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 #1 Sept/Oct 1988

Back in 1987 I ordered a copy of the classic adventure "Guild of Thieves" along with my Amiga 500. Included in the game's package was a copy of "What Burglar?" magazine, and an advert for a mysterious "Confidential" club. Well, that's how I remember it - looking through the box now I don't see such an advert in there, though there is an offer to write in to Magnetic Scrolls to receive some swag. Or maybe there was a card/form that I filled out and posted. At any rate, I joined. This turned out to be the Special Reserve mail order club founded by Tony Rainbird, and "Confidential" was its magazine.

The mag was actually really good - always full of interesting articles, with a focus on adventure games. I'm pretty sure I still have every copy, so over the coming weeks I hope to scan them all in.

The PDF of the first issue can be downloaded here.


  • Psychobable - Adventure gaming news roundup, and details of the exclusive Magnetic Scrolls game that was coming with Issue 2: "Myth".
  • Something Very Fishy - Details of the next Magnetic Scrolls game, "Fish!".
  • A Mega-Game in the Making - A preview of "The Kristal". Was it worthy of all the hype?
  • A Spy in the Camp - Interview with Level 9.
  • Non Player Characters - Alive or Dead - Should NPCs be doing more to justify their existence?
  • Whither Adventuring? - A look at Role Playing games.
  • Into the Labyrinthe - Graeme Kidd goes LARPing.
  • It Comes in the Mail - A round up of Play By Mail games.
  • All About Infocom - Interview with Dave Lebling.
  • A Wordsmith Pinned Down - Interview with Michael Baywater.
  • Small Companies, Big Software - A round up of small independent mail order software companies producing quality adventures, and some advice for budding adventure creators.
  • Uncle Mel's Pwoblem Corner - Mel Croucher answers readers questions (well, they may not have been real correspondents).