With the pulse pounding from the truly fantastic Midnight Resistance we can today give ourselves a well earned rest, as we’ve come across our first text-based adventure in the Your Sinclair Top 100. Here is also the game which perhaps spawned the first internet meme, before internet meme’s became a thing (and technically the internet), “Thorin sits down and sings about gold”. At No.# 42 is the rather brilliant The Hobbit from Melbourne House.
The Hobbit arrived way back in 1982 – the same year the ZX Spectrum was launched – created by Beam Software which was in this case Philip Mitchell (nothing to do with Eastenders) and Veronika Megler. In this game you take on the role Bilbo Baggins, sent on an adventure with the Dwarves to reclaim their lost treasure and also to stop Thorin from getting killed along the way. You have all of Middle-earth to wander around in (or should that read to get lost in) and along the way numerous J.R.R. Tolkien characters would turn up, for which you can interact with.
Here was an adventure game that really showed both past and future adventure games how this genre should be done. Not only did The Hobbit have the fantastic story provided by one of the greatest fantasy writers flowing through it, delivered rather splendidly on the ZX Spectrum, but the mechanics of the game were rather clever too. The supporting characters freely roamed across Middle-earth, so Gandalf & Co. would stroll in and stroll out of you life; without pausing the game if you went away to make a cup of tea this adventure game would continue without you, so Goblins may appear and begin to attack you or Elrond may sit down then proceed to eat his lunch; objects could be placed it boxes and bags; you can sit on a log – upon a cliff – then ask Thorin and the Dwarves to push said log off the cliff, and the game remembers you’re on the log and you’ll plummet to your death!
Along with this we have the artwork appearing throughout The Hobbit, which by most FMV standards today may not look overly impressive to some, however back in 1982 – also to some of us still today – was quite brilliant. This adventure game came along and it barely managed to squeeze into a 48K machine but it did; that in itself is another reason why it’s such an excellent game.
The Hobbit was and still is a fantastic game to play; for those that never experienced it in all of its 48K glory you can play it online here, however for anyone that ever fancied to seeing a 128K version of The Hobbit – with new graphics and a new loading screen – then you can download that here.