Pieces of Eight

Well in case you haven’t noticed today is the 8th of August 2008. That’s 08/08/08! How exciting! I’m sure there are all sorts of numerological portents of doom in there but to me, it makes me realise that I can remember exactly what I was doing twenty years ago this very day.

As a precocious teenager I had used The Quill to create a text adventure for the ZX Spectrum (kids, ask your parents!). It was a four part epic that went by the hilarious title Star Wreck. Yes, if any further proof were needed that I was (and am) a massive dork I created my own Star Trek parody. My memories of it are sketchy, but i think there was a running theme about the evil of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. I can tell you, in my mind it was scathingly satirical.

The reason that I know it was twenty years ago today is that I had conquered the piss poor, sub Fergus McNeil text, and had moved onto the loading screens. In those, pre Photoshop days, it was created with an application called (I think) Art Studio, pixel by single pixel, possibly with a Kempston Quickshot 2 joystick. And I vividly remember etching the number 8/8/88 at the bottom of the screen, in one of the eight colours that was available.

Heady days indeed (and an appropriate memory considering this current, 80s inspired storyline), but I am sorry to inform you that there is no copy of this monument of game programming available for you to sample with your favourite Speccy emulator. Never fear though, I ended up recycling most of the jokes at various points for this very comic.