Hunchback (video game)

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Hunchback screenshot.JPG
Developer(s) Century Electronics

Century Electronics

Ocean Software
Platform(s) Arcade (original)
Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, VIC-20, Dragon 32, Oric, MSX, ZX Spectrum
Release Arcade version
Genre(s) Platform
Cabinet Upright
Display Vertical, Raster, standard resolution

Hunchback is an arcade game developed by Century Electronics in 1983. The player controls Quasimodo from the Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The game is set on a castle wall. The player must cross the screen from left to right avoiding obstacles in order to ring the bell at the far right. Obstacles include pits which must be swung over on a long rope, ramparts which must be jumped (some of which contain knights with spears) and flying fireballs and arrows (to be ducked or jumped). To impose a time limit on each screen a knight climbs the wall, costing the player a life should he reach the top. Eventually, after completing a number of screens, the player must rescue Esmeralda. If this final screen is completed, the game begins again at a faster speed.

The hunchback character was originally to be Robin Hood, hence the green costume and the game stages with arrows. The artist who drew the Robin Hood character left the company before the decision to change the theme to Hunchback. By the time a new artist was taken on, the green costume had become accepted and no-one questioned it (someone commented that the Robin Hood character, as drawn, looked like a hunchback).[1]

Ports were made for most home computer systems of the time by Ocean Software in 1984. It was their first arcade port.[1] The exceptions to this are the BBC Micro version (which had already been released by Superior Software) and a later port for the MSX (1985). The Spectrum version of the game reached number one in the UK sales charts.[2]


The version released by Superior Software for the BBC Micro in 1984 was originally an unofficial clone.[citation needed] When Ocean acquired the home computer rights to the game they reached an agreement so that Ocean could release the Acorn Electron conversion which had been developed. Superior continued to sell the BBC Micro version and released both versions on their Play It Again Sam 6 compilation in 1988.

Other clones released for released for home computers are Quasimodo (1983) from Synapse Software for the Atari 8-bit family and The Great Wall (1986) from Artic Computing for the Acorn Electron and BBC Micro.


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