Click Here To Go To The Macmillian Archive

Betty Root & Fisher Marriott

Cover Art

Tops And Tails

Tops And Tails

Tops And Tails


Two great games of fun and skill for kids of 4-8. See your children's reading abilities grow as they play and learn.

  • Teaches beginnings and endings of words
  • Designed by one of Britain's top reading experts
  • One or two players
  • Choice of nine speeds
  • Disk copyable

Devised by Betty Root, one of Britain's leading experts in reading. Betty Root is the 1985 President of the United Kingdom Reading Association and is in charge of the Centre for the Teaching of Reading, University of Reading. She is especially well known for designing educational games for young children.

Programmed by Fisher-Marriott, award-winning software developers.

The cassette contains two different games, one on each side : SNAKES AND LADDERS and TAILEND.

Copying To Disk

The publishers allow you to make one copy only of each program on to disk. Any further copying is prohibited and is an offence under the Copyright Act. Make sure you have a formatted disk with at least 16K spare memory for each program. You must make your copy as soon as the program has loaded and the main menu screen has appeared, before any key has been pressed.

Press CTRL-D then release. The program saves automatically in two parts: SNAKES and SNAKPIX; TAILEND and ENDBITS.

To load the programs from disk type CH."SNAKES" or CH."TAILEND" then press RETURN.

Running The Programs

Both games are great fun for children but they also have an educational purpose. SNAKES AND LADDERS is an animated computer version of the popular board game. It gives children practice in recognising the first two letters of words. TAILEND gives them practice in identifying the last letter of words. Both games also help children find their way around the computer keyboard. The games involve an element of chance as well as skill so children of varying ages and abilities can play together happily.

Program Settings

To play the game without sound effects, wait until the menu screen has appeared, then press CTRL and S simultaneously.

When you have finished playing one game, and want to load another, press CTRL and BREAK simultaneously then release.


Two characters (one for each player) appear on the snakes and ladders board and move to the starting point. The red, right-hand character is controlled by the RETURN key, and the yellow, left-hand character is controlled by the A key. The first player must press RETURN or A as appropriate, then the computer's number generator produces a number at random. The player must type that number on the keyboard to make the character move on the board. If the character lands on a square with a picture, the player must type in the first two letters of the word. For example, if it lands on a picture of a flower, the child must type F and L. If the correct letters are typed, the character moves on one square. The game ends when one of the players reaches the END square.


Type 1 or 2 then press RETURN to select a one- or two-player game.

Type a number between 1 (very slow) and 9 (very fast) to select an appropriate speed.

To break out of the game at any stage and return to the menu for reselection press CTRL-Z then release. New options can be set and the game begun again.

Two Player Game

Each player adopts either the cat or the dog side. A flashing cat or dog appears on the screen. The player must press either RETURN (for cats)_or A (for dogs) to generate a picture. He or she must type in the last letter of the word represented by that picture before it moves off the screen. For example, if a picture of a stamp appears, the player must type the last letter, p. The winner is the first to win twelve cats or dogs.

One Player Game

This works in the same way, but with the player trying to keep as many of his or her twelve animals as possible. Cats should press RETURN for a picture; dogs should press A.


Cover Art Language(s): English
Compatibility: BBC Model B, BBC Model B+, BBC Master 128, Acorn Electron
Release: Professionally released On Cassette
Original Release Date: 1st Jan 1984
Links: Everygamegoing,

Cover Art

Front Inlay Images

Back Inlay Images

Media Scan Images



Tops And Tails (Cassette)
Tops And Tails (5.25" Disc)