Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Game 19: 3D Defender

Name:3D Defender
Publisher:JK Greye Software
Developer:Malcolm Evans
Genre:Space Sim
Time:Under 1 hour

I know I shouldn't give up on a game before an hour is up, but I have to be honest, at a certain point I just don't care anymore. The game is unplayable today. The only reason why it was playable then was because there weren't any other options for the ZX81. By 1986 standards, this game is unplayable, by my standards this game is unplayable, by the standards of Joe Average, this is akin to tossing them in the loony bin and locking the door behind them.

One of the things we take for granted in any flight or space sim is a set of keys that corrispond with a particular section of the plane's controls. Rudders, wings, jets. 3D Defender has about five keys dedicated to going left and up. For what purpose, I do not know, nor will I ever find out. My entire time spent playing this game involved flailing around desperately trying to hit something. That is not what a Space Sim should involve. I shouldn't lack the precision to hit anything at all.

Basic shooting, some kind of laser. 1/10

Basic enemies, generic UFOs. 1/10

Presumably, somewhere. I never noticed any. To be fair, I couldn't control the plane very well. They're probably the typical Defender stuff, so items, in essence. 0/10

A featureless white plane. 0/10

Player Agency:
I'm a big advocate on reading the manual. Here's the thing, I don't think the manual would've saved me too much. By the time I finished I had a good idea of what I was doing, and none of it involved actually hitting anything. It would take me a long time to succeed in doing so, and for what? 0/10

I don't think so. 0/10

Its 1981. They hadn't thought of that in video games yet. 0/10

It looks very nice for black & white on an all text screen. I mean that. Everything looks like it should. You'll just have to take my word for it, the online emulator I used produced some bad screenshots. 1/10

Its Defender. Aliens invade, you save civilians. 0/10

None. 0/10

You don't need a math degree for this one. 3. 3. 3. It'd take some effort to make a game worse than this one. I mean that.
This game was apparently mail order. I suspect there's no reading into that, just their business model. Malcolm Evans was responsible for two more JK Grey Software games, 3D Monster Maze and Breakout. Monster Maze being an early Maze-clone. JK Grey Software would cease to exist after 1981, presumably they couldn't attract any Spectrum programmers. Evans would go onto making a few Spectrum games, including some eye-searing early 3D games I won't be covering. Mobygames lists no magazines as having reviewed this.

Next, we'll be seeing some more of Dino Defender and some Intellivision games.

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