Welcome Martin! Could you please tell the readers a bit about yourself.
Hi Frank! Well, where to start as always... I'm 33 and live 'oop north', as folks like to say, in a town called Wigan. I've been in the industry for about 14 years now, eleven of those working at Software Creations. I always wanted to get into the video games industry when I first saw my mates ZX81 running some blocky Space Invaders game and thought I could make them look better. I tried my hands at coding in BASIC on the good old VIC 20 back in the early 80's and gradually moved over to the graphics side.

How did you first get started doing graphics on the C64?
After moving from Canvas Software to MC Lothlorien in the late 80's, I was put onto the C64 after spending my previous few years on the Amstrad CPC and Atari ST. Up to this point, I'd never touched a C64 apart from playing games and marvelling at all the cool sounds and graphics. My first project at MC Lothlorien was Psycho Hopper which was released on the Mastertronic label.

What was your last ever C64 production?
That would be Industria 14, a side on shooter utilising the Trojan lightgun. Dunno if it ever saw the light of day and never found a copy anywhere since.

You are famous on the C64 for designing some top graphics for games like Sly Spy and even the infamous Gauntlet 3, which project did you most enjoy working on?
I really enjoyed Gauntlet 3 and Vale of Shadows (never finished cos I and the coder left Lothlorien to start at Software Creations). Both games utilised similar character selection sections though the one in Vale of Shadows was a lot more ambitious, and the 3D sections were looking great for the time.

Which game was most hardest to do the graphics for?
Definately Vale of Shadow. I was trying to accomplish detailed trees, buildings and characters in a semi-bitmap mode with as much colour as possible, though without all the blocking that many 3D games were famous for on the C64.

Who's work did you most admire on the C64?
I really liked Bob Stevenson and DOKK's work, Haydn Dalton had some really cool ideas and texturing I really admired. I liked a lot of Tony Crowthers' earlier work too. And Steve Cain. As for programmers, Jeff Minter, Tony Crowther, Steve Ruddy, and John Buckley (hiya John if you're out there :-)).

Did you work on any other machines at the time, other than the C64? If so, can you name a few games that you did?
I worked on the Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Amiga, and ZX Spectrum. Games I worked on were: Aircat, Aliex, Baby Blues, Chainsaw Warrior, Charlie Chaplin, Demon's Kiss, Destiny Mission, Ghost Town, Kendo Warrior, Iron Hand, Jet Set Willy, Obliterator, Overkill, and Psycho Warrior FMB.

Now you were working on a game called Vale of Shadows, for what reasons was this game never to be?
Well, when MC Lothlorien went bust, I and coder John Buckley left the company to work for Software Creations. They wanted us to still work on the game but by then our commitments lay elsewhere and new machines were overshadowing the C64, so even though it would have been a great game, there would have been little market for it by the time it was complete.

Were there any games you worked on which never saw the light of day?
Oh, there were many. Some was due to the company I was working for folding, other times the games were complete and submitted to the publishers for released only to be unreleased by them for whatever reasons. It can be a very depressing feeling to spend so much time on a project and for it not to see the light of day.

Was there any C64 game which you saw released, looked at its graphics and thought: "I could have done that much better"?
Definately! But at the end of the day, the market moves on and there's too many games to have our fingers in all of them, so to speak. Even on my own games, I'd reflect back and think I could and would have done it better. New techniques and practices are learned all the time.

What was your favourite game on the C64?
I loved playing Thing on a Spring and Pyjamarama, and I was always impressed with scrolling shooters.

Who was your favourite C64 musician?
Rob Hubbard of course, and the Follin brothers.

What impressed you most about the C64 and for what reasons?
Super smooth scrolling, hardware sprites that seemed to glide with the smoothness of silken flesh - whoops - don't wanna get too far beyond myself here, hahaha! And of course the music was so sublime once in the hands of a master craftsman.

Was the C64 just a step in your graphical life or was it a major inspiration?
I'd say it was an inspiration. It taught me a few new ways to achieve the graphical effects I longed to create and the games to play around them.

Do you still own a C64 today?
I just recently bought one from Steve Ruddy at work and a 1541 and C2N with it. Dawn Drake, one of my co-workers, gave me her C128 system so I'm having fun playing around with them. This is actually the first time I've owned a C64 system. :)

What are your current activities? What systems are you working on, computers, consoles?
These days I'm working on the Nintendo handheld consoles. We've had several Rugrats titles released in the past two years, and they're doing great even though the reviewers give them a good slagging off. They just don't understand when games are designed for kids and not die hard FPS-types.

Ever have any disagreements with anyone through computer related activities?
Yes. Past employers and of course my mum and dad never liked me spending all hours in my bedroom playing with my computer. I think everyone experiences those kinda problems.

What would you think if I was to tell you that the C64 was still going today, and now with upgrades such as 20 MHz accelerators, RAM upgrades, and even HD's and CD-Rom's?
I did hear stories about these kinda things. I'm sure they're just Urban Myths. :)

Any hints or tips for the C64 graphic designers still out there?
Keep on practicing and don't be discouraged by your results. It ain't over 'till it's over!

Please feel free to send any greetings to anyone you know...
Everyone at Creations, Haydn, Ste Cork, Tony Williams, The Pickford's, John Buckley, Chris Carress, Pete Andrew, Jeff Gill, Tharg, and anyone else out there I know.

Thanks for your time Martin, do you have any last comments to leave a final impression on the audience?
Switch on, boot up, and keep on playing those fabbo C64 classics!

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