Acornsoft Reunion: Paul Fellows with Tim Dobson, Stuart Swales & Jonathan Griffiths

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  1. I just came across the Acornsoft reunion video and enjoyed it immensely (and not only because I was mentioned several times along the way).

    You guys haven’t changed at all! The hair’s a bit greyer and sparser than it was forty years ago (mine’s gone completely), but your voices haven’t changed! If I’d been listening and not watching I’d know who was speaking at all times.

    Paul has a lot of great stories, as befits someone who led the line and a lot of the projects. However, Paul I still haven’t forgiven you. When we moved to our fancy offices in Betjeman House, somehow you and I got the best rooms overlooking the Botanical gardens. One evening shortly after moving in, you brought your dog in who promptly crapped all over my office carpet.

    Tim – it’s 25 years since I last teased you about Monsters still not being finished. You need to be getting on with it or I’ll make sure it’s on your epitaph. I have lots of great memories of working with you in Market Hill. Whenever I needed some code for something, I’d pester you and you just knocked it up. And yes, ViewSheet Invaders and ViewSheet Bouncing Babies were classics of their type! I came across this site when I was mentioning elsewhere on the Internet that time when you knocked up an Eprom which had one function – switching the D and M keys on the Beeb keyboard, so if you pressed the D key you got M, and vice versa. We used to plug it in to people’s computers when they weren’t looking and watch what happened. We thought it hilarious having to type *WORM to get into View 🙂

    Jonathan – Snapper was the first computer game I was ever addicted to and in my opinion remains the greatest game ever written. I remember you developing it in early 1982 when Jeremy Bennett and I came into Market Hill in the evenings, trying to timeshare on the Beebs, with you and Tim and Neil writing your games. The ventilation in that room was terrible! The best Snapper was Electron Snapper played on the Beeb. You had to speed it up because the Electron was a third (?) of the speed. So Electron Snapper on the Beeb went incredibly quickly and so players could develop very fast reflexes without having to go through ten levels while it got faster.

    Stuart – you’re right – when I heard the rumour that you weren’t happy at Acorn it was a no-brainer for Mark Colton and me to make you our first employee. We were lucky to get you – you were a very fine programmer and the easiest person to work with. But to this day I tell people the story of your starting. You were supposed to start on 2nd January 1989. We didn’t realistically expect you to arrive at 9am even on your first day but when you hadn’t arrived by lunchtime we were starting to wonder if you’d changed your mind or forgotten, or something. We eventually tracked you down to your mother’s house (in Huddersfield?) and you said something like “oh, I was having a nice time up here so I thought I’d stay another few days”. I’m sure you’re the only person ever to be a week late on your first day at work and not get sacked!

    Now, that metal Acornsoft sign Paul has. As Jonathan mentioned, it was indeed me who saved it for the world. We were moving out of Market Hill to Betjeman House. Early 1984? Nearly everything had gone and I saw the sign above the door so I unscrewed it and nick<<<<borrowed it. I'm pleased to see it has been lovingly cared for over the years.

    What was the name of the pizza place in Green St we used to go for lunch every day? Was it Haji Baba's?

    Great memories

    Rob Macmillan

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