Darren Melbourne / Paranoid Software, Pantheon Software
Added on April 27th, 2012 (9496 views)

Hello and welcome! Please introduce yourself to anyone who may not know you.
Hi, my name is Darren Melbourne and I've been involved in the video games industry since about 1984.

How did you first get started with computers and the C64 in particular?
I remember playing my first video game when I was about four or five years old and on holiday with my parents. It's one of my first vivid memories, standing on a chair to play Pong against my father. It's the one and only time he was able to beat me at a video game.

I was obsessed with video games from that early age, owning the rudimentary television consoles of the time and of course my beloved Atari VCS. It was in the early 80's that I became aware of home computers and began to read anything and everything in an attempt to learn as much as I could. I remember getting my first ZX81, and from the first time I managed to type a simple BASIC program to animate a stick figure on screen. I was hooked on computers.

My love affair with the C64 started in about 1984. I owned and adored a 48K Sinclair Spectrum at the time and used to spend my spare time in a shop called The North Kent Computer Centre (not the catchiest of names) which had Spectrum's, BBC's and a C64 permanently on display. It was during a visit there that one of the sales people, a guy called David Page, who sadly passed away earlier this year, loaded up Falcon Patrol 2 on the C64 and called me over. The scrolling amazed me, as did the revelation of hardware sprites, where you could actually see the background through the sprite! He realised that he had me in the C64's thrall and as quickly as the C2N would allow, he loaded first Killer Watt and then Loco. The SID chip, as I later learnt it was called, left me speechless. Anthony Crowther and Ben Daglish had created aural masterpieces the likes of which had never been heard on a home computer before. With scant regard for copyright (Loco itself was a direct homage to the Sega arcade game Super Locomotive whilst the music was a direct interpretation of Jean-Michel Jarre's Equinoxe 5), Tony and Ben converted me in one afternoon from a Sinclair stalwart to a C64 addict.

It would be utterly remiss of me not to state that the Spectrum was a good friend to me and that games such as The Hobbit, Penetrator and of course everything by Ultimate dominated a great deal of my teenage years. But everything paled in the glory of the mighty C64...

Tell us how your career in games started. Did you submit work samples to various games companies looking for jobs, or did jobs come to you?
I seem to be vaguely aware of having an epiphany when I was nine years old and watching Star Wars for the first time. I'm not sure that I knew what an epiphany was, but I clearly remember thinking that one day I wanted to do something that people wanted to watch or play. Not that this is really saying much as I also clearly remember thinking that I would study to become a Jedi, and one day the Rebellion would come and find me and whisk me off to that galaxy far, far away.

In reality, I was studying at school trying to work out what I was going to do with my life. The career advisors at the time were rather limited in their suggestions, and when during an interview with them I mentioned computers, I was sneered at with no little level of derision and scorn and informed that I would work for the civil service. It was at this time that I was spending a great deal of my spare time with a group of friends who played a lot of C64 games. David Page, Ned Langman, Mario Aguera, Charles Lawrence and I used to sit around playing games and claiming that we could make better ones. Of course at the time we probably couldn't, but then we just started tinkering around. In those early days, when we managed to get scrolling working for the first time and sprites moving under joystick control, I realised there and then that I had found what it was that I wanted to do.

What attracted you to the C64 as a development platform? Was it as special as we like to think it was?
I was drawn to the C64 because it was a complete package. Considering the rudimentary platforms that existed around the same time, the C64 had everything; smooth scrolling capabilities, hardware sprites, tons of colours, the SID chip, two joystick ports and more memory than we would ever be able to use. It also had things that you couldn't do: removing and printing into the borders, scrolling hires screens and having more than eight hardware sprites on the screen at one time, to name but a few. This made it a challenge to defeat these hardware restrictions, which over time people managed in spades.

It was every bit as special as we all like to think it was. A testament to the place that it occupies in our hearts is that I am typing this document twenty eight years later. It holds a place for many of us that is hallowed. Never before or probably again will a home computer capture our hearts and imaginations in quite the same way. I still take time out to look at Lemon 64 and C64.COM and also check out the demo scene that still appears to be alive and well.

The C64 was so special to us and to me in particular that my business partner and I effectively took control of the C64 and Commodore trademarks and technologies in 2002, but more on that later.

What C64 games did you work on? Write a list with the titles and as much information you remember about each of them.
To be honest, there seem to have been dozens of games that I've been involved in at some point or another, so I will list a few of the memorable ones and explain why they were so memorable to me.

