Shareware Heroes

By Richard Moss

The renegades who redefined gaming at the dawn of the internet

Friday, 12 October 2018

Still trucking along...

Hi all,

I've had a super-busy past month of freelancing, and am still going to be flat-out with non-book work through to the end of this month, but I wanted to give you a quick update on how things are progressing.

On the funding side, we're steadily rising — albeit at a much slower rate than I'd like. I hope to get that accelerating towards the end of this month and all through November, as my schedule opens up and I step up my marketing and my research/interviewing efforts, but I'd appreciate any help you can give in spreading the word about the book and this campaign.

Research has slowed a lot with my busy freelance schedule, but the good news is that once I get through this month I can dedicate most of the remaining time this year to the book — so expect things to progress rapidly in November and December.

That said, I have made some progress. I'm setting up interviews and expanding my list of games and developers to look deeper into, and I'm also beginning to get a grip on what the important stuff I hadn't heard about coming into the project is. (And I think I'll likely be talking to some of the big names — Tim Sweeney, John Romero, and Scott Miller, and so on — in November.)

Here are some of the people I've recently gotten in touch with:

  • Nels Anderson, founder of Arcanum Computing, which developed a hit shareware Mahjong game — here's all the shareware games stuff he made
  • David P. Gray, creator of Hugo's House of Horrors and Nitemare-3D
  • Michael Prestwich, founder of ImagiSOFT, which published a few well-regarded shareware games in the 90s
  • Martyn Brown, co-founder of 17-Bit Software, a shareware and public domain Amiga publisher/distributor that later merged with another company to form Team17 (of Worms fame)
  • Robert Sanborn, creator of an early shareware title (from 1985!) called The Sam Spade Game. I've actually already got some interesting material from him about the game's history — see my tweets here for a snippet of it.

On that note, I recently started a Twitter megathread about shareware games that I plan on updating regularly. It will contain screenshots, general game info, and various trivia and behind-the-scenes stuff. I've talked about four games in there so far — The Sam Spade Game (DOS, 1985), Maelstrom (Mac, 1992), Hugo's House of Horrors (DOS, 1990), and Glider (Mac, 1988-90 — it had multiple versions) — with many more to come.

As always, if you have any questions, queries, concerns, requests, or suggestions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter, via email (rich.c.moss  gmail), or through Unbound's Q&A thing on the campaign page.

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Matthew Diamond
 Matthew Diamond says:

I know you tried to reach the Cap'n Magneto author Al Evans for the last book, but might be worth another shot. That and Red Ryder (Scott Watson), were the first two shareware games I ever remember encountering, back in '85-86.

posted 12th October 2018

Peter Geddeis
 Peter Geddeis says:

Hey, Rich, I found out about the SECRET HISTORY drive from Macworld, and I know of other funders with the same experience. If you can get them to blurb you again, I’m sure that will go a long way…

posted 12th October 2018

Richard Moss
 Richard Moss says:

Thanks guys. I'll definitely reach out to all of them.

posted 13th October 2018

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