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Sunday, January 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Tech Deck

This week’s free game: Jetpac

Jetpac, developed by Tim and Chris Stamper, released in the United Kingdom for multiple computer platforms in 1983.
Jetpac, developed by Tim and Chris Stamper, released in the United Kingdom for multiple computer platforms in 1983.

Are you a gamer? Do you like free things? Of course you do!

We here at the Tech Deck are just like you: poor gamers looking for cheap entertainment. And nothing's cheaper than cost-free gaming. Each week, we'll bring you a title (or two or three) you can legally play at home without plopping down a single dollar. If you see games you think we should be featuring on the blog, email us at kiph@spokesman.com.

Tim and Chris Stamper are legends in the gaming world, but younger players could be forgiven for not knowing who the British brothers are. Founders of Rare studios, the two-man team were largely responsible for a resurgence of the 2-D platformer in the mid-90s with the groundbreaking release of "Donkey Kong Country," which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. But the pair had been in the business long before the SNES days, releasing classic platformer "Jetpac" exclusively in the UK market in 1983. You can play a version of that game in your browser, for free, by clicking below!

Click here to play 'Jetpac' for free in your browser!

The goal of the game is to re-assemble your rocket in order to blast off to another planet. Players move left and right on the default keyboard controls by pressing "Z" and "X." The "A" button fires your laser to defeat incoming enemies, and pressing "Q" will deploy your eponymous jetpack. 

"Jetpack" spawned two sequels and a spiritual successor to the Xbox Live Arcade in 2007. But it has its own ties to the DK franchise. If you play Donkey Kong 64 for the Nintendo 64, you can unlock the title for play in Cranky Kong's laboratory by collecting 15 banana medals. Check out this video at about 2 minutes to see how to unlock it!

The brothers Stamper reverse engineered a Nintendo Entertainment System in the mid-1980s, no small feat for the time. The Japanese company brought them on as their first major developer in the West, and the studio was responsible not only for DK and its two sequels, but also Killer Instinct, Goldeneye 007 and Banjo and Kazooie. Rare was purchased by Microsoft in 2002, and the brothers left the company five years later. 

What's your favorite Rare game? Did you know who the Stamper brothers were? Check back next week for another free game!



Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk, covering the marijuana industry, local politics and breaking news. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

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