"Of It's Time" : Rooted in the 1980's ZX Spectrum Software (aka Culturally "Out of Date" stuff)


This does not have to be UK based but it has to be ZX Spectrum software that is culturally specific to or at least strongly related to the 1980s . One clue or "give away" would be that it seems out of date now !

I have got one:- Do we still have "streakers now" ? Well I have one "Streakers" by Bulldog Software ( I am not surprised a Bulldog would probably like a Streaker "oo yum yum"!)
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  • I suppose the obvious ones would be games featuring sports stars or cartoon/TV show characters who aren't around anymore, but what about Paperboy? Do paperboys still exist? I don't see them around where I live anymore, not that I ever saw them riding around on bikes and throwing newspapers at front doors or anything. :D
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  • Mr Wong's Loopy Laundry! :D
    We must perform a quirkafleeg
  • edited June 10
    Replies to both

    Well when I asked my sons about whether streaking was out of date they put me onto this (some some reason):-

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=15S0g8pG6HU

    And then I had to find out about US paperboys . As can be seen here, they are now out of date as they are a dying breed::-

    nbcnews.com/id/12485231/ns/us_news-life/t/while-you-were-sleeping-paperboy-grew/

    So "Paperboy" the game is right for this category as is the "Mr Wong's game" . This is because the Chinese community in GB have been upwardly mobile so fewer of them are now engaged in laundry work.

    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • Mad Nurse would never be made today with it's scenes showing babies getting electrocuted or falling down lift shafts with a splat! :))
    We must perform a quirkafleeg
  • Ah yes political correctness is another cultural aspect . More zanyness was part of the scene back them . In fact a lot of games would not be made now . That is why the Speccy stuff is unique . It will definitely never be made again
  • Mailstrom has aged in an interesting way. It's a Thatcher-era view of a future Britain in which the North Sea Oil has run out and anarchy reigns - I assume it was based on David Brin's The Postman, which came out the year before. I'm not sure if it's more or less relevant than it was in 1986. There was a general view back then that the future belonged to gangs of hooligans with dogs on chains, which again may or may have been true.

    Corruption takes place in a fantasy version of The City that's a mixture of pre-Big Bang gentlemen's clubs and post-Big Bang yuppies with filofaxes, but no-one has a mobile phone. It's very much of its time. Having said that a lot of issues that are fashionable nowadays were also fashionable in the 1980s, the major exception being religion, which in the 1980s was generally not an issue.

    Hampstead has a timeless quality, but the society it depicts would probably live in Chelsea or to a lesser extent Shoreditch nowadays. At one point in the game you can bluff your way into a job by wearing a smart suit and the right old school tie to a posh nightclub, which is of course absurd nowadays. The same authors' Dodgy Geezers and Terrormolinos would be rich pickings if you were writing a university essay about the depiction of British culture in the 1980s via the medium of ZX Spectrum Games.

    In general there are a bunch of shared ideas that were around in the early-mid 1980s but don't mean anything unless you were alive at the time, including council houses, mass unemployment, stereotypical punks and hippies, people in cloth caps working in car factories, industrial decline, essentially all the things the Pet Shop Boys sang about on Actually.

    I was also going to say "all those games with the IRA", but I can't think of a single ZX Spectrum game that had the IRA in it.
  • ZupZup
    edited June 22
    Raid over Moscow. Mother Russia seems to be no enemy (heavy sarcasm included).

    Splitting Images, because all protagonists are buried (some in the past, most are literally buried). Also, most TV tie-ins.

    You Acid Game, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Sabrina.... music tie-ins tends to age badly.
    Post edited by Zup on
    I was there, too
    An' you know what they said?
    Well, some of it was true!
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  • Reply to Zup

    Yes but what about the Salisbury poisonings ?

    I agree about the others so thanks for those.

  • Yes this is developing in an interesting way . I had originally conceived it as out of date "cultural labels" but more interesting than this idea is that whole "sub cultures" can become out of date . So this thread has just been broadened out by Ashley Pomeroy .
  • edited June 22
    Another out of date "label" - the Headbanger. The game is "Harvey Headbanger" (Firebird) .

