BlasterMax

BlasterMax
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Bio

I first started playing games in the early 80's on arcade machines in local shops. The first one I ever played was Galaxian in a lovely table style cabinet in the old hairdressers on my local high street.

My first memory of playing games at home comes in the form of a very basic games console that had around 10 different variations of Pong built into it under the names of various sports like tennis, football and basketball. It wasn't actually very good, and I think we only had it for a very short time. But I used to play it with the family.

My first proper computer was a Sinclair ZX81. I got it for Christmas in 1982, and I thought it was great. I only had two games for it, Mazogs and Space Invaders, but that didn't matter as I used to enjoy typing in listings from magazines and books to get games to play. It was always interesting because you didn't know exactly what you would get. Some games were good, other games were bad, and some just simply didn't work at all. This was the machine on which I first learned to program in BASIC.

My ZX81 met a rather untimely demise when I accidentally dropped it down the stairs. I was moving it from my bedroom to the living room, and I was carrying my chair down the stairs with the ZX81 resting on the seat, when it slipped off. In my defence I was only 8 years old. Needless to say, my parents weren't impressed. However, they did buy me an Atari 2600 in 1984.

I liked the 2600. But I couldn't program on it. It also had the problem of not being able to get many games for it. There were not that many around at this time. The games industry had crashed in North America in 1983, and this was having some knock-on effect in the UK as there didn't seem to be an awful lot of shops stocking the games. At least not in Manchester. Most of the games I played I borrowed from friends or my cousin, and my favourite game was Star Raiders. I also liked Joust and River Raid. I actually don't know what became of the Atari 2600. I think I may have simply got bored with playing it due to not having access to many games, so it got abandoned.

My next machine was a return to computing with the amazing Commodore 64. I loved this machine, and I'm not afraid to admit that I miss it even today. My dad bought it for me for my 13th birthday from a friend of his at work. I can remember him going out one night, telling my mum and me that he'd be back soon, and when he returned he had a huge cardboard box and a black bag. In the black bag was a boxed C64 and in the box was over 200 games. It was also at this point that my parents started letting me go to town on my own and I found a games shop called Microbyte. This shop was like an Aladdin's cave of video games. I got some pocket money every weekend and I spent hours in there every Saturday, browsing games and getting to know the staff. I even met a few developers from Ocean Software in there. I kept my C64 until I was 18 and sold it, along with nearly 400 games, to buy a Sega Mega Drive.

I liked the Mega Drive, but it had the same problem as the Atari 2600. It wasn't a computer. I kept it for about a year, and loved Sonic, Road Rash, Desert Strike, Toejam and Earl and Ecco the Dolphin, but I soon got bored and traded it in to buy an Amiga.

I was kinda late getting to the Amiga party. It was 1993 by the time I got it, and Commodore folded in 1994. This didn't mean I didn't have a blast with the machine at the time, though, and I played it to death. Quite literally actually. I ended up owning 4 different Amiga's, but two of them died. The first one was an A500+ that developed the green screen problem. The second used to burn out it's floppy drive regularly and it would need replacing. The 3rd was an Amiga 600 (enough said i think). And the last one was an old A500 that I kept until I sold it to buy a PC.

My first PC was a second hand 100Mhz IBM compatible with 16MB RAM and a 1MB SVGA graphics card (if I remember correctly). I played quite a lot of games on it, my favourites being Grand Prix 2 and Star Trek TNG: Final Unity. But I didn't keep it very long and traded it back in for another Amiga before finally settling for a Sony Playstation.

Around this time I was working in a second hand shop and the owner was a guy called Mike. He was quite big into computers and consoles, so he would often sell games, consoles and computers in the shop. He was also friends with Phil Allsopp from Digital Image Design. I bought many computers and consoles from Mike, usually selling them back to him once I'd had my fun. These machines included an Atari Jaguar, ZX Spectrum, another C64, Playstation 1 & 2, Super Nintendo, Panasonic 3do, various Game Boys, and an Amiga A1200 that I still own. In fact, at one point or another, I've probably owned or played most of the major games consoles and computers released in the UK (and some not) just through the access I had to them through my friends shop.

I have always been interested in making my own games, and first programmed them between 1982 and 1994, starting on the ZX81, C64 and ending with the Amiga. I was never published, most of my games were basically given away, and I quit making games in 1994 to concentrate on other things. However, in 2014, I decided to try my hand and making games again and have been tinkering around here and there on various projects.

The games I make are done in a retro style reminiscent of the types of things I would have played when I was a kid. I've always preferred games that have good playability over fancy graphics, and I'm trying to bring an emphasis on fun gameplay to the things I create. As well as my own games I have worked on other projects over the last few years, including making some Amiga inspired graphics for Clive Townsend's Saboteur re-release.