Firstly, how do you see the software scene developing over the coming year?

This year we've had smooth scroll, shoot-em-up and Decathlon syndromes. Do you see these continuing or a new breed of game emerging?

Matthew Smith: I think we're going to reach saturation point late next year, although there are still going to be new game styles.

Do you think the industry is going to collapse?
Have you taken ideas from other programmers?

So presumably there is a mother lode somewhere of someone producing original ideas?
AW: I honesty don't think you can say that. It's like trying to say who invented the greatest song. Everybody might know the notes but they use them differently.
Tony Crowther: I know a lot people who would call Manic Miner a copy of Miner 2049'er. But how do you know the guy who wrote that didn't get his ideas from someone else?
Have you found that the kind of pressure you get from the public and computer press - to add more screens and complex graphics-play - is one you feel and respond to?

I motivate myself, and to a large degree it depends on the type of game released as to its form and complexity.

What do you see as the most important part of your games? Do you think about how it will feel?

MS: A mix of both.
Three of you work but you,
TC: There isn't one person here who hasn't pirated software - I do it and I don't believe software houses suffer because of it.
AW: Is the fact that Jet Set Willy has been copied in a school playground a bad thing? Copying and word-of-mouth can do as much good as damage.

Is there anything that will stop piracy?

AW: The only thing that will ever stop it is when it's socially unacceptable, when kids don't want to pirate
Andy Walker: The industry is going towards people with a lot of financial backing. You can wish that as an "artist" you can write games and reach your public, but it's not like that anymore.

Professionalism or plain commercialism?

AW: Oh, I think it's a bit of both and it's evil.

Will this stifle individual talent?
Bill Hogue - Miner 2049er - 1983 - Big Five Software
Bill Hogue creator of Miner 2049er in 1983 (as shown).
because they don't want to hurt the company.
JM: I hate commercialism.
Do you think of yourself as a purist, Jeff?
JM: I'm very purist. I design software and I don't like the commercial side.

But you bank the money!

Yes, but I wouldn't be human if I didn't do that. I don't mid if people hear about my games from reviews but not from hype.
AW: No, but it won't half try.

Do you think entertainment software will continue to be called "games"? Indeed, is "games" any longer an accurate word to define what you're all producing?

MS: There are games which are simulations and games which are problems. Monopoly is a simulation and yet it can still be called a game.

Everybody here has been setting styles - and you're leaders in your field - does this adulation cause you problems?

I'm not bothered by it because it doesn't bother me. I've found that I'm expected to have opinions on topics that I haven't really considered. I'm just a programmer who has ideas. I'm not bothered by people copying my ideas. I actually see it as a compliment.
MS: I did get inspiration from Miner 2049'er!

Tony, how did you visualise Loco as a game? Was it to be an original concept?

TC: No, Loco was a copy of an arcade game I saw in Spain. One of my other games, Suicide Express, was meant to be a revamped version of Loco.
MS: We don't really know enough about the machines and what can be done to plan the games out.

Do you think the popular micros - Spectrum / C64 / BBC - have reached the limit of their development?

MS: Yes! People are finding technical limits, especially on the Spectrum - although the C64 has more potential left unused.
AW: It's getting to sound like technical ability is the be-all and end-all. At the end of the day a good game is... a good game.

Andy, work completely differently. As part of a team.
AW: All I ever really wanted to do was write code, but never got the time to write any complete item myself. Taskset games are team efforts; someone can do the graphics while someone else can do the sound, and so on. The team leader happens to be me; there's no one guy who has all the ideas, so whoever's talking good ideas at the time has the floor to further develop it with contributions from the others.

Would you say that generally the young programmer is treated well by software companies?

MS: Usually he's not treated well because everybody wants to get as much as possible out of him.

What about piracy?

Jeff Minter:
Kids copying doesn't do me any harm at all. It's the commercial pirates who are doing the real damage.

Hype is just masses and masses of colour page ads saying "This is a fantastic game", or big pictures of cassette boxes. I hate it all!
MS: If cassette boxes help sell, then, OK.
JM: I don't sell cassette boxes, I sell concepts. I deplore combative ads - those that say "this is the best game ever", or "It surpasses such-and-such". They are the absolute pits. Anybody doing that deserves to be shot with BIG bullets. Charts are to be ignored and despised. Whether you're top or bottom doesn't mean a thing.
AW: The problem with charts is that it's very, very easy for people who don't know what they're buying to buy the top 20.
JM: That's their loss - not mine!
AW: That is your loss!
JM: Well, it is my loss indirectly - but if people are that stupid about buying