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.

Filtering by Category: Confidential Magazine

Confidential Magazine #10 April/May 1990

In this month's issue...

The subject on the editor's mind was, perhaps unexpectedly for an adventure gaming mag, taxation as he had a good rant about how much money from each game the club sold went to the HMRC.

  • Games making the news this month included several horror games ("Elvira", "Demon's Tomb - The Awakening", "Mystery of the Mummy"), the next title from The Bitmaps in the form of "Cadaver", and some new games from Origin.
  • Official Secrets had managed to snaffle a load of copies of Infocom's back catalogue which was a good excuse to take an indepth look at the legendary developer.
  • A round up of recent war/strategy games.
  • The second installment in a beginner's guide to adventure gaming.
  • "Ultima VI" was about to be released and there was a look back at the previous games in the series.
  • In addition to that, an interview with Lord British.
  • With doubts being cast on the continuing commercial viability of the adventure game market, there was a round up of active adventure focussed software houses.
  • This month's featured Play By Mail was "Arcania" from Marlin Games.

Confidential Magazine #9 February/March 1990

In this month's editorial, The Boss Upstairs reflected on the success of the Special Reserve and Official Secrets clubs. The team had grown to 30 to cope with the increased orders, with some 200 being processed every day. The future looked bright.

Elsewhere in the mag:

  • A lengthy interview with Anita Sinclair of Magnetic Scrolls.
  • The newest Special Reserve/Official Secrets team members were introduced.
  • A back to basics primer on how to tackle adventure games.
  • A look at "the Manhole" and "Cosmic Osmo", two games developed using Apple's HyperCard by Robyn and Rand Miller (who would go on to create a little game called "Myst" ).
  • An interview with Linda Wright.
  • Keith Campbell took us on a jaunt through a decade of adventure games.
  • A review of "Drakkhen".
  • A guide to creating better role playing characters.
  • An interview with Amiga Action's adventure columnist, The Grue.
  • An interview with Brian Kerslake, boss of adventure publisher Topologika that focussed on the PC and Amstrad markets.

Confidential Magazine #8 December '88/January '89

As we bid goodbye to the 80s, the Editor pondered what lay ahead in the coming decade. After the world had lived in fear of nuclear annihalation for so many years, the arrival of the likes of Gorbachev meant we could now focus on the "prospect of irreversible doom" thanks to global warming. Technology would, of course, play a significant role in what was to come: "Our ability to manipulate information and communicate the results to the whole World within seconds, could lead us into chaos."

Overall, a cheerful way to open this issue.

As for the rest of the mag, it featured:

  • A report from the PC Show at London's Olympia.
  • An interview with the team behind the Cthulu inspired adventure, "The Hound Of Shadow" from Electronic Arts.
  • With the bombshell news reported in a previous issue that "Scapeghost" would be the last adventure game from genre legends Level 9, Confidential wanted to find out what was behind the decision, and what to expect next. There were a raft of reasons, but declining sales was - unsurprisingly - the primary, and they were tight lipped about their plans aside from saying "Contractual secrecy prevents me saying much about Level 9's future games, except that they are 16-bit, with state-of-the-art animated graphics."
  • A guide to the Kingdom of Kerovnia, the setting for the games of Magnetic Scrolls.
  • A look at to the upcoming titles from Sierra: "Hero's Quest", "The Colonel's Bequest", "Codename: Ice Man", "Leisure Suit Larry 3" and "Sorcerian" (unreleaased).
  • Game agent Jacqui Lyons continued her reporting from behind the iron curtain.
  • This month's Play By Mail game was "Pop Star" from Ideal Games.
  • An interview with adventure game reviewer/journo Keith Campbell.
  • A preview of Novalogic's naval sim "Wolfpack".
  • The Adventure '89 convention saw twenty multi-user games represented.
  • The third part of "Writing Your Own Adventures".
  • A guide on running your own LARP events.

Confidential Magazine #7 October/November 1989

While they didn't reveal actual subscription figures, the situation sounded a bit grim - the membership fee was to increase and there was a plea for readers to spread the word.

Meanwhile the helpline seemed to have switched to be a largely answering machine based service, and there was a request for solutions to a bunch of big recent adventures.

In this issue:

  • The news included details of several upcoming adventures from Electronic Arts and Gary Gygax consulting for Infogrames on "Drakkhen".
  • A look at "Talespin", a hypercard type package that allowed people to combine images and text into a series of pages connected via links.
  • Details of the "Rainbow Warrior" game that featured arcade sequences depicting Greenpeace campaigns.
  • Game industry agent Jacqui Lyons filed a report of a trip to the Soviet Union to meet with developers.
  • A preview of "Elvira".
  • A profile of strategy/role playing specialists SSI.
  • An inteview with Horrorsoft's Mike Woodroffe.
  • Play By Mail game "Gothick".
  • Part 2 of the "Writing Your Own Adventures" series.
  • Advice on how to go about running your own LARP events.
  • This month's story was "Future's End" by Simon Scarrow.