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Hi Everyone.

Hope you don’t mind me dropping in. Nice to hear people praising the artist Rich Shenfield on this board. I was at school with him, in the 70s, and can assure you that he was the most infuriatingly intelligent and talented person I ever knew. I remember him developing a style which he called Wet World (where Wet people and Wet creatures inhabited Wet landscapes on a Wet planet). It was sort of Roger Dean-ish – but with a twist – and very effective and beautiful. And if he wasn’t painting, he would be engaged in some scholarly research or designing the next generation of gizmos (he was a brilliant maths and physics student also). It’s terrifying to think what he would have come up with if he hadn’t died so tragically early. He was funny, engaging, articulate and a great friend and I still think about him frequently even now, almost 30 years after his death. It’s wonderful that people are still talking about him.

All the best


December 12, 2013

Ant Attack was my favourite Speccy game when I was 8 years old – I could play as me, a girl! Yay!

Just been playing again today,can’t for the life of me remember how to rescue a person. It’ll come back to me. Although it has been 30 years…

December 6, 2013
Meir Eskinazi

I was wondering if the Ant Attack game included some sort of copy protection measure?

November 20, 2013
Mike Dailly

Thanks to, it took me less than half an hour to import your map into GameMaker!

Great fun. Do you have any objects to us including this as a sample/demo in GameMaker:Studio? Please get in touch, it would be great to include it.

Still want to make the lego one though!! And for the record… it contains 5,565 blocks (not including the ground). :)


September 25, 2013

Just stumbled upon your retro gamer, good read as always…….my Ant attack fix has been dented though as the “other” site i used to play on has stopped working or under construction or something codey, but it had a high score table included…which appealed to the competitive nature in me.So my question to you….can we have a high score version of ant attack….so i can relive the 21st century equivalent of posting high scores into C+VG….all the best and catch you later…

September 15, 2013
Dave the Rave

I’ve been googling you every so often for ages, and finally I get a result ! (…just shows how long it is since I last tried). This has made my day !

I probably spent more time with Zombie, Zombie than any other game ever, – including attempting to write a ‘map editor’ (in Basic) with my sadly lacking computer skills…

Had lots of fun though. Did get as far as making a routine to display a ‘top-down’ view of the whole city ! I just loved the fact that you could change things.

Finding the music on here was amazing too. I thought I’d forgotten it, but it was so familiar ! I shall put it on repeat and play it in the car for the rest of my life. Maybe.

