A downloadable game

48K ZX Spectrum - 2012

Join Chi-Chi Skyrocket on her quest to keep the multiverse safe from invaders, taking the fight to the stars, underwater, and inside the machine.

I'd never written a traditional side-scrolling shoot'em-up game before, and I don't think anyone has written one for the Spectrum which only uses ASCII characters throughout instead of pixel-based high-res graphics. I'm rather pleased with the end result though as (I think) a unique one-of-a-kind game on the Spectrum. Indeed, it doesn't even seem like a Spectrum game, more a launch title from a mythical ZX82 machine which kept the character display of the ZX81 but added colour and sound to it.

The game did take nine months to code though - the development process being drawn out somewhat by there being little in the way of tools to aid in the creation of the colour ASCII levels and objects (they all had to be hand coded into the game) and the fact that it's actually quite difficult to produce good meaningful ASCII art within such a small space.

MicroMart - Game of the Week - "LumASCII is almost a shoot-'em-up in its own genre... If you really want something that feels familiar, but at the same time is obviously a bit different, then this is for you. With this and the sublime splATTR, Bob has two superb and entirely unique blasters that shouldn't be missed"

RetroGamer - Sizzler - "Bob Smith is starting to develop something of a track record when it comes to finding unusual ways to utilise the Spectrum's hardware in a game" - 90%

RGCD - "With LumASCII, Mr Smith should be applauded for producing an interesting take on a game that stands out within a very crowded genre. Recommended very highly as an example of the art of making a retro computer game feel special" - 4/5

Release date Nov 10, 2012
Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars
(3 total ratings)
AuthorBob's Stuff
Tags8-Bit, ascii, lumascii, Retro, sinclair, ZX Spectrum


lumascii.zip - TZX emulator file & instructions 18 kB


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Hi Bob, you are a genius.

Very nice game with cool idea. Our German-language review can be found in our recorded livestream starting at 04:26:23. Subscription to our YouTube or Twitch channel is welcome. 🙂

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Hey there. I am loving this game. We are covering it on this months episode of the Pixel Gaiden Podcast. What a great use of ASCII this is. I am enjoying playing this so much.

What was your inspiration on this, it kinda has that cross over between JetPac and R-Type.

Why was there no inclusion of a bomb as well as the laser shot, I guess that ramps up the difficulty or is it simply it would have been hard to implement with one button?

Thank you again for an excellent game!

Lovely to see this getting attention after nearly 10 years!

There was no real inspiration behind it - I don’t like shoot-em ups, especially R-Type (controversial I know) - it was purely that I hadn’t written one so thought I’d have a go.  There’s no ‘bomb as well as laser’ because I simply didn’t know that was a thing - I just wrote what I wanted to play, not a copy of any existing game or style.

Likewise with the ASCII art - I thought it would be an interesting look to try, although that turned out to be the most difficult thing as there’s lots of pixel-based editors, but few few ASCII ones, and none I could find which handled the low ‘resolution’ I was working at.

That is a thing of beauty. Fantastic!

Thank you! It’s great to have a game that’s nearly 10 years old have new players!

Lol. It's excellent. Awesome art.