Sinclair User, March 1985
WHEN YOU write a computer game
it always go wrong becos of THE BUGS as any fule kno. Peason
who is my grate frend wrote an uterly wet game in prep. but
Mr Reidy make up games for MICROSPHERE and his are all grate
fun with v. good graffics.
I desided to write about Mr Reidy for a projekt and espechally
about SKOOLDAZE. It is a wizz game about skool you
hav to hit the skool shields with gats and also the masters
it is fantastic. In the game the headmaster has a BAD REPORT
in his study and you must get it back. Evidently Mr Reidy
hav not heard of the Molesworth Bogus Report system for good
Here is the projekt.
Mr Reidy live in a house his name is David but he is 32 yrs.
He hav a wife called Helen. She is a teacher chiz chiz but
she only teach tiny boys and gurls. Mr Reidy write the programs
and Mrs Reidy she does the adverts and things in the offis.
Before he write games strange to relate Mr Reidy work with
big computers price £1000000002 they are called MAINFRAMES.
He sa, "I was a production systems manager working with
on-line dataframe - all the buzzword stuff."
All profeshunal programers talk like this e.g. on-line dataframe
which mean everybode on the same machine at once don't pull
the ribbon cable peason CRASH and yet again the skool BBC
xplodes and no more math. today cheers cheers.
Mr Reidy did not go to skool like us mere mortals but to
UNIVERSITY insted. He learn about NEUROPHYSIOLOGY and ZOOLOGY.
"Now you are going to ask me why someone like me is writing
computer programs. In fact nerves are all about communication.
From a practical viewpoint knowing the mathematics of information
theory did help with computers, and I have an active interest
in certain aspects of artificial intelligence, mainly graphical.
I am not talking about the Spectrum but big mainframes, the
sort of stuff where you give it nine points and it draws a
That is quite enuff about that.
How to start a company
Mr Reidy start his own company at the end of 1982. He write
for the ZX-81 but it is all weedy bizness programs. For the
Spektrum he write OMNICALC it is a spredsheet. Grabber
hav it, it add up numbers and does all his homework. Grabber
is head boy and a big buly.
"I was marketing software under the Microsphere name
but also doing a lot of contract work. Optimax, a linear
programming thing was sold by Hilderbay," sa Mr Reidy.
"Then we were begining to get games out. There was The
Train Game and Wheelie. Wheelie broke very
slowly, but it has been selling steadily now for over twelve
months, which is remarkable."
Microsphere is a small company but Mr Reidy work with another
man, Mr Warrington, his name is Keith. He does the GRAFFICS
for the games becos he is an artist. All artists are suposed
to be weedy unless they are French and kno about life and
gurls hem-hem. But Mr Warrington is not bad, to judge from
only reason for doing Skooldaze was I wanted to see
lists of all the dates of battles in English History appearing
in the hint pages of magazines," sa Mr Reidy.
He sa this because in the game you must find when Mr Creak
was born to open the safe with the dreaded report in it. He
is the History teacher and v. old and he gives clues to do
with battles. I hav doubts about this, dates are better left
in books where they belong. It is more fun firing the catapults
at the masters insted. Mr Reidy do not mind this when I tell
"A game should not depend on the desire to achieve a
single aim. If it is a simple maze there should be distractions
along the way. In Skooldaze you don't have to know
what to do to enjoy it."
Mrs Reidy sa a boy rang up to ask how to write on the blackbords,
which any fule kno. "I told him how to do it and then
I went into the teacher bit and told him he shouldn't be vriting
on blackboards anyway."
Everybode in the game are just like in my skool. "It
was designed for school stereotypes," sa Mr Reidy.
"Every school has a swot, and a bully. Every school
has one angelic looking little boy who is a real terror -
Boy Wander in the game. And there is always someone who you
wish you were as nasty as, but always gets away with it."