Hades Nebula: This game was produced for Nexus Software and really was a massive teeth cutting exercise for everyone involved. The team consisted of Mark Greenshields, Ned Langman and myself. There were other people in our office, but primarily we were the C64 team. The music and sound effects rested squarely with Ben Daglish.

Pre-Hades Nebula, we spent the bulk of our time playing around with the C64 and dreaming that one day we would become famous games creators. We worshipped Jeff Minter and everything that he did. We marvelled at the usual games such as Bruce Lee and Boulder Dash and anything that we managed to get our hands on from the USA. Out of our little group, only Mark Greenshields was writing games professionally with Split Personalities probably being the best known of his early titles. Having said that, maybe Bombo because of Ben's incredible music was Mark's best known early title.

Hades Nebula came to life as a series of flukes as these things often do. Ned Langman had created a set of bass relief graphics and said that he wanted to create a shooter in the style of the arcade game Star Force. Mark Greenshields had started playing around with scrolling the levels and I was designing attack patterns for the enemies. Once Sunday morning, I was walking near my home (this is where it get's really strange) and I recognised this guy standing on the street cleaning his car as Bill Delaney, the former boss of Beyond Software and the guy that had just set up the fledgling Nexus Software. I had seen him only the day before in Computer Trade Weekly, the UK's industry trade paper of the time, and I had no idea that he lived close to me, much less around the corner. I approached Bill and convinced him to fund our start up team, Paranoid Software. And so in January of 1987, we moved into managed offices within the same building as Nexus and work was finally underway on our first collaborative game!

It was an adventure and it was exciting, with all of us beavering away on our respective tasks. Therein however was the problem. Never having worked as a team before, we weren't really acting as one. With only three months to finish the game on the C64, Spectrum and Atari ST, we were really up against it. The final game reflects the fact that we ended up rushing the game out with Mark still coding the game right up until about half hour before we had to hand deliver it to the duplication house.

We constantly argued that if we were given one or two weeks more that we could have fine tuned the game and made it considerably more playable and eliminated the majority of the sprite flicker. Nexus were not to be swayed and released the game in what we all perceived was an unfinished state. When the game was re-released a couple of years later, Mark managed to tweak the speed a little and this instantly made the game infinitely more playable. The game was far from perfect, but I think we will always be proud of the fact that it exists in the first place. Also, Ben's music was a masterpiece!

Slug aka Ooie Gooie: This budget title is fond to me because of the circumstances and timescale under which it was created. The original name of the game was Ooie Gooie, named after the eponymous here of the children's rhyme: "Ooie Gooie was a mighty worm and a mighty worm was he, he sat upon the railway track, the train he did not see, Ooie Gooie!" The name was changed at the 11th hour by the producer Richard Naylor and we all thought that was a bad call. To Richard's credit, he did introduce the jeopardy of the timed bombs so his involvement wasn't all bad.

Mark Greenshields called me one fine day and asked me if I could design a one screen platformer for him that could be coded within a short time frame. I asked him when he needed the design and he generously gave me about six hours or so. I'm the first to admit that the game is basic, but I did only have about six hours! Mark then managed to create the game from scratch (not forgetting the efforts of David Whittaker and also Sam Mohabull) in about three weeks from the first byte going down to the game being mastered. The game actually featured over 100 hardware sprites on screen, both borders removed and cut scene animations (something that wasn't used in game of that time in this way). How the team managed to pull this together in such a minute time frame is still a mystery to me, but I was always attached to this title and remember it very fondly.

Speedball: Speedball was again one of those developments that just could not and would not happen in this day and age. I used to visit Mirrorsoft fairly regularly to see if there was any development work going for our little team, and one day I got talking to Mike Montgomery of the Bitmap Brothers. Mike told me that they wanted a C64 conversion of the Amiga Speedball but that it had to be out for that Christmas (1988 I believe), which gave the team approximately three months from first byte to mastering.

I told Mike that we could do it (we being Pantheon Software consisting of myself, Mike Green and Andrew 'Roo' Bowen). We were awarded the contract on the strength of the relationship that I had developed with Mike, despite the fact that the newly formed Pantheon hadn't published a game at this time and either Mike or Mirrorsoft had never seen anything that we had done. I also neglected to mention that Roo was a Z80 coder who believed that he would be proficient in 6502.