    But I found out that the term has much wider frame of reference :-
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headbanging
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • Wanted: Monty Mole was set during the Miner's strike. Now all the traditional coal mines are closed and Monty would probably have a wood burner instead. :)
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  • Trivial pursuit maybe as some of the questions answers were rooted in that time period or near enough.
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  • I could have given this thread a better title such as " cultural labels" or stereotypes ( such as headbanger or streaker) that have fallen by the wayside and are no longer used much . But I did not do this so wider cultural events have been included - which is good . But the trouble with a wider approach is that as the Spectrum is "retro" machine then ultimately nearly everything can be included . So I am going to try to redefine this threads idea as being mainly for specific cultural events , labels and social stereotypes that have all but disappeared . That should narrow it down a bit!
  • Headbangers is a good one. My recollection is that acid house / rave hit the mainstream slightly too late to become prominent in the 8-bit scene, and until that point the general stereotype of youth culture in video games was more or less the same as something like The Young Ones - punks, hippies, Rastafarians, heavy metal fans, but no-one else.

    This is one of the (many) reasons why Deus Ex Machina is a weird little time capsule. It's a blend of prog rock and Stiff-records-style New Wave. It sounds millions of years old nowadays.

    The Amiga demo scene was full of techno music but rave culture is largely absent from 8-bit games. Even the in-game soundtracks are jazz-funk or Jan Hammer-style synthpop. It may well have been a technical limitation (the Amiga's audio hardware was almost purpose-designed for sample-based dance music, the AY chip not so much).

    The other thing that springs to mind is the advert for Psycho Pigs USB - "I know which one I'd rather play with". It actually feels a few years ahead of its time. The tracksuits are vintage 1988 but the basic concept is the kind of thing you'd expect to see in Maxim or Loaded from seven or eight years later.

    Auf Wiedersehen Monty is one of several games that has traveller's cheques, which will probably puzzle anybody under the age of forty. In fact it specifically has Eurocheques, which were discontinued in 2002. The game did correctly predict the Schengen Area. The game ends with Monty retiring to a Greek island, which sounds like something that British people of the 1970s dreamed about - in the 1990s British people preferred to retire to Spain or rural France.

    But then again Monty is a wanted criminal. so it does make sense that he would retire to somewhere more low-key. If the game was made nowadays he would probably end up in Qatar, or somewhere else that doesn't have an extradition treaty. I'm overanalysing Auf Wiedersehen Monty, I apologise.
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  • I actually found it quite interesting, and the OP does like his details...
    You can't expect me to have lunch with a man who's favourite part of the chicken is the right wing!
  • OK Yah, a 'Yuppie' influence.

    O.K.Yah.jpg
  • ZupZup
    edited June 26
    Another game, although it could be included in "music tie-ins" would be Rock Star Ate My Hamster.

    Even if we tried to get a roster of modern musicians, it would be very difficult to find some that are not clones. Try to name three recent musicians that are different on its own (maybe Lady Ga Ga?).

    Talking about roster... rooster haired punkys are almost forgotten, and they were protagonists/antagonists of some games.

    Although they're still known, Garfield and Snoopy are not as famous as then. So there goes another three games. Maybe Postman Pat and Thomas the Train Engine avoided the bullet ;)
    Post edited by Zup on
    I was there, too
    An' you know what they said?
    Well, some of it was true!
  • Given the current cultural sensitivity, certain games portraying African/black natives are very problematic - Livingstone Supongo, Jack The Nipper II and Three Weeks In Paradise spring to mind
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  • edited June 27
    Frank Bruno's Boxing's opponents are horrendously culturally clichéd, especially the guy defined as being from 'Africa' rather than any specific country. Was Frank really okay with this?

    Just about anything with Russians as enemies feels very dated now.

    Back To the Future 2 and Blade Runner typify what can happen when you set something in the Near Future as well.

    In Agent X your opponent is trying to brainwash the US President to become a warmongering maniac. Perhaps that's a frivolous exercise nowadays
    Post edited by MartinUK on
  • I wonder if a strip poker game would ever be released these days , especially when (iirc) there was no age classification label on any of them (not that that would likely have made a difference anyway).
  • Strip Poke would have to cater for a wider range of tastes for certain.
    No one important.
  • edited July 18
    We still have driving tests but....

    Are they the same as they were back in early Speccy days in the 1980s? Right now I am looking at a copy of "Pass Your Driving Test" (Spectrum) based on the book "Are You Ready For Your Driving Test" written by Mike Nathensen and published by Pan in Association with the British School Of Motoring .I think it says there are two programs and 40 lessons .Well I have passed my Test , but if I had not ,would I be able to "get away" using this today? Would I be likely to pass or is it just too out of date?

