About the Magnetic Scrolls Memorial

The Magnetic Scrolls Memorial is online since the spring of 1997. I cannot remember the exact date of the launch however the backups suggest something like late March or the first days of April. The overall size of the MSM at the beginning was around 5 MB (now the MSM has more than 250 MB). Today it might be difficult to believe, but around 1997 it was rather hard to find 5 MB of reliable and affordable / free web space and the access to the internet was quite expensive (telephone line, limited capabilities of analog modems). So the pages moved their home several times. Lucky as I was there were always helpful and friendly people who offered web space for the pages, e.g. Matej Pokorn and Helena Kenda from jump.org, hope they are fine. Finally, things got much easier when if-legends.org started in 2000, providing the MSM - among other pages - with a constant home. Below I try to answer some questions on the background, the status and the perspective of the Magnetic Scrolls Memorial.

How am I affiliated with Magnetic Scrolls? Why these pages?

The simple answer is: Not at all. I have never been affiliated with Magnetic Scrolls, Rainbird or any of their distributors. In 1985 I had just bought my first own computer - an Atari 520 STM (after using my dad's Apple IIe before). Shortly afterwards Magnetic Scrolls published The Pawn for the ST and it was one of the very first games I bought for "my machine". From the very beginning I was absolutely stunned by the game (and later even more by Guild of Thieves). It is hard to tell in retrospect but I guess that they had much influence in my decision to learn programming in C and Assembler, and to study computer science after school. Sure, looking at the games today this might be hard to understand. That time from my perspective as a 14 year old I was literally "talking to the machine". To shorten it: I tried a lot of games over the years, but have never been as paralyzed again as with the Magnetic Scrolls titles (although of course there have been other games I really liked a lot like Trinity and Planetfall). Over time I learned that many people had fond memories of the games and I guessed there should be a place to preserve them. Hence the pages...

How can I offer all the games material here if I am not affiliated with Magnetic Scrolls?

Again the simple answer is: I can't. At least not when speaking in legal terms. The rights on the games are held by Magnetic Scrolls Ltd, which belongs to Anita Sinclair and Ken Gordon. Since Anita and Ken havn't made the games freely available, it is technically illegal to play Magnetic Scrolls games if you do not own an original package. The games are long out of print and have been unavailable for years, so practically there are few options left to play the games in a legitimate way.

Many of the computers that were sold in the 80's are not working anymore. The games would disappear sooner or later. Even the fantastic Magnetic interpreter written by Niclas Karlsson, which makes the games playable on modern machines and operating systems can not help if you do not have the needed hardware anymore to transfer your original. To make it worse, the interpreter does not support all game versions, i.e. it does not support the 68000 native versions of the games (Amiga, Atari ST). Presumably a notable number of copies had been sold for these machines, but unless you still have a working Amiga or Atari ST, you are lost (yes, I am one of the "unlucky" guys, since I bought all my Magnetic Scrolls originals for the ST). So after evaluating that the games are neither sold directly nor are made available as licensed software anymore, I decided to put up at least enough material to play the games now and in the foreseeable future. You will not find disk images of the original games here, only the reduced interpreter files. Although this might be taken as a subtleness and the disk images can be downloaded from several sites with great acceptance that are dedicated to emulation like the World of Spectrum or the NVG Amstrad archive.

The intent of this site is not to cause any damage. Other than for example with the Infocom titles I didn't find any clue that the Magnetic Scrolls games are still generating revenues somehow and these pages do not generate any revenues, either (no ads, no fees). Anita and Ken both know these pages and didn't object to the contents. So I hope the site is in their spirits and I assume that making the game materials available on the Memorial pages is tolerated. This is of course no legal entitlement and if they ever decide that something should be removed from the site, I will gladly comply. Regardless of any abandonware discussion, there is no doubt that this is their right. Legally and morally!

How are you affected?

You should be aware that the site holds many documents and files that are copyrighted by Magnetic Scrolls Ltd and are made available here without an official or legally binding permission. So technically speaking you cannot access most parts of this site legally. Some people advised to buy an orginal game package on Ebay or alike to be on the safe side, however when speaking in strictly legal terms, this most probably is not sufficient, either. That you own a package for a platform, doesn't assign you automatic rights to use the same product on any other platforms (i.e. normally that is not the case and you have to obtain a new copy). Considering the circumstances you would need a PC version or any version that can be run with an emulator directly or a package from which you can read the disks and extract the data. Both the required hardware and the copy protections that came with some of the releases, might cause unresolvable problems.