JSW Jet Set Willy

Will's Epic In The Timeless Zone

Putting a hat on a guy to make him more remarkable is a rather quick idea (in french you would say «bateau»), Charles Chaplin himself would agree. In some far-off times, pixelated-hatted-little-men jumping from one to another corner of the screen were a common thing. To be honest I couldn't say which was the first between Chuckie Egg, Jet Set Willy or Roland.

Chuckie Egg Roland

It was the golden age of personal computers. At this age Things were still in the right order : For game makers, in most cases pleasure and discover supported other motivations.. emulation and fun rather than overwhelming compétition, show off or market success.
Some enthusiastic teenager were just taking immense fun to create simple, fun and captivating games like JSW with an absolute relaxed unawareness of what they were really doing, because it's so naturally human to take pleasure, quietly learn and grow, and make oneself valuable to others by discovering his own time and work..
Well that's how the things should always be, yes ? Sadly, in the years that followed, 80% of the home computer industry disappeared to the profit of the only match microsoft-apple... but fortunately, this pleasure and motivation they communicated it to us, like christs multipliant fishes, and everyone could take benefit of it throw the aura and energy that impregnated those games.
That's probably the reason why the golden age of personal computers continue to haunt and fascinate with such a strong feeling of nostalgia despite the minute 128k of memory, the poor screen resolution, and other limitation of the computers of the age.


Jet Set Willy was a platform video game published in 1984 by Software Projects. It was originally written for ZX spectrum by Matthew Smith and ported to most other home computers of the time : Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Dragon 32, Atari 8-bit, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, MSX & MTX. (according to Wikipedia)

Jet Set Willy sur Amstrad cpc Jet Set Willy sur Amstrad cpc

Everyone remembers Willy. His white suit and his square hat made him as famous in his time as Charlie Chaplin.
Of course in newer versions, some tried to dress willy in a more colorful way, but free and fun in his white suit, he had apparently not in mind to pursue a career like his cousin Mario ... Who knows ?, maybe the time will come !

Jet Set Willy sur BBC Micro Jet Set Willy sur zx Spextrum

By playing Jet Set Willy you could enjoy a pixel-accuracy precision in the movements and collisions not common in the videogames of that time, which made it particularly fair-play, and made up for the fact that the game was extremely difficult, merciless, not to say cruel (almost impossible to finish !). The best possible joystick was vital !.. I personally prefered keyboard.

Jet Set Willy sur Amstrad cpc Jet Set Willy sur Amstrad cpc

Graphics and sounds where both minimalist, but in this way especially stimulating for the imagination of the player. The psychedelic colors of some versions, very specific to the videogames of the time, were due maybe to genius, maybe to pure hexadecimal coincidence...
All this helped to give the impression of a living universe, poetical and endless, where it was good to stroll and collect sparkling objects, discover one or two new rooms, digging for an unsuspected bug toward a secret chamber or... Just stroll, with no other purpose than making tourism ÀÁÂ

Jet Set Willy sur Dragon 32 Jet Set Willy sur Dragon 32

You can still play the original game on various computers, generally through emulators.
the java version of the game I tested didn't work fine on my laptop, but you can play here a javascript version of Manic Miner which works great ! Sadly the author didn't seem to finish his version of Jet Set Willy :-(
However you'll find easily on the web a freeware pc version, and you'll find here a cpc emulator which work very well on a Mac.

Jet Set Willy sur Memotech MTX Jet Set Willy sur Acorn Electron