Own up to it, wouldn't you like to write a superb game for your Spectrum? The type that will keep you in pocket money for the rest of your life? Melbourne House have tried to make this easier for you with their 'High-level User-friendly Real-time Games designer', more lovingly known as HURG.
HURG is totally menu-driven. Melbourne House describe this as being like a menu in a restaurant with different parts for food and drink. When you ask for food the menu listing the meals is brought. For example, if you choose ice-cream then the list giving the different types available is presented.
Unfortunately this means that HURG isn't as simple to use as Melbourne House would have us believe. Not only do you have to choose the type of ice-cream you want, you must then go on to choose what size it should be and then go on to choose the sauce.
As you've probably decided for yourself, all these menus do tend to lead to a bad case of 'Help I'm lost' or 'Which menu do I choose now?'.
To be fair to Melbourne House, they've tried to make it easy to use: all commands can be entered by using either the up, down, left, right and fire keys or the joystick.
Three example games are included on the reverse side of the HURG tape. None of the games will hold your attention for more than a couple of minutes but they may give you an idea of how to go about designing your own games. Incidentally, if you ever wondered what a drunken blue koala looks like, try playing Manic Koala.
HURG allows you to design characters of a size up to 4 x 2 character squares. This means that you can have quite detailed alien/player graphics. It also allows you to link together a number of these sprites giving you the animation that your character may require.
For a program that is supposed to help you to design games there is one very big omission - sound! HURG offers no sound facilities at all to the user, but if you happen to like nice quiet games this won't worry you, will it?
HURG tries to offer the user too many facilities, making it difficult to use, and the games can be very slow to play.
Given a few hours (it took me three!) you should be able to get something of your own design working - but don't expect anything too wonderful.
It's a shame that HURG doesn't live up to expectations.