Your Sinclair1st February 1988
Published in Your Sinclair #26
Ooh, my favourite TV quiz. The one where Bob asks the questions while the teams take the P. If only I could take part. I d just love an F!
Suddenly Domark's new label, TV Games, waves its magic wand. "Yes, Rachael. you too can be a Blockbuster." Whoopee! Where's that dummy Gwyn? I can't wait to thrash him.
Actually Blockie has appeared in several computer guises already, but this is an all new version, and comes complete with several blocks of questions, which should keep you busted for a while, as they're all pretty tough.
In the two-player game the puzzles appear word by word, just as if the divine Bob Holness was actually saying them. You have to hit your buzzer immediately you think you know the answer if you want to stop your opponent beating you to that section. A lot of the fun comes in blocking their path by getting in fast, or guessing what the L Bob is talking about.
The one-player game gives you more time to answer, because the computer won't challenge you, but if you get it wrong or are completely stumped, then control passes to your Spectrum, which seems to choose its letters at random. It's not the ideal way to play the game but it's still more fun than most computer quizzes.
If you do best out of three games, you get a go at the Gold Run - and I don't mean the result of eating too much rich food (gold - rich... geddit?). This time two or three word answers are required and you only have a minute to cross the board. All that's missing is the chance to win a trip to Kenya or even a Blockbusters sweat shirt.
A lot of thought has gone into getting this right. It's close enough to call a telly simulation, in fact. Fuzzy logic allows for the odd misspelling (and some of mine are decidedly odd); the clock stops when you start typing, so you don't have to be a 60 words-a-minute person (and no - I don't mean Gwyn, who never stops talking) to win. Don't dawdle though or it'll start ticking again.
But best of all is the digitised Bob which twitches away as the questions appear. It's not so much the animated graphic that impressed me, but the fact that you can turn him off. If only it was so simple in real life! My only real complaint is that the packaging isn't Spectrum specific. It's meant for all versions and remains rather vague on some of the details. But load up and it won't take long until you're stepping onto the hot spots for that all important Gold Run.
Blockbusting fans are sure to want this. But remember - U had better join the Q because I go first! OK?
Not only a superb version of the TV show but one of the best quiz programs ever produced.