Jack The Nipper

ZX Spectrum

Growing up, I was always a Beano fan, nothing really against The Dandy, but we just never got it, I occasionally saw an issue in the hairdresser, but I felt it was inferior to the Beano and who really cared about Desperate Dan when there was the far more relatable Dennis The Menace. And my three favourite strips were, like most, Dennis The Menace, Bash Street Kids and Rodger The Dodger. There was something about causing trouble that I, as a well-behaved boy, found fascinating. So being able to actually play as a troublesome kid, even one about 4 years old, was very exciting.

The first screen where you find your trusty peashooter

You take on the role of Jack, a toddler bored in a well-rendered small village, who decides to shake it up a bit and cause as much mischief as possible. At the bottom of the screen is a bar showing your current Naughtyometer, and the goal is to fill this out to 100% before losing all your lives. A life is lost when your Rash meter is filled up, this is filled by touching the various enemies wandering around the screen from members of the public going about their business to ghosts and space invaders.

you receive a little endorphin rush encouraging you to continue

You can carry two items at once, one of which is usually your trusty pea shooter. You can use this to shoot someone, giving a small boost in your Naughtyometer but making the hit person make a beeline to you to administer what I imagine in true Beano style will be a good slippering. Leaving the screen will calm them down and return them to their routine.

To fill the Naughtyometer though a bit of pea shooting isn’t going to cut it, you’re going to have to do some more epic pranks. The puzzles are pretty good, and much more obvious solutions than some of the bizarre Dizzy-type combinations. Find a tube of glue, and use it on the false teeth. Use the weed killer on the gardeners beautifully tended flower beds, you get the idea. Upon completion of a prank, the screen flashes a burst of colour, your meter rises, and you receive a little endorphin rush encouraging you to continue.

The graphics are beautifully drawn, and the control is excellent. You will weave your way around the screen, avoiding the enemies with great precision. The graphics have a comic-book aesthetic and suit the game incredibly well. There is no scrolling. This is a flip-screen game, and along with the left and right of the screen, some screens allow you to go off the top and bottom.

Sound consists of some footsteps and jumping sound, and a success rasp when you do something naughty enough to grow the naughtometer, nothing ground breaking, but it won’t annoy you like some games are prone to.

Where Jack The Nipper shines is as a playable comic book. Well-crafted logical puzzles, fluid controls, and a surprisingly nice difficulty curve for the Spectrum make an excellent game that only just missed out on a perfect 10 score.

Cheats & Pokes

Description Cheat
Immunity 44278,58:44285,58
Infinite Lives 43519,201
ZX Spectrum
Release Year
ROM Link

Jack The Nipper Score


Gameplay Video