Confused Pelican Games

Hobgoblin (BBC Micro / Acorn Electron)

All games on this page are free to download and play on an emulator of your choice - download links below.

"Hobgoblin" was the first game I ever had published. I had probably written about 3 games fully in assembly language by then.

It was published by Atlantis Software. Perhaps due to some sort of nominative determinism, they later sank without trace. Which was a shame - they were a small company, and treated me well, giving me my first break in the industry. I was still at school at this point.

Obvious influences

OK, so you might be thinking this was inspired by Ghosts'n'Goblins. And you'd be right. There was nothing like it on the Electron, and to be fair, Hobgoblin wasn't a patch on GnG. But I only had 20k (yes, 20 kilobytes - that's really not very much) and 3 colours to play with, and I was, like, 17 or something.


Some have said this game is hard. This is true. It is rather difficult, and there are many places where you can't really react quickly enough unless you know what's coming. But in my defence, it was my first published game, and I hadn't really realised that I'd become rather good at the game I was myself making.

Sorry! (but not very - difficult was the style at the time, and it wasn't that bad).

Enormous logo

Yes, that's an enormous logo. Not because the game was so full of itself or important, but rather because I was only able to use a small window for the game in order to keep it flicker-free, and fast enough. So many games were afflicted with nasty flicker.

Hilarious publishing screw-up

The BBC Micro and Electron versions were on either side of the same cassette tape, and in a hilarious twist of fate they were mislabelled. The results of this were that on the BBC Micro (running the Electron version), everything went all pink, and the Electron version lost the pink in the title (was just shown in green). Some BBC games reviewers seemed to notice the strange pinkness, and didn't much care for it.

So the BBC version ended up looking like this:

Hobgoblin BBC (incorrect)

And the Electron version ended up looking like this:

Hobgoblin Electron (incorrect)

Whereas if you'd used the 'wrong' side of the tape for your computer (i.e. the right side), they should both have looked like this:

Hobgoblin (correct)

Download as:

SSD format

Massive success

OK, so I don't think it can be described as a massive success. But it did well enough that Atlantis had it converted to the Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and Commodore C64.

It's a crazy world

In 2009 I was contacted by a guy who was porting Hobgoblin to the Atari 8-bit (yes, in 2009!). He wanted my permission (which of course I was happy to give), and promised to send me a cartridge. Yes, he actually had cartridges manufactured, and true to his word, he sent me one. He did a great job!

Computer and video games developed by Dave Parsons.
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