Your Sinclair, February 1986
"I s'pose there's not
much sex in Jet Set Willy. Maria's a bit on the stocky
side and as for Esmerelda, she zaps you when you, touch her."
Matthew Smith isn't the tidiest of programmers. Take the time
he went to a posh restaurant in the Sears Building in New
York. No corduroys, no cut-offs, no sweat-shirts, no sandals
-- that was the house rules. Bit of a shame really 'cos that
just about describes Matthew's wardrobe! Yep, he's a right
scruffbag on the outside, but on the inside -- well, that's
another matter. Beneath the crumpled clothes and the hippy
hair is a razor sharp wit and a phenomenal programming talent.
Well, what d'you expect from the man who created every (well,
nearly every) Speccy owner's favourite comic character --
that's right, the manic jetsetter himself, Miner Willy.
What are you working on at the moment?
A Spectrum. (Big grin!)
Let's rephrase that. Is it true that you're working on
Willy Meets The Taxman?
No comment. (Even bigger grin!) Oh, okay yes. I'm designing
it and doing the graphics and there's a team on the programming.
This time Willy's going to be taller than before -- he's grown
up since JSW.
Will it be another platforms and ladders job like Manic
Miner and JSW?
There are things that could be described as platforms but
they'll be hidden. And the baddies, about fifty of 'em, won't
be the stupid bouncing up and down type. They'll be intelligent
-- well, all except for the stupid ones that is!
Is this the end of Willy as we know him?
Yep. He won't even be brought back by public demand. The platform
game's finished -- JSW was the best ever. There's no
new programming ideas in this game -- well, it's not really
anything to do with me. They won't even program the game as
I've designed it -- must be 'cos I can't design properly!
The only way to get results is to program myself.
So, what are you working on at the moment?
No comment. (There's that grin again!) Well, I am working
on a project. It's not just a game -- more a way of life...
state of the art... fast loader... interactive... it's a mental
challenge controlled by the computer and... pheweee... Everything
but the game's called Limbo - in fact, everything's in Limbo.
And when you stop playing, you go into Limbo too! It's also
an expandable game so don't think you'll get away with just
buying the one tape. And it'll take advantage of different
Spectrum memory sizes. It'll work on a normal Spectrum but
it'll use the extra memory of a 128K if you've got one.
Have you got one?
Yeah... er, no! Sorry Sinclair! I saw one on my holidays in
Italy... er, Spain.
What's your favourite new game?
The only decent game recently is Fairlight.
Do you mind people taking the mickey out of JSW?
No, I take the piss myself. That's what he's there for --
he's a bit like Charlie Chaplin.
Isn't JSW a bit like a waking nightmare?
A woken-up too early nightmare! Most of the game was planned
under the influence of alcohol and written under the influence
of other noxious substances.
D'you think there's anything deeply psychologically disturbing
about your games. All those Willies and toilets?
No. But you'd better ask my analyst. I s'pose there's not
much sex in JSW. Maria's a bit on the stocky side and
as for Esmerelda, she just zaps you when you go to touch her.
Originally you were going to have to take her to bed -- and
then she'd kill you. But I dropped that for deep psychological
D'you still live at home?
(An eavesdropper: I thought everyone lived at home.)
Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home!
Have you got any fluff in your navel?
No... oh, hang on, yes there is some.
What colour is it?
How old are you now?
Nineteen. No longer the boy wonder, eh? Not over the hill
Are you a trainspotter?
Not since I lost my paintbrush.