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Collection Vol. One
- The Legacy - Realm
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Memories Of Memories - A Conversation With Michael Bywater
know a number of people who were a little disappointed with
the ending of "Jinxter". Personally I thought it was
brilliant and the only way to go. Looking back, what do you
think about it?
You know, I can't remember how it ended at all and I don't
have any of the material to hand. I think that probably the
great majority of the actual text was my stuff though I may
be entirely mistaken. As I said, it was over twenty years ago.
at the beginning of the game you are about to get run over by
a tremendously big bus and are saved by a Guardian, who then
sends you off on your quest. After completing your adventure
the ending puts you right back in front of the aforementioned
bus - this time with no one to save you. Full circle, so to
It's all coming back to me. Yes. Full circle. I was thinking
of two things, one a story by Jorge Luis Borges and the other,
the very ancient tale of the Appointment at Samara. You can't
flee your fate but you can do something useful before it gets
to you. So it wasn't an original idea but then I don't really
think there are any original ideas, only different versions
of a few age-old ideas.
you remember how much time you had available for the rewrite
of Jinxter? I think Anita (Sinclair) mentioned somewhere it
was only a few weeks ...
It was damned tight, I do recall. A few weeks - three or
four perhaps. But you go into a strange time-dilation world
under those circumstances. In my memory it varies between a
day and forever. It was quite intense but very rewarding.
you must have gotten quite the crash-course in learning the
intricacies of the Magnetic Scrolls adventure system. How hard
was it, especially for a non-programmer, to "get the hang"
of the system and how long did it take to actually be able to
work productively with it?
We didn't have time for that and I'd not have been able to
manage it, I know. I wouldn't have just had to learn their system,
but learn to think like a coder. Everyone was hunkered down
in the Magnetic Scrolls offices just working away. I'd write
text interactions, then mysterious things would happen with
Anita and the chaps, and the VAX would hum away compiling stuff,
and we'd play through it and if it seemed to work, we'd forge
on. I was just the words guy. The others did the hard work.
Quilley's "Orchard" - one of the many gorgeous pictures
in "Jinxter" (Commodore Amiga)
seems to be some confusion over who did what on "Jinxter",
as the game credits do not list any individuals names. Can you
shed a little bit of light on the issue?
It all got a bit complex but I think credits are in there
somewhere. Probably an easter egg but damned if I know the key.
My most powerful memory of the process was Anita purloining
my fancy Toshiba "laptop" and me having to work on
a VAX terminal which I hated. But she was at the time both the
boss and my honeypie, so I didn't complain.
you actually have any influence on the pictures in "Jinxter"?
you did see the pictures from the Atari ST/Amiga versions?
Yes. Brilliant. They offered better resolution and colour
depth and really both machines were rather ahead of their time
-- perhaps that was why they never made it into the mainstream
but remained "toy" computers. The "business"
market, if you like, has always been terribly conservative and
suspicious of anything different or, worse, better. That's why
they still plod on through the ugly and clumsy Windows. I find
it incomprehensible but that's beside the point.
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