Please tell us about yourself and experiences.
I’ve been an arcade and retro collector since before the turn of the century, acquiring systems and games all my life. I’ve been building Turnarcades custom arcade machines for 20 years and co-founded Revival Retro Events, hosting REVIVAL, the UK’s biggest retro gaming event since 2013 and providing retro gaming exhibits to numerous conventions up and down the country. In recent years I took to making videos on my collecting and arcade restorations for Facebook and YouTube, and since 2017 I’ve been writing articles for Fusion and the resurrected Crash magazine.
What got you into writing books about retro gaming?
A lot of people on the retro gaming scene saw from my videos and social media that I’ve got a wide knowledge of retro gaming, and positive feedback on my magazine articles gave me inspiration to do my own book on a subject I’m most invested in. When I fell ill with cancer in 2021, Chris Wilkins asked if I might use my down time to start on a book, as he thought my writing would be something people would be interested in, so he would be willing to publish something written by me, if I could send him an idea and proof of concept.
How long has it taken to research for the new book?
All my life. Some of the information used to write about the history of the systems was learned from magazines I read and manuals I read before I even reached my teens. Since the age of the internet, I’ve continued to look up and search for leads to buy (and information on) hundreds of old systems and hardware.
What is in the new book to get us retro fans to hand over the cash?
“Game Not Over” (working title) is about seeking out and experiencing gaming on platforms that missed the mainstream audience, offering tips on accessing those platforms and even collecting them, from a U.K. perspective. Readers will learn about the history of the hardware, why they succeeded or failed, what unique games there are to play on them, their values on the collectors market and how to buy or play one today. It’s filled with close up shots of the systems and mini reviews for each platform.
How long have you been writing books?
This will be my first book published, but I’ve been writing for magazines for over 6 years and I’ve begun work on 3 other books, including a sequel to this one.
What is your first gaming experience?
My earliest gaming experiences came from my older brother’s interest as a teen. I was born in 1980, so we were probably the first generation raised on video games and saw it mature with successive generations as we did. The earliest system in our house was a certain British Pong type console; the Grandstand 4600 ‘Kevin Keegan’. It was sponsored by the permed footy star himself, but was like a dozen similarly numbered models Grandstand released. It’s party piece was an epic light gun that looked a bit like Han Solo’s from Star Wars, but had a long barrel, sight and full stock attachment that turned it into a full rifle that you’d never see made today. That unfortunately broke and was binned years ago, but our trusty Spectrum 48k+ didn’t, and I still have the system we same one my parents bought my brother for Christmas 1984.
My favourite computer was my Amiga and console the Megadrive do you have a favourite?
Hands down, the SNES is my favourite console of all time. I was lucky enough to get a NES after much begging at Christmas 1990, and stayed Nintendo at heart. The Super Nintendo was the only time they led the generation in terms of hardware potential, and the library was made up of all the genres I was most interested in. I have a soft spot for the Atari ST and the Amiga to a lesser extent, but the good old Speccy holds the most memories for me.
What is your favorite retro game?
Far too hard to call. The three games I probably put the most time into before the epic games of recent years are probably Final Fantasy 6, Final Fantasy 7 and Street Fighter 2. Killer Instinct is my favourite arcade game though, without a doubt.
Do you still game on the current consoles if so whats your favourite game?
Yes, but I only tend to play retro styled games, cinematic experiences or epic length story driven ones. The one series I still follow and always buy the new entry is Resident Evil, and I love GTA and the Red Dead series too. Got no interest in online multiplayer really.
Whats the worst game you have ever played?
Contenders include Rise of the Robots and Knightmare on the Spectrum, but I have a personal gripe against Zelda Ocarina of Time. I just never liked Zelda in 3D.
Finally what game or feature would you like to see on Retrogamesmaster in the future?
Any Resident Evil or arcade brawler. Could play those forever.
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