Another Sunday means another episode of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, the (hopefully) weekly series where I play through all of the games listed in the book - 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. If I played the game before, then I will share my memory of the experience. If I haven't played the game before, then I find an online version or an emulator and I play the game (for at least 30 minutes). This is a book every gamer should have in their library, and if you're interested in purchasing it, you can find it here.


Last week was the first time in a long time I had to skip posting one of my 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die blogs. I was in the midst of moving and the book was packed up in a box, so I couldn't see what game was next. I just blogged about something else on that day. But now I'm mostly unpacked and I did find the box with the book in it. I flipped through the pages until I saw the last game I played, which was Lode Runner. It was a game I was familiar with and had played before. Kind of a classic if you ask me. Hopefully everything is back on track now, as I look and see what game is up this week. Ah, it's none other than...

Manic Miner

Manic Miner is a platform game originally written for the ZX Spectrum by Matthew Smith and released by Bug-Byte in 1983 (later re-released by Software Projects). It is the first game in the Miner Willy series and among the early titles in the platform game genre. The game itself was inspired by the Atari 800 game Miner 2049er. At the time, its stand-out features included in-game music and sound effects, excellent playability, and colorful graphics, which were well designed for the graphical limitations of the ZX Spectrum.

In each of the twenty caverns are several flashing objects, which the player must collect before Willy's oxygen supply runs out. Once the player has collected the objects in one cavern, they must then go to the now-flashing portal, which will take them to the next cavern. The player must avoid enemies, listed in the cassette inlay as "...Poisonous Pansies, Spiders, Slime, and worst of all, Manic Mining Robots...", which move along predefined paths at constant speeds. Willy can also be killed by falling too far, so players must time the precision of jumps and other movements to prevent such falls or collisions with the enemies. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

My first thought was that I had played this game before, until I read it was the inspiration for Miner 2049er, which I know I have played. So to be honest...I wasn't sure. And since I wasn't sure, I decided to find a place online to play it. I decided to go with Darn Kitty's version. Great website. The game ran fine and the website provided a lot of information about the game.

The game is tough, I'll definitely say that about it. Not much to look at in terms of visuals. But for back then, I suppose it wouldn't have been too awful. I'm sure games like this are what eventually lead to other platformers down the road like Mario.

Not only do you have plenty of obstacles to avoid, you have an oxygen level to keep an eye on. The point is to recover all the keys to unlock the exit. I was surprised how tough the game is - yet I kept on playing just to try and beat the level. The game did have some bright spots, or so I thought. The fact the ground gives way in some spots was a neat little feature (for back then). I know my character is supposed to be a miner, but I kind of thought he looked more like the Pillsbury Doughboy. The bad guy in the game reminded me so much of the bad guys from the 1979 video game - Adventure...which I also reviewed in this quest to play the 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.

The game must've been somewhat popular back in the day. It won a few awards including the winner of a Golden Joystick Award for best arcade style game by Computer & video games magazine in the March 1983 edition. It placed third in "Game of the Year 1983" of the same competition.

Apparently the game was released on a number of other platforms over the years, including a version for the Xbox 360 under the name Manic Miner 360 back in June of 2012.

So, in the end...Manic Miner was not a game I have played before, but now I have and I think it was fun and challenging. As old and antiquated as it is now, I can definitely see how it might be a popular game from back then. I'm glad to have played it and I guess we'll see what next week holds.

Until then...

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.


Previous Episodes:

Episode 1: 01 - 05 (here)

Episode 2: 06 - 10 (here)

Episode 3: 11 - 15 (here)

Episode 4: 16 - 20 (here)

Episode 5: 21 - 25 (here)

Episode 6: 26 - 30 (here)

Episode 7: 31 - 35 (here)

Episode 8: 36 - 40 (here)

Episode 41 (here)

Episode 42 (here)

Episode 43 (here)

Episode 44 (here)

Episode 45 (here)

Episode 46 (here)

Episode 47 (here)

Episode 48 (here)

Episode 49 (here)

Episode 50 (here)

Episode 51 (here)

Episode 52 (here)

Episode 53 (here)

Episode 54 (here)

Episode 55 (here)

Episode 56 (here)

Episode 57 (here)

Episode 58 (here)

Episode 59 (here)

Episode 60 (here)

Episode 61 (here)