Based in Scotland, UK
PC, Mac, iOS & Android
Z-Exemplar is a side-scrolling shooter in the tradition of R-Type, Gradius, Nemesis and other classic arcade games from the past. Borrowing its aesthetic from the computers of yesteryear (specifically the Sinclair ZX Spectrum) Z-Exemplar combines bright, bold, 8-bit pixel art with frantic action and an epic mission to conquer a galaxy of almost 1000 planets.
Z-Exemplar was concieved as a love letter to the ZX Spectrum. Proudly retro, the game embraces the limitations of its 8-bit inspiration to deliver a fast-action, guns-toting, laser-blasting quest with intuitive gameplay and long-lasting appeal.
But it’s not just nostalgia for its own sake.
There is something hugely appealing in the 8-bit aesthetic, something that can be absent in photo-realism. There is space for interpretation, for imagination and a vague assemblage of pixels can evoke in players a different emotion from that engendered by more detailed, distinct images. With the added vibrancy of the ZX Spectrum’s colour palette, this pixellated aesthetic gives Z-Exemplar’s visuals a unique and distinctive feel.
On its surface Z-Exemplar’s gameplay appears simple – shoot anything that moves and collect the booty they leave behind – but the over-arching goal of the game is anything but. The player is tasked with conquering all 961 planets that make up a hostile galaxy with each planet’s defences uniquely configured. As the player explores the outer reaches of the galaxy, the defences become stronger and enemies more lethal and numerous. There is abundant challenge in Z-Exemplar, challenge that grows with the player’s experience.
To turn the battle in their favour the player can access an arsenal of over 20 upgradeable weapons that transform their basic fighter craft into a devsatating war machine. Selecting the right loadout for each planetary battle is essential.
Z-Exemplar is developed by Suminell Studios, a compamy with many years of industry experience in game design and development.
961 Unique planetary battlegrounds
10 Planet themes
21 Awesome Weapon loadouts
A galaxy full of secrets
Conquest leaderboard – who’ll be first to take over the entire galaxy?
Hundereds of enemy types
Authentic 8-bit pixel art style
- Soundtrack by renowned ZX Spectrum chiptune musician MovieMovies1
Interview by Peter Ward
What is your first gaming experience?
My first gaming experience was probably on the Atari 2600. I remember playing games like Combat, Pitfall and Space Invaders to death when I was pretty young.
What got you into programming games?
What development tools or coding did you use?
I never really saw myself as a programmer – still don’t. I could never get my head around Z80 assembly language and I was more interested in the art and design side of things. When I was programming on the Spectrum I relied heavily on a program called MCoder 2 which compiled basic into machine code. It could be fiddly but i became pretty adept at it and I’d like to think the games I created back then could have passed for games written in machine code. As for the art side of things I wore out a few keyboard membranes using Melbourne Draw!
What hurdles did you have making your current game?
After the completion of the game what game will you make?
What other games have you made you made?
I’ve been fortunate to have had some kind of career in games development but I’d say the game I’m probably proudest of is Harlequin which was released on the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga in the early 90’s.
My favourite computer was my Amiga and console the Megadrive do you have a favourite?
Probably the ZX Spectrum but I loved the N64 just for the quality of some of the games.
What is your favourite retro game?
Is Banjo Kazooie considered retro now? I’m never sure. But if so then it’s Banjo Kazooie. I just feel that game is the pinnacle for the 3D platformer, a genre I love. So many great ideas that are so well executed and there’s a kind of organic feel to the design. Incredible game.
Do you still game on the current consoles if so whats your favourite game?
I play games on the Mac mostly these days. The last console I owned was an Xbox 360 and I was a sucker for Fallout 3 and Skyrim – games that I am utterly in awe of! I am looking forward to eventually getting some free time to invest in Fallout 4.
Whats the worst game you have ever played?
I’ve made a few clunkers in my time so I shouldn’t really throw stones from inside my glass house, but for the sheer cynicism of it I’d have to say World Cup Carnival of the ZX Spectrum. It was a football game released to coincide with the Mexico ’86 World Cup that came bundled with a mountain of posters and stickers to try and distract you from the fact that it was basically a re-hash of Artic Software’s football game from a few years previous. Pretty bad.
Finally what game or feature would you like to see on Retrogamesmaster in the future?