Ziggurat

Occasional ramblings on games, generally retro related

​When my parents brought home a ZX81 one day (complete with wobbly 16K RAM pack, of course) I discovered the joy of programming. But it wasn't until I got my hands on a ZX Spectrum that my obsession with games really began, which continued with the C64, Amiga, right through to this day. The 80s and early 90s were an amazing time for games, not just for the games themselves but for the fascinating people behind them - it was truly a time of pioneers and creativity.

I myself have spent the last (almost) 20 years working in the games industry on all manner of platforms, most recently iOS. Ziggurat Development Ltd is my company here in NZ that provides contract programming services.

Confidential Magazine #4 April/May 1989

This issue came hot on the heels of British Telecom's decision to bail out of the games industry. They were looking to sell off the Rainbird, Firebird and Silverbird labels as one lot, while winding Telecomsoft down. The official reason given was that games were no longer in line with the goals of BT, and the asking price was rumoured to be around £5 million. The editorial questioned the motives, highlighting a series of recent misteps resulting in significant financial losses, which included the purchase of Beyond Software (closed down soon after due to poor performance), and the US based Firebird Licensees Inc which lasted less than a year.

Contents:

  • A look at the state of computer chess games and whether they were worthy opponents.
  • Mini (tongue in cheek) profiles of the Confidential team.
  • A visit to French game studio Lankhor.
  • A space trading game face off: Elite vs Federation of Free Traders. Conclusion? FOFT had a long way to go...
  • Keith Campbell delved into the adventure game development process.
  • An introduction to Play By Mail gaming.
  • Diverging somewhat from the adventure theme, Jeff Minter was interviewed.
  • The results of the Golden Chalice Awards for 1989, which was held by the Adventurer's Club.
  • A look at free BBS MUD game "MirrorWorld".
  • A guide to mapping adventure games.
  • A visit to "The Spirit of Adventure" LARP group.
  • Michael Bywater lamented on the prospect that adventure games had now entered an evolutionary period with no revolutions anywhere on the horizon.