PeeknPoke History...how it all began:
its all a haze now but to get back to the real history of PeeknPoke
you have to look around 1988 when a few school kids got there gaming
skill together and took their own Commodore 64's and Spectrums into the
School fare to make some money for the school funds. The room was
full of computers including an age old PC playing some dodgy tank game.
It was fun to see all these machines together and the Commodore folks
trying the latest Spectrum titles and the C64 guys showing off the
loading tune to Sanxion. That sort of thing.
Anyway this sparked a friendship across the
keyboards and thus sparked the fanzine, Peek and Poke. Written on
a ageold typewriter that had seen better days and some bad photocopied
pictures, Peek was released and sold very few copies and was missing
half the reviews that should have been in due to some photocopying
incident and some rouges going at it with a pen (fact: Missing review
was Outrun, and that was given a 9 overall, well we were kids)
Years passed, and Peek and Poke was forgotten
until one day I got into emulation in 1997. I still played my c64
on the odd weekend (anything for a game of Commando) and was still into
the gaming scene with great magazine, Commodore scene available
by post only but when I got onto the net and someone told me about
MAME and how you could play arcade games of old AT HOME! well that
was me sold down the merry lane some would later call retro gamer
In 2000, I wanted to try my hand at some writing
about games as being a massive gaming fan and quite a bit of a
researcher. After submitting a review of the Commodore 64 game,
Rambo to Lemon 64 and not getting it published, this gave me the
push to do my own stuff, in my own style. Initially calling my new
website The Arcade room I thought that a more quirky name would
fit better and called upon that age old fanzine years before. This
time calling it Lee's PeeknPoke (so the other guys could not
claim anything to the name through lawyers:)
PeeknPoke found its first home at Easyspace,
a free hosting website that gave me only 30meg to play with. The
site started to review any retro game going, which was hard as you tried
to please all stations of the gaming community and I remember emails
along the line of "Why are you reviewing another Spectrum game again?"
sort of thing. After a while the website made some modest hits (the
largest ever when I was allowed to host the new PC versions of Manic
Minor and Jet Set Willy)
So I had to choose which machines I really wanted
to write about and thats what I am still covering now.
PeeknPoke in the early days did have some quirky moments.
Anyone remember the Geeky Atari kids in the download of the week
section? The terrible mini reviews? The Mortal Kombat could
not be arsed review? Kangaroo court?? Fun days indeed.
The site moved to the mighty Emucamp. The
legendary Emucamp was a fan fave of mine from the early
days of emulation and it was great to be a part of them (in fact, check
out the hosted sites section of the site ,it looks like I still am!). It
was also my first go at news posting, something that most emulation
sites have. I was there for a year until it seemed the old
Emucamp lost its way and so did PnP (as it became to be known).
While PeeknPoke was being developed, I
created a fun site called funny enough, Lee's Big Night in which
although liked by quite a few people with its Monty Python type humor it
failed on the hits and was never really completed. At this time I
was also writing for Kinox which kept me abreast of the gaming
world. As with all websites PeeknPoke went into a slump of
not being updated (but I never left it for more than a week).
Still PeeknPoke need a boost and it did in
getting its hands on new releases such as Grid Runner PC and even
a line of its own developed games like Yar's revenge PC and the
popular Combat from sometime reviewer and feature writer Tommy
Pereira. Even Jeff Minter told me it was okay for
PeeknPoke to host all his old gamefiles, to a shocked surrounding
crowd at Back in time 2002. I also got my hands dirty in the
tribute to Zzap!64 Issue 107 and became part of the reviewing
team and did some of the other features.
PnP moved to Emulators Unlimited in 2002
which was a nice move (but sad to see the back of Emucamp) PnP
was then redesigned into its best yet by the Editor of
Gamestyle.net. a site which I became retro-editor the year before.
Being RE at another gamesite was great as I could also get my hands on
other systems games plus the new consoles (I reviewed a few Dreamcast
games) but as with everything before left late last year to improve
The site then introduced three live in reviewers,
Paul Morrison, Lee Theasby and Chris Johnson who created an unique
internet reviewing style akin to Zzap! after the mountain of
games we all played together (well...across the world) I opened the door
and set them free. Pauls in the middle of setting up his own retro
site. A plus there then.
So we get up to date with a brand new HTML look
(Thanks to me old mate Pete for that one!) and now PeeknPoke goes
digital mpeg style and I hope its a move in the right direction. Stay
here at PnP for the latest retro stuff that will have you crying
into your beer...really!