Growing up in the late 1970’s early 1980’s I experienced first hand the wonder and amazement of early home computers.
In the beginning I got hold of a ZX81 and pretty much played every available game on it. I still remember being terrified at 3D Monster Maze.
Then one magical day some time in 1984(ish) I clapped eyes on Star Raiders. My life changed forever. I grew up with Star Wars and loved it. Everybody my age loved Star Wars. At least the guys did. To actually play at being Han or Luke on your own home computer was quite simply essential for anyone of my age at that time. It took some pestering but thankfully my Dad saw the potential for these machines and also saw that I was starting to program for them as well. Christmas 1984 I unwrapped an Atari 800XL. I’m pretty sure I got no other present that year :)
Galaxians, Pole Position, Star Raiders… they were all there and all utterly fantastic. Atari were synonymous with arcade gaming and I was instantly smitten with them. So much so that I saved up dinner money to buy the magazines of the day that carried program listings. This was to be my way in to programming my own games.
Atari BASIC worked. It wasn’t so clumsy as people though in hindsight and allowed you to generate sound and colourful graphics with reasonable ease. I devoured countless magazines worth of code and before long had my own library of BASIC arcade games running on the Atari. I saved them to cassette and took them to the local computer store to show the store owners who myself and my friends had got to know quite well. The largely favourable comments I recieved urged me on and I soon knew that a life of games programming was for me.
Sadly education, girls, work and all other stuff got in the way and my Atari gathered dust before finally being “given away” by my Mum. By the time that happened I really didn’t care so much such were the demands of my life at the time.
This personal expression is important to me and right then I considered the fact that it might just be valuable to thousands of other like-minded game designers out there.
I’m currently looking for a publisher willing to take a chance on it just now. If you’re a publisher and like the idea of a book that taps in to the huge combined market of web designers and arcade game enthusiasts then please drop me a line.