Manic Miner last edited by reverendhunt on 07/16/20 04:09AM View full history


Manic Miner was a hectic and popular game that's remembered as much for its music as it was its gameplay. The game saw the player controlling miner Willy with the objective to collect all flashing objects within each screen before heading to the flashing exit before your air supply ran out. Each level was all contained within one screen with no scrolling. Miner Willy would have to avoid some truly strange monsters such as telephones, penguins and flowers while negotiating moving platforms and timing difficult jumps. All the while the background music of the familiar part of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" would loop endlessly.

Interestingly, including background music was a big innovation of Manic Miner and was thought to be impossible at the time due to memory constraints. Matthew Smith achieved this by alternating the processor/memory from playing the game to playing the music. This is why Manic Miner has a characteristic, instantly recognisable 'juddery' effect to the music. It aslo explains the subtle juddery movements of Miner Willy and the monsters inhabiting the mine he has to avoid.

The ZX Spectrum version of the game is the most well-known version of the game and was released in 1983. It is regarded as one of the most popular games ever for the ZX Spectrum but enjoyed a comeback on the Gameboy Advance (developed by Jester Interactive at the time) and as a mobile phone game.

The game's success not only made Matthew Smith quite, quite wealthy, but also spawned a quick sequel also staring Miner Willy in 1984 - Jet Set Willy.


Popular Computing Weekly09/22/198316,17ZX Spectrum10 out of 10100
John ScrivenEnglish
Popular Computing Weekly01/10/198525Amstrad CPC5 out of 5100
Tony KendleEnglish
Computer Gamer05/198562,63Amstrad CPC5 out of 5100
Home Computing Weekly09/20/198331ZX Spectrum96 out of 10096
Home Computing Weekly02/12/198522Amstrad CPC95 out of 10095
Zzap06/198957C6495 out of 10095
Maff Evans, Paul RandEnglish
Crash05/198930ZX Spectrum92 out of 10092
Home Computing Weekly02/21/198427C6491 out of 10091
Computer + Video Games09/1983131ZX Spectrum9 out of 1090
Commodore User06/198654,55C169 out of 1090
James PickeringEnglish
Consoles+09/2002138Game Boy Advance89 out of 10089
Crash04/199277Sam Coupe88 out of 10088
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)05/199051Amiga870 out of 100087Laurence ScotfordEnglish
Computer + Video Games04/198429C648.5 out of 1085
Commodore Force05/199316,17C6485 out of 10085
Amiga Power12/1991102Amiga84 out of 10084
Stuart CampbellEnglish
Your Sinclair04/199226ZX Spectrum84 out of 10084
Jon PillarEnglish
Commodore User05/198965C6481 out of 10081-English
Commodore User07/198475C644 out of 580
Amiga Power05/1991107Amiga4 out of 580
The One02/199273Amiga4 out of 580
Jools WatshamEnglish
Zero03/199272Amiga80 out of 10080
David WilsonEnglish
Tilt03/198438ZX Spectrum4.7 out of 678
Amiga Mania04/199226Amiga78 out of 10078
Telematch01/198575Amstrad CPCNote: 2.872
Harald UenzelmannGerman
Personal Computer Games04/198457C647 out of 10070
Games-X11/199149Amiga3.5 out of 570
Zzap05/199048Amiga61 out of 10061
Datormagazin06/199018Amiga6 out of 1060
Pekka HedqvistSwedish
Amiga Power03/199282,83,85,86Amiga3 out of 560
Amiga Action06/199082,83Amiga52 out of 10052
Steve Marrett, Doug Johns, Alex SimmonsEnglish
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)5/199014Amiga4.4 out of 1237
Torsten OppermannGerman
Amiga Format05/199040Amiga25 out of 10025
Maff EvansEnglish
Amiga Joker05/199082,83Amiga5 out of 1005
Max MagenauerGerman
Popular Computing Weekly07/28/198346ZX Spectrum--
Sinclair User12/198349ZX Spectrum--
Happy Computer01/1984118,119ZX Spectrum--
Thomas StögmüllerGerman
ZX Computing04+05/198450,51ZX Spectrum--
Sinclair Answers09/198438ZX Spectrum--
Micro Hobby11/198414ZX Spectrum--
Commodore ForceAutumn/199321C64--

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