Cover art from the ZX Spectrum cassette inlay
|Developer(s)||Creative Technology Group|
|Designer(s)||Eric the Bear, Steve Cain, Abdul Hafiz Ibrahim (ZX Spectrum) Marc Dawson (C64)|
|Platform(s)||C64, ZX Spectrum, TRS-80 Color Computer, Dragon 32/64, BBC Micro|
B.C. Bill was developed in the UK by Creative Technology Group, and was published in the UK by Imagine Software in 1984 and in Spain by ABC Soft. Versions of the game were developed and released for the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, TRS-80, Dragon 32/64 and BBC Micro home computers.
The game would be one of the last titles published by Imagine, which was wound up in July 1984 due to unpaid debts of £10,000. Prior to the company's collapse Beau Jolly acquired the rights to market Imagine's games, so after the company's demise Beau Jolly took over marketing and distribution of B.C. Bill.
The player controls the eponymous B.C. Bill, a caveman, and must gather wives and enough food to feed his growing family, while avoiding predatory dinosaurs. Bill is armed with a club, which he uses to stun cavewomen and to kill a variety of roaming creatures. Smaller creatures may be dragged back to the cave as food, whereas larger dinosaurs will eat potential wives and food, and will kill Bill on contact. Bill can die from a broken heart if too many wives leave the cave, and from starvation if he is unable to provide enough food to feed himself and his family.
The game features changing seasons, which affect the number and variety of food animals and also act as an internal gamplay timer: in spring, every wife who has food will produce a child, while in autumn any wife with no food will die and any child with no food will leave home.
The game received generally favourable reviews at release, with reviewers variously praising its graphics, sound and playability. Looking back at the game in 2010, however, Retro Gamer described it as "an exceedingly poor game".
While reviewers praised the gameplay, the game has been criticised by both contemporary and modern reviewers for its sexist subject matter, as a core element of gameplay involves the protagonist clubbing women and then dragging them by the hair into his cave to become his wife. Your Sinclair's (then Your Spectrum) Ron Smith speculated that this might have been deliberate on the part of Imagine, and Imagine's Tim Best appeared to confirm this, saying that he expected the "Greenham Common women" to take up residence outside Imagine's Liverpool offices.
- "B.C. Bill". World of Spectrum. Archived from the original on 2018-01-14. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". DADGUM Games. 21 July 2018. Archived from the original on 2 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- "B.C. Bill". MobyGames. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- "Imagine in hands of receiver". Popular Computing Weekly. 19 July 1984. Archived from the original on 28 October 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- "The Bubble Bursts". Crash Online. August 1984. Archived from the original on 18 January 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- "B.C. Bill (advertisement)". Beau Jolly. August 1984. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- Willis, Roger (November 1984). "B.C. Bill". Your Sinclair (9): 60.
- "B.C. Bill". Retro Gamer. Future Publishing. 23 October 2010. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
- "B.C. Bill". CVG (32): 29. June 1984.
- "B.C. Bill". Crash (10): 12. October 1984.
- Smith, Ron (July 1984). "Rumbles: Imagine gets chauvinist". Your Sinclair (5): 56.
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