Saturday, 4 August 2012

Day 70 - chalk one up for the little guys!

As I write this, mega-documentary From Bedrooms To Billions is on the verge of achieving its funding goal, and therefore being completed.  This is great news for all retro gaming fans, as I'm sure it will be a very interesting watch.

Where does that leave me?  Hopefully, exactly where I was before.  I'm under no illusion that I have a difficult task ahead of me, and with that project being at full steam ahead, I'm conscious that it may cause me a few problems.  For instance, it's possible that people are involved with that project and may not want anything to do with a "rival" project.

See, I know you. I know you want to read about this just as much as the big names.
That's fair enough.  When I set out on this venture, I was well aware that it would be impossible to get everyone I wanted.  Even some of the big names are likely to remain elusive.  However, I think that my book will be different enough that it will still be worthwhile.

For example, From Bedrooms To Billions is focusing on a longer timeline than I am.  Sure, I'll expand in either direction if needs be (or should I say, if it's relevant), but I'm focusing more firmly on the programmers from the 8-bit computer era.  I'm not going to be looking at the PS1, or the SNES... in fact, I'll probably only be touching on the Amiga and Atari ST.

This looks like it's happening. Should be a good watch.
Also, From Bedrooms seems to be looking at the video games business.  I'm not.  I'm concentrating squarely on the programmers and their games.  If I get the odd story about things that happened within companies then that's great, but I want to talk to the people who made the games about the games they made, along with stuff like how they got into programming.

So I reckon the differences between the two projects are easily enough to make mine more than worth pressing ahead with.  If I can get hold of them, you'll see lots of names in my book that you won't find in most others, if any.  I want to talk to the person who made that great-but-obscure game.  I want to talk to the person that made a career of creating games that were good, solid entertainment but that may not been in the public eye.  Who made Bounder on the Commodore 64?  Who made Turbo Esprit on the Spectrum?  I know, and you know, but do they ever get the recognition they deserve?

This is where the lesser-known names will get to shine.  This is where we will hear the stories of the unsung heroes.  They were all our Gods - that status is not merely reserved for the big names within the industry.


  1. Don't worry about it. Your book will shine in it's own right, and we can never have too much retro stuff! Plus, as you said, you will include certain people and their games - not the business. Which interests me far, far more.

    As much as I love the Atari ST and Amiga (I had a Spectrum, then also got a C64, sold them both to "upgrade" to an Atari ST and finally sold that to get an Amiga) I wouldn't be sorry if you stuck with 8-bit stuff, but if you want to touch upon the 16-bit era that's fine too.

    Although I eventually owned a PS1, and even a SNES briefly (I bought one on eBay about 7 years ago to see what all the fuss was about!), I have only a passing curiosity about the games / programmers. The key difference (for me) is that I didn't grow up with them.

  2. Paul, I don't see you competing with FBTB rather I think you compliment each other perfectly. Maybe there's an opportunity for you to ride in their wake? Have you tried contacting the organisers to let them know what you're creating?

  3. Well, they do follow me on Twitter...

    I've spoken to someone who's involved with that project and have been offered help further down the line, which is awesome. I do think there might be a considerable amount of overlap, though, and it will be my inclusion of the "lesser lights" that will help this to stand apart.

  4. I think that's why I personally like your goals a little more ... giving the underdog a bit of time in the spotlight. :)