A very quick entry for a surprise title which we never knew about until reading a snippet in ACE magazine about “Costly Games That Never Made it”.
In that list was a game called Reach For The Moon, which apparently had a 5 or 6 figure sum written off by Rainbird around 86/87 time when the plug was pulled. The game was a mega-project apparently commissioned from ODE (Oxford Digital Enterprises – thanks Merman!)
According to the article, the project may well have been the most expensive software abortion so far (back in 1987 at least!).
We’re not quite sure what the game was – but the end of the article suggested that it was a Space Shuttle based game of some kind. See the comments thanks to Max, but it seems the game was actually developed by Magnetic Scrolls. A coder admits to being part of the Spectrum game – may have even been finished according to the person only known as “Deep Fried Geekboy”
Richard Horrocks got in touch and suggests that the game was well under way when he started at ODE. It has been suggested that David Pringle, Gareth Blower and Rik Yapp may know more about the game.
The game was dropped not long after Richard had started, with the entire team moving onto a new Trivial Pursuit game. Richard was an Amstrad CPC programmer at the company, before moving onto the Amiga.
The game did surface in some shape or form, with parts used in later games. One part in particular was the office scene used in “Yes, Prime Minister”. This was actually from an interactive office scene for the head of NASA in the game that was never used.
Promising days to try and find out more! … Watch this space!
Contributions: Andrew Fisher, Max Mirini, Richard Horrocks
I can’t take credit as author, the game was already well under way when I started working for ODE. David Pringle, Gareth Blower and Rik Yapp had all done work on the game before then and might be able to give more info if you can get in touch with them. I seem to recall the game was dropped not long after I started, and the whole company started working on Trivial Pursuit, my first published game. No idea who “Deep Fried Geekboy” is, it’s not John Wood, who joined ODE when I did and did the Spectrum work on that and other games, I worked on the Amstrad CPC before moving onto the Amiga.
BTW, parts of the game resurfaced in later ODE game, in particular an interactive office developed to be for the head of NASA was later used with a few changes in the “Yes, Prime Minister” game.
Thanks for confirming Richard and for the excellent leads – we’ll get right onto them :)
a little more digging, then found this from Zero March 1990 page 35, right hand box in yellow:
I think it confirm Richard “Champie” Horrocks as the author ?
That is superb work Max! Removed the post with contact details, so he doesn’t get bombarded. I’ll give him a shout now :)
check this out Frank,
Writing these things was my first real job (Score:3, Interesting)
by Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @03:12PM (#10131360)
Seriously… well, unless you count my brief employment as a rocket scientist at the Propellants, Explosives and Rocket Motor Establishment.
I did a whole game for Magnetic Scrolls called REACH FOR THE MOON, which unfortunately never got published as far as I know.
They were a very fun company to work for. I think I did the whole thing on a Sinclair Spectrum which they shipped out to me. It paid surprisingly well, too.
Great spot Max! …. Shame unfortunately I cannot track him back to a real person or name. Last post from them was 2007. But Magnetic Scrolls is a great start for a lead!
It’s crazy how much a game cost to develop so long ago and for a machine that was only 64kb!
ODE – Oxford Digital Enterprises, best known for the Trivial Pursuit games
Thanks Merman! Will update now! :)