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Jeff Minter

Jeff Minter

What can be said about this gaming genius that has not been said before. Jeff Minter was a huge hit in the early years of the Commodore 64. The main reason for his success was that he had original ideas combined with a wild and vivid imagination. In fact, it's fair to say that his creations are probably among the most novel computer games ever produced. Who else could dream up “Attack of the Mutant Camels”or “Sheep in Space” !

The other feature that set Jeff's games apart from his competitors was playability. The games tended to have great game play and could be very addictive. Although Jeff’s games were not technically as impressive as some other games at the time, originality and playability were the key to his success. The music for his games, like Hover Bovver and Revenge of the Mutant Camels, were composed by a college friend James Lisney, who was a pianist.

The Goatbuster

JEFF "Animal" MINTER is by any standards a Name of Power in the games designing field. Hit after hit has poured from his keyboard - latterly with a decidedly zoological theme. Camels, dromedaries, sheep, llamas - there's no end to Minter's creative obsession. And seemingly no end to the hits, either.

Look at Ancipital. It's a shoot-'em-up but with that bit more. Stuff like Matrix and Gridrunner admittedly could be reviewed in five minutes, but take Revenge. If you played it for five minutes you'd only see the first two or three screens, out of a total of 42. Some reviewers of Ancipital don't even bother to read the instructions, they don't know what they're doing.

The Camelid Tour 84

It all started early in 1984, just after I'd moved in to my new lab/games room extension. I'd decided to have a mural done all down one wall of lots of llamas. The artist who came to do the painting brought lots of source material featuring my favourite beasts, and in one magazine was an article about someone who'd been to Peru, the very centre of camelid territory, for a holiday.

As any follower of my game style will doubtless know, I have long been a fan of llamas and Peruvian stuff in general. It had often seemed to me to be a good idea to actually go there, but I did not think that many people ran tours there. There could not be very many llama freaks in England wanting to go...


I visited Jeff Minter at home in his family's bungalow in Tadley, a village half-way between Reading and Basingstoke. As soon as you arrive, you know Jeff lives there. On the wall is a large painted Llama. Inside they're everywhere. The room Jeff works in is a specially built extension packed with computer equipment: C64, Vic, C16 (he'd just bought one), Apple, Atari, MSX, BBC, QL plus his stereo compact disc and the video machines, including The Tempest and Atari's Star Wars. But the most striking feature of the room is the mural all along one wall. And the subject matter? Llamas, of course. And then the Llamas on top of the monitors - fluffy ones, plastic ones, metal ones. Not to mention the camels and the alpacas.

Minter Mania

The world's hairiest programmer turns his back on children's comics and starts a series for Commodore Horizons magazine... anything could happen!

Confessions of a Compunet Junkie... I've had a modem for quite a while now, and up until the Commodore show I didn't really use it much, but I logged on the week after the show and... well... I haven't been to bed before Net shutdown at 3am since!

YakZappin'... Well I got my copy of Elite and sure it's zarjaz but it's just not Star Raiders... Seriously though, it's well put together; if you liked it on the Beeb then you'll love it on the C64, the docking sequence is hyper-hyper, especially if you've a Docking Computer and you put that ace '2001' music on: the computer docks at breakneck speed to the accompaniment of the Blue Danube waltz...