Matthew Smith (Programmer)
The world was his oyster or at least in the Spectrum world. Seemingly
coming out of nowhere with Styx (1983) for the Spectrum 16k but
this was just a taster to what was to come.
"Trouble was, I ran out of memory halfway through. It was only a
16K Spectrum. That's why there are lots of empty gaps in the game"
You could class his next game, Manic Miner (1983) as an original
or THE original platform game but the Americans got there just before
with Miner 2049er on various systems. This was the groundwork for
Manic and adding some very British humor into the blend plus some
real good design work made the game the biggest title that year.
"I did 16 screens, and then worked out a way of adding another
four. It was finished in August 1983. The game used core code routines
for most of the basic action, but special routines were introduced for
particular event on each screen."
Matt left Bug-byte, the publisher of the last set of games and
created Software Projects based in Liverpool in the UK and all
eyes were looking at Mat to produce a follow up smash to MM. The result?
The massive Jet Set Willy (1984). All gamers must have
played this game in their time and enjoyed the open spaced rooms
containing just about the weirdest objects yet to appear in Computer
"The animated toilet seats were my little brother's idea. He
wanted toilet seats in the game."
Software Projects seemed
unstoppable with lots of good releases for the Spectrum and fellow
machines. But the magic stopped when Matt suddenly stop programming
halfway through the third game of Miner Willy, the unreal sounding
Miner Willy meets the Taxman. Rumours of ill health, drug
taking (although seeing the result of the cash in Jet Set Willy II -
The final frontier released as a filler until the next game, this
can be viable) and booze filled days were floated about and it seemed
the end of Miner Willy. Funny how no one carried on with another game
with everyone's fav Miner.
don't do a lot. Computing was my only hobby but I don't do that any
more. I like partying, getting drunk and falling over a lot."
indeed leave the gaming behind only recently appearing on a Channel 4
show in the UK called Thumb Candy and was seen playing his
Manic Miner game complete with rubber Spectrum keyboard. He's still
mad and put some of the legendary stories straight (No, he never gutted
fish for a living) and keeps his past behind him only popping up
sometimes to give interviews.
Manic Miner (Spectrum)