Cities in Games – Ant Attack

Ant Attack, released on the ZX Spectrum in 1983 by Quicksilva, represents the first digital three dimensional city we can recall exploring. Created by Sandy White, the game centred around the walled city Antescher depicted using a ‘softsolid 3d’ algorithm which allowed the city to be viewed from a switchable isometric perspective.

Ant Attack predates the innovational Knight Lore, created by Ultimate Play the Game, by over a year making the use of such visualisation techniques noteworthy. Indeed ‘Crash’ magazine, in a review of Ant Attack, described it as ‘containing the most breathtaking 3D graphics yet seen on the Spectrum’.

The prefix of the game was simple – to find and save your boy/girlfriend who was lost in a city patrolled by giant ants. The movie below illustrates the game, firstly we find our girlfriend and then before saving her we take a look around the city:

In the days of the ZX spectrum it wasn’t possible to gain an overview of the city but a series of landmark structures often provided a guide to its layout and relative location. Today it is of course possible to view the city in its entirety as the image below demonstrates:


In a future post of the Cities in Games series we will take a look further look into the ZX Spectrum and games such as Knightlore, Fairlight and Gunfright.

You can play the Ant Attack online via a The Spectrum Java Emulator, and to find out more take a look at Sandy Whites page.

Author Bio

Andy is Director of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London

2 Comments

  1. John C - March 31, 2007

    Jan Bobrowski’s Spectrum Widget for Macs includes Ant Attack among its games. “Eaten alive!”

  2. critical1 - October 13, 2008

    Its a classic game, I remember it fondly… innovative and simple.

    EGA

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