"Then there are the masters. The science master is always
a mad boffin. Every school has one trendy master Mr Withit
the Geography master. You can put your own names in, which
is very important. It makes the game more social, like a family
Aktualy you do not want to involve your family in Skooldaze
it is sordid enuff as it is without pater getting cross about
your high score and becos sombode has drunk all his best gin
How to be Topp at Games
"It takes four or five months to get an idea together
for a game," sa Mr Reidy. "You say, "I'm going
to write a game about a school" and then several months
later you can get on with it. You have to structure it properly
to being with."
Mr Reidy hav a grate brane e.g. he can write MACHINE CODE
straight down on paper, he does not even use an assembler
FLETE ST.: "How do you do the graffics etc.?"
MR REIDY (amazed by sagacity of question): "I need a
strong visual sense right at the beginning even if it does
not coincide with that of the graphics artist. Keith Warrington
will discuss it with me and do some roughs, so I know what
sort of animation is required."
Mr Warrington kno all about colours and how they look next
to each other, and also about what you do not see in the picture,
i.e. if you look at a picture you do not notice everything
there, and Mr Warrington kno xactly what you are not looking
at. Mr Reidy think this is v. important.
Some companies write wizz games about killing things with
germ guns and the PUKON but Microsphere do not write those
games. Mrs Reidy sa "I'm not thrilled by violent games.
We don't kill persons. Our garnes are usually to try and save
yourself from something or other."
The state of the nation
All programers like to sa wot they think about the SOFTWEAR
INDUSTRY. It is becos they want to be reassured about working
in it. Grabber sa the softwear industry is in trouble becos
his dad has 700000 shops selling games and canot afford to
give him more pocket money but Mr Reidy sa it is not true.
"We are not feeling a squeeze at all at the moment but
it does seem to have got into a seasonal market. That creates
cash-flow problems and nobody likes it. In general there will
probably be a shakeout this year."
What he means is when you shake a bottle of ginger beer it
xplodes because the mollicules get excited. So we can ekspect
to hear a lot of banging all over England in 1985.
"It was all little people at first," sa Mrs Reidy.
"And now the big ones seem to be moving in." Mr
Reidy agrees. "Quicksilva and Ocean were small once"
sa he. "But the bigger things get, the more hype there
is and there are less authentic original games. For us it
is very healthy because we have a very successful game. If
we were setting up at this stage I wouldn't bother.
"The usual silly things happened at Christmas. We had
to push quite hard to get into Smiths and Boots. They are
not dependent on your game, and they also sell to a slightly
different market to specialist shops. A lot of it is caused
by hyping products to the eyeballs. They ask "What backup
do you have?" and if you have a massive advertising campaign
they say "OK, we'll take it" ".
Well that is life and no more than you ekspect. If you think
it is all a bed of roses just ask Mr Grabber he will tell
yu a different story hem-hem.
All Work and no Play etc
All programers do wierd things when they are not programing
which they do nearly all the time as far as i can see. Mr
Reidy runs up and down all the rodes in N. London v. slowly,
it is called jogging and worse even than GYM which make the
body beatiful as if anyone could, look at peason his is beyond
redemption. He also pla the guitar, he pla the blues and Mrs
Reidy pla classical tunes. He like to pla games but only those
which exercise his grate brane e.g. Chess and Go and intelektual
He read science fiction books. "I love the cheap stuff,
like E.E. Doc Smith, but also Vonnegut and Van Vogt. I like
Dune but I've heard the film's terrible." Mrs Reidy sa
he is a bit of an old hippy but he sa it is not true.
A Look into the Future
Mr Reidy sa he will go on writing games. He hav two he is
thinking about already. Mrs Reidy made up the name of one
she sa it is a pun and so bad she will not tell me chiz chiz.
Also Mr Reidy is going to do some conversions, it is like
in Div. not as exciting as you think. "I want to get
into the Commodore market. The problem with conversions is
they are often done by people who do not like the game and
do not understand it." He sa Skooldaze may be
one so all the oiks with Commode 64s will hav it.
That is my projekt about Mr Reidy and Microsphere. Peason
help with the title graffics, that is why they are all wet
and weedy and uterly pathetic.