Ant Attack

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Ant Attack
Ant Attack cassette cover art
Cover art
Developer(s) Sandy White
Publisher(s) Quicksilva
Engine Softsolid 3D[citation needed]
Platform(s) ZX Spectrum
Commodore 64
Release date(s) 1983 (Spectrum)
1984 (Commodore 64)
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player

Ant Attack is a ZX Spectrum computer game by Sandy White, published by Quicksilva in 1983. It was converted to the Commodore 64 in 1984.

While both Q*bert and Zaxxon previously used isometric projection, Ant Attack added an extra degree of freedom (ability to go up and down instead of just north, south, east and west), and it may be the first isometric game for personal computers. The author argued that it "was the first true isometric 3D game".[1] The same type of isometric projection was used in Sandy White's later Zombie Zombie.


Gameplay screenshot

The player controls either a boy or a girl (the game allows to choose at the start) who has to enter the walled city of Antescher (a reference to the artist M. C. Escher) in order to rescue their significant other who has been captured and tied up somewhere in the city. The city is inhabited by giant ants which chase and attempt to bite the player. The player can defend themselves by throwing grenades at the ants. Once the hostage is rescued, the two must escape the city. After this, the whole thing starts again with the hostage located in a different part of the city, with each location being progressively more difficult to reach than the previous.


Almost all of the game code was written by hand on paper using assembler mnemonics, then manually assembled,[1] with the resulting hexadecimal digits typed sequentially into an external EEPROM emulator device (aka SoftROM[2] or "softie") attached to a host Spectrum.[3] Similarly, the character graphics and other custom sprites were all hand-drawn on squared paper and manually converted to strings of hex data. Additionally, some minor add-on routines such as high score registration were added on to the core game using regular Sinclair BASIC.[4]


Ant Attack was well received by gaming press.[5][6] The game was nominated in the 1983 Golden Joystick Awards for Best Original Game of the Year, eventually coming second to Ah Diddums.[7] The ZX Spectrum version was rated number 14 in the Your Sinclair's Official Top 100 Games of All Time.[8]

In 2009, the staff of Edge wrote that it "marked the very beginnings of the survival horror genre".[9]


  1. ^ a b Sandy White. "Sandy White - an Ant Attack homepage". Archived from the original on 6 April 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-28. 
  2. ^ "SoftROM mini feature, Issue 2, March 1984". Your Sinclair online archive. 
  3. ^ "Video interview with Sandy White". Youtube. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Comments guestbook with owner's replies, page one". Sandy White personal homepage. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  5. ^ CRASH review
  6. ^ Your Spectrum review
  7. ^ "The Golden Joystick Award", C&VG, Issue 29.
  8. ^ "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993. 
  9. ^ Edge staff (2009-07-31). "The Making Of: Ant Attack". Edge. Retrieved 2009-12-08. [permanent dead link]

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