Code, Graphics and Design (BBC Microcomputer, Acorn Electron)
Jet Power Jack was my first published video game. Created after I saw the (now classic) Jetpac by Ultimate on a friend’s Sinclair Spectrum.
It featured Jack, an unfortunate intergalactic hitchhiker, who, having been imprisoned by the evil warlord Nogrob the Terrible is forced to work in one of the despot’s space garages refuelling starships. In true, retro-game style, this five-screen platformer put the player under the constant threat of immediate death from constantly bouncing ‘Space Googjies’ while carrying packages from one side of the screen to the other.
Written while I was still at school, the game was simply a personal project that turned into something more (although I had no idea how much more it would turn into at the time). I have my school friend Stuart Gregg (who later went on to become a game coder for some time himself) to thank for badgering me to send it off to a publisher.
As it turned out the first publisher (A&F Software) rejected it for not being 100% machine code and therefore impossible to encrypt using their copy protection system. The second publisher, Micro Power showed interest and sent a list of modifications to help me get it to published quality. Among their recommendations – reducing the number of levels from the original 10 to 5 and a change of name – to ‘Jet Power Jack’ – presumably inspired by the Atari classic ‘Jet-Boot Jack‘, written by Jon Williams (whom I later worked with many years later on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and GoldenEye 007.)
A Commodore 64 version of the game was also produced by Micro Power (programmed by Gary Partis) during their brief foray into Commodore publishing.
More information on the game and its various versions can be found on Moby Games’ Jet Power Jack page.