September 9, 2013
Martin Atkinson
UK Hi Sandy, really enjoyed reading the Ant Attack genesis article in the latest Retro Gamer magazine and noticed the reference to your basement abode in Howard Place Edinburgh. That's just around the corner from where I currently work. Just wondering what number it was and whether Edinburgh City Council might want to put-up an Historic Scotland sign similar to the "Sir Walter Scott lived here" genre. Thanks. August 19, 2013 Hi Martin, Glad you enjoyed the article (Retro Gamer Issue 119)... it might sound like an odd thing to say, but I enjoyed it too... putting it together with Paul Drury was an intereting process, one which I intend to write a post about sometime soon. I had to go and stare at it to see where Howard Place was mentioned! It's just as well the number wasn't published, since it is nearly 30 years since I lived there, and perhaps the current owners wouldn't appreciate the council knocking nails into their wall at some unearthly hour... nice thought though ;) I will say that it was opposite the piano shop if that means anything to you... hmmm... don't know if that piano shop is still there... you brought back a distant memory though, of noticing Richard Wilson standing there, outside the window of the piano shop, long before "One Foot In The Grave" made him a household name... he was still quite famous even then... and quite striking... wonder if he'll have a plaque there too? Best wishes, Sandy :)
Steve Baines
Ludlow Hi Sandy, I enjoyed your talk a few months ago at the Retro Revival event, but there was one thing that made me sad, and another that made me less sad. The thing that made me sad was having to sit and watch while people got their trusty original copies of Speccy Ant Attack signed, and I didn't, because mine turned out not to be in the box that I was so absolutely certain that it was in that I didn't try to dig it out until a couple of nights before the event. And then I couldn't find it anywhere. An old friend, location unknown, possibly lost forever...
:-( < --- Me feeling sad.
The thing that made me less sad, was when you said that in honour of its 30th birthday, you would dig out your notebooks, and publish them / the source code on your webthing.
:-| < --- Me feeling a little less sad.
But there's no sign of this happening yet, so I am becoming more sad again.
:-( < --- Me feeling more sad again.
BTW, I remember reading somewhere (hey, maybe even on your webthing) about how you sometimes used to listen in to the RF interference from the Speccy, and could tell what the code was doing by the sounds it was making, and that you used this to help in debugging. Whoah. Totally 'The Matrix'. Much respect. I have wondered idly from time to time whether I could usefully use a similar technique in my own debugging efforts on modern machines - not via RF leakage, but by getting key bits of code to trigger very short sounds.
Anyway, hoping you can make me more happy again...
Cheers - Steve
August 9, 2013 Hi Steve, your message made me laugh!
:-)))) < --- me laughing
...but I'm sad that you lost your original Ant Attack and couldn't get it signed...
:-( < --- Me feeling sad.
But I rallied a little when you said the thought I would dig out my notebooks and put them on my web-thingie cheered you up a little..
:-| < --- Me rallying a little.
But then felt guilty that I had not yet posted anything from my notebooks...
:-? < --- Me feeling guilty.
However I do still intend to! In fact, I am happy to be able to say that the extremely talented Bob Smith of has already put in a great deal of work to disassemble and comment the code, intention being to publish that along with the original hand written notes, and in a form which can be re-assembled into the original playable game! ... so watch this space... now I'm feeling guilty again because I haven't yet managed to post a page devoted to the project... sorry Bob! I'm on the case with the ol' website though...
:-+ < --- Me feeling guilty again.
Your debugging idea for modern machines could turn out to be the next big thing in debugging! ;) Hoping to make you more happy shortly...
:-o < --- Me looking hopeful.
Best wishes, sandy :)
Mark Eyles
Southampton Look at more artwork by I of the Mask artist Rich Shenfield here: By the way - Hi Sandy! Mark :) July 9, 2013 Hi Mark, great to hear from you, and many thanks for the link to Rich's artwork; fascinating! Wish I could say meet you in Furzey for a cuppa! Must catch up soon - will email! Sandy :) PS At Last - a Gravatar! ;)
Ant Carpendale
Brighton,UK Hi Sandy, I'm prepping a low-budget indie documentary about horror videogames and would love to profile Ant Attack, and also interview you on camera (if you're not sick of talking about it already). My 10-year-old self loved the game and I think it's fair to say it started my life-long love of survival horror games. Would this be something that would interest you? If so, please email me :) Cheers! Ant July 6, 2013 Hi Ant, sounds great - I have dropped you an email. PS glad an Ant finally wrote to the site ;)
Mark Jones
UK Sandy, was great to meet you at Revival a few weeks back, Your talk was really interesting. Loved it, and so did my mate who wasn't even born when you wrote the games! Thanks for signing my tapes and I'm glad you agree with me and prefer the original 'I, Of The Mask' artwork to the one they used on the tape box! :) All the best.
June 16, 2013 Hi Mark, great to meet you too. Yes, I remember the discussion, in fact its the first time I'd seen a box with the Rich Shenfield artwork on it, I didn't know that they had ever made it into the shops, though presumeably they must have, otherwise you wouldn't have one?! To clarify for anyone dropping in, I prefer the Rich Shenfield version! Thanks for the pic! Cheers sandy :)
Jake Warren
Bristol,UK Sandy, it was great to meet you at Retro Revival in Wolverhampton on 18th May. I thought your presentation was really interesting, very honest too about the playability of some of your games! Thanks for taking the time for signing my cassettes too - I would never have thought that the copy I was given for Xmas 1983 would get signed by its author almost 30 years later!
May 21, 2013 Hi Jake, it was great to meet you too, and glad you enjoyed the presentation... really that was down to Paul Drury doing such a great job asking the questions. Honestly, this author didn't imagine that he would be signing cassettes 30 years later either - it was great fun though! Since you've uploaded a photo of a cassette with my pawmarks all over it, I feel compelled to point out to anyone looking in, that though by no means would I begrudge you a few xxxs if you wanted them, the xxxs on the cassette were intended to be ants... I blame Philip Oliver's gold pen! :) Best wishes, sandy :)
Paul Morrison
TheyWereOurGods Hi Sandy, I've just spotted that you're going to be doing a Q&A at the Retro Revival event in a couple of weeks' time. That's great! I was hoping to go, but in the end I could have only made it on the Saturday, and it would have meant nine hours on the train (round trip) for five hours at the event... I've all but ruled it out. Have a great time doing that, though, it looks like a fantastic event! May 7, 2013 Hi Paul, sorry you couldn't make it. Will catch up by email. sandy :)
Bob Smith
Hi Sandy. I write ZX81 and Spectrum games, and thought you might be interested in your great land of Antescher being displayed on a ZX81 - just to see if it would work on the machine, and the challenge of fitting your 16K of map data into a 16K machine - and maybe a conversion with your blessing?

