Chris Chapman Interview by Peter Ward
Sensible Soccer ’98: European Club Edition (1997)
Sensible World of Soccer: European Championship Ed… (1995)
International Sensible Soccer (1994)
Sensible World of Soccer (1994)
Championship Soccer ’94 (1992)
Sensible Soccer: European Champions: 92/93 Edition (1992)
Mega lo Mania (1991)
Sensible Soccer ’98 (1997)
Sensible Soccer ’98: European Club Edition (1997)
Sensible World of Soccer: European Championship Ed… (1995) (Program Code by)
International Sensible Soccer (1994) (Original Code)
Sensible World of Soccer (1994) (Program code by)
Championship Soccer ’94 (1992) (Original Code)
Sensible Soccer: European Champions: 92/93 Edition (1992) (Original Programming by)
Mega lo Mania (1991) (Programmed by)
Not sure about legend as I’ve been out of the business for 15 years and was never the face of the games lol.
What did you want to do when you was at school for a career, and what was your first job?
I wanted to go into electronics (similar to my Dad) and left school at 16 and went to college and then later redirected myself into a computer course, although I had learnt programming by then so just needed the formal qualification.
What are you currently doing for a living? Please enlighten us.
I now work with a Company involved in visualisation (mostly on the web) so being able to see what a product would look like in your own room (ie. wallpaper, flooring, blinds etc. before you buy!
What was your first experience with a computer?
I bought a Microtan 64 when I was about 16 which was basically a printed circuit board with no case, a hex keypad, no save, just a TV output. So I learned assembly programming (well it was OP codes!) literally learned from the bottom up! I then bought a ZX80 when it came out.
What was your first computer, and is that your favourite computer?
First ‘proper’ computer was ZX80 but my favourite was probably the Amiga.
Was this the computer that you first programmed on?
Serious programming, probably the Acorn Atom.
When did you realise you wanted to get into game industry, and how did it happen?
I was working for myself on various projects, a DTP program for the Amstrad PCW computer and a few smaller projects. We ran out of money so a company bought us out (well the DTP program). I needed a more stable working environment and saw Sensi’s ad in a magazine and they weren’t far from me so I went for an interview, did a small demo as a test and got the job!
I wrote a space invaders and Galaxian style game for the Acorn Atom in my spare time and tried to sell it mail order in magazines. They were actually very good but perhaps a year or two too late!
How did you end up working for Sensible Software?
As above, I only worked for Sensi.
What was your first project at Sensible Software?
Was it easy to fit in at Sensible? Who was the first person who made you feel welcome?
There was only Jon and Chris when I joined and Jon is very easy to get on with!
Tell me about your office cricket with the Amstrad, and other crazy games?
As the company grew there was a bit more messing about, playing cricket with the tech and so on, but to be honest I was quite a serious (read boring) person and mostly just got on with my work while the others went down the pub!
It was indeed but was a very long time ago! I was using a PC to write the code and it connected to the Amiga and sent the code down to run. Nothing like the programming environment you have now but it worked OK. Just no easy way of debugging other than displaying numbers on the screen to track things!
Did you have involvement porting it to consoles? If so was it difficult to do?
I ported both Mega-lo-Mania and Sensi Soccer to the Atari ST and it was simple enough as it was the same processor. I left it to others to port to the Megadrive etc. (and just took a cut of their royalties lol).
I can’t remember the details and tried to stay out of the business side of things but from what I recall due to the demise of Maxwell and the affect that had on Mirrorsoft the game sales kind of got put on hold, so we made money from the initial sales but no more followed. A real shame as it got great reviews. So I didn’t make a great deal of money.
I understand Jon Hare and yourself played a lot of Kick Off 2, and this inspired you to make a better football game. Did the game end up on the train track?
This rings a bell and not good being next door to a train track!
Yes I was, I knew it would be good as Jon is a great designer but I had no idea it would be that huge with all the follow ups and SWOS.
Please tell me what your role was during the making Cannon Fodder, and what you did?
I had no involvement in Cannon Fodder, that was Jools and Stoo.
When did you leave Sensible Software and why?
When they were sold I had no great desire to work in games with anyone else. To be honest the move to 3D and having a team of people working on a game was a major step and I was the kind of person that likes working pretty much on my own on games (with a designer and artist) and never liked being part of a team. If you want the job done right…do it yourself! That is me all over up to this day!
I see Jon as he lives close and Stoo is doing some work with me now so we can use it as an excuse to meet up for fried breakfasts!
I was excited to hear that you will be working with the Sensible Team for a future project. Can you say anything about this?
It’s news to me lol.
Tell us what you are currently working on?
Web visualisation projects.
I enjoy some modern games but feel more love for the smaller teams of the past, I feel the fun factor has gone in modern games and are more like movie productions; games can be bug ridden now as patches can be made. In the past we didn’t have updates and in-app purchases. What is your view of our industry?
I play very few games now, just a few with my son on the XBox and iPad. I can’t believe they can charge £45 for FIFA 16 which is virtually identical to FIFA 15, but of course my son doesn’t see it that way! We were at least happy to get Sterling out of the Liverpool team lol