Rose tinted specs

I really feel sorry for kids these days, games cost an arm and a leg and if you want to keep up with your mates many papers would need to be delivered.  But wait! Todays’ yoof are lazy, work-shy dodgers who don’t want to earn money, so how do they do it?  I really don’t know, stealing maybe?   I’m kidding of course but when I was but a lad it was so easy to game on a budget.

Get up off your a***s

The ZX Spectrum was my teen weapon of choice and the place where I spent the formative years of my life honing my skills.  Now fair enough, the average price of a game was only £7.95, but to me that was a heck of a lot of money, so it was with great joy that during my ZX era that Mastertronic came along.  Mastertronic were publishers that specialised in games for £1.99 and a great number of them were actually really good.  A few of my favourites were; Finders Keepers, part of a series featuring the Magic Knight character, Kikstart, a motorbike stunt game based loosely on the TV programme of the same name, Mastertronic were also responsible for budget re-releases of Ghostbusters and Way of the Exploding Fist.

Quality, cheap gaming

A great aspect to these cheap games was their availability, they could be found in newsagents, petrol stations, sweet shops etc and required no knowledge whatsoever on behalf of the shopkeepers to sell them.  You turned up with your two quid, chose a game from about 50 or so on display, paid, went home, played and were happy.  This started a small flurry of similar budget companies trying to grab a bit of the market, I seem to remember BT having a company called Firebird software that released some pretty decent games.  But Mastertronic were king of the hill when it came to budget releases.

What, no block!

Cut to today and the budget market is a bit of a misnomer, for twenty quid you can pick up last years hot game on a Platinum label and does indeed represent good quality if you haven’t played before.  Some shops, of course, offer two for twenty, buy one get on free etc. but there is no TRUE budget range.  Yes you can get games for under a tenner-mostly Fifa and Tomb Raider- PGR 3 can be got for under a fiver!  But there is not one company who have picked up the older games and offered them back to us, re-packaged and branded for a truly pocket money range.  So, someone, somewhere must be reading this thinking,

Tantalising offers

“what a great idea!”

and you know what, I thought of it, so there.


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3 responses to “Rose tinted specs”

  1. Dave avatar
    Dave

    Finders Keepers – get in!

    What a game and yeah dude, I remember getting the Dizzy Collection for a mere snip when I was wee, couldn’t have been more than £15 for about eight games.

    I think the best place for Speccy titles was this second hand shop called Ruby’s (sadly, it’s no longer there) I could get second-hand speccy games for as low as 50p and there were so many! John Menzies had a massive collection for cheap too.

    Ah this nostalgia is great, think I have a blog idea brewing 😀

    Most importantly, do you still have your speccy?

  2. Michael avatar
    Michael

    Well, there is the Sold Out range on PC… I’ve got some good games through that, I tell ya!

    I used to be able to buy cheap Playstation games at my local Spar. They weren’t the best games around, of course, but still…

  3. Helga avatar
    Helga

    Dear Martin,

    I can only agree with you. These kids don´t know how to spend their time meaningfully, joyfully. Instead they ruin their health and thus their future.
    But the reason why I´m writing you is that a group of English teachers in Thuringia (a part of Germany) is developing a type a oral English test based on visual input. They have chosen the picture with the two kids. My question is whether you grant permission to use this picture in this material for English teachers which will be accessible in the Internet.

    Thank you for your time and reply (honestly, I do need your answer relatively soon (in German I would have said: urgently :-)).

    Best wishes
    Helga

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