It was thought for many years that “Miner Willy Meets The Taxman” and “Megatree” were the same game, and that the first title was the working title for “Megatree”. Well, after attending a Q/A session with Matthew Smith at a CGEUK 2004 at Croydon, Matthew startled listeners when he talked about “MWMTT” and revealed that it was actually a separate game in itself.
In this title, Miner Willy has to travel back and forward in time and try and avoid the Taxman at different periods of history, collecting coins to pay the Taxman at the end of the game. Not much else is currently known at present, but we hope to speak to Matthew Smith at a future retro event to find out more.
Certainly, the Taxman part was thought to be a feature of Megatree, but it seems that over the years, the press mixed up the nature of the two titles and they combined into one GTW.
No doubt, although this would have been a Spectrum game first off, it would have had a C64 incarnation coded by another programmer. Matthew had no part on other machines at that time apart from the Speccy.
As far as GTW can tell and from what Matthew has said so far, it seems only bits and pieces of the Spectrum game were ever started. It is hoped that some of Matthew’s work disks and tapes will be recovered and something can some day be shown – but it will only be of a Spectrum conversion.
In 2021, Martyn Carroll revealed for Crash Magazine that Derrick Rowson was tasked by Alan Maton to create Taxman after JSW 2. Derrick produced a preliminary demo of a single scene stretched over four rooms and laid out in the style of Jet Set Willy, but played more like Manic Miner.
As you explored each of the 4 rooms, the action would carry on as you moved onto another room. So for instance, if a baddy followed you, then they would appear in the next room with you. Rather than flick screen, the game had a sort of scroll effect to move between rooms when Willy got to a certain point (a half screen jump).
Interestingly, as he worked on the demo – 6502 programmer Tom Lanigan sat with Derrick and got effectively a lesson in Z80 and helped Derrick on the game. When Tom left, he took a demo with him to show off at Odin to get a job. Odin asked Software Projects why the game was being demoed, and the shock of it being out there would cause Software Projects to decide to cancel the game.
Sadly Derrick no longer has the demo, but there is a faint possibility that Tom still does. Hopefully it will some day surface, but we don’t expect there to have ever been a C64 version started, but we are prepared to be surprised.
Contributions: Matthew Smith