Roo embarked on what I still believe to be a miracle conversion, taking the Amiga code and translating it line for line into 6502. He worked around the clock, first getting all of the code running on the C64 and then tweaking it so that it would actually run at anything approaching a semi decent frame rate. Mike discovered that, whilst he could draw on a Spectrum, the C64 was outside of his area of expertise and the ever reliable Sam Mohabull was once again brought in to head up the art. It took ages to tweak the graphics, the screens, the menus etc., to get them all to fit, but eventually fit they did. We converted everything, right down to the Bitmap Brothers logo in what I believe was still one of the finest 16-bit to 8-bit conversions of all time! Roo excelled himself, creating a faithful conversion of the 16-bit original that also played really well.

As an aside to this, it always amuses me that back then I could turn up with a GMC and an invoice and as it was just before Christmas, Mirrorsoft raised our final payment whilst I waited in their office. I walked out of their office with our master payment in cash! I just can't see that happening anymore.

I have worked on or been involved in dozens of games in the past twenty something years, but these are three that are particularly close to my heart. None of them were perfect and with the exception of Speedball (flickering interrupt split on the scroll notwithstanding) could have done with a lot of testing and game play fixes, but each of them was created under impossible circumstances and in miniscule time frames. The industry of yesterday was far from easy, but it had a kind of wide eyes innocence that will never be repeated.

What companies did you work for, in-house and/or freelance, and what were your tasks?
Over the years I've worked for several companies. On a freelance or self-employed basis they were: Paranoid Software: Designer, Producer, Business Development. Pantheon Software: Producer, Designer, Business Development. SCi: Development Director and also the very first employee. Enigma Variations: Development Director. Phoenix Interactive Entertainment: CEO. Dark Technologies: COO, Business Development. THQ: European Development Director. Ubisoft: Development Director (UK). Ironstone Partners Ltd/Rockpool Games: Business Development Director. Eidos: Global Licensing Director, and Ideas Pad: Business Development Director.

What did a typical day in front of the computer look like?
During my association with the C64, my day in front of a computer varied hugely from the very early days to the more formal latter years. Initially, we would sit around discussing what we were trying to achieve, and then we would literally all sit in one room (usually a bedroom at first), with some of us designing graphics on a Koala Touch Pad, some of us using sprite editors and others using the cartridge based assembler Machine Lightening to try and get code running. I spent the majority of my time designing attack patterns on graph paper, writing documents (again on paper) telling the others how the front end of the game should work and how the menu screens should look, and finally on the telephone, trying to get publishers interested in what we were doing.

In later years, my day was spent in front of a PC, tapping away on a word processor, designing games and writing project reviews and analysis.

It's fair to say that the early days were the fun ones as they were full of exploration and excitement, without the pressures of milestones and deadlines. They were also the impoverished days, with not much money to go around our small team.

When you were assigned to a game, how much time did you usually have to finish your work?
In the early days of working on the C64 (or in fact any 8-bit machine), three months became the de facto timescale that we all seemed to work to. From the first pixel to the duplicating of the master tape or disk, we always seemed to have only about three months.

What tools/development kits/etc. did you use, and did you create any yourself to satisfy your needs?
Designing games meant that my exposure to the hardware and software of the time was very limited. I remember Mark Greenshields and Charles Lawrence extolling the virtues of Machine Lightening, as it allowed you to write both the high and low parts of the memory map. Ned Langman spent most of his time with the Koala Pad and also the rather excellent Anirog Sprite Machine sprite editor. I also recall that Ned used an archaic character editor to create maps. I think that Mark must have written an editor of sorts for Ned as there is no way that we could have created the maps for Hades Nebula with the editors that were available at the time.

Were there any games you worked on which never saw the light of day?
Sadly one of the biggest pitfalls of the video games (or in those days, computer games) industry was that many of the games that we worked on never saw the light of day. Two of which still exist in one form or another (thanks to Andreas Wallström and Frank Gasking) are Nuker and Duel. Nuker was based on nuclear snooker and Duel was a two player combat style game. Nuker was being written for Thalamus by Stuart Cook and Ned Langman of Paranoid Software. However, when Nuker was approaching it's alpha stage, Thalamus went into administration and the game was put on permanent hold. Duel was being written for Quicksilva by Finlay Munroe and Ned Langman of Paranoid Software. Due to a change in management, the game was completed to an 80 percent stage but never completed.

Titles that were worked on but have been lost in time were: Colony 7, Exodus, Enemy, Phantomas, Shao Lin's Road and Nigel Mansell's F1. These are just the C64 titles. Frustratingly, there have been many other titles over the years.

