Acornsoft box screenshots, recreated by hand

This page contains every box screenshot from every Acornsoft game (see Wikipedia for more about Acornsoft). Each screenshot has been carefully reconstructed, pixel by pixel and entirely by hand, using scans of the original boxes, magazines and brochures for reference. The collection covers the BBC Micro, Acorn Electron and Acorn Atom.

Here's a list of all the screenshots on this page. Click the links to jump down to the screenshots for each game:

You can either save individual images from the listing below, or you can download all the screenshots as a zip file (682K).

About these images

I hand-crafted these images during the lockdown of 2020. It was a surprisingly therapeutic experience, and I had plenty of time to devote to making these shots as pixel-perfect as possible. That said, the original box screenshots were produced back in the 1980s by physically photographing the games running on CRT screens, and then developing the films and printing the resulting photographs on the boxes. This means that some of the original box screenshots, particularly the early ones for the Acorn Atom, are quite blurry and warped, which makes it more difficult to recreate modern replicas. For example, see this PDF of the original Acorn Atom brochure; Games Pack 1 towards the end of the brochure is a particularly murky collection. Luckily we have the games themselves for reference, but it's still a challenge to work out exactly what the original CRT screen would have looked like.

For the BBC Micro range of games, the box screenshots are typically huge and take up almost the whole box cover, so these are easier to work with. However, both Elite and Revs have iconic Philip Castle artwork on the front of the box and only a small screenshot on the back, which makes them much harder to recreate accurately; and the Electron boxes all use smaller screenshots too, so they are also a bit tricky. This means there will definitely be errors in my recreations, but this page contains my best efforts at recreating each screenshot as closely as possible, given the sometimes rather shaky source material.

This collection only covers the screenshots from Acornsoft boxes, so games with illustrations or photographs aren't included. This means that the following games are not represented here: Acheton, Castle of Riddles, Countdown to Doom, Gateway to Karos, Kingdom of Hamil, Philosopher's Quest, Quondam, Revs 4 Tracks, The Seventh Star and Sphinx Adventure. Only the screenshot elements of the Magic Mushrooms cover are included, and not the photographic part.

Note that the Acorn Electron section only contains box screenshots that differ from the BBC Micro box shot for the same game. Most of the Electron game boxes simply reuse the BBC Micro screenshot, as those games look the same on each platform.

Quite a few box screenshots contain subtle differences from the games that were actually released. I have noted these differences below; they give us an interesting glimpse into the development process, as they presumably show earlier or alternative versions of the games that were subsequently tweaked for release.

I really enjoyed recreating this iconic part of Acorn history; I hope you like it too.

Thanks must go to Dave Arcadian from Stardot, who encouraged me to do the entire Acornsoft collection, sourced lots of scans of the original boxes, and gave me some very useful feedback on the results. Thanks Dave!

BBC Micro box screenshots

BBC Micro: Acorn Arcade: Breakout

The bats are closer together in the box screenshot than in the released game.

BBC Micro: Acorn Arcade: Dodgems

BBC Micro: Acorn Arcade: Invaders

BBC Micro: Acorn Arcade: Snake

The scores section in the box screenshot has a black background rather than the red background of the released game.

BBC Micro: Arcadians

In the bottom row of the box screenshot, the text is much closer to the ship and the ship and flag icons are quite different to the released game.

BBC Micro: Aviator

The box screenshot has a blue background instead of the black background of the game.

BBC Micro: BlackBox

Flashing colours in the original game are shown as light grey-blue colours in the box screenshot.

BBC Micro: Bouncer

BBC Micro: Boxer

BBC Micro: Chess

BBC Micro: CrazyTracer

BBC Micro: Defender

BBC Micro: Draughts

BBC Micro: Drogna

BBC Micro: Elite (BBC Micro)

BBC Micro: Elite (6502 Second Processor)

BBC Micro: Elite (BBC Master)

BBC Micro: Firebug

BBC Micro: Free Fall

The box screenshot has a blue background instead of the black background of the game.

BBC Micro: Gambit

BBC Micro: Go

BBC Micro: Hopper

BBC Micro: JCB Digger

BBC Micro: Labyrinth

The box screenshot is a heavily cropped version of the actual game, so the scores are missing from the top and the screen shape is quite different.

BBC Micro: Magic Mushrooms

I have recreated the game elements of the cover, but not the photograph.

BBC Micro: Maze

BBC Micro: Meteor Mission

BBC Micro: Meteors

In the box screenshot, the screen number is missing from the top-right, the score has been moved to the left, and the whole thing has been cropped to a much smaller screen size than in the released game, chopping off the left-most meteor in the process (the game plays at 320x256, but the box shot is cropped to 212x169). Also see the screenshot for the Electron version of Meteors for some interesting clues as to the origin of both screenshots.

