At the beginning of April 2016 Peter Verdi's Magnetic Scrolls Chronicles website went offline. So far all my attempts to contact Peter failed. His site carried some invaluable interviews with former Magnetic Scrolls people. To preserve the work I temporarily uploaded a dump of his site taken in summer of 2015. All you can see below is 100% Peter's work! Hopefully his site will reappear soon! Peter, if you read this, can you contact me?

Remember how it's like to ride on a cloud? How it feels to be squashed by a bus, or how to get that damned gold disc from Micky? Well, here's your chance to relive all these situations.

Have a chat with the devil in THE PAWN, ransack an entire island in THE GUILD OF THIEVES, restore luck itself to a whole country in JINXTER, uncover a conspiracy in CORRUPTION, become an inter-dimensional secret agent in FISH!, an ancient god in MYTH, walk in the footsteps of Alice in WONDERLAND and inherit a haunted mansion in THE LEGACY.
Become a part of the fantasy of Magnetic Scrolls - you certainly won't regret it . . .


   News Archive
   The Games
    - The Pawn
    - The Guild Of Thieves
    - Jinxter
    - Corruption
    - Fish!
    - Myth
    - Wonderland
    - The Magnetic Scrolls
       Collection Vol. One
    - The Legacy - Realm
       Of Terror
   Magnetic Interpreter
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Fish!'n (Micro)Chips - an Interview with Peter Kemp (page 5)


When 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!)


Judging 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 necessary.


The University of Hydropolis from 'Fish!' (Commodore Amiga)


Was security very tight on the project?
I can't remember there being any formal security or NDAs (Non-Disclosure-Agreements). 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...)


When 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.


Did 'Fish!' have a deadline or was it the 'when it's done' approach?
Probably the former, but it doubtless slipped towards the latter.


Were 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 . . .


What's 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.)

It 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.


Of 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 to many.)


Have you actually played "Fish!" recently?
I haven't. Indeed, I'm not so sure that I've ever played it all the way through.

This 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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