The beginning...

My parents tell a tale of the child who said he would be a millionaire by the time he was 18 if they bought him a computer so he could write video games. Well I got the computer but the million never happened. I spent too many hours playing the games that others had written, sometimes typing in thousands of hex digits from the computer magazines of the 1980s, hoping that I didn't mistype a single one. I had learned BASIC at school and wrote small games for my own enjoyment. My dad typed one of them up on a typewriter at work so that I could send it into a magazine - they didn't want it. I taught myself machine code, hand assembling the code until I had enough money to buy an assembler. The assembler was written in basic and was full of bugs. I fixed them all, speeded up the program and sent it back to the company that made it - they didn't even say thank you. By now we had a printer, a tiny Radio Shack plotter that printed on 3 inch wide rolls of shiny toilet paper. The games had got longer and took a long time to print but I sent them in to the magazines anyway - they still didn't want them. The final insult was printing a game almost identical to mine the month after my rejection. I had no clue about magazine lead times and some of the code looked awfully similar to mine so that was the last time I tried to make any money from a video game. I retired aged 17 having never seen my name in print with a grand profit of zero. Sorry mum and dad.

 

Published 26 June 2005 02:07 AM by zman
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