the time, it issued a fair few arcade knock-offs for the Spectrum. In 1983, programmer Eugene Evans and two senior staff left Bug-Byte to set up Imagine Software. As mentioned earlier, 1984 saw the release of Manic Miner, which sold like hot cakes and then its author left to set up Software Projects, where the game was re-released there.

Bug-Byte went into voluntary liquidation in the middle of 1985, and was bought up by Argus Press (the previous year, Argus Press bought Quicksilva). Virtually all Argus Press staff left, with managing director Rod Cousens leaving to set up Electric Dreams. In 1987, Argus Press's managing director Stephen Hall bought out the company and renamed it Grandslam Entertainments.

There were quite a few games released on a label named Bug-Byte Premier, which was a re-release label (in the vein of Ricochet, Kixx and The Hit Squad) that re-released five games from Grandslam's back catalogue - mostly the ones coded by Teque. I don't count these as proper Bug-Byte releases.

Anyway, this is what I'm proposing for the vote next week. I think I've got it right, but do tell me if I haven't...

Antics
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Aquarius
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Birds And The Bees, The
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Bomber Bob In Pentagon Capers
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Castle, The
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Cavern Fighter
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Dogsbody
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Flyer Fox
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Fridge Frenzy
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General Election
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Headstart
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Hectic
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Kung-Fu
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Manic Miner
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Miami Dice
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No 1
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Piggy
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Plum Duff
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Rapscallion
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Roboto
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Rupert And The Ice Castle
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S.T.I.
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Sbugetti Junction
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Sodov The Sorcerer
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Spectral Invaders
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Spectres
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Star Trader
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Stay Kool
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Styx
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Transnitron
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Turmoil
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Twin Kingdom Valley
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Wildwater
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Zoot
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DouglasReynholm
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by DouglasReynholm » Sun May 12, 2019 3:26 pm

Turmoil was a pretty decent platformer as I remember it, but I still couldn't honestly vote against the obvious winner!
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by Pegaz » Sun May 12, 2019 3:29 pm

I like this kind of pools.
Here we have the chance to choose the best games of the most important publishers, you cant be wrong with it. :)
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by PeteProdge » Sun May 12, 2019 3:43 pm

Pegaz wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 3:29 pm
I like this kind of pools.
Here we have the chance to choose the best games of the most important publishers, you cant be wrong with it. :)
Cheers.

And I absolutely love exploring the history of these quirky software houses. When Retro Gamer magazine does an in-depth article on a software house, that's what makes me buy the mag.

I came across a lot of Bug Byte's stuff when my friend got a +2 a few months after I did. In his deal from Curry's (or was it Dixons?) he got a massive tape compilation, the bulk of which appeared to be loads of stuff from Grandslam and its acquisitions/imprints (Bug-Byte, Quicksilva, MC Lothorien, Mind Games)
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by Fahnn » Sun May 12, 2019 4:42 pm

Manic Miner's going to win again, though, isn't it? It's not that I particularly dislike the game, it was great in its time and is undoubtedly iconic, but nothing else will stand a chance here.
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PeteProdge
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by PeteProdge » Sun May 12, 2019 4:52 pm

Fahnn wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:42 pm
Manic Miner's going to win again, though, isn't it? It's not that I particularly dislike the game, it was great in its time and is undoubtedly iconic, but nothing else will stand a chance here.
Well, at least there'll be a different poll next time, which is going to be Software Projects, where, er, Manic Miner will, um, win again.

As I said, all eyes on what comes second!
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by Hank Scorpio » Sun May 12, 2019 6:10 pm

PeteProdge wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:52 pm

As I said, all eyes on what comes second!
With Styx being on the list is there a chance that Matthew Smith could claim the top two spots?
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by StooB » Sun May 12, 2019 6:18 pm

PeteProdge wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:52 pm
Fahnn wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:42 pm
Manic Miner's going to win again, though, isn't it? It's not that I particularly dislike the game, it was great in its time and is undoubtedly iconic, but nothing else will stand a chance here.
Well, at least there'll be a different poll next time, which is going to be Software Projects, where, er, Manic Miner will, um, win again.

As I said, all eyes on what comes second!
For consistency, if you're ignoring the titles that Bug-Byte re-released, like DefCom and Nick Faldo, then you should ignore the Software Projects Manic Miner as that's a re-release too.
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PeteProdge
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by PeteProdge » Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

StooB wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 6:18 pm
PeteProdge wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:52 pm
Fahnn wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:42 pm
Manic Miner's going to win again, though, isn't it? It's not that I particularly dislike the game, it was great in its time and is undoubtedly iconic, but nothing else will stand a chance here.
Well, at least there'll be a different poll next time, which is going to be Software Projects, where, er, Manic Miner will, um, win again.

As I said, all eyes on what comes second!
For consistency, if you're ignoring the titles that Bug-Byte re-released, like DefCom and Nick Faldo, then you should ignore the Software Projects Manic Miner as that's a re-release too.
That's a really good point. I've never viewed the Software Projects version as a re-release, but now you mention it, that's pretty much what it is. I think I'll have to agree with that.
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Re: The best Speccy game by Bug-Byte: discussion

Post by spider » Sun May 12, 2019 6:53 pm

I think Aquarius was likely the first game I saw/played by Bug-Byte however as others have said the likely winner is obvious ;) Even though it apparently was not "owned" by them hence why it moved over to Software Projects.

Mind you Turmoil I did quite like I must say. :) , I have a vague recollection of playing Rupert/Ice Castle it was either on a mag cover tape or a friends ahem tape. The others I should mention were original! :)

It is actually sometimes surprising when you list via a software house to see how many titles they actually *do* have.
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