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Horace series

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Horace Series
Horace (as depicted on the Hungry Horace Cover)
Genres Maze,
Overhead View Action,
Developers Beam Software
Publishers Melbourne House
Creators William Tang

The Horace video game series was created in the 1980s by William Tang for Beam Software. The series comprised Hungry Horace, Horace Goes Skiing and Horace and the Spiders.

Hungry Horace and Horace and the Spiders were two of the very few Spectrum games also available in ROM format for use with the Interface 2.

Hungry Horace

"Hungry Horace" is also the name of an unrelated character from the UK's Dandy, Sparky and Topper comics.

The original Horace game, Hungry Horace was written as a simple Pacman clone,[1] published in 1982. In it, Horace must gather food from around a park and move onto the next section while avoiding park guards. It is possible for him to collect a bell to panic the guards and render them vulnerable, like the power pills in Pacman. This title was available on the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Dragon 32. The ZX Spectrum original was marketed and distributed by Sinclair themselves, the Commodore 64 and Dragon 32 versions by Melbourne House.

The Commodore 64 version also included a level editor which allowed the game owner to create, edit and save to cassette tape their own levels of the game. These could be shared with other owners of the game.[citation needed]

Horace Goes Skiing


In 1982 Tang also produced Horace Goes Skiing. In it, Horace must cross a dangerous road teeming with traffic to rent out a pair of skis, à la Frogger, get back over the road and successfully navigate a ski course.

This title is not a true sequel, as it does not follow on from an original story and is only really similar in that it features the same character. In this sense, the game is a spin-off, although such concepts were unheard of in video gaming in the early 1980s. Like Hungry Horace, this title was available on the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, and Dragon 32. As before, Sinclair distributed the Spectrum version, Melbourne House the Commodore 64 and Dragon 32 versions. Horace Goes Skiing was rated at 8.9 in one magazine back in 1983.

Horace and the Spiders


In 1983, Tang produced the third title in the series, Horace And The Spiders. This was primarily a platform game, although the sprites had been retained from the top-view of the first two games. The first level sees Horace climbing a hill while jumping over spiders. The second level involves crossing a bridge by swinging on spider threads. The third level is the final confrontation with the spiders - he must create holes in the web, luring the spiders into the holes to fix them and consequently jumping on them.

Unlike the earlier two titles, this game was only released for the ZX Spectrum. The first stage of this game shared similarities with both Pitfall and the Colecovision game Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle, whilst the third platform stage is essentially a Space Panic clone.

Horace to the Rescue

This title was announced in 1985 but the game never appeared. It was rumoured that Tang suffered serious health problems (believed to be a collapsed lung)[2] and was unable to continue his work, although this was never confirmed.

Horace in the Mystic Woods

Horace made a comeback in 1995 with the platform based game Horace in the Mystic Woods for the Psion 3-Series of palmtop computers. The game was coded by Michael Ware of Proteus Developments, and is Series 3/3A/3C and 3mx compatible.

Other appearances

In the Spectrum version of the 1987 game Inspector Gadget and the Circus of Fear, Gadget has to make his way through several scrolling worlds. In the first of these, he is hindered by Horaces travelling in the opposite direction; if he trips over too many of them, he loses a life.

A reference to Horace is also present in the 2003 PlayStation 2 game Dog's Life, which features a shop named Horace's Ski Shop. The name is written in a font similar to the one used on the ZX Spectrum, and is accompanied by a Spectrum-style rainbow pattern.


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