Tracking down some 'educational' games

reminisce about bbc micro & electron games like chuckie egg, repton, elite & exile

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Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby burns_flipper » Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:23 pm

Hello everyone,

I want to track down some games I played at school and at my friends house when I was little, around say 1987. I'm certain they were all BBC ones, I think my friend had a BBC and we had something similar at school.

I don't know the titles of all of them so I will describe them instead.

1. This was a text adventure with graphics at the top of the screen displaying the scene you were in, set in the Himalayas. I think you had to search for the Yeti or something. Two things I distinctly remember are a "scree slope" (because we didn't know what this meant), and there was a section where you were swimming in a cave and had to control the on-screen character going left-to-right by pressing the up and down arrow keys to navigate through and you would die if you hit the rock wall (I remember because we didn't know what keys to press and died).
2. A simple game where you had to build a motte-and-bailey castle. Each day the game would ask you how many men you wanted to allocate to cutting trees in the forest, and how many to building the palisade using that wood, that was essentially it. I think you could pick the site of the castle initially, so you would decide to place it near the river and woods but away from the swamp.
***Edit - Oh, it was "Fletcher's Castle"***
3. One set in the castle of Nottingham, I think you were Robin Hood and the end goal was to get into the Sheriff's chamber or something. It was a text adventure but I'm sure had graphics at the top of the screen. Your tactics would change depending what day it was because e.g. Thursday was market day so you could sneak in on a market cart or disguise yourself as a trader. Similarly on Sunday you could sneak in if you were Friar Tuck, so I guess maybe you had to pick your character too. I think also you could try sneaking in through Mortimer's Hole if you had the key for the grating at the top (this is a famous secret passage going up into the castle from the outside).
4. A text adventure set in Saqqara, you had something like a 5x5 grid and had to start off in a jeep and comb the area to try and find the step pyramid and also damp patches of sand (these indicated where you could dig). Once you started digging you would find tunnels, in which were treasures that had a code (e.g. 'C5') and you would have to go to the Teacher's manual to go find what you'd discovered.

Any help you can give would be most appreciated in naming/tracking these down for me.
Last edited by burns_flipper on Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby Samwise » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:24 pm

The only Robin Hood text adventure for the beeb I can think of is Adventuresoft's Robin of Sherwood ... ?

Not sure it matches your description, tho.


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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby Arcadian » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:32 pm

burns_flipper wrote:1. This was a text adventure with graphics at the top of the screen displaying the scene you were in, set in the Himalayas. I think you had to search for the Yeti or something.

W Games released a text adventure called the The Abominable Snowmen - might it be that?

Tape Image: ...

Disc Image: ...

Coverscan: ... owmen.html
For a "Complete BBC Games Archive" visit

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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby burns_flipper » Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:38 pm

Thanks for the replies.

The Abominable Snowmen adventure is actually a Doctor Who adventure, which isn't it. And I don't think the Robin of Sherwood one is right either, I tried it and it's not familiar - I'm sure you start outside the castle. I have a feeling it was called "Mortimer's Hole" for some reason but Google gives me nothing.

Maybe they weren't text adventures, I'm sure 1 & 3 had still location graphics, and I think 4 was called "Expedition to Saqqara".

There's another one I'm looking for, I think it may have been a famous one, it was a text adventure where I think you start in a field or at a crossroads, it was fairly free-roaming outside. The bit I remember is you can climb a tree and look in a bird's nest and I think there was a key in there?

Any help with any of the above would be great!

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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby burns_flipper » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:01 am

...5 years later...

I haven't tracked down Saqqara, because I haven't tried. However I'd like to expand on my description from my recollection, for posterity's sake.

Here's the bits I remember.

There was a large grid, I think this was on paper, and you had to decide which square to take your jeep to. You had to find the Step Pyramid, and also wet patches of sand. There were no clues as to where either were, and we very rarely got computer time at school (this was the 80's), and I spent my first half hour slot picking squares which had no hits, which was extremely frustrating. I don't remember if there were restrictions on how far you could travel each day etc. Anyway, I got really frustrated by the utter randomness of where either would be located in something like a 35-square grid, so I snuck a peek in the teachers manual when the teacher disappeared to go see the headteacher one day. I got the coordinate of the corner of the Step Pyramid, and one of the wet patches of sand.

Entering the coordinate of the corner was rather dull, it just said you found the corner. If you moved one square to the left, it said you had found a side of it. We didn't know how big it was, so if there was an entrance I never found it as I went for the wet sand instead, to use my time better. I think someone else in the class found the entrance and may have explored inside, but this was a long time ago so maybe that didn't happen. There may also have been a hidden entrance out in the desert somewhere, like an underground tunnel. But again, long time ago.

When I entered the coordinate of the wet patch of sand, you get the option to dig, and if you do, you go down to the first level. On graph paper you had to draw a cross-section of your dig. The top of the shaft was placed at 0,0 and would continue down the further down you dug, to a limit of 6 levels down. At various points, there would be an indication that there was a tunnel to the right, and you would then have to excavate along the x axis. You would have to keep digging to the right until you hit rock, indicating the end of the tunnel. Along the way you would find artifacts, such as the bust of a cat, and when you found something, you would look up that grid reference in the teachers manual to see what you had found.

I only played it two or three times, but still remember the euphoria of actually finding something ("getting a result") whilst all the other children in the class were complaining they were still aimlessly driving around in a jeep. So it tuns out cheaters do prosper after all.

I'd still be interested in playing this should anyone ever find it.

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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby lurkio » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:58 am

Very interesting! Thanks for the info. Let's hope it jogs some memories.

Can you remember what age you were when you played Saqqara at school?

(As you know, there's more info about Saqqara here.)


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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby vanpeebles » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:52 am

What was the castle building one?

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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby burns_flipper » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:36 am

The castle-building game was "Fletcher's Castle". I played it a couple of years ago - beat it on the second try :D It's quite a fun game, quite short, and is worth an hour of your time.

I still don't know what the Robin Hood game was.

I still don't know what the Himalayas game was.

Thinking about it, one classroom had an Acorn I think, and another had a BBC Micro, so it's possible both the above are BBC games and not Acorn.

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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby flaxcottage » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:44 am

Had a look through my educational archive and, unfortunately, I have nothing to add over and above what has already been said. Sorry. :(
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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby burns_flipper » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:20 pm

I've done a search for Robin Hood games on the BBC...and amazingly Google found it on this forum:


This is it. I've started playing and this is definitely it. If you play it, you really need to make notes as you go along because the whole thing is riddled with puzzles. Educational software at it's finest. For me, it's a Wednesday so I got in the castle disguised as a farmer. I've already swapped a piglet for a tunic so I can disguise myself as a guard for later on. Awesome!

And it has the most fantastic splashscreen:

Nottinghamshire County Council presents...


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Re: Tracking down some 'educational' games

Postby Elciar » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:30 pm

Did you find you were unable to progress into the middle Bailey once disguised as a soldier in Robin Hood? For me the game abruptly stops there (using the link you shared)

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