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CODE IS JUST: The unlikely story of a game developer from the early 1980s in a tweetstorm by Shahid Kamal Ahmad


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On 19/09/2021 at 16:19, DeciderVT said:

Very entertaining! Loved that he was doing this all with Metamatic playing in the background as well.

 

I read it listening to Metamatic!

 

Great read. Is there going to be a part 2?

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I see Shahid is trying to pitch this as a book - and others have suggested it would work well as a TV series, something I absolutely agree with.

 

I hope he's successful, if only because it would prove that there is an audience out there for this kind of stuff, an entire generation that grew up with 8-bit home computers and who have remained fairly tech-savvy. Shahid is a very accomplished story-teller and a compelling individual and I can absolutely see him doing this justice.

 

I don't hold out much hope, sadly, because (a) international appeal would be near zero - the Americans just didn't grow up with the kind of coding culture we had over here; and (b) TV producers in particular are still terrified of any kind of tech-related content that isn't pitched at "the mainstream" (which is why we still get so many programmes that insist on rehashing the early history of Atari, literally the least interesting thing you can talk about when it comes to games these days).

 

Maybe Twitter is the best medium for this kind of thing after all. He certainly seems to have invented a new form of long-term storytelling with this thread, and absolutely made the most of it too.

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It's a good memoir but the TV series talk is perhaps a little much!

 

I also recommend the Bob Pape book and the Bitmap Bros Universe book. And Jordan Mechner's diaries as contrast as he's someone coming from a completely different (much more privileged) background.

 

It's good that people are starting to learn about what the early industry was really like, rather than the traditional narrative focused on figures like David Braben and Peter Molyneux as 'lone genius' auteurs.

 

I recently re-read Backroom Boys (early 2000s book covering the making of Elite among other 'UK inventions'), knowing what I do now it's really misleading and quite chauvanist.

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3 hours ago, MK-1601 said:

It's a good memoir but the TV series talk is perhaps a little much!

 

I also recommend the Bob Pape book and the Bitmap Bros Universe book. And Jordan Mechner's diaries as contrast as he's someone coming from a completely different (much more privileged) background.

 

It's good that people are starting to learn about what the early industry was really like, rather than the traditional narrative focused on figures like David Braben and Peter Molyneux as 'lone genius' auteurs.

 

The reason I liked it is nothing to do with 'the industry' or being an auteur really. It's more to do with it feeling like a reasonably authentic voice of someone who was from a minority background and suffered from terrible discrimination, and was ambitious, and also a prick, and the language of its telling seems to fit all that. It just feels like a well-told tale of a life and a place in time, and the emotions feel relatively honestly portrayed. The guy could have been a car salesman and it might have had the same draw. Which is why I liked it as a 'games industry' thing. It normalises games because it's about everything else; the detail about how he wanted to cross-compile code is just incidental to the human stuff.

 

Which is why it'd also be good as a TV thing. No fucker cares about programming for a C64, or how the industry grew. The young lad cracking after years of abuse and walking out of his house onto the estate to tell a bunch of bullies how he feels? That could definitely work, especially allied to his self-confessed arrogance.

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I still remember a column he wrote in C&VG where he boasted he could port Chimera to  another computer (the Amstrad I think) in seven days. From memory I think he did it in eight but it still counted because "real programmers count from zero".

 

I sometimes wonder how much of Sony losing ground to Microsoft in the indie space is in part because he left, I've heard stories that he was an amazing champion for indies.

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