Which game are you most proud of, which was most fun to do, which became a real challenge, and which gave you headaches?
I think to one degree or another, I'm proud of everything that we worked on. They may not have been the biggest selling titles or the most critically acclaimed, but the very fact that we managed to get them written, manufactured, published and out of the door was in itself a testament to the people in our small team.

Hades Nebula was the first game that we managed to get a preview and then a review of. When the first screenshots appeared in the UK magazine C&VG, the excitement in our one room office was overwhelming. I also think that although the sprite multiplexer may not have been perfect, the fact that it was running at all was a minor miracle.

Slug (Ooie Gooie) was one of the first games ever to feature interstitial cut scenes, something almost unheard of outside of Japan at the time. It also had something like 120 on-screen sprites at any one time, with the borders removed as well. I always thought that given the game was designed, written and completed in under a month that this was a fairly impressive achievement, albeit it for a simple game.

I still maintain that the road routine written by Roo for the Nigel Mansell game was the best one ever seen on a C64. Sadly, I will never have the opportunity to prove this as no code exists anymore for this title.

I remember how Mark Greenshields wrote the game Split Personalities from beginning to end in something like twenty five days and the sense of achievement surrounding getting it completed and submitted for manufacture. This is definitely a tale for Mark to tell, especially surrounding the missing hours of his life, bought on by extended coding and no sleep.

Speedball will always hold up as one of the most complete and polished games that we created. I can honestly say that I still get a buzz from playing this game over twenty years later!

If you had the chance to go back to any of your past games, what would you add and/or remove?
Oh, for a time machine to whisk me back to 1985 or so. Once I had done the usual of convincing the younger version of myself to invest in Apple and Microsoft I would then go on to teach our team about the importance of deadlines, milestones, structure, game designs being outlined before we started work and of course project planning and schedules. There are so many things that I wish we had done differently, but then it wouldn't have the fun memories of everything that went wrong.

If there was one game that I would like to revisit, it would be Hades Nebula. The first thing I would have done is ensured that we started the game with the ship moving at double the speed that it did in the Nexus version of the game (the Encore budget re-release fixed this issue). I would then add at least a month to the development schedule to work out the sprite multiplexer and coding glitches. The multiplexer glitches would be fixed by adjusting the attack patterns to something approaching sensible (all my fault I have to say), and then asking Mark to fix the spurious collision detection. We knew then that a couple of weeks, in fact, even a day would have made a massive difference to the game but we were never allowed a day extra, which is a crying shame.

Were there any particular games that you would have liked to work on or converted from arcade?
We tried to license Nemesis when it first appeared in the arcades, but knew very little about licensing at the time. As a result, we crashed and burned in our attempt. We also wanted to license Salamander, but by this time, the licensing industry was in full swing and again we were unsuccessful. That said, Simon Pick did an excellent job with Nemesis (graphics were again Ned Langman I believe) and the Pete Baron/Bob Stevenson version of Salamander was astounding. In retrospect, I'm pleased that they wrote it instead of us!

I always wanted to convert a little known arcade platformer called Mr Wardner from Taito as I believed (and pretty much still do) that it would have been perfect for the C64. If any of the home brew coders fancy having a crack at this I would still suggest that it's a charming, fun and challenging game that could be awesome on the C64.

I would have liked to work on anything at the time that was created in the USA. Synapse, Sierra, Lucasfilm, Broderbund... All filled me with awe!

Did you get much chance to play games as well as create them? Any favourites?
The C64 has some truly amazing games! I think that there are hundreds that I could mention here, but in my list of most played and the ones that stand the test of time I would say:

Wizball: Original and just beautiful with a soundtrack that's amazing! International Karate: IK+ may have been better, but the original was astonishing for it's time. Obviously a clone of The Way of the Exploding Fist and Karate Champ, it just did it all slicker, smoother and faster. The Way of the Exploding Fist: My love of fighting games started here. Hyper Sports: Dave Collier's fantastic joystick waggler and not to mention the amazing Martin Galway loading music. The Last Ninja: System 3's Opus Magus! Slap Fight: A great arcade conversion. Delta: Need I say more? The game was awesome and so very playable. Rob's music was also utterly awesome. Impossible Mission: I may not have stayed forever, but I certainly stayed for a while, a very long while. Speedball: Biased I know, but I still love it! Winter Games: Hours of fun against my friends. Katakis: R-Type, but let's be honest, so much better. Armalyte: Just a beautiful game. Paradroid: Original and great fun. Nebulus: Stunning visuals, but rock hard game play! Bubble Bobble: A stunning arcade conversion that had sublime game play.

