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 Tag: January

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 #2 Dec 1988/Jan 1989

Postal strikes had caused delays to the first issue, and - whether it was due to this or some other reason - November came and went without the second issue. Going forward they would be sticking to the every-other-month schedule.


  • Interview with Philippe Ulrich, head of the EXXOS group at French software house ERE Informatique which had recently released the rather original and intriguing "Captain Blood".
  • A somewhat tongue in cheek guide to playing adventure games.
  • A gathering of five of the top adventure gaming columnists at the PC Show. The five were: Nick Walkind, Keith Campbell (C&VG, Commodore User), Mike Gerrard (Your Sinclair), Steve Cooke (ACE), Nik Wilde (Newsfield) and Kati Hamza (Zzap and Crash).
  • A look at MUD, including an exerpts from an interview with creator Richard Bartle.
  • Keith Campbell examined the evolution of puzzles in adventure games.
  • Interview with Silicon Software, developers of "Legend of the Sword".
  • An "interview" with Level 9 chatacter Ingrid.
  • An in depth piece on the new Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game, "Pool of Radiance".
  • A visit to play-by-mail specialists, KJC Games.
  • The reveal of the new Magnetic Scrolls game, "Myth",that would be exclusively for club members.
  • A short story by Jane Rowe.
  • A visit to The Crazy Dwarf in the Sussex Downs, one of the latest LARP groups to spring up.
  • Michael Baywater pondered puzzles in games and life.