This month’s Retro Gamer (May/June 2012 #103) contains a four pager from yours truly. This time, the subject is the 1985 BBC Micro/Electron release Citadel. Like most games of the era, it might look a bit primitive by modern standards, but programmer Michael Jakobson squeezed every ounce of storage out of the old Beeb to deliver a colourful gameworld made up of 240 interlinked screens. It’s a wonderful example of a vintage arcade adventure, and it’s also a consummate BBC Micro game. One of the commenters on the forum remarked that when he first played it, the game seemed as big to him as Skyrim does now. This time I was able to get in touch with Michael Jakobson and also Simon Storr, the author of Citadel 2.
I was particularly happy with the layout as the guys managed to cram some decent sized screenshots into the mag to show off the (8 colour) graphics. The BBC Micro had a colour system that was based on primary colours giving it a very bright and distinctive look and Citadel is a fantastic example of that.
Some of the guys that I follow on YouTube have covered the game before. Steve Benway gave it a first impression look, and PsiMan did a more detailed retrospective on it as it was a favourite of his back in the day. There are some more gameplay vids to be found on YouTube and there is a nice video of Darren Jones, the editor of Retro Gamer flicking through the issue here. The article is being discussed on the StarDot (BBC Micro) forums, and the issue itself is being discussed on the RetroGamer forum.
It’s that time again. This month’s Retro Gamer contains my six page feature on Teque/Krisalis Software. It’s my fifth article for the publication. Between 1987 and 2001, working as both a developer of original games and conversions power house, Krisalis produced hundreds of games. As ever, putting the feature together was fun but a lot of hard work.
This time around, I was able to contact and interview quite a few of the people who were originally involved in the company. Krisalis was particularly close to my heart because they converted a lot of mainstream hits to the Acorn Archimedes series of computers, which was the system that I ran as a teenager. As ever, it was great to interact with people whose names I’d seen come up on the screen so often over the years. I doubt I could have imagined this sort of contact when I was a spotty teen, admiring their efforts. Thanks go to Shaun Hollingworth, Tony Kavanagh, Neil Adamson, Keith Birkett, Nigel Little and Matt Furniss for all of their help.
I don’t have my copy of the magazine yet, but you can watch the editor of the magazine, Darran Jones, flicking through the latest issue on YouTube. There is a feedback thread for the issue on the Retro Gamer forum.
Issue 79 of Retro Gamer magazine contains my six page feature on Superior Software, the most prolific BBC Micro games company back in the 80s and 90s. The company is still in business today selling remakes of the classic back catalogue and can apparently even supply original copies of BBC Micro games.
I don’t have my copy yet but you can watch Darran, the editor of Retro Gamer flicking through the issue on Youtube. As you may know, this is my third feature for this magazine. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it, and I hope I’ve done justice to such a great company. There is a feedback thread for the issue on the RG website.
[Update: I’ve got it and it looks great. I forgot to add my name to the introduction and I’m not credited elsewhere, but I did write it, I promise!]
Thanks are due to Richard Hanson, Peter Irvin, Tony Oakden and Gary Partis for allowing me to interview them.
This month’s RetroGamer (issue #65, with the shiny red cover) features my six page feature on the Acorn Archimedes, a computer system that I used to run when I was teenager. The article is split between the main feature and a “Perfect 10” summary of some of the classic games. I have the magazine now and the layout looks great.
Note that this content won’t be included in my future article compilation books as the Imagine Publishing contract does not allow it. The Arc A310 in the photograph is my very own well loved machine, and hopefully it’ll be back with me in the next few days. Oops, it seems that I forgot to put the drive eject button back in when I put the machine back together! The issue is being discussed on the RetroGamer forum here, and the comments about my article seem quite positive. Hopefully, I’ll do something else for the mag in the future.
Read on for some more about the article including some content that had to be cut for length. Read more…
Free Software Magazine have published my DOSBox review. DOSBox is an PC emulator that is optimsed for accurately running vintage games. From the article:
“Let’s be clear: not every old game is worth revisiting. As a general rule, about eighty percent of everything, in all media, is rubbish. If not actually rubbish, entertainment media can be so tied to the time in which it was made that it cannot survive the transition into a later era.
However, there are games that are worth hunting down and re-playing.
An old game might employ a gameplay style that has no modern equivalent, or a much-loved old game might have a nostalgic attachment for a gamer. Sometimes, the gamer wishes to try out a game that they passed over at the time of release. Finally, some old games are simply great games and are worth playing in their own right.”
Click here to go the article on the FSM website.