Plum Duff was a Christmas game being produced by Jason C Brooke, before he fully broke into pure music development. It was 1985, and after producing an unreleased music tool for Melbourne House in 1984 – he produced the Plum Duff game.
Binary Design started up in Manchester around Christmas 1985 and were looking for programmers, so Jason went for the interview, got the job and then Plum Duff was shelved.
Contributor Professor Chaos has found that the game was released by Bug Byte in 1985 on the ZX Spectrum, and pointed out that Jason was talking about his time on the ZX Spectrum. The game was never coded or started on the C64, so this is a closed case!
Contributions: C64.com, Professor Chaos
C64.com speaks with Jason C Brooke:
Tell us how your career in games started. Did you submit work samples to various games companies looking for jobs, or did jobs come to you?
“Before I encountered computers, I used to spend my spare time writing music. I wanted to be a professional composer but school told me that there was no way I would be able to do that for a living. When I got my Speccy, I became friends with another lad at school. He had written a game and sold it to Crystal Computing (later known as Design Design). We joined forces in 1984 and wrote a music composer utility. Melbourne House were interested in it and paid us a small advance.
I saw that as the start of my career even though the product never got released. I went on to write a Christmas game called Plum Duff which a company was trying to sell on my behalf, but around Christmas 1985, I heard that Binary Design had started up in Manchester and were looking for programmers. There seemed to be loads of programming jobs in Manchester at the time so I went for an interview, got the job and moved over the Pennines in March 1986.”
I think Plum Duff is ZX Spectrum only. When Jason mentioned Plum Duff, he was not yet talking about the C64, but his Spectrum origin. A bit above on C64.COM he says he started on the C64 in 1987.
He updated Plum Duff around late 1987 (you can tell from the scrolltext) and I guess it was probably first released then: https://worldofspectrum.org/archive/software/games/plum-duff-bug-byte-software-ltd
Good spot Professor Chaos, and not sure why I didn’t try looking for the Spectrum version in the first place to confirm. I’ll update the page now and will close the case. Thanks very much!