1984 Simon Freeman and David Hayhoe

Platform: ZX Spectrum 48k

Our next entry is an interesting Popeye clone that was produced for the ZX Spectrum back in 1984. It was discovered on a set of tapes at Ocean by Mark R. Cobley-Jones, who was working at Ocean at the time as a graphic artist. He found the tape in 1988 within a load of rubbish and saved a copy to a Microdrive at Ocean. It was then forgotten about until around 2015, when Mark found it again and managed to salvage it.


It seems that the clone was sent around to a number of companies at the time, including Ocean, and was never picked up – probably due to the copyright issues (there is even a drawing of Popeye on the loading screen!). The game was never advertised by anyone, but it was completely finished.

So what is the story behind the game? It seems that artist Dave Hayhoe never did anything else on the ZX Spectrum, but Simon Freeman would go on to do a number of games, especially for Activision in the shape of Guadal Canal, GBA Championship Basketball – and even did the ZX conversion of Psychedelia for Llamasoft. He would seem to disappear after 1987 – but if the same person, he may have gone on to produce games on the SEGA Master System for Tecmagik.

Hopefully some day Simon or David will get in touch to reveal more details about their game and what the intentions were. Perhaps it was to help just show that they were capable, so to get further work? This could be the demo that got Simon further programming gigs for example.

For now, check out the game for yourself thanks to Mark and also see photos of the reproduction copies that were made up of the game by Mark.

With thanks to Mark R. Cobley-Jones for recovery, details and photos.



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