BBC Micro: Missile Base

BBC Micro: Monsters

In the box screenshot, the design of the white monster is different from the released game, the score has a yellow drop shadow, and the oxygen bar is shorter and has no border. Also, the ladder layout isn't from level 1 and there are three monster types, but the score is really low, so I suspect this one was manually composed rather than taken from a genuine playthrough.

BBC Micro: Planetoid

This is the same as the box screenshot for Defender, the game that Planetoid replaced, but with the scores and some of the top-right radar entries removed.

BBC Micro: Reversi

BBC Micro: Revs

BBC Micro: Rocket Raid

BBC Micro: Sliding Block Puzzles

The island in the top-left of the box screenshot is much smaller than in the released game.

BBC Micro: Snapper V1

BBC Micro: Snapper V2

The design of the blue ghost is different in the box screenshot when compared to the released game.

BBC Micro: Snooker

BBC Micro: Starship Command

The box screenshot has a blue background instead of the black background of the game, and the ship is off-centre.

BBC Micro: Super Invaders

BBC Micro: Tetrapod

BBC Micro: Volcano

Acorn Electron box screenshots

Electron: Elite

Electron: Free Fall

The Electron screenshot is the same as for the BBC Micro version, except they have deleted a couple of aliens and one of the vapour trails.

Electron: Hopper

The Electron version has different sprites to the BBC Micro version, and compared to the released Electron game, the box shot has the top river bank shifted right by 2 pixels and the high score left by 1 pixel. This must be a difference in game code, so presumably this is an earlier version than the released one.

Electron: Meteors

When I did the screenshot BBC Micro version of Meteors, it was clear that it wasn't a direct screenshot of the game, but a collage of elements in a much smaller screen size. It looks like the Electron shot is the original source for that collage, as it's a full-size game screen that contains all the elements of the BBC Micro shot, but in the right places. The Electron screen is monochrome, so I'm guessing they took a normal screenshot from a BBC, then coloured it blue and white for the Electron box, and recomposed parts of it for the BBC Micro box. Seems like a lot of effort to go to, really!

Electron: Planetoid

Compared to the BBC Micro version, the Electron version has a different layout at the top of the screen, and uses different sprites for most of the elements.

Acorn Atom box screenshots

Atom: Atom Chess

Atom: Games Pack 1: Asteroids

The asteroids in the box screenshot are rotated through 180 degrees compared to the released game.

Atom: Games Pack 1: Breakout

Atom: Games Pack 1: Subhunt

Atom: Games Pack 2: Dogfight

There's a border all the way round the box screenshot, while the released game only has a border at the top.

Atom: Games Pack 2: Mastermind

Atom: Games Pack 2: Zombies

Atom: Games Pack 3: Black Box

Atom: Games Pack 3: Lunar Lander

Atom: Games Pack 3: Rat Trap

Atom: Games Pack 4: Four Row

Atom: Games Pack 4: Space Attack

Atom: Games Pack 4: Star Trek

In the box screenshot the wording on the penultimate line is "COMMAND (1TO7) ?" rather than the "COMMAND (1-7) ?" of the released game.

Atom: Games Pack 5: Invaders

In the box screenshot no lives or level number are shown at bottom of the screen, unlike in the released game.

Atom: Games Pack 5: Reversi

In the box screenshot the vertical numbers are 1 to 8, rather than the 0 to 7 of the released game.

Atom: Games Pack 5: Wumpus

Atom: Games Pack 6: Amoeba

Atom: Games Pack 6: Dodgems

Atom: Games Pack 6: Simon

In the box screenshot the colours are inverted from those in the released game.

Atom: Games Pack 7: Ballistics

Atom: Games Pack 7: Green Things

Atom: Games Pack 7: Snake

Atom: Games Pack 8: GoMoku

Atom: Games Pack 8: Robots

Atom: Games Pack 8: Stargate

Atom: Games Pack 9: Babies

Atom: Games Pack 9: Minotaur

Atom: Games Pack 9: Snapper

Atom: Games Pack 10: Bombs Away

In the box screenshot there's a full stop between the two players' scores that isn't in the released game.

Atom: Games Pack 10: Breakout

Atom: Games Pack 10: Hectic

Atom: Games Pack 11: Dominoes

Atom: Games Pack 11: Missile Base

Atom: Games Pack 11: Snooker

Mark Moxon, 18 March 2023