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Arcadia (1982)            

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Details (Sinclair ZX Spectrum) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Imagine Software Ltd
David H. Lawson
Fuller (buggy)
Audio cassette
UK (£5.50), Spain (1495 ptas)
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Reached #3 in "Best Arcade Style Game" category at the C&VG Computer & Video Games Golden Joystick Awards 1983.

Click to choose platform:
Commodore VIC-20  8
Commodore 64  7.5
Sinclair ZX Spectrum  9

Same title from other publishers:
Acorn BBC
Sinclair ZX Spectrum

VideosScreenshots (Sinclair ZX Spectrum)

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Added: 8 Mar 2011
The game that launched Imagine Software. They later made some extrordinary claims about how many copies they had sold, which were nonsense, but it was typical of the bluster that surrounded Imagine up until their untimely end in mid-1984. This is a traditional shoot 'em up, with your gunship at the base of the screen and aliens swarming on from right to left. The graphics were good for the time, but there's little to recommend it ahead of the other contemporary shooters listed here.

Issue 16
Added: 3 Jan 2010
Lacking imagination
DESPITE the glossy advertisements, Spectrum games from Imagine Software seem to be only average. The first program to be released is Arcadia. The player controls a spaceship at the bottom of the screen and waves of enemy fighter swoop in, dropping bombs. There is a series of levels to the game and on each level the spaceship Arcadia faces a different foe.

The colour and explosion effects in the game are unusual and the range of space invaders was interesting but the game lost its appeal after a few hours and became just another version of beat the evil nasties.

The second game also gave a good first impression but that wore off after play. The game centres on a black hole which sucks in all the garbage of the universe. The player controls an inter-galactic refuse collector.

The rubbish is displayed as three-dimensional cubes and pyramids and the collector must push it into the black hole. If the collector gets too near the black hole it will be sucked in.

Both games are for the 16K and 48K Spectrum and cost £5.50 each.

PCG, July 1984
Kevin Toms
Added: 25 May 2016
"My Favourite Game"
Kevin Toms
Head of Addictive Games and author of Football Manager

Favourite Game: Arcadia (Imagine)

Although I write strategy games, I very rarely find any by other people that I enjoy, so I play arcade games. I like Arcadia because it's simple and effective.

I think the furthest I've got is about level 14. The interesting thing is that I actually managed to damage the Spectrum keyboard playing it. I find the game very strenuous. I was playing for an hour or so and by the end of it, the keyboard had received such a battering it had to go back for repair.

There's not many new games that impress me now. They're more difficult and take more work to learn to play them. I haven't got the dexterity of a young child. I like games nice and simple - I play them for relaxation. If they get too difficult and stressful they're not relaxing.

Personal Computer Games
July 1984
Added: 21 Sep 2010
Talk about a classic game!
Arcadia was released for the ZX Spectrum by Imagine Software in 1982 (well before the Imagine name was bought by Ocean software).

Arcadia is an early classic arcade game - and even ran on a 16K Spectrum. It was quite impressive when it was released - and was a lot more advanced than many other shoot em up's from the same year.

This computer game was very simple. You had to wipe out wave after wave of alien nasties. Each wave was a different enemy type with varying movements and characteristics. To reach the next level, you had to survive (with a single life - losing a life sent you back to the start of the current level) until the counter reached ZERO. The counter always began at 99 and counted down.

You had to take care when the counter hit 0 since any aliens left on the screen suddenly dropped straight down to the bottom. Sneaky! This dropping action could easily lose you a life, and you would have to start the level again - which was a bit of a bummer.

Your ship (The Arcadia) was highly manoeuvrable and packed dual lazer cannons which chewed through the alien menace with ease.

Your ship could move left and right and could also 'thrust' upwards, with it's upper limit being the halfway point of the screen - you could go no higher.

Arcadia - classic ZX Spectrum game by ImagineThere were twelve attack waves in total, each wave set for the same period of time and each generally more suicidal than the last.

Once you had completed level 12 the enemies re-cycled and you battled the same wave of aliens from level 1. The game kept going until you had lost all of your lives.

The aliens were all nicely drawn and the game made full use of colour and even had decent (if slightly odd) sound effects for the year it was made.

Arcadia really was one of the first arcade games on the Spectrum, and proved that something similar to what you found down the amusement arcade could be played at home.

On release:
Arcadia was pretty well received when it was released all those years ago. It was addictive and frantic - and really paved the way for shoot em ups on the Spectrum. It ended up being quite a big seller - and for a 16K game it was pretty impressive.

The test of time:
Well the sound effects and the colour attribute clash make this game really dated. But you know, it's still strangely playable. As the last few seconds tick down things can get quite hectic. The controls are nice and responsive and you need quick reflexes to shoot your way through the levels. For a 1982 game Arcadia ain't bad at all. Worth playing again.

This is pure retro gaming - give Arcadia a go. You may be pleasantly surprised.

We recommend getting hold of the real hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Arcadia for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

GENRE: Shoot em up Arcade Game
RELEASED BY: Imagine Software
DEVELOPER(S): David H Lawson
PRICE: £5.50 - UK
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Infinite LivesPOKE 25776,0
Set Number of lives (max 255)POKE 27334,x
The following adds Kempston joystick supportPOKE 29234,31: POKE 29240,0: POKE 29241,0: POKE 29246,96: POKE 29247,32 POKE 29256,88: POKE 29257,32: POKE 29268,72: POKE 29269,32: POKE 29280,64: POKE 29281,32
These POKEs disable the Fuller joystick, thereby rendering them properly playable on keyboard (but not Fuller joystick, obviously).POKE 29236,62: POKE 29237,255


The ZX version was written to be compatible with the Fuller Sound Box, which included a joystick port. If the box was not connected the nonexistent port was read incorrectly making the space ship occasionally move and fire of its own free will. This was potentially hazardous on some screens - such as level 4 "The Pins" - where it was tactically sound to leave a single alien falling rather than shoot it and have an entire squadron descend on the player again.


ArcadiaWindowsCabisoft, Paul Jenkinson, Bjorne Lynne2002This is an expanded version of the original with an extra 8 levels of aliens. All of the original levels are included as levels 1-12. The extra levels are from 13-20.


This title was first added on 20th January 2008
This title was most recently updated on 28th October 2015

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