Listen... this is important...

by Paul Morrison

I interviewed Mark R. Jones the other day.  Mark, as many of you will know, did a fair bit of work for Ocean Software in the 80s, including some of the most impressive Spectrum loading screens you can find.  It's a great interview... as Mark says, "Easily my longest yet" and one of the longest I've conducted for this book.

Not only is it a lengthy and great interview, but Mark has really raised the bar when it comes to providing supplementary materials.  He kept everything from his Ocean days!  It's a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes stuff from the life of a computer games artist.  I don't think I can include it all, unless I write a book specifically about Mark!  But I'll put in as much as is appropriate and suitable and see how it looks.  You'll love it!

Post-interview, Mark and I talked for a while about this project.  Mark thinks the same way I do in many ways regarding this book.  So much of this stuff just isn't documented... and it should be!  It's important!  Not just for the purposes of our nostalgia, although that's a good enough reason in my book... but also because the work these people did was tremendously important in showing everyone what could be done... what was possible within the confines of a very finite limitation.  The imagination and talent on display was staggering, and it remains under-appreciated or taken for granted.

As Mark also said, people won't be around forever.  That's a sad fact of life.  Since I started writing this, some of the people I would have loved to have talked to have sadly passed away.  If they haven't spoken about their work before, then their memories and thoughts are lost.  It's such a shame as they deserve so much better than that.

I want to get aggressive with this thing.  I want to solicit participants.  I want people to draw this to the attention of our 8-bit computer Gods and heroes, the people who programmed the games, wrote the music, drew the graphics, drew the box art, even reviewed the games.  Without sounding too stalker-ish, I know where a lot of these people are through social media, but if I haven't got around to asking them yet I will be extremely happy if they come to me first.

I am in the fortunate position of still having a backlog... I have a couple of people who I need to write questions for who are waiting patiently.  After that, I'll be asking more if they're up for it.  But if you know of someone who should be in this and you think they would like to be, by all means ReTweet this in their direction, or point them to the website, or direct them to the Facebook page.  Whether it's me who makes first contact or them, I'll be glad to have them on board!