    I checked it out in the WOS archive and it is listed under Audiogenic . Here it is:-

    https://worldofspectrum.org/pub/sinclair/games-inlays/p/PassYourDrivingTest.jpg

    I wonder why it is listed under Audiogenic ..My cassette says "Supersoft 1986" . So there are enough interested parties or participants already .So maybe somebody thought "Lets invite Audiogenic to the party as well" ( OK its a word play gag on "parties"!)
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • I think most of it would on UK roads. Signs, lane discipline, roundabouts, and breaking distances etc haven't changed. But it will be missing a lot too. It would have to a several extra parts for the Theory Test. You also have learn basic maintenance too as your tested on knowing how to say top up and check oil levels etc. On top of that you have to demonstrate that you know how to setup a Sat Nav. I think also motorway driving is now being included with the driving test too.
  • We still have driving tests but....

    Are they the same as they were back in early Speccy days in the 1980s? Right now I am looking at a copy of "Pass Your Driving Test" (Spectrum) based on the book "Are You Ready For Your Driving Test" written by Mike Nathensen and published by Pan in Association with the British School Of Motoring .I think it says there are two programs and 40 lessons .Well I have passed my Test , but if I had not ,would I be able to "get away" using this today? Would I be likely to pass or is it just too out of date?

    I checked it out in the WOS archive and it is listed under Audiogenic . Here it is:-

    https://worldofspectrum.org/pub/sinclair/games-inlays/p/PassYourDrivingTest.jpg

    I wonder why it is listed under Audiogenic ..My cassette says "Supersoft 1986" . So there are enough interested parties or participants already .So maybe somebody thought "Lets invite Audiogenic to the party as well" ( OK its a word play gag on "parties"!)

    Gosh, think I remember this one from when I was a kid. Is there a (not very) arcadey bit where you drive a car along a road? And isn't there an audio tutorial by maybe Jon Pertwee?
  • edited July 18
    Well I had a quick look . Basically , in the lesson I looked at , (driving off from start lesson 3 I think) it has al list of things to be done (like depressing the clutch) but in the wrong order . You have to sort them out into the right order 1-7 . Actually as this is normally done automatically , it is quite hard ( it forces you to think - so really terrible really!)

    And it flashes up so quickly I could not see Audiogenic but I did get a glimpse of Supersoft ( I nearly misplelt it as Suppersoft) . So I could do a quiz and people would have to sort it out it the right order!

    1) Audiogenic is there on the start screen but you cannot see it? ( Answer Yes or No )

    2) "Pan's" People are cunningly disguised as Supersoft . Is this true?

    3) Hill-MacGibbon ( Pan's normal people) do not get a look in these road conditions .

    4) It says it should be used with a reputable driving school. But where do you find one of those?

    5) Is it Mike Nathansen or Steve MacCarthy who wrote it ? Maybe one wrote the questions and the other did the programming?

    6) Will this mystery ever be sorted out?

    7) TZX Vault also says it is by Audiogenic - but did they copy the Answer?

    8) Would it have been better if they had called it "P*ss Your Driving Test"? . My Mk 1 Ford Escort was always very leaky inside anyway.

    9) Why is there no Side 1 and 2 ( Ie separate files for side 1 and 2- as per TZX files) for the TAP version?

    10) Discuss at length.
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • Reply to Your Spec chum

    I did not know that you now have to know about Sat Navs
  • Is Sat Nav setup really a thing now? That's new (or just outside Scotland), as I only passed my test about 5 years ago.
  • Is Sat Nav setup really a thing now? That's new (or just outside Scotland), as I only passed my test about 5 years ago.
    Reply to Your Spec chum

    I did not know that you now have to know about Sat Navs

    Yeah the learner when on test has to use a Sat Nav for directions as part(not all) of the test route, without any help from the examiner. My niece and nephew passed theirs just last year and had to use one. This change was brought in on the 4th of December 2017. You know when your following another driver with a Sat Nav and their not sure where they are going, so I think it's a good thing drivers learn to follow Sat Nav prompts properly. The theory test had just come in when I did my test about 22 years ago. I didn't like driving at first. I was a biker and just couldn't get use car driving. I soon learnt cars didn't move about with your body like bikes.
  • Turmoil would certainly raise a few eyebrows - in fact, it did back then, as I recall.

    Hampstead is one that was very rooted to its time but weirdly, is more relevant now...
  • As a child of the cold war, playing games like Theatre Europe and Ground Zero where the world was bound to end in nuclear war, and the third world war was inevitable. The countries of eastern europe were the enemies. I didn't know anything about Poland except they were baddies and we'd be fighting them one day.

    Except that future didn't come to pass, and I had a very nice family of Poles living next door once. I was even free to go and live and work in Poland with no issues. And then Brexit happened, and those sunny uplands have gone away too.
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