Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Slightly Magic will return...

Thanks to everyone who tweeted, blogged, facebooked and wrote about the campaign to bring back Slightly Magic. I’m pleased to say that work has already begun on the classic edition of Slightly Magic for OUYA, Mac. PC, Linux, iOS and Android. Slightly Magic will be released in June/July 2014.

‘Slightly Magic does what few other games do. It takes a garbage truck full of fun and makes daily deliveries!’
89% Sinclair User
‘The graphics and presentation are excellent too – full of colour and some nice bits of animation… All in all, Slightly Magic is, well, absolutely ‘magic” Your Sinclair 94%
Your Sinclair Readers Top 100 Games of All Time

Monday, 18 November 2013

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Return of Slightly Magic?

Hmm, this looks interesting. A Kickstarter campaign to resurrect the classic 8-bit game Slightly Magic, and even possibly the 'lost' follow-up, Slightly Spooky? Not to mention the third game in the trilogy. Hang on, didn't I write those?

My Big News is that all rights to Slightly have now returned to me. On Monday I'll be launching a Kickstarter to bring Slightly back into this timeslot. I think we need him., or seach Kickstarter from Monday.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Microdot Music EP

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Kids! Write your own arcade game with no experience or hope!

Stencyl is a system for games writing, particularly suited to 2d platform games. One of the great things about Stencyl is that it lets you publish on a number of platforms including tablets, PCs and phones. I used it myself to publish ‘Eek! It’s a Bomb!’ on both the app store and on Google Play, and I plan to use it extensively in the future for desktop projects too. It really is a joy to use, with built-in physics, a scene editor and a ridiculously simple programming ‘language’ based on Scratch from MIT. is the place to find out more.

Now Stencyl is so much fun that I realised that I wrote my first game on it (Eek! It’s a Bomb!) with only a vague understanding of how it works. (The game’s free if you’d like to take a look on your favourite app store, or even on Chromebook by the by).

So I jumped at the chance when offered a review copy of Learning Stencyl 3.x Game Development: Beginner's Guide by lnnes Borkwood. ( )

The book gives a clear, step-by-step introduction to Stencyl, building a game as it progresses. Reading through it I relived some of the joys (and pitfalls) of writing my first Stencyl game. Indeed, if I’d had this book before I started writing the game it would have saved me hours of head-scratching and forum surfing looking for answers and advice. It progresses nicely, introducing new concepts and parts of Stencyl at a manageable rate, and building a platform game along the way. I pretty much read it through from cover to cover in two sessions, which I’ve never done with a development book before. It compliments Stencyl’s own documentation, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in writing games with a minimum of frustration and a maximum amount of fun.

Colin Jones

Thursday, 27 June 2013

I knew I had it last time I looked...

This is mildly interesting, if you've nothing better to do. It's a true story, I must add.

Twenty-odd years ago, I wrote a game ending so good that I was told to save it for an unspecified future use. It wasn't libelous, unsuitable or even offensive; just too good for the project I'd put it in, I was told. Yes yes, I know; very strange. Anyhow, time passed and I never really did find a suitable use.

Until now. 'Microdot Reimagined' is honestly almost completely nearly finished, and some of my best work ever. I know that this is where I'll put that ending in. (It'll all make sense at a future point when you've played the game through, don't worry.)

The only problem is; do you think I can find it? It's on a piece of yellow paper, typewritten and possibly a carbon copy. Let me know if you come across it, won't you? You'll know it when you see it.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Is that a cat peeking out of a bag?

‘I am the last tiny speck of a once great entity; Microdot, the place where everything was possible, quite literally, all at once. On Fridays.’

Saturday, 1 June 2013

So Stonehenge is a Modern Building Then

I visited this Cromlech at Pentre Ifan in west Wales yesterday. It was constructed in around 3500 BC, about a millenium before Stonehenge. That's even older than the combined ages of popular beat combo, the Rolling Stones.

The huge top stone seems to balance on the three uprights almost effortlessly. Seen close-up you realize that this is of course an impossible construction. Certainly one which could never stand the test of time.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Interactive Fiction, a History

Long times ago, in many lands, on many worlds, stories were told by travelling storytellers. They would move from court to court, inserting the names of the local rulers, jesters, and gods into their finely-crafted tales. One night it would be Prince Llewelyn who slayed the dragon, the next Princess Fflur who rescued the King, as the tale-weaver moved around the lands.

And the tales were refined, retold, and passed down through generations, withstanding and adapting to fashion, and politics and new gods.

And this continued, in many lands, on many worlds, until finally words could be recorded; in writing and in print and on ticker-tape. And then the tales were cast in stone, the hand of an author fossilizing his finest words for an eternity.

And a constant need was born for new tales, and new worlds, as the old stories became covered in the dust of forgetfulness.

Until sometime in the 20th century, when programmers believed they could fly. And strange delights streamed forth, with tales of caves and pink bulbous-nosed men, and property developers. And the world looked on and in and focused for the briefest blink of an eye on the Adventure Game, that strangest of all new worlds. And storytelling was never quite the same again.

Except that of course, that it was. As words were sold for cartoon graphics. Ideas gave way to novelty, and the mechanical predictability of a clockwork toy became the new god of an old Hollywood.

In exactly not the same way as books had never died when film was born, and radio continued long after tv dinners went stale, the adventure game was wiped completely from the psyche of a Bland Generation. And no-one lived happily ever after. For ever and ever. And ever.

And that is how the story would end, on all other worlds, in all other universes.

