Tuesday, 6 July 2004

out of time

I have a past you know. Oh yes, a deep dark secret past. I used to write computer games for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST and Commodore Amiga. 'Rock Star Ate My Hamster' was one of my more successful, although I designed 'Grange Hill' for Argus Press Software, and worked with Mel Croucher on ID and Deus ex Machina. Deus ex Machina by the way (not the PC shoot-em-up of recent years) was a true interactive movie; with the voice talents of Ian Dury, Jon Pertwee, Frankie Howard and more. It was truly groundbreaking stuff, and won a number of awards. I programmed the C64 version.
Anyway, the thing about a secret past, as you all know, is that it comes back to haunt you at some point. So last week I received an e-mail from someone enquiring about my unpublished masterpiece 'Darkness at Dawn'. This was a corker of an idea; an adventure game based only on sound. Each location, object and character had a sound or piece of music associated with it. You could even turn the text off and have a blank screen. Mel even recorded a couple of audio tracks for me to go on the B-side (games came on audio cassettes in those days).
The trouble was, of course, that both Mel and myself were catering to a mature, experimental market which simply did not exist. Since I don't believe that such an audience exists today I can't even say that we were ahead of our time. Out of our time, more like.

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