These games were all technical innovations of one sort or another, but from the early days of the C64 there were some games that survived purely on game play. Of those the biggest life stealers and consumers of time were:

Bruce Lee: One of my all time favourite games on any platform whatsoever. Boulder Dash: One of the greatest puzzlers of all time. Archon: Sublime in two player mode. Choplifter: Dan Gorlin's early 80's title was perfect and fairly astonishing for its time, especially using a trick that made it appear that there were no borders on the game screen. Wavy Navy: A little known but superlative shooter! Crossfire: Just for the groovy music. Oil's Well: Massively addictive take on a Pac-Man nibbler style game. Ancipital: My personal favourite of the Jeff Minter titles; the crazy gravity made this a great title. Blue Max: It always appeared to me that this was an arcade quality game but on a home computer. Fort Apocalypse: I was compelled to play this game as my friend Charles could complete it and I never could. Drol: I love the quirkiness of this game and also the awesome software sprite engine that powered it. It didn't matter that the multiple objects had colour clash and issues. The game was great! Lode Runner: Brilliant, just brilliant! Jumpman: So simple and yet so very good. Bounty Bob Strikes Back: An awesome platform game that for me finally made me stop playing Manic Miner. Raid on Bungeling Bay: Another awesome game that had a great difficulty curve. Trans Am: Ultimate may have been truly innovative on the Spectrum, but something about Trans Am's simplicity kept me playing for years on end.

I could go on and on for hours. There were so many games that I loved and far too many to mention here.

Were there any games which you felt were so appalling and bad that you wished you had worked on to do a better job?
Highlander from Ocean Software was a tragedy! I loved the film and I always thought that the game would be International Karate with swords. Sadly it was a travesty! I appreciate that the team were probably under a ridiculous deadline with about four weeks to get the game written and in a box, but still, this game should never have been released. I would love to have worked on a decent version of Highlander. Perhaps I could have designed it, Ned Langman created the graphics and Archer Maclean written it. Martin Galway would have had the music responsibility and I would have been happy!

Was there a particular programmer, artist and/or musician who influenced you and possibly gave inspiration to your own work, or did inspiration come from somewhere else?
The industry was awash with talent and again my influences are way too many to list here. However, some of the most prolific talent that at one time or another left me astonished for one reason or another were:

Jeff Minter: Just because he proved that one man could run a games company from Tadley (one man and his mum and dad), write games featuring furry creatures and telephone boxes, remain excruciatingly original at all times and also have a Star Wars sit down cabinet at home.

Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Ben Daglish: Just because of everything that they ever did! For each of them, I have to say that Monty on the Run and Thing on a Spring, Hyper Sports (Chariots of Fire) and Wizball, Hades Nebula and Trap were my favourites.

Stavros Fasoulas: For Delta.

Jon Hare: For Wizball.

Archer Maclean: For Dropzone, International Karate and IK+.

The Bitmap Brothers: For continually pushing the envelope and being down to earth geezers – apart from the odd boy band style photo shoot, involving leather, sunglasses and helicopters.

George Lucas: Because watching Star Wars made me realise that I may not be able to fight in the Rebel Alliance, but then again I didn't have to be a Civil Servant either. He also founded Lucas Arts.

Again, there are hundreds of people that I have admired, respected and hated in equal measure for their overwhelming talent that has both embarrassed me and inspired me.

Share some memories from the old days! It could for instance be something you remember a colleague did or said, about your time in the demo scene, about crackers stealing development disks, or about going to computer shows.
E3 today is nothing short of spectacular. Tens of millions of dollars are spent every year with the world's biggest games companies vying to wow the audience and prove that they are the biggest and the best that there is. It wasn't always like this.

The Commodore show used to take place at the Novotel Hotel in London's Hammersmith. A gang of us would go, queue outside and then rush to get in. The excitement of getting into the show, grabbing carrier bags, posters, t-shirts and hats, meeting our heroes (Jeff Minter would talk to anyone, bless him), and playing a new game for the first time was just unbelievable. Nothing can replace the heady days of the Commodore and PCW shows at Earl's Court. Games were talked about, coding prowess and hacking feats were bragged about, beers were drunk, burgers were eaten and generally a lot of bullshit was talked, but they were the greatest shows that I have ever been too. I've been to every E3 or CES for the past fifteen or so years, and even though they are astonishing when you consider how far our industry has come, they pale in comparison to the excitement of yesterday. Twenty five years ago, everything was new and anything was possible.

