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Manic Miner

from The Post Office Tower by Ian Evans

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Manic Miner was the name of the first computer game that I ever saw, in 1984 :-) Am I particularly interested in computer games? Not really... but nostalgia I definitely am.


Gold, jewels and everything, I brought back today
Whilst out prospecting, down Surbiton way
Poisonous blossomings block my path above
Can I climb telegraph poles, back to the place that I love?

Some stranger deity mapped out this cold room
Before he's vanishing to a Dutch commune
Eugene is blocking me, as I plan my route
Can I get home a rich man? Or end up crushed under boot

Solar Power Generators burn in my eyes
Rats, mice and telephone beasts block every try
How to get out, when your oxygen's tight?
There's still a poke, which I can type to bring up extra lives...


* Prospecting - The game featured a character called Miner Willy, who discovered a treasure mine under Surbiton
* Surbiton - A commuter town in Surrey
* Poisonous blossomings - The game featured a lot of these plants, which Miner Willy had to jump over
* Telegraph poles - Another feature of the game
* Some strange deity - The game's creator was a famously eccentric and reclusive man called Matthew Smith. He wrote the whole game on his own at the age of 17 and (briefly) became very rich. The game featured a continuous soundtrack, which had previously been thought impossible
* The cold room - The game's second level
* Dutch commune - Matthew Smith did indeed go to live on a hippy commune in Holland
* Eugene - An enemy in one of the game's many levels. He looked a lot like my Dad and had square glasses, however he was apparantly based on a friend of Matthew Smith
* Crushed under boot - When you lost all of your lives, a Monty Python-esque video of Willy being crushed by a boot was shown
* Solar Power Generators - One of the levels featured these psychedelic flashing lights, which made it impossible to see where you were... I never reached the level, but saw it in the run through
* Rats, mice and telephone beasts - These were all types of enemy, encountered in the game. The telephone monster was the most popular and was shown on the game's box. However, it took me a while to recognise what it was
* Oxygen's tight - The time allowed for each level was shown by Miner Willy's oxygen gauge
* "Pokes" - In the 1980's, cheat codes for Sinclair Spectrum games were always referred to as pokes
* T.Y.P.E.W.R.I.T.E.R. - Spelling out this word on the keyboard was the poke for Manic Miner. It gave you unlimited lives


from The Post Office Tower, released January 6, 2006
Ian Evans, all instruments and singing


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Ian Evans UK

Pop/experimental/rock musician and songwriter from London

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