- The Pawn
- The Guild Of Thieves
- The Magnetic Scrolls
Collection Vol. One
- The Legacy - Realm
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About The Website
(Micro)Chips - an Interview with Peter Kemp (page
working on 'Fish!', did you actually work at the Magnetic Scrolls
offices or did you also do stuff from home?
Whilst we were putting Fish! together I was living in Liverpool,
which is some 300 kilometres from London, so visits to Chapel
Court were few and far between. (I didn't have a driving licence,
so I was reliant on public transport.) A small point of clarification,
by the way. I can't speak for the others but I was never formally
employed by Magnetic Scrolls. I was, at all times, a freelance
agent doing the work in my spare time. (I already had a full-time
job as a civil servant and I liked the idea of a regular paycheck!)
from those visits to Chapel Court - how was the working atmosphere
at the Magnetic Scrolls offices? Did you have the feeling that
it was a 'fun' place to work at?
In the early days (before Chapel Court, but I can't remember
the address), the programmers were working in tiny rooms, hunched
over terminals, all hours of the day and night. (I think all
programmers go through an 'addiction' phase.) By the time they'd
moved to Chapel Court, it's my impression the business had become
much more mature. My gut feel is that people were working rather
more conventional hours - not because they were any less committed
to the product, but because the 'addictive' phase can't last
forever without burning out: a more measured approach becomes
The University of Hydropolis from 'Fish!' (Commodore Amiga)
security very tight on the project?
I can't remember there being any formal security or NDAs
The work I did in Liverpool was on a printout of the database.
When I'd finished with a particular edition, I'd throw it away
- probably using the paper shredder at work. (Usually, that
is. I suppose this isn't the time to tell you that I did keep
one copy of the 'Fish!' database - I threw it out about six
months ago, when tidying up some storage space...)
writing the game, did Anita and Ken have a watchful eye over
what you guys were doing or were you basically allowed to do
whatever you wanted?
Probably the latter. Certainly I have no recollection of
being steered in 'this' direction rather than 'that' direction.
'Fish!' have a deadline or was it the 'when it's done' approach?
Probably the former, but it doubtless slipped towards the
you pleased with the end result and, looking back, would you
do it again?
Yes to both. But I'd only do it again if I were able to work
with friends - people of my choosing - and have creative ownership.
After 30+ years working professionally in IT, I've had my fill
of doing it as a *job*!
. . . and it all started west of a white house . . .
your favourite non-Magnetic Scrolls adventure game?
Zork. (Parts 1, 2 and 3 which make up the full story of the
Great Underworld Empire. It was only segmented commercially
because of size reasons.)
was almost the first adventure game and in my opinion it remains
the best. It's imaginative, full of clever puzzles, flashes
of humour, recurring jokes and a good parser. It was clearly
a labour of love and it showed - the game had a 'soul', almost
as if a little bit of the authors had "rubbed off"
on to the game itself.
course I have to ask about your favourite Magnetic Scrolls title
now (apart from 'Fish!' of course)
Favourite Magnetic Scrolls game? I think that has to be Guild
of Thieves. Why? Well, I think that 'The Pawn' was a little
dry for my taste. (Two reasons: (a) I'd seen it whilst it was
being written, so there weren't too many surprises and (b) because
it was the first Magnetic Scrolls game, it was a little too
"polished", as if it had been through one committee
actually played "Fish!" recently?
I haven't. Indeed, I'm not so sure that I've
ever played it all the way through.
is not quite as strange as it sounds. You have to bear in mind
I would have been working on it several times a week for several
months. It quickly stopped being a complete entity (a game)
and instead became a series of component parts. Having then
gone through each component part on a line-by-line basis, even
the jokes started to lose their appeal.... *grin* I know I tested
each 'scene' on the computer at various stages but I can't recall
sitting down and playing the game from start to finish...
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