Twenty five years ago I wrote a computer game for the ZX Spectrum called R-Type , a home computer port of an arcade game which a lot of people then, and since, seemed to like. Jump forward to a couple of years ago (ouch, sorry) and I found myself starting to write down what I could remember about those early game years - not through any need to see my name in print but just because I thought it best to record for myself what I could while I could. I did think that if I was lucky I'd remember a few pages worth of material and come up with an interesting essay I could read back to myself when I'm an OAP (only eleven years away now!) but the more I started to think about things the more the details came back to me and the more and more pages I started to fill. Since I've always wanted to write a book and Rule Number One is "write about what you know" I decided to go for it and do things properly and write down every part of the process of creating one of those early computer games I could remember. IT'S BEHIND YOU is the result.
Since R-Type was only the second published game that I had written I decided to flesh things out a bit (alright, pad things out a bit) by writing about how I got to that stage so the book itself is in three parts: a pre-history of some of my early attempts at computer game\programming, a short section on my first published game (a conversion of the Bally Midway arcade game Rampage) and R-Type itself. This last section is itself split into two parts: everything I could remember about about the writing of the game from start to finish and what happened to it, and me, after it was published.
I don't believe anyone who was actually there has ever documented something like this before, and let's be honest it's really quite a niche subject with a limited appeal so I have no illusions that what I've written will only really be of interest to those who share a passion for old computer games (or 'retrocomputing' to give it its fashionable title.) Of course it does help to have an inkling of what I'm talking about when I mention the games, companies, magazines, people etc. who were part of the UK games industry at that time but I'm guessing that if you're thinking of downloading and reading this then you already have some idea of what it's all about.
Lastly I hope I've done my best to try and make this as readable and non-technical as I can because behind the game is what I think is one heck of a story that I hope you'll find both interesting and illuminating.
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