I recently bought a set of DVDs containing a ZX Spectrum emulator, hundreds of games, videos, and magazine scans. Ah, what a wonderful trip down memory lane they’re providing.
Yes, I’m enjoying playing the games – some I had and used to love, most I’ve never played (or heard of) before – and I’ve even tried my hand at some very simplistic but satisfying programming since that’s where it all started for me, but by far the most fun I’m having is reading the old magazines; titles such as Big K, Your Sinclair, Computer Gamer, and others that I remember fondly from my youth. The articles are great, the predictions are dreadful, the program listings fill me with nostalgic bliss, and the adverts… heaven!
I, like many thousands of people, spent a stupid amount of time playing Football Manager for the Spectrum. As a young teenager on the weekends it was not unusual for me to stay up through the night trying to get Portsmouth out of the fourth division and winning the F.A. cup. This advert featuring the bearded visage of Kevin Toms was a common sight in the magazines of the day and it’s interesting to see that nearly three decades on he’s still working on the game, this time for the iOS platform: http://blog.kevintoms.com/
I was not familiar with System 3 Software (although they’re still going today: System 3) or, at least, not with the games promoted above but this advert jumped out at me because of the wonderfully, obviously unlicensed versions of Star Wars and Tron, Deathstar Interceptor and Lazer Cycle respectively. I think it’s the blatancy of the games that hits me most; you couldn’t get away with something like this today. It also doesn’t quite fit in with the blurb on the company’s About page which describes their “development ethos for producing truly original gaming experiences for everyone” but that almost makes it even better.
I don’t know who Keith Dean was (or is) but I am quite interested in finding out whether he ever got any of the hackers he was after.
I never bought the “fabulous Cassette 50 from Cascade” but I remember seeing the advert a lot in the 80s and I remember being very tempted. Fifty games! Fifty! Still, maybe I was demonstrating some of the skepticism early on that would serve me well in later life because there’s something not quite right about the description: “it is impossible to tell you everything about the 50 games on Cassette 50”. Indeed. Still, something might have been nice.
Finally, Llamasoft, and the games from the mind of Jeff Minter. Who could possibly forget games with titles such as Attack of the Mutant Camels or Metagalactic Llamas Battle at the Edge of Time? Not me. Which is a shame because the games were pretty dreadful.