Taskset didn't need to adapt its working routines to write for the Commodore 64; the team carried on originating games in their accustomed way. "We carried on operating what we call an ideas bag," explains Walker. The bag is actually a board hanging behind Walker's desk upon which people scribble their ideas. "We also run regular brain-storming sessions in which lots of weird and wonderful ideas get thrown around." But the casualty list seems high "about one in every twenty ideas actually becomes a game".

And the real mainstay for Walker is originality; probably a hangover from his experience of arcade games, and something he'd really like Taskset to become known for. "You've got to be able to junk ideas, even if someone comes out with a game that you've already put a great deal of work into." Walker reckons he's already done that - probably not many other games houses could make the same claim.

And the theorising continues "apart from originality, what we'd aim for in a game is relatively simple rules but a high standard of presentation. There's no reason why graphics shouldn't be good and music shouldn't keep tempo with the action."

And do Taskset's games live up to all those aims? On Cosmic Convoy, its first game, Walker has doubts. The most he'll say about it is that it was an original offering. But he'll really wax lyrical when pressed about Pipeline and Jammin', both of which have been remarkably successful.

"Pipeline came out of an ideas bag we had when we were still writing for the arcades. We'd had a burst pipe at the office one night, dripping water perilously near to some expensive hardware. The plumbers came next morning, and it developed into a really crazy situation - workmen galore, one guy holding a spanner while three others watched." So the idea went into the bag and eventually surfaced, albeit a little transformed.

"It's a simple game, but it was a long way advanced over its competitors, especially in terms of music", enthuses Walker. He plays the game almost reverently, "so simple, the idea is to engender panic, you can win if you keep your head, not many people get past pipe ten..."

Cosmic Convoy Taskset
Cosmic Convoy by Taskset

Jammin Taskset
Jammin by Taskset

Pipeline set the trend for a succession of games characters, like Rankin' Rodney in Jammin'. That game stemmed from Tony Gibson, Taskset's reggae loving musician, who hero worships the late Bob Marley - hence the game's strong red, gold and green colours.

Walker probably reveres that game even more: "nobody had driven the 64's sound chip like that before. Jammin' has a drum, bass and melody line; and it all keeps time with the action; it's truely interactive There's no killing involved either, lust collecting instruments so that they'll play to you. And the baddies are just bum notes." Whether you like the game or not, there's no denying that both the music and graphics are brilliant. The tunes either obsess you or drive you mad.

Then came Bozo, the unsteady anti-hero of Bozo's Night Out. That's Taskset's most original and bizarre offering to date. But games that include a drunk, a bunch of muggers and sweet painted ladies will inevitably offend somebody somewhere.

Walker is quick with his defence, "Bozo is a reasonable idea, and I don't think there's anything to alienate youngsters. Alcohol is never mentioned - it's wobble-juice. An awful lot was cut out so as not to be offensive".

One idea that didn't quite make it was a bladder that would fill up as Bozo drank, the problem of emptying it proved an unsurmountable surmountable - probably a mixed blessing.

That prompts Walker to risk a few generalisations. Like, "there's a lot of arguments for us writing what we want. For example, we'd write a political game whether it offended a political party or not. We are our own masters. We back games with our own money, and you please yourself whether or not you buy them." That assertion of independence seems to pervade the writing process itself. "We never advertise for games contributions and we don't buy anything in. If a game is not written here, it doesn't get published."

And writing itself is always done as a team. "I'm not saying individuals aren't important," asserts Walker. "It's just that the process is too big for individuals. The best way forward for Taskset is to gather a team of specialists; everybody is good at what they do."