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XOR was a map-based puzzle game, rather like the Repton series. It was written by Astral Software (Paul Carruthers and Ian Downend) and published by Longman Logotron.

Dots and Waves on the Beeb Enlightenment on the Beeb

Title Screen of XOR Level Editor The icon editor The map editor

As you can see, a level editor for XOR was also available. It was sold as a separate product.

I played XOR on a BBC Micro, but it was also available for the Spectrum. Like Repton, it involves moving around a map, collecting some items, pushing others around, and avoiding others. However, the similarity really ends about there, too. XOR was surreal in the extreme and fiendishly difficult. The style of graphics with limited colours gave an atmosphere of an almost nightmarish world (to me, anyway). For this reason, I didn't play it too much at the time - for a seven year old, Repton 3, Chuckie Egg and Space Pilot all held much more attraction.

Many years later, a freeware game for RISC OS appeared, called !XOR. It was written by John Hedley. It wasn't widely available - it only appeared on an Acorn User Magazine cover disc. It was a rather excellent conversion that ran in a window on the RISC OS Desktop. The maps were duplicates of the Beeb version (but apparently with the odd mistake), but John had redone the graphics to take advantage of extra colours and resolution.

Dots and Waves under RISC OS Enlightenment under RISC OS

For me, it transformed the experience. The graphics were a joy to look at (as you can see), and the transition from full-screen to a window seemed to do it the power of good. It just seemed to lend itself exceedingly well to a puzzle-in-a-window game, and is a welcome replacement for the multitude of Minesweeper and Patience clones.

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This site was last updated March 2010.