The Making of Slightly Magic - The Full Story in Full Colour
I always had a problem when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up; I never knew what to say. I would have said astronaut, but I knew that the food was awful. I eventually started saying ‘architect’, which led to a university course and a good grounding in many design skills, but my heart was never really in it. What I didn’t know then, and I didn’t realise until recently, was that the very thing I wanted to do to make a living didn’t even exist at the time. It might not even exist now.
This is the story of the trainee wizard Slightly; how he came to be, how he almost disappeared forever, and how he returned after 25 years.
Written by Slightly's original creator, the book also showcases the artwork of Chris Graham.
Slightly Magic was a successful 90's computer game written by Colin Jones, author of Rock Star Ate My Hamster. Initially released on the ZX Spectrum, the game was published on a number of 8bit and 16bit formats.
Available to buy from Amazon UK here
Microdot Reimagined - The Classic Text Adventure, Free to play online
Ahem - excuse me, sorry to interrupt your mindspan and all that, but we seem to have a problem. How can I put this, without alarming you? You see, the very fact that you're experiencing these words at all means that I am somehow lodged deep inside your mind. Now I would stress that you shouldn't worry about this at all. No no no, I'm sure we can sort this out without one of us coming to any harm. Or possibly both of us, which would be optimum, from a plot-device point of view.
Anyhow, from what I can remember I'm a tiny speck of what was once itself a tiny speck of a timeslot. I am the last tiny speck of a once great entity; Microdot, the place where everything was possible, quite literally, all at once. On Fridays.
I seem to remember being brainwashed for unwittingly uncovering a terrible secret. Apparently the very idea of this secret could not co-exist even in the multiverse of Microdot (where everything was possible, all at once) without tearing the whole caboodle (and I use the term advisedly) apart.
Which is what appears to have happened anyway. So much for brainwashing, you might say, and who am I to disagree with you? James Norden, as it happens. Professor of Quantum Furniture Design at the University of Microdot. Pleased to meet you, I'm sure.
So Microdot was torn into a bunch of tiny little molecule-type-fragments, which wandered aimlessly through a million universes for a huge amount of time. Until lunchtime yesterday in fact, when you sneezed while eating a particularly spicy canned cheese roll. During the following sharp intake of breath, my little molecule-type-entity managed to enter your lung, slipped into your bloodstream, hitched a ride to your brain, and Tadaa! Here we are now, the best of buddies, almost.
You will no doubt be keen to have me removed from your mind at the earliest possible opportunity, but here's the thing: we need to rediscover the secret of Microdot; the black whole at its core. And yes, Microdot as an entity no longer exists, which could make things rather tricky, you might think.
But Microdot does still exist as a concept, as does it's terrible little secret. And if the two of us can reimagine Microdot, in my mind in your mind, we can reimagine and uncover the secret. Then, in a fraction of an instant, Microdot will spring-twist back into reality a million lightyears away. I will return to the Quantum Furniture department of Microdot University, and you will have a throbbing headache which will last until 1.55pm on Friday afternoon.
Ready? Thought so.
Microdot Reimagined is a text adventure that you can play online now for free...
Cheshire's Cheese Nightmares - Play Now
Here;s a small game I wrote in my 'revival' period. I thought it'd be good to get Chris Graham (Slightly Magic, Rock Star Ate My Hamster) to create some graphics and challenge myself to writing a game in a day or so. Here's the result, playable online using this link. There seems to be a problem with the sound on some browsers, although Chrome on my mac plays the in-game audio just fine. Your mileage may vary.
There's only one thing worse than being retro...
Here’s the thing. Nobody tells you that you’re retro, and you never quite know when it happens.
I spent my early working life writing computer games for the ZX Spectrum, C64 and Commodore Amiga. I had some success, writing and programming Slightly Magic, Rock Star Ate my Hamster, both released by Codemasters. I also programmed versions of the ground-breaking Deus Ex Machina for Mel Croucher and Automata.
The computer games industry in the UK contracted dramatically just when I was at my zenith, and I found myself becoming a tutor and writer. Time passed.
It hit me when Retro Gamer Magazine contacted me for the second time to do a second article on one of my games – Ah, I get it. I’m now officially retro.
You can’t change that, you’re no longer hip, cool, or even vaguely cutting edge. That kind of hurts. But then, another realisation hits like a careering mobility scooter on a dark pavement –
You might be retro, but there’s one thing worse than being retro, and that’s being forgotten.