Product: Uno
Publisher: HeadFirst PD
Compatibility: Acorn Electron
Reviewed by: Dave E
Originally published in EUG #45

Those who were behind HeadFirst PD were a bit of an enigma to me. They were two friends called James Treadwell and Gareth Boden who were adept at throwing together superb-looking utilities and demos - it now seems that in 1992, Gareth Boden produced this professional little simulation of Waddingtons' board game Uno.

I say the two were an enigma as when their PD library was given the thumbs up by Electron User Group way back in EUG #7, I immediately despatched a stamped addressed envelope to them but didn't get any response. I then went through the same procedure again with the same result. Hence I concluded that their attempt to set up a Public Domain library had failed within a few months - which is a shame as everything I've seen which has been produced by them on the Elk has been amazing.

Uno is a simple card game where you play against the computer. You are given a selection of cards of four different colours and must try to get rid of all of them before the computer. Most cards have a number between zero and 9 and, after the first card is laid, the players can only lay a card of the same colour or the same number. There are also special cards which force the opposing player to draw another two or four cards from the pack (Wild cards) or change the colour of cards to be laid.

The game uses a very colourful Mode 2 screen and comes complete with a professionally designed loading screen and full instructions in View text file format. It's a PD package at its best where the disk contains slighty different versions for the Electron, BBC B and Master series - each carefully optimised for the particular machine - but where the correct version is automatically chosen by the loader program. Elk owners whose disk-systems set PAGE to either 1900 are catered for and so too are persons with a Master RAM Board operating. Although the program is exactly the same across all formats, certain sections of code differ so that there are no problems with memory or graphic clashes across the machines.

Were it not unofficial [And produced about seven years too late! - Ed], this would've been one of the most professional conversions of a card game available. Selling it unlicensed for profit however wouldn't please Waddingtons who own the copyright but as a PD demonstration of Gareth Boden's programming talents, as mentioned, it's yet another superb piece of software. Recommended.