Unless you took the rock and the green key, and forged a belt from the tree of an impossible history. Or you hid the Book of True Fiction behind a very pure waterfall, and waited for a Messiah with Imagination and a very old dream up his sleeve. For an imagination can live on hope, that much has always been true.

And if you first went west, then north, and lit a fire under the furthest star from the sun, a strange and wonderful thing just might begin to occur. On a Friday.

For did you ever remember that books were still being read, even when Hollywood told you an empty lie which blunted your imagination?

Did you ever listen to a jazz band jamming while the latest teen sensation picked the pockets of an innocent generation?

Have you ever had your heart stolen by a golfing melody?

Have you ever thought just who killed the dreamers? Or even how that was possible? Because no-one can kill an imaginary beast, didn’t anyone ever tell you that?

There is the reflection of a memory deep in your mind. Somewhere something is stirring. Footsteps approach, from just behind where you think you really are.

Summer 2013. IF.

It’s a good year after all.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Slow Death of the Internet, Part 342

It's becoming a pain to surf the internet. You might have noticed. If not you soon will.

A typical browse from my iPad can take me through a number of increasingly frustrating steps. I start of with a google search, then I click on one of the top results. A window pops up - 'we have an iPad app for your device (exclamation mark), click my button to install'. Not going to happen, sorry. Click my button, buster.

When I get to the website a number of things can happen. Firstly the website is sure to have adverts, this seems to be the only way to 'monetize' a website these days. They can be glaringly distracting - they currently occupy the borders of some sites which really should know better. The actual website itself seems regulated to a boring window in the centre, while all sorts of flashing graphics draw me to another product that will truly enrich my life.

Or the adverts are personalized for my convenience, which usually means that the same ad pops up on a number of sites I visit. Tacky.

The amazing moving web page is currently my favourite most irritating monetize-driven device on the internet. I go to a top UK 'quality' newspaper website, I scan for the news and - the text jumps down as randomly-sized ads bully their way in at the top of the page. No-one seems to be clever enough to pre-size the ads and their positions, why would they?

Of course I find an interesting story, but click a millisecond too early/late as the text jumps down and I end up on another page, or worse an adsite. Every page on the site has this extra feature. You'd almost begin to think they want us to pay for their content, they're certainly making us suffer.

Monday, 15 April 2013

(I'm so glad that there are) 101 things you can't do with a Chromebook

I've had a (Samsung) Chromebook for a couple of weeks now, so here's an update. It's still the best word-processor out of the blocks that I've ever experienced. It's start-up speed still amazes me. I can switch on, check mail, write a blog post, then switch off in two shakes of a lamb's tail. Three if it's a really long post.

Luckily my printer is google print compliant, so no problems there, although it looks like I'll have to scan to my printer's SD card and then plug this into my Chromebook. That's a minor inconvenience, I have to admit.

The keyboard's good, the screen's fine, and the battery life is great. And yes, there are still a hundred-and-one things that I can't do with it. Hopefully things will stay that way.

Because it's the simplicity that needs to be experienced. It's very elegant, chilled even. There's a certain amount of conscious rethinking that helps get things done more efficiently. Habit pruning, you might say.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Grieving on both sides over the Thatcher years

The BBC's decision not to play 'Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead' on the chart show today is understandable; you have to sympathise with any grieving family and friends.

However, I think that we should remember that some of the people who will be protesting (and, yes some celebrating) the death of the Iron Lady over the coming week may well be grieving too. They may be grieving for the loss of their communities, their way of life, livelihood, and even the lives of loved ones who were destroyed during the Thatcher years. They need to be able to express their grief too.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Religious decline in Wales 2001 - 2011

Religion in Wales, 2011 CensusReligion in Wales, 2001 Census

Religion is some kind of a marker. Belief, tradition, gullibility - you will have your own terms. The change in religious beliefs in Wales over the last decade has been nothing short of seismic, as can be seen from the above charts. The 2011 census was taken before the Church of England's vote on women bishops, in case you were wondering.

I won't suggest that you add 'Religious belief not stated' to the 'No religion' numbers, but Christianity has taken a heavy fall no matter how you look at it.

The statistics put Wales ahead of (or behind depending on your viewpoint) the rest of the countries of the UK as they currently stand for non-religious percentages. From a land of churches and chapels, of revivals and Sunday school outings, this is a staggering shift of world view. You don't have to be a statistician to see that, should the trend continue, Christianity will soon be a minority.

Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v. 1.0.

Monday, 8 April 2013

My utterly top favourite computer of all time is a... Chromebook?

It'll pass, I'm sure. But once you're plugged into Google's system the multiverse seems to take on a different form entirely.

Simply stated, Google have made the device I've been looking for for years. Decades, actually.

A cheap, portable word-processor with a decent display. That's it. Everything else is a bonus, Jonas.

Ah yes, I hear you scream, but it can't do this, it can't do that. Can it? Nope. Can't... won't. But then the possibilities of what anything cannot do are enough to give anyone a headache, won't you see? My dog can't fly, my clone can't make a decent Lasagne. The possibilities of inability are endless.

But open the case, type in a few words. Just think of what it can do.

It's almost tomorrow already and I think my clone needs a cookery lesson.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

A Quiet Mind

A quiet mind is something very close to my heart at the moment. About two feet, I guess. Haha.

Reading the final version of my new pocketbook 'Getting Quiet' has convinced me that if you're reading this then the book is well worth a look. The Kindle version also provides an optimum reading experience.

It's all about diverting the mind to experience reality. is where it is at. Here and now.