Autoguard: The story of one of the greatest games that never was
Two 18-year-olds called Jason Daniels and Tom Lanigan decided to pursue their dream of becoming games designers by starting their own software design house called Pagoda Software. Anyone with a business-minded disposition would have quickly written something very commercial and then started fishing for conversion work on the back of it. Unfortunately, Tom and Jas were not business-minded individuals. Their first game was intended to be one of the most advanced and ambitious Commodore 64 games ever. That was where it all started to go wrong... (By Jason Daniels for C64.COM)

Commodore 64 and Music
It was, in my opinion, the Commodore 64 that truly introduced 'real' music to the world of home computing. Its impressive in-built SID synthesiser was capable of much more than the bleeps and pops common to other machines. (By Michael Braisher for C64.COM)

Die! Alien Slime – A Misunderstood Epic... with a bit of a problem
Jason Daniels, programmer with Pagoda Software, is dusting off the code of his 1989 release Die! Alien Slime. Read his article about the history of the game and find out why. (By Jason Daniels for C64.COM)

Piracy – Hacking at the Industry's Roots
It's 1992, and Europe is open for business. "That's what everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Alan Sugar is telling us at the moment. But try telling that to the network of hackers throughout Europe. They've been trading cracked games and demos for years."

Book excerpts

The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore
This book tells the Commodore story through first-hand accounts from the actual Commodore engineers and managers who made the company. From its entry into computers in 1976 until its demise in 1994, the Commodore years were always turbulent and exciting.

Games companies

Have you ever wondered what happened to the C64 software houses of yesteryear? Are they still going? What games did they bring out that became instant classics? And how were they created? These articles on C64 software houses answer at least some of these questions.

Firebird was started by British Telecom, then the UK's sole telephone company, in 1984. They attempted to plunge into the then-profitable software market by releasing their own games cheaply through the Silver Range label. (By Warren Pilkington)

Graftgold's first products Avalon and Paradroid were immediate successes. Andrew Braybrook's games were finally selling in quantity! This is Steve Turner's story about Graftgold and his own past. (By Steve Turner, used with permission)

Gremlin Graphics
Gremlin Graphics was another great UK software house of the 1980s and early 1990s. Like Ocean, they were sadly bought out by the Infogrames empire in 1998. Typical, eh? However, they were one of the first major UK houses to release a series of games based on a single character, and made various other original games that really set the scene for the C64. (By Warren Pilkington)

Mastertronic was founded in 1983 by three experienced businessmen Martin Alper, Frank Herman and Alan Sharam. Based in London, they had some financial backing from a small outside group of investors. Unlike many of their competitors in the games software business, the company was not set up by programmers seeking an outlet for their creations, nor was it part of an established business with money to spare, dipping its corporate toe in the games industry's rising tide. (By Anthony Guter, used with permission)

Here's another fine article on Mastertronic. While the Anthony Guter article gives you some behind-the-scenes info, this one focus more on the actual games. (By Warren Pilkington)

Ocean started life in 1983, founded by David Ward and Jon Woods as a fledgling software publisher, working from the top floor of an old Quaker church near Albert Square in Manchester (where the town hall is). In the beginning, they simply wanted to make really good computer games, and the likes of High Noon, Gilligan's Gold and Tornado Low Level seemed to point it that direction. At the same time, both Software Projects and Imagine were also making a name for themselves, 35 miles away in Liverpool. (By Warren Pilkington)

System 3
If there was one software house with a colourful history, it was definitely System 3. Legal wrangles and suing were the order of the day, along with putting back release dates left, right and centre. However, they did also manage to bring out some rather good games. (By Warren Pilkington)

Back in 1986, Newsfield (Zzap! 64's publishers) decided that they wanted to branch out and have a software company that would also produce good games. As the C64 was then very popular for games, and with the reputation for magazine quality Newsfield had at the time, then it would surely mean that their games would be good too. We were not to be disappointed. (By Warren Pilkington)


Nature of the Beast
Back in 1984, Jeff Minter sent out three newsletters to inform his fans about his new games and what he was up to. (These files were found on the Back in Time Companion CD, and the transcriber is unfortunately unknown.)

Party reports

Back in Time Live
I thought twice about going, but a month before the event, I went to see Chris Abbott and Ben Daglish. Chris played the new Back in Time CD for me, and we sat there talking about who would be coming to the event and such like. After that, it didn't matter how much money I had to spend, I had to go! I mean, all my favourite musicians would be there. (By Andreas Wallström)

Back in Time Live 3
All in all, it was simply a brilliant evening! Too short and too sweaty, but brilliant! People from Morocco, Hungary, the UK and US, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Norway, Germany and Belgium attended the event, and it shows how important these kind of events are. (By Andreas Wallström)

Back in Time Lite
This was my fifth BIT Live, and sadly, it was the last one. Chris has done an amazing job with these events, getting so many C64 celebs to attend and perform, etc. There's a lot of nice memories floating around in my head right now, and this is my report. (Andreas Wallström, 13th September 2005)

Back in Time Lite/Retrovision: The Final Hurrah
For me, the event started Friday evening in the hotel, which just happened to be where many of the people I was going to see over the weekend were also staying. Boz, Slaygon, Paul Chapman, Neil Carr, Bog, Trooper, Subzero and more were all there, drinking at a corner table of the bar, so I had to join them with my brother Chris for a few drinks and a lot of laughs. (Andrew Fisher, 15th September 2005)

Copenhagen Retro Concert
The Copenhagen Retro Concert was another successful C64 concert with acts Visa Röster (including one number by C64 Mafia), Axes Denied, Rob Hubbard, SID'80s and hosts Press Play on Tape. Instead of writing a report this time, we collected comments from some of the people who went.

» F.A.Q. - look here before you send off an email.

» Credits - the list of people who made all this possible.

» Scene interviews - C64 sceners answer 20 questions about their time in the scene.