Jet Set Willy
Description official descriptions
Cult hero Matthew Smith followed up Manic Miner with a seminal platform game. Having struck it lucky in the first game, Willy now owns a lavish mansion with over 60 rooms linked together, and must tidy it all before his housekeeper will let him sleep.
Unlike in Manic Miner, here all the rooms can be freely traversed from the start. Each room has its own hazards, such as spikes, guardians (ranging from demonic heads to giant penknives), and ropes which can be climbed and grasped in mid-air. Touching a monster or a stationary hazard, or falling a great distance, causes instant loss of a life and places Willy back at the room entrance.
The route through the house must be navigated carefully, due to the multiple entrances to some rooms - this is perhaps the first action game where mapping is an advantage. Another innovation, to the chagrin of players everywhere, is manual protection - a sheet of colour-coded numbers.
Credits (Commodore 64 version)
|Based on the original Spectrum version by|
|The music was arranged by|
|Using a method devised by|
1001 Video Games
Jet Set Willy appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
The Amstrad version of Jet Set Willy was the original official expansion of Jet Set Willy by Software Projects. This expansion was written by Derrick P. Rowson and Steve Wetheril, and contains 132 rooms. This expanded version is the basis of Jet Set Willy II: The Final Frontier.
The author of Jet Set Willy wrote the game and its predecessor Manic Miner before he was 18.
As ZX Spectrum games were distributed on audio cassettes, piracy was a major concern. Jet Set Willy was the first game in the world to feature copy protection, in the shape of codes (printed on a coloured card) which had to be typed in after loading the game.
The original release of Jet Set Willy was buggy - entering The Attic led to memory corruption, and the game would crash if the player subsequently entered The Kitchen! Initially, the publisher claimed that this was a feature, but later released a fix, making Jet Set Willy one of the first commercial games to have a patch produced.
Approximately a year after Jet Set Willy was released, the computer magazine Your Spectrum published a type-in which added an extra room to the game. This was perhaps the first third-party mod ever released for a commercial game.
The music playing in the background is If I were a Rich Man from the US Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, first performed in 1964.
Circa 1989, Paul Taylor and Carl Whitwell worked on an Atari ST conversion of this game for Software Projects -- late enough in the title's life that the painstaking port (disassembled code read off the Spectrum's monitor and typed into the Atari's keyboard, screen data dumped as hex and dictated to a typist) was never released to the commercial market. During the same period Shahid Ahmad worked on an Amiga port that met a similar fate of obscurity.
- ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
- February 1991 (issue #41) - Included in the list Greatest Games of all Time, section Platform-based Games (editorial staff choice)
- Happy Computer
- Issue 04/1985 - #3 Best Game in 1984 (Readers' Vote) (Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum version)
- Retro Gamer
- October 2004 (Issue #9) – #7 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
- May 2007 (Issue 37) - #6 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" (poll)
- May 1985 (Issue 1) - #5 'Ten tackiest top-sellers'
Information also contributed by PCGamer77 and Pseudo_Intellectual.
Related Sites +
A screenshot map of the game (Atari 8-bit)
Jet Set Willy for Atari ST (archiived)
Original developer <moby developer="Paul Taylor">Paul Taylor</moby> tells the story of the development of the 16-bit versions and offers the ST version for download.
- MobyGames ID: 14745
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Martin Smith.
Commodore 64 added by B.L. Stryker. Amstrad CPC added by tcooke182. Electron, BBC Micro, iPhone, iPad added by Sciere. Windows Phone, Xbox 360, Tatung Einstein, Memotech MTX, Commodore 16, Plus/4 added by Kabushi. Atari 8-bit added by subjugator. Atari ST, Dragon 32/64 added by Игги Друге.
Additional contributors: Sciere, Alaka, Игги Друге, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, piltdown_man, Derrick P Rowson, Karsa Orlong, Jo ST, FatherJack, Jamie Mann.
Game added September 12th, 2004. Last modified May 14th, 2023.