Spectrum emulator FUSE, Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy on Fedora Linux

FUSE emulator is a Free Unix Spectrum Emulator. It runs on many operating systems, even those that cannot be classified as UNIX.

This tutorial shows you how to install and run FUSE to play legendary, classic platform games Manic Miner (1983) and Jet Set Willy (1984) on Fedora Linux.

NOTE 1: With some creativity, the advice here should be applicable on almost any Linux distribution. I guess the only Fedora Linux specific area is the use of dnf instead of, say, apt on Ubuntu or Debian.

These fantastic Sinclair ZX Spectrum games were designed and programmed by Matthew Smith when he was only a teenager. In addition to being great and very challenging games, Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy paved way for many subsequent platform classics, so their historical significance cannot be overestimated.

However, their value is not only historical. On the contrary, it is still fun to play them, and they place huge mental and physical demands on the player.

Admittedly the graphics are pretty plain and simple by the modern standards, but that is due to the limitations of the hardware of the 1980s. So please do not let the simplistic appearance distract your gaming experience. Also, be prepared for some frustration at first.

Both Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy are quite difficult games that can keep you occupied for literally many years. I know it took me over 25 years to complete Manic Miner on a Commodore 64, but of course I did not constantly play it. I only occasionally returned to it.

Anyway, let's move on to get started with the FUSE and Sinclair ZX Spectrum games installation.

Installing FUSE emulator on Fedora Linux

1. Install FUSE emulator:

sudo dnf -y install fuse-emulator

2. Enable RPM Fusion repository. Note that the following is a one single command even though it might show up split in your web browser:

sudo dnf -y install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm

3. Install system ROMs for FUSE. Without these, FUSE emulator cannot work, because the emulation core emulates only Sinclair hardware:

sudo dnf -y install fuse-emulator-roms

Playing Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy

1. Create a new directory and change working directory to it:

mkdir sinclair
cd sinclair

2. Download manic_miner_and_jet_set_willy.tar.xz. This is a tar archive compressed with XZ Utilities. Read files CREDITS and README. Please note that I take absolutely no credit for anything - all I am doing here is redistributing other people's work so that everybody has easy, guided access to play Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy using FUSE.

3. Download usb2kempston.xz. This is a simple Bash shell wrapper script that enables USB to Kempston joystick interface mapping. I wrote it specifically for these games, but I suppose it should work with any game that supports Kempston joysticks. The script also allows you to control beeper sound volume level (0-100) and video screen scaling factor (1, 2, 3).

In other words, usb2kempston is only a simplified way to run fuse emulator from the command shell.

4. Uncompress and copy usb2kempston into /usr/local/bin. Make sure ownership and permissions are okay:

unxz usb2kempston.xz
sudo cp -ivZ usb2kempston /usr/local/bin
sudo chown root:root /usr/local/bin/usb2kempston
sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/usb2kempston

5. Uncompress manic_miner_and_jet_set_willy.tar.xz and change directory:

tar xJvf manic_miner_and_jet_set_willy.tar.xz
cd manic_miner_and_jet_set_willy

6. Make sure you have your USB controller plugged in. I have a pretty old Logitech Rumblepad 2 or something like that. After plugging it in, I need to press MODE button to enable the Rumblepad. With that controller, a red light lights up when the controller is enabled.

7. Run Manic Miner with a USB controller mapped to Sinclair's Kempston joystick interface, with no sound and video screen scaled up to 3x.

usb2kempston manic_miner.tzx 0 3

NOTE 2: I prefer to run these games without sound because honestly, ZX Spectrum's sound capabilities are horrible. This 8-bit home computer has only an internal "beeper" and the sounds it generates hurt most people's ears.

Ideally, I would like to disable only the background music, and to keep the sound effect when Miner Willy is jumping in the game, but unfortunately it seems to me that that is impossible to do on a ZX Spectrum.

Sadly, Jet Set Willy's original release contained a few fatal bugs that prevented you from completing the game. I downloaded the fixed version from the fabulous site www.worldofspectrum.org.

NOTE 3: Jet Set Willy had color code verification to prevent software piracy. The version offered here for you to play retains the verification step so read on carefully!

When you start Jet Set Willy with e.g. command:

usb2kempston jet_set_willy.tzx 0 3

the game will ask you for a color verification code.

Fortunately the helpful ZX Spectrum hackers have scanned the original color code chart. It is in a file called jet_set_willy_color_code_sheet.jpg. You must view it and enter the correct code, or else you cannot start Jet Set Willy at all.

In case you want to read the instructions, Paul Thompson has typed them in back in April 2003. The relevant files here are manic_miner_instructions.txt and jet_set_willy_instructions.txt.

As of this writing (December 23rd, 2018), roughly three and a half decades have passed since the original release of Manic Miner way back in 1983. Both Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy have stood up to the test of time, and even today, they are enjoyable and extremely challenging to play.

Last but not least, many thanks and maximum respect to Matthew Smith for creating these timeless, wonderful games.

I hope you have lots of fun with them!

Kalevi Kolttonen <kalevi@kolttonen.fi>