In 2002, my business partner Paul Gouge and I approached Tulip Computers in Holland to license the C64 names, logo, trademarks and technology for use in a range of different devices and also for emulation onto different platforms. We completed this deal, signed heads of terms, paid Tulip their contractual guarantees and were looking forward to a rebirth of the Commodore brand. We had from the outset planned a variety of Commodore 64 themed products. In no particular order these were: a direct-to-TV games console, a mobile phone featuring the C64 chipset, official emulators on a variety of platforms, merchandise and a myriad of other exciting projects and ventures. Sadly, it would appear that for a variety of reasons, the curse of Commodore returned to haunt us.

Firstly we erroneously believed that given today's massive leaps forward with technology that it would be a simple job to emulate the C64 on a cheap, off-the-shelf chipset. How wrong we were! It transpired that nothing could emulate a C64 in hardware and soon we were talking to chip design companies in Italy and the USA, each of whom were quoting multi-millions and also at least a year to develop a bespoke chipset. It was at this time that we came across the genius that is Jeri Ellsworth. Jeri had created a unit called the C1, that using off the shelf parts emulated the C64 and a host of other machines. I jumped on a plane to Portland on the US West Coast and commissioned Jeri to create the bespoke C64 chipset. Meeting Jeri was about the only piece of luck that befell us through our control of the Commodore brand, and it would seem that the curse of Commodore was never ending.

In no particular order, and without going into any detail that would get me into trouble for libel or slander, the following all took place:

Our backers withdrew their support and funding partway through the project. The scope of the project was much bigger than originally envisaged, although Jeri to her utter credit performed an outstanding job! Senior management at Tulip decided to renege on the signed agreement that we had in place with them, and in turn decided to sell our rights to Yeahronimo without a thought for how this would affect us or our existing deal.

The toy company who carried the C64 D2TV (Mammoth Toys) sold so many units that it became the fastest selling item on QVC during Thanksgiving of 2005. Sadly, Mammoth Toys decided to enter administration without ever paying us a penny of the money that they owed us for the almost 400,000 units that they sold. Senior management at Tulip decided that they would only allow us to release the D2TV unit if we renegotiated our deal terms with them on a basis that was infinitely worse for us.

The list goes on, with one disaster after another constantly plaguing our every effort to support the Commodore brand. Wherever we turned, we constantly ran into bad luck, bad timing or just plain crooks and dishonourable people. Whilst they remain nameless here, they know who they are and they are in turn responsible for the final nails in the coffin of our association with Commodore and the C64.

We can't ignore the fact that there were other machines apart from the C64. Share with us the software and/or hardware you created on other systems.
My first love was the Sinclair Spectrum and I still have a certain affinity to that platform. We created most of our 8-bit games on the Spectrum as well, although a significant graphics overhaul was often required for the machine due to its lack of hardware sprites and it's colour clashing problems. That said, I loved it!

The games that stood out for me on the Spectrum were: Light Cycles from PSS, Penetrator and The Hobbit from Melbourne House, Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy, The Alchemist, Atic Atac, everything by Ultimate, Stonkers, Zip Zap, Splatt and 3D Death Chase from Micromega. There were hundreds more, but these stick firmly in my mind.

What are you up to these days?
Today I am one of the co-founders of Ideas Pad and Playdemic. Ideas Pad makes games for the Nintendo platforms and also the iPhone and iPad. Playdemic have created the hit Facebook titles Crossword Buddies and Gourmet Ranch. I still love gaming as much today as I did when I started out in the games industry, all the way back to 1984.

Thank you for helping us preserve an important part of computer and gaming history! Do you have any last comments to leave a final impression on the audience? Feel free to send any greetings to anyone you know.
I've now been in the video game industry for almost thirty years. My love affair with games may have started earlier than my relationship with the C64, but my determination to be part of the fledgling games industry was entirely due to Commodore's outstanding 8-bit machine. My ambition to succeed was fostered by exposure to the superb efforts of the likes of Archer Maclean, John Twiddy, Jon Hare, Rob Hubbard, Tony Crowther, Jeff Minter, Ben Daglish and countless others. Almost thirty years on I still get a buzz when I see a new C64 demo that pushes the limits of the machine. And having recently seen Prince of Persia finally on the C64, I'm elated to see that the machine just will not die. I'm hoping that we get another thirty years at least from the greatest home computer of all time!

My thanks and respect go to everyone that I've met along the way and to those people who have inspired me to be better than I am.

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