Saturday, August 6, 2011

An Update From Bill Demas

I wrote about William Demas' Forbidden Planet adventure a while back, and the man himself recently dropped us a note to clarify some historical speculation on my part and provide some additional information.  He gave me permission to publish his email here:

I just came across your review of my 30-year old adventure.  Such a long time ago.  There are a few historical errors that I think I can correct for you.  Fantastic Software was not my company, but was a local Las Vegas software company run by Al Loose at the time.  I cannot recall how I became involved with him after all this time, but he had the contact with Dick Barker about the speech synthesis and thought it would be great for an adventure game.  I was, and still am, a Las Vegas resident, but I was already in college when I started developing software on the TRS-80.  I wish I had been only 14 years old as Scott  seems to think I was!  No online service companies etc. myself, but I did go on to write many educational games for a company called Unicorn Software in the mid to late 80's on several platforms (Amiga, Apple IIgs, Atari).  I even ported the Forbidden Planet / Forbidden City adventures onto the old original B&W Macintosh and they were redistributed by Unicorn Software.  I believe the titles were "Futuria" and "Utopia", but I honestly do not remember. I'll have to have a look and see if I still have any of the packaged products. We added graphics to the adventures for the Macintosh.

Thanks for the kind words.  I do remember having a lot of fun writing in machine/assembly language back in those days.  To this day I still have several of the Z80 instructions burned into my brain.

Thanks, Bill!  One of my motivations for this blog is to try to capture some of the undocumented history about early video and computer gaming, and there's no better source than the authors themselves.

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