Jeff Minter - Working
Jeff Minter
Jeff had a passion for pets and in particular the Llama, yes you read that right, he owned a Llama! So it's not surprising that the name of his software company was Llamasoft. A nice touch, as even the name of his company was unusual.

Being the master of his own company meant he could work on whatever project he liked. It gave him a unique advantage over other programmers, allowing a freedom of expression that otherwise might have been discouraged and most could only dream of.

It's reasonable to say that some of the games he created, would never have seen the light of day with another company.  Most execs of game companies at the time simply could not understand or appreciate what Jeff was doing - his concepts would have been too outlandish for them.

The fact that he was able to make his company a success is an enormous credit to him and an inspiration to others.

Due to his young age, being only 16 when he started his company, his mother helped him to run the business. This support from a parent proved to be invaluable and certainly would have given him even greater confidence to succeed, while relieving the burden of certain day to day tasks, that otherwise would have interferred with his programming.

Like many people, Jeff was not too keen on criticism. He had a few choice words for reviewers of Zzap 64 and Commodore User, where he believed they were being unfairly harsh on his latest gaming effort.

There was a particular incident, regarding the game Mama Llama, which Mike Pattenden of Commodore User 'Hot Shots' fame thought a rather self indulgent effort. Jeff did not take too kindly to that remark. Perhaps on reflection Jeff would accept being a little over sensitive to some of these criticisms, but it was typical of him that he would take the time to defend his work, especially where he vehemently disagreed with something that was stated.

Also, some of the magazine reviewers could be erroneous with their verdict on a game, after all no matter how hard they try - personal opinion or bias will inevitably creep in.

Mike Pattenden - Hot Shots
Mike Pattenden - Hot Shots

Jeff's reaction to criticism, may not initially have done him any favours, but it is nice to see someone stand up for themselves and it obviously showed how much he cared about the quality of his work.

Jeff Minter - Tony Crowther
Jeff Minter and Tony Crowther
There was a lot of friendly and not so-friendly rivalry between top game programmers back then. Jeff had a disagreement with the blonde haired genius Tony Crowther (a 16 year old whizkid who created Blagger and Loco).

Jeff took issue with a couple of things, namely the fact that Tony was on record for saying, that a game was good value for money if it could be played for at least 5 hours and that he could code a game in about 2 weeks. Jeff felt that for a game to offer value for money, it should be played a lot longer than just 5 hours and that being able to churn one out in a few weeks, probably meant it wasn't much good.

What issue there was between the two, was fortunately ironed out quite quickly, because the two of them became friends and even went on a Skiing holiday together. I suspect, Jeff and Tony had a mutual respect for the others programming talent - they certainly produced some impressive software, that’s for sure!