Merry Christmas From Horace

System requirements:  Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K or a 128K spectrum in 48K mode.

imageMerry Christmas From Horace is now available on the Download Link at the bottom of this page. Please take some time to read all the notes in this page and the Text files located in the download package. This is a fast moving unofficial Horace game. This poster was published on 2nd October 2016.

The game sees Horace jumping around as usual in the snow and ice on top of moving trains as well as other things. Horace has to collect the presents that Father Christmas has dropped from his delivery sledge. There are 49 screens to complete with loads of presents to collect. But watch out for the usual Horace enemies and others who are out to get Horace. Horace must also try to get the bell when it appears for extra bonuses.

As featured in Retro Gamer magazine issue 162.

Cassette Inlay

The cassette inlay for Merry Christmas From Horace. For those who like to make a real tape with a cassette inlay, I have created this inlay specially for you. I even kept in the wear from a real inlay that this image was created from, just for that added authenticity. Simply right click the image and download it. However, you will need to make sure it fits the cassette box dimensions when you print it out. There are a few free applications you can try to do this. If anyone can find a good reliable way, please email me so I can add it here and to any future releases.

merry-christmas-from-horace-cassette-inlay I wanted to base the inlay for this game on the original Horace Goes Skiing game. I wanted to keep the whole concept simple to the original.

This cassette inlay was published on 8th October 2016.






Game Instructions

This game requires a 48K Sinclair Spectrum or Spectrum emulator in 48K mode. Please remove any addons apart from Kempston interface.

Type LOAD “” to load the game and the game will auto start after a loading screen.

Game Play

Guide Horace to collect all of the Christmas presents. Use keyboard or Kempston joystick to move Horace left, right and jump.

Avoid being hit by the usual enemies, Snow Balls and snow flakes.

If possible, try to jump onto the nasty to knock them down.

This game has 49 levels of progressive game play. Simply collect the presents as they fall while avoiding the enemies. Collect twenty presents per level before the time is up. Collect the bell to release the bonuses.

Watch out for the Elves!


Q, E, T, U, or O = MOVE LEFT.
W, R, Y, I, or P = MOVE RIGHT.

Fire keys are ASDFGHJKL and ENTER.

Kempston joystick is also available and is auto sensing. This game has been optimised to use Microsoft Xbox joystick connected to the PC USB interface.


Clock – for more time.
Shield – to temporarily protect Horace
500 – Collect 500 points
1000 – Collect 1000 points
Mad – Random mad bonus

Development Notes

Programmed by Steve Broad 2015 to 2016 for “My cat” software.

Some game code taken from Jetset Willy, Manic Miner, both written by Matthew Smith, Hungry Horace written by William Tang and Aquaplane written by John Hollis.

Sprite Engine

Some sprite engine and collision detection code used and modified from the “Bytes: Chuntey” blog at


All graphics by “My cat” apart from some graphics taken from Aquaplane and Hungry Horace.


Sound effects by “My cat” apart from some sound code used and modified from Hungry Horace and Manic Miner.


Some music code used and modified from Beepola software created by Chris Cowley. Created with the Music Box player code based on code written by Mark Alexander. Please check the documentation at the Beepola site for more details.

All other coding by Steve Broad.

Tools Used

Spectaculator emulator by Jonathan Needle
ZX-Editor by Claus Jahn
ZX-Blockeditor by Claus Jahn
ZX-Paintbrush by Claus Jahn

Please check out this blog that I am really glad that I found to setup the development environment.

Pasmo.exe Z80 Assembler

December 1983…..

It was 1983 when I made up my own character called Frankie after playing Hungry Horace. I wanted to make a Hunchback game that was based on my new character. The game was called Frankie The Rescuer and was written completely in Spectrum basic language. I have included the game on this release as a kind of Easter egg. I must warn you, it is rubbish. But I felt that I should add it in as it will probably never get released any other way.

I created the loading screen of the snowed in village scene in 1983 on a real Spectrum 48k. It is a copy of a Christmas card I found lying around the place. The image had the title of the game and the Horace character added to it recently.

December 2014…..

I had just written four unofficial Horace games in 2013 to 2014 programmed in Basic and compiled to machine code. My Rendition Of Horace To The Rescue, Horace To The Rescue 2, Horace Miner and Horace Miner 2. The compiler used was HiSoft Colt which did everything including the hi res sprites. I got carried away with this compiler and ended up writing 4 Horace games compiled from Basic. The Hisoft sprite engine resembled the same screen effects with colour clash and the odd flicker just like Hungry Horace.

I knew a bit about machine language but not quite enough to be writing games fully without the use of Basic. This was until I stumbled across the “Bytes: Chuntey” blog at This blog changed everything for me in the way I was writing Spectrum games. A great blog full of useful routines!

I started writing “Megatree” in machine code to cover the Miner Willy game that was never written and managed to get the first screen done. I went a bit off track and wanted to mess around with animated pixels. I created my own snow routine and placed a Horace graphic in front of it to see what it looked like. I ended up putting “Megatree” to one side and continued with writing another Horace game.

Lets see, the game has Horace walking around and there is snow falling on some levels. So it must be Winter time. OK lets add some of the usual enemies from previous Horace games and add some graphics of things falling from above. “Merry Christmas From Horace” fell into place. I thought I could write this in a few weeks with the intention to release it in December 2015. How wrong was I! The game just grew with more ideas being added on a daily basis. With the additional input from my wife and daughter with even more ideas, I felt obliged to add them.

This game is completely unofficial and free. If you paid for this game then you have been ripped off! There is no official support on this game. You can email me with what you think at


Steve Broad was interviewed in issue 162 of Retro Gamer Magazine. “Merry Christmas From Horace” was mentioned.



If you find Horace is moving on his own, please check your emulator joystick settings. Please make sure in Spectaculator that the Kempston joystick is emulated.

For example, here is a screenshot from the Spectaculator Joystick settings.


Release Notes

Merry Christmas From Horace – V2016e released 28th November 2016.

Please see content of download package for more details.


Well, this is what you have all been waiting for. Merry Christmas from Horace!!!!!!!presenticon




This is a experimental version of Horace Christmas.The only difference is the cable is added to the
train levels for added motion. However, it was noticed in original testing that this cable is a distraction and was removed.

Here is a snapshot download of Merry Christmas From Horace with the cable left in.