Inspired by Melbourne House's excellent game
"The Hobbit" it was not suprising that DELTA 4 focused on adventure games. After
some early experimentation with small games created in BASIC, the discovery of Gilsoft's
authoring tool "The Quill" paved the way for us to develop larger games more
efficiently. This, combined with the knowledge that humorous adventures had a better
chance of being reviewed by the games magazines of the time, set the scene for the games
that inevitably followed.
THE DRAGONSTAR TRILOGY
text adventure, with one or two graphics (literally one or two graphics!) this was the
first "Quill'd" adventure from DELTA 4, sold mail-order from a tiny advertisment
in the back of Sunshine Publications' fine Micro Adventurer magazine. Although gaining
some kind, if not comprehensively favourable comments from the press, this was very much
an experiment in adventure creation.
The cover "artwork" was a triumph of Letraset transfer lettering, felt-tip pen
and photocopying, and the cassette tapes were all duplicated on a home deck and posted out
by hand. However, the few customers who bought it encouraged the writing of all the titles
that came after!
A large, but rather sterile science fiction game which, by the time it was finished had
persuaded me to do something more fun for my next project! Galaxias was later re-released
by Global Software as part of the Fourmost Adventures compilation.
THE QUEST FOR THE HOLY JOYSTICK
The game that changed things, QFTHJ reflected the locations and characters that I'd met
while promoting Galaxias and The Dragonstar Trilogy. Naturally, the editors and reviewers
loved seeing themselves and their offices "in-game" and gave the title quite
generous amounts of coverage.
RETURN OF THE JOYSTICK
Sinclair User Classic Award
An immediate sequel to QFTHJ, this adventure title was larger and more deliberate in its
reflection of the Spectrum games scene. With locations ranging from rival software
companies to ZX Microfairs and magazine publishers, Return Of The Joystick built on the
success of its predecessor and helped to build many valuable relationships with the press.
BORED OF THE RINGS
Sinclair User Classic Award, Golden
Joystick Commendation, PCW Adventure Of The Year Runner-Up
generally more lavish than any of the preceding titles, Bored Of The Rings was the first
ever Quill adventure that allowed players to save their position and load it into the next
section. Spread across three parts, the game was a tongue-in-cheek take on the greatest
fantasy story ever told. With numerous locations, and a reasonable number of graphics,
players had to guide Fordo and Spam on an improbable quest to destroy the golden ornament
bestowed on them by Bimbo and the wizard Grandalf.
This was the first DELTA 4 game to make it to Number One in the PCW charts and it was so
well received by the press that it released commercially on the Silversoft label. After
photocopying hundreds of manuals and cassette inserts, this was an extremely welcome turn
The curious teletext-style magazine "Sceptical" (which was itself modelled on
Design Design's "Spectacle") made its first appearance on this title.
ROBIN OF SHERLOCK
Amtix Accolade Award, Sinclair User
approximately one month, using a special Vodka vs Caffeine diet, this three part adventure
takes the familiar themes of Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes and, after a few minutes in
the blender, emerges with a bizarre, crime-fighting, arrow-firing sleuth clad in Lincoln
This was the first DELTA 4 game to use split-screen text and graphics, and also showed how
it was possible to move both to and from different sections of a multi-part game!
Well, it was big news at the time.
There wasn't enough time to complete "Sceptical II" but the small bonus program
"DELTA 4's Guide To Greater London" was included on the cassette.
Sinclair User Classic Award, Amtix
Accolade, YS Mega-Game, and many, many more...
(and much feared) prequel to Bored Of The Rings saw a return to Muddle Earth for DELTA 4.
In The Boggit players followed the story of Bimbo Faggins who unwittingly joined Grandalf
and his dwarven chums on a noble quest (or heist) to liberate some family heirlooms (or
loot) from a dumb animal (or massively intelligent, witty and fire-breathing dragon). It
all seamed like a good idea at the time, honest!
This was probably the most fun of all the games to work on, due in part to the fact that
it involved parodying one of the best adventures ever, "The Hobbit". Knowing and
loving the source material so well made the project a real pleasure.
Issue #2 of "Sceptical", DELTA 4's increasingly strange teletext-magazine was
included on the cassette, but failed to stop the game selling.
THE COLOUR OF MAGIC
Sinclair User Classic Award
A four part (you
heard me, 4 part) text and graphic adventure, that attempted (and very nearly managed) to
cram the entire first book of the now epic Discworld series into a single game!
Suffering not a little from the non-standard geography that abandons North and South in
favour of Hubward and Rimward, the game was nevertheless well received, although with
narrative written by Mr Pratchett you'd expect nothing less.
Bouncing ideas around over lunch with someone like that was great fun and I don't think he
found the experience too traumatic - we even get a nice little mention in the Discworld
THE BIG SLEAZE
Crash Smash Award, Sinclair User Classic
Award, and many, many more...
adventure ever to be released by DELTA 4 and, some said, the best. Originally developed
under the title "My Weapon Is Huge" this three part Chandler-esque detective
romp takes in all those silver screen private eye elements, from Sam's Spade to the
Maltese Bullfinch. The change in styles from fantasy to first-person-Bogart did nothing to
tame the raging parody that lurked within, and The Big Sleaze is probably the most
well-rounded of all the DELTA 4 titles.
The third (and thankfully final) episode of "Sceptical" came free with the game,
to the dismay of our publishers and the confusion of all who loaded it.
Not quite. After The Big Sleaze, DELTA 4's sister company Abstract
Concepts was set up to develop more serious adventure titles. This kept everyone busy for
quite some time. However, one last DELTA 4 game was developed. "The Smirking
Horror" (also known as "Titan Find" for contractual reasons I can't
entirely remember) was a comedy horror game. Sadly, due to contractual reasons I can't
entirely remember, it was never released.
And that's that!