Bob's Stuff Facebook page
May 4, 2013 Hi Bob. Sounds like a fascinating project :) Loosly, if its not a commercial project, and you preserve the original copyrights, then consider it duly blessed ;) In fact, I may even be able to help; I have a plan afoot to reconstruct the original source with comments, and release it under some sort of Creative Commons non commercial attribution something blah... need to think that though... I'm going to drop you an email... Now that you've mentioned it, I'm just as curious to see how ZX81 Ant Attack would turn out as you are! Best wishes, Sandy :)
Paul Morrison

Hi Sandy,

Loved the interview with Dan, very interesting to hear you’re toying with the idea of iOS games! Can’t wait to see what comes of that! If you still feel like answering questions for the They Were Our Gods book, please let me know, I’d be thrilled to have your comments! I have a website devoted to it now, at, it’s moving slowly but nicely. :-)

April 8, 2013

You know, it is almost scary to see this site. Scary and awesome.

That Ant Thingie is actually what forced me to learn programming (As we saw it in the 80s) then learn programming (Propper C, then C+ etc)

After I dropped that I just started writing, but always that haunting image of being able to choose gender was there. Scareeeeeee.

First true isometric 3D, first gender choice, awesome game. I actually still play it sometimes (I own an original rubber keyboard ZX and a ZX 128 +2, and clearly an old TV)

March 28, 2013
Running from ants

Fantastic to discover your website Sandy. After all these years I still, like many, many, other people have fond (and frightening) memories of getting chased by ants. You are a true pioneer with the software you wrote. Sorry to read you were pressured away from the games business. Its sad to see that so many talented people suffered (including friends of mine) while working with 1′s and 0′s inside the games industry. Thank you for leaving your mark on the world and the history of the speccy! Cheers, best wishes for all future projects.

March 22, 2013

Ok, I try the new button (is it "select an image...."?, I'm not sure if this is new....)'s a png produced by the preview of one of these make-your-own-t-shirt sites. The quality is not really good, of course. Thanks for your permission concerning the logo! When the actual t-shirt exists, I will post a photograph of it. Andreas

Andi's T Shirt

P.S.: By the way, have you seen this:

February 2, 2013 It looks great! :) better than V1.0 I think - send me that pic! Thanks for the link to Lego Antescher, I hadn't seen it - amazing. I've given it a post of its own. Cheers - Sandy :)
Germany Hi Sandy, thank you very much for your quick answer! So it is ok if I use the file AALogo001? I have made it black and white already and did some scaling. I could even show you how the shirt would look like, but apparently it's impossible for me to copy graphics into this. On a friday evening 27 years ago, I would drink lots of beer, listen to punk rock and play games on a ZX spectrum with my friends. In that state of mind in my circle of friends I was the only one who could successfully play ant attack, with all these perspectives and so on. It was simply my game. If you'd like to have a photo of the shirt, just let me know how I can send you files. Best wishes Andi February 1, 2013 Hi Andi, interesting idea - I have added a button to allow photos to be attached to messages - you can test it out! Please do use AALogo001 :)
Germany Hi Sandy, I remember that years ago their existed Ant Attack T-Shirts. Is it still possible, to get one of those? Probably not. I was thinking about making my own t shirt (I'm a mathematician and fan of Sheldon Cooper, no need to say more...), maybe using the logo on your Ant Attack site (pictogram of ant, girl and boy). But this would possibly violate some kind of copyright, wouldn't it!? I've heard that this can become quit expensive. You have my email, so if you have a file that I can have for personal use without violating copyright, just send it to me please. (I'm not going to make a business out of this. It wouldn't be a very promising plan anyway...) Andi February 1, 2013 Hi Andi... ah yes, you are remembering what I called the "memorial" T-shirts, sold by Several times, apparently, people had enquired whether I was dead, rather worryingly on one occasion to my face whilst I was wearing one of the shirts... I think it was the words "Copyright 1983-2001" which did it. I still wear mine from time to time, and think wistfully back to the days when computers had as many bits as we have fingers (surely not a coincidence). Regarding the business plan, I fear you are probably quite correct about it being rather un-promising. re the above mentioned shirts, I elected to give my share of the revenue to charity; a total of about £60 I seem to remember, and is now something to do with cars. I am certainly very happy for you to use any AA artwork you like on your own not-for-sale T shirt. If you decide to go into production, get in touch and maybe we can give something to charity! Best wishes, Sandy :) 20130120-181703.jpg
Davide Guida
Spectrum Hi Sandy... i'm a Speccy fan since 1984. I'm on a Facebook group talking about Spectrum. I would like to be a member. Please can you request your friendship on Facebook? You can find me by putting my email. Thanks!! Regards January 31, 2013 Hi Davide - thanks for leaving a message - the very first new message in the newly designed visitors page! (messages below the Roman gentleman, Cicero, are previously unposted ones from before this page was automated, which I am adding from archive) By choice, I don't have a Facebook account. If I ever do open one I will certainly do a friend request :) ...aheemm.. I am also a Speccy fan... ;) Best wishes, Sandy :)


