R-Type of game! It's Behind You - the making of a computer game

by Paul Morrison

If I have any aspirations of being a journalist, then it's only right that I occasionally steal from my inspirations, especially when those inspirations come from the very era I'm writing about!

That inspiration is ZZAP! 64, and its writers.  I read it religiously every month back in the day, and for a long time it was simply amazing.  I even applied for a Staff Writer's job when I left school... I was rightfully turned down (by Phil King, I think... the swine!).  Anyway, enough about that... I remember they used and re-used the pun I've used in the title of this post.   Not just about R-Type, though... about any clone of R-Type.  They even reached a point where they would take the mickey out of their own use of the pun!

That's running on  what , did you say?  

That's running on what, did you say? 

This post isn't about ZZAP! 64, though.  It's about R-Type... and not even the Commodore 64 version, either!

Nope, this is about the Spectrum version of R-Type.  You've played it, haven't you?  It's amazing.  Far beyond what anybody thought or hoped could be achieved on the humble Speccy,  it's a conversion that received plaudits at the time but still marvels today.  Just how on Earth did the author manage to create such an incredible version of the coin-op on the Spectrum?

You all know what to do here, right?

You all know what to do here, right?

Well, now you can find out.  Programmer Bob Pape has written a book on the process.  At 138 pages long, it looks incredibly comprehensive given how long ago this actually took place.  There are a few pages devoted to one of Bob's previous conversions, Rampage, which is an added bonus, but the meat, potatoes, bread rolls and gravy is the R-Type content. 

Every time you look at it, you can't quite believe your eyes.  

Every time you look at it, you can't quite believe your eyes. 

Having scanned through it, there's everything any of us geeks could ever want.  It's got detailed technical passages; it's got screenshots (including comparisons, sprite rips etc.); it's got behind-the-scenes info.   It's brilliant.  And it's free!

Bob Pape only wrote a few Spectrum games, but they were all of a very high standard and are highly thought of today.  I certainly intend to cover them in my They Were Our Gods book, but I could never hope to be as comprehensive about any one game as this book is (and of course, that's not really my aim).  I highly recommend you check out this work.  It must have taken Bob some considerable time to write, but it's been well worth it. 

Download "It's Behind You - the making of a computer game" right now, for FREE, here: