This is a surprising title which hasn’t really been discussed as a missing Matthew Smith game, and really it isn’t much to do with Matthew apart from improving one of his games on the Commodore 64 and was most likely a bit of a dig at Matthew Smith when he went to Software Projects and took Manic Miner with him.
The idea apparently was for this title was to improve upon the C64 version of Manic Miner. This may have included the use of multi-colour graphics and other graphical and sonic improvements.
According to a news article about the title, the game was at an “advanced state of development” at the time of them writing. There were stated to also be “many improvements” to the original game to take advantage of the C64 infrastructure over the ZX Spectrum.
Additionally (thanks to Andrew Nicklin!) in PC Games 1984, the following news snippet was given:
“Bug-byte hope to have a replacement for Manic Miner in the shops by early spring. The program, to be called Matty Goes Mining, will be a multi-level game for the Commodore 64.
Nasty things will happen to Cabbage Patch Dolls and many well-known figures in the computer industry will be lampooned. The program is written by Wayne Quinn, who is not a Hollywood cowboy star but a 16-year-old Liverpudlian.”
So at last we get a credit confirmation, and its the developer!…. Now how far did it get?
This was all that was ever heard of the game, and it never surfaced anywhere. Certainly if it was at an advanced state, then we’d like to see and find out what happened to it. Matthew was quizzed on this title and didn’t know anything about it unsurprisingly, but we now have a coder link.
In November 2021, a friend of Wayne – Chris Griffin, shed more light on this game and what actually happened. The title was originally started as a conversion of Manic Miner for the C64. When Matthew Smith got out of contract with Bug Byte, Wayne recoded the game to ‘Matty Goes Mining’, but it was never finished before Bug Byte collapsed.
The news article was incorrect, and Wayne was not a Liverpudlian. He was born in Wiltshire and moved up to Ellesmere Port when he was about 3 years old. Wayne and Chris were best friends, and Chris would help Wayne with conversion of the graphics. They were never sent the originals, so he and Wayne had to painstakingly redraw everything using 8×8 graph paper. Wayne used Zeus assembler to program the game, and the C64 and disk drive was given to him to use from Bug Byte.
Sadly Wayne passed away 3 years ago, so we will never get to hear his thoughts about the development or potentially see anything of his conversion and extended game. We thank Chris though for sharing with us the story about the game’s development and his memories.
Contributions: Andrew Nicklin, Dasse, Fabrizio Bartoloni, Chris Griffin