Manic Miner is a platform game originally written for the ZX Spectrum by Matthew Smith and released by Bug-Byte in 1983 (later re-released by Software Projects). It is the first game in the Miner Willy series and among the early titles in the platform game genre. The game itself was inspired by the Atari 800 game Miner 2049er. It has since been ported to numerous home computers and video game consoles.
At the time, its stand-out features included in-game music and sound effects, excellent playability, and colourful graphics, which were well designed for the graphical limitations of the ZX Spectrum. The Spectrum's video display allowed the background and foreground colours to be exchanged automatically without software attention and the 'animated' load screen appears to swap the words Manic and Miner through manipulation of this feature.
On the Spectrum this was the first game with in-game music, the playing of which required constant CPU attention and was thought impossible. It was achieved by constantly alternating CPU time between the music and the game. This results in the music's stuttery rhythm. The in-game music is In the Hall of the Mountain King from Edvard Grieg's music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. The music that plays during the title screen is an arrangement of The Blue Danube.
In each of the twenty caverns are several flashing objects, which the player must collect before Willy's oxygen supply runs out. Once the player has collected the objects in one cavern, they must then go to the now-flashing portal, which will take them to the next cavern. The player must avoid enemies, listed in the cassette inlay as '...Poisonous Pansies, Spiders, Slime, and worst of all, Manic Mining Robots...', which move along predefined paths at constant speeds. Willy can also be killed by falling too far, so players must time the precision of jumps and other movements to prevent such falls or collisions with the enemies.
The game ends when the player has no lives left; extra lives are gained every 10,000 points,or when the player completes all twenty caverns and escapes to the open air.
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