July 29, 2011
geoff glendenning

oh yeh, ant attack, thanks Sandy for such a geneous of a game. I’m 44 now, still playing games and now kicking my sons arse at anything that needs a little imagination.

When I talk about gaming I always name check your’s along with Elite as the two most influential games in my early years. My parents were always on my case about how I spent too much time on my spectrum, then the atari, c64, amiga etc……but i eventually ended up as head of marketing during the early years of Playstation in the UK, so i guess my parents and I, have you and David Breben to thank for kich starting my passion for games. Cheers fella, I hope life is good for you.

July 29, 2011
Al Pixel man Stig

Thanks a lot!
Ant Attack was (still is) best game for speccy!
It has spirit, fun, and it’s really amazing graphics, plus animation is really excellent.
What few pixels can do!
All the best, and lots of thanks

July 29, 2011
W Foster

Look if you are going to have a forum then at least update it or take it offline. Its looks sooo unprofessional. I loved Ant Attack on the speccy, I have fond memories of loading it up and marvelling at the ‘cool’ graphics. I write games software myself for a living but I still love it…
I wrote quite a lot of the early SWP games for pubs, e.g. Crystal Maze and I still have people asking me about it today (cringe) anyway enough waffle. Bye!

July 29, 2011
Sean murphy
Coclare,ireland I can't believe a woman invented that game, was the most popular game to be played at my school! Yes i'm primitive and sexist :) July 29, 2011

Hello Sandy, how are you old chap?

Having yet another one of my old Sinclair Spectrum moments and as usual have ended up in some dusty corner of the internet universe. I see your guest book hasn’t been signed for a while, so I thought it would be good to add a new message on here.

Spent a lot of time in my youth playing Ant Attack when it came out and actually it’s one of the few games that I managed to complete, excellent stuff!

I must be getting old now as I mention Speccies to people and now usually get the reply of “Sorry that was before I was even born, go back to the old folk home grandpa!” Good grief I’m still only in my late 30s, how times are changing fast.

I have an 8 week old son and maybe one day when he’s old enough I will tell him about the delights of loading stuff from cassette tape into a squish board, usually followed by a loading error. I’m sure he will look at me in an odd way and start to plan in the back of his mind some way to get me into, indeed, the old folks home and get all his hands on my cash so he can buy one of those new fangled “PeeCees” that they will no doubt invent in a few years. Anyhoo, his name is James and he’s a cutie, its official.

Anyhow, gawd bless the Sinclair era and your good self. Do you still enjoy being associated with that era? Hope you find this message and thanks for the Ants!


July 29, 2011

Watching me play AA was the first indication to my parents that I might have anger management problems…
Hearing cries of, “For f*** sake you stupid b**ch, don’t just f***ing stand there getting bitten, keep up with me, you f***ing idiot!” might have had them questioning their parenting skills!
Thinking about it now, maybe the game should have had the feature that when the girl got attacked she would run off in another direction, rather than just stand there getting eaten… (I say ‘girl’ because I played as ‘boy’, because I am…) (Having said that, its interesting Sandy gave the choice in the first place, probably looking forward to the launch Wii and DS, perhaps.)

Anyhow, just to say, I think I’ve seen the medal five times, Antchester was a bloody fantastic place to explore… (laughed when I saw the @SW bit…)

July 28, 2011
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Ed Burton
London,UK I was delighted to find your site, you star, Ant Attack haunts my memory to this day thank you! Soft Solid 3D Bear Attack December 15, 2009 Hi Ed, many thanks :) I think I figured out what you are doing there... the observer wears red-green glasses? ... so the red and green lasers casting the shadow are separated by about the same spacing as human eyes, and so the shadows projected appear in anaglyphic stereo? ... very neat idea... never seen it done... Your project reminds me of a type of arcade driving game which I haven't seen for a very long time... The driving environment (road and buildings) was built from transparent materials and back-projected onto a ground glass screen from a point source of light, almost certainly an incandescent bulb, and the environment was moved mechanically creating a 1st person POV. I think there was even a domestic toy version... I don't think they thought of anaglyphic stereo though! Sandy :)

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