For once I would like to address you all on a more personal level instead of my usual high horse antics of ranting on about games and how much I seem to know about them. For once there is something that I need to bring to your attention and it is far more important than me and my ego.
Currently BAFTA award winning documentary making husband and wife duo Anthony and Nicola Caulfield are working on a fantastic project, a documentary encapsulating the history of the British video game industry entitled ‘From Bedrooms to Billions’.
From Bedrooms to Billions will intend to cover the early days of the British gaming scene starting from 1979 in the times of bedroom programming when one young aspiring visionary could independently dream, build and literally sell their ideas to the world by themselves.
The film will plan to take us all the way to 1996 and will be aiming to contain interviews from the following British video game pioneers:
Jon Hare, Matthew Smith, Paul Drury, Archer Maclean, Geoff Crammond, Tim & Chris Stamper, Jeff Minter, Andrew Braybrook, The Pickford Bros, Oliver Twins, Oliver Frey, Roger Kean, Franco Frey, Gary Penn, Julian Rignall, Gordon Houghton, Gary Liddon, Matthew Uffindel, Eugene Lacey, Mike Singleton, Mel Croucher, Steve Merrett, Gary Bracey, Iain Lee, Chris Anderson, David Braben, Sandy White, Malcolm Evans, Jon Ritman, Ian Livingstone, Violet Berlin, Fred Harris, Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Ally Noble, Malcolm Evans, Stuart Fotheringham, Kevin Toms, David Leitch, Jon Gibson, Tony Crowther, Lee Kirton, Eugene Evans, Simon Munnery, Dominic Wheatley, Geoff Brown, David Darling, Bruce Everiss.
Sadly this documentary may never see the light of day due to the scrapping of the National Lottery Film Council who were originally set to fund the project until they were disbanded by the new coalition government. The BBC then snatched up the project for some time only to drop it for a documentary about flags....... yes, flags.
So considering its current state it is more important than ever that you the British gaming public help prevent this invaluable project from dying an early death and here’s how you can help. Firstly you can donate by simply going to their campaign page on the fund raising site indiegogo.com. The more you donate the more you will receive for example a $25 donation (£15) will give you a personalised thank you and a digital copy of the documentary for you to keep. Where as a donation of $320 (£204) will get you in addition to the previous perks a personalised reviewer portrait of yourself reminiscent of British video game publications such as CRASH Magazine drawn by the legendary Oliver Frey.
I've wanted this ever since I was a kidSecondly you can (and just as important as donating) help by spreading the word around. The more people who know the better, so get to it on facebook, twitter, tumblr, blogger or just good old fashioned word of mouth. Tell everyone twice if you have to the more who know the greater the chance this project has.
If the importance of this project hasn’t hit home yet then hopefully I can help explain the significance of documenting the history of the British video game industry. As a scholar of video games I have been disappointed in the past to see that the majority of current publications on video game history are only told from the perspective of the American or Japanese industries and as a result droves of misinformed British gamers are convinced that events such as the crash of ’83 actually took place here. Far from it, while Atari an American company were facing a rapid decline Britain was at the heart of a colossal boom due to the popularity of cheap and accessible home computer games. This is just one important story of many that needs to be told so finally both the British public and the rest of the world will know the great legacy of British video games.
So please donate whatever you can and also spread the word to everyone you know. There is still a long way to go and the project only has 9 days left to obtain its required target of $35,000. If this project were to die an early death then it would be a terrible disappointment not just myself but for everyone. But if we succeed then we will be bestowed with a valuable treasure from a duo who love video games with a passion. Here is an example of some of their previous work a short documentary about the 20th birthday of a very special blue hedgehog.
If you’ve got this far then I just want to thank you for your time and I and the rest of the staff at WKG hope to hear of your support to this fantastic cause.