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Video Game: Jet Set Willy
Jet Set Willy is a computer game originally released in 1984. It was released first on the ZX Spectrum, but was later released on multiple platforms. It is a sequel to Manic Miner. The plot is that Willy had bought his new house with the money from the previous game, but it is unexplored and full of what are probably the previous owner's experiments. After a celebratory party, the place is chaos and his housekeeper Maria won't let him go to bed until he sorts it out. Willy must tidy up the mansion so he can get some much needed sleep.

With regard to gameplay, Jet Set Willy is one of the first multi-room (Manic Miner had single room levels) Gotta Collect Them All Platform Games. There is a sequel, Jet Set Willy 2: The Final Frontier, which is an extended version of the original (spawned as a result of porting to the Amstrad CPC and back again), with the unwinnable condition fixed.

A very faithful Java version can be played here.

There is a user-made add-on for the freeware game Rocks N Diamonds called Super Jetset Wily Bros 3, the level being an experiment in platforming.

Not to be confused with Jet Set Radio, an unrelated game.


Jet Set Willy contains these tropes:

  • Copy Protection: The game came with a sheet of codes. You would look up the line letter and column number and type in the colour that appeared there. Repeat three times to get the game to start. (This has been disabled on the versions you can get on emulators now.)
  • Cycle of Hurting: In the first game, when you died, you started your new life where you entered the current room. Unfortunately, if you had just fallen to your death from the room above, prepare to watch helplessly as every single one of your remaining lives goes splat.
    • The sequel would restart you on the last solid surface you were on. Which was arguably worse, since half the time you would repeatedly respawn on top of a monster. Hello, Rage Quit!
  • Dead End Room: "Entrance To Hades". In JSW2, also "Water Supply".
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In Jet Set Willy 2: The Final Frontier, there is a room called Cheat! that leads to an island (you can get to the island by sailing a boat there as well). You can go through Cheat! only if you have hacked the game and put in an invincibility cheat.
  • Easter Egg: There are inbuilt cheat codes in both games.
    • According to Word of God, the reason that the Cartography Room was one of the rooms added to the Amstrad CPC port is because the code has a built-in teleport cheat routine involving this room. (In the released version, it was disabled but not removed — it was deliberately left in for fans to find and enable, which requires just three POKEs.) The ZX Spectrum JSW2 also contains this feature.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: The person who owned the mansion before Willy.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The first Jet Set Willy game contained a bug that made it unwinnable (for the geeky among you, on the Spectrum version, it was one of the earliest examples of what is now known as a buffer overflow error). Notable is the fact that half the versions of Jet Set Willy released were unwinnable! The second game fixed it, but has its own problems due to that fix. See the Nintendo Hard page for details.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: See Mythology Gag.
  • Gotta Collect Them All: There are artifacts flashing through all the colours the spectrum could handle, you have collect all of them. In the sequel, you go to the moon, a desert island, and the depths of Hell - although this time, you don't quite need all of them (150 of 175 will do).
  • Here We Go A Gain: At the end of JSW2, Willy ends up in "The Central Cavern" — the first level of Manic Miner
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: This forces you to walk down it, rather than dragging you as in other games. (With care, it's sometimes possible to traverse them against the flow.)
    • Star Drive: Early Brick Version in JSW2 takes it Up to Eleven. Pretty much every single platform in the room is a conveyor - and until you step on them, you can't tell which way they're going to take you.
  • Minus World: In the original, jumping up from "The Watch Tower" leads to "The Off Licence" despite this being nowhere near. (In JSW2 it leads to the "Rocket Room".) This is to do with the numbers used for each room (The Off Licence is room 0, so it is a default room when one isn't specified.)
  • Mission Pack Sequel: Even more so, since Jet Set Willy 2 isn't just similar in style, it's an expanded version of its predecessor including all the original rooms.
  • Mythology Gag: The room Oh $#!+! The Central Cavern in Jet Set Willy 2 refers to the first level of Manic Miner.
  • Nintendo Hard: Hacks of the game are so hard you have to exploit Good Bad Bugs to complete them. Even though Jet Set Willy 2 is completable, it is still a very hard game, requiring pixel-perfect jumping, and you only have eight lives (no extra lives in this game).
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Falling from too high or contact with any hazard will cause you to lose a life.
  • Popcultural Osmosis: The first movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" is the title music.
  • Platform Hell: One of the earliest examples of this.
  • Press Start To Game Over: In the second game, the toilet you start next to is a Death Trap.
  • Respawn On The Spot: Sometimes in harm's way.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Software Porting: The game has been ported to a lot of systems, most versions having a different theme tune.
  • Symbol Swearing: See Mythology Gag.
  • Take That: The leftmost of the rooftop rooms is called Nomen Luni, a parody of Imagine Software's motto "Nomen Ludi" ("the name of the game"). This room and the room below together represent the aeroplane from Imagine's Zzoom, which apparently has crashed on the roof.
  • Unwinnable by Design: JSW2 has a nasty trap for those exploring the game; if you find yourself in "Down T' Pit" and fall through the hole in the floor, you will find yourself in "Water Supply" from which there is no way back up...
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: See Game-Breaking Bug. Also, in JSW2's "The Hole With No Name", it's possible to jump left into the wrong part of "secret passage", thereby landing on top of the passage. Oops, time to reset the game.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: Jet Set Willy was beset by rumours that you could sail the ship (the rooms "The Bow" and "The Yacht") to an island. The programmers put this feature in, as noted above, in the sequel.

Manic MinerZX SpectrumMonty Mole
JackalAmstrad CPCKarateka
Manic MinerBBC MicroAsteroids
Ikari WarriorsMSXMacadam Bumper
Jelly Boy 2Platform GameJett Rocket
Manic MinerVideo Games of the 1980sMappy

alternative title(s): Jet Set Willy
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