I am John (duh!) and i'm from London,England. I started playing games on the Commodore 64 in the mid 80's and when I got a disk drive for Chritmas I never looked back! I loved all the American games that NEEDED a drive, like Wasteland and Red Storm Rising and Manic mansion! I also loved every single Microprose game - especially the simulations (RSR, Stealth Fighter, Gunship)! I also enjoyed the RPG's (Legacy of the Ancients) Adventures (all the Telarium games like Perry Mason and the Case of the Manderin Murderer) and wargames (Decision in the Desert)
In around '88 I was lucky enough to win a franchise for SE England to distribute Specturm, C64 and PC games to mostly Mom and Pop gaming stores (that's all that existed back then!). That lasted for just one year as the main company went bust and it was impossible to get stock! I joined a gaming retail store chain as area manager and in 1990 I took my second holiday to the USA. While there I saw lots of PC games that had never got to England. So I bought half a dozen of what I thought were good games and came back and told my employer that maybe we should get into publishing? We contacted these small game publishers in the U.S. and agreed deals to distribute them in Europe and Australia.I ran this part of the company while somebody took my old Area Manager position.
Having done a good job selling these American games, one of the companies said they had a new product in development but really wanted to be a developer not a publisher and would we be interested in worldwide rights? That of course meant opening a U.S. office....
Given my two month long trips to the U.S.in 1986 and 1990, My boss asked if I wanted to run the U.S. office! Of course, as a working class kid from London, I said 'yes!'!
In May 1991 I opened our U.S.office in Houston, Texas. The company was called R.A.W. Entertainment, Inc. (Roleplaying, Adventure and Wargames) Our most famous title was probably 'Action Stations!' a hardcore naval simulation (check it out on Home of the Underdogs!). Over the next 6 years (1991-97) We published titles on Amiga and PC. Unfotunately 1991/2 was when Doom came out and the market changed. This meant the company found it hard to grow (just like small publishers now - except they have the web and the ability to sell through downloads,which we didn't have!)
During this 6 years I was lucky enough to go to Trade shows regularly and meet the names we know and love, like Sid Meier, Dave Holland, 'Lord British'! and Jane Jensen (Gabriel Knight author). I also met lots of celebrities who were endorsing and giving their name to games. People like Buzz Aldrin (Buzz Aldrin's Space Race') and Tim Curry (Gabriel Knight).I also got to know the editors of great magazines of the time like Computer Gaming World! One of the biggest Trade shows had a show in L.Vegas in the winter and another in Chicago for the summer. I went to all the Vegas CEX's and half the Chicago CEX's during that 6 years! It was the best 6 years of my life up to that time and I couldn't believe I was actually running a games publishing business out of Houston, Texas U.S.A. When I thought my life would be spent in the suburbs of London!
All during this period in the States I played loads of games - they were tax deductible! So any U.S. hit game of 1991 through 1997on PC I probably played!
Eventually as more and more smaller publishers were bought up or closed down, and EA started taking over the world, I decided to call it a day and come back home.
With the little money I had I opened a computer game store and ran it successfully until 2001 when it was bought out by the forerunner of 'GAME' stores. I then went to work in I.T. support, which I did until a couple years ago.
I am 51 now,and have spent 25 years in computer gaming.I have been a distributor of games, a retailer of games and a publisher of games. But mostly, I have played games!
I currently have a collection of around 600 PC games and 150 Commodore 64 games (along with an actual C64 and two disk drives!). Between Microsoft's Virtual PC, which I have running Win 98, and DOSBox, I can play pretty much all the games I own. DOSBox has changed the whole outlook of retro PC gaming, as quite literally everyone can now play DOS games fairly easily!
Being steeped in the history of gaming, it is obvious that G.O.G.would be attractive to me, and I supported it immediately by downloading Fallout 1 and 2!
I hope G.O.G. goes on to much greater things, not just to give publicity to great old PC games, but to show we don't need onerous DRM and that we don;t need ever higher levels of graphics, forcing continual PC upgrades. These things are killing PC gaming. And if we can get games produced using the Half Life 2 and far Cry engines, instead of the Oblivion and Crysis engines, gamers would be more than happy with the graphics and developers could then concentrate on the gameplay! Without a successful G.O.G. I don't know how we will have a successful PC games market in 2-3 years! That's how important I think G.O.G. is!
Post edited September 13, 2008 by UK_John