Planet Sinclair


x The Industry

Delta 4

x Bored out of his skull
x The Great Rip-Off

Gargoyle Games

x The Gargoyle Speaks
x Heavy on the mockery


x A Gremlin in the Works


x The Hewson Express


x The Assent of Everiss
x Decline and Fall

Level 9

x On the level

Matthew Smith

x Matthew uncaged
O Show Us Your Willy!


x Wizz for Skooldaze!

Mike Singleton

x Lord of Midnight
x Maelstrom in a Teacup


x Developments down in the Docklands
x Norse Code


x Playing A Rare Game

Last updated
4 Feb 1998

Show us your Willy!

(Your Sinclair, February 1986)

"I suppose there's not much sex in Jet Set Willy. Maria's a bit on the stocky side and as for Esmerelda, she zaps you when you touch her."

Matthew Smith isn't the tidiest of programmers. Take the time he went to a posh restaurant in the Sears Building in New York. No corduroys, no cut-offs, no sweat-shirts, no sandals - that was the house rules. Bit of a shame really, 'cos that just about describes Matthew's wardrobe! Yep, he's a right scruffbag on the outside but on the inside - well, that's another matter. Beneath the crumpled clothes and the hippy hair is a razor sharp wit and a phenomenal programming talent. Well, what d'you expect from the man who created every (well, nearly every) Speccy owner's favourite comic character - that's right, the manic jetsetter himself, Miner Willy.

  • What are you working on at the moment?

A Spectrum. (Big grin!)

  • Let's rephrase that. Is it true that you're working on Willy Meets The Taxman?

No comment. (Even bigger grin!) Oh okay yes. I'm designing it and doing the graphics and there's a team on the programming. This time Willy's going to be taller than before - he's grown up since JSW.

  • Will it be another platforms and ladders job like Manic Miner and JSW?

There are things that could be described as platforms but they'll be ridden. And the baddies, about fifty of em, won't be the stupid bouncing up and down type. They'll be intelligent - well, all except for the stupid ones that is!

  • Is this the end of Willy as we know him?

Yep. He won't even be brought back by public demand. The platform game's finished - JSW was the best ever. There's no new programming ideas in this game - well, it's not really anything to do with me. They won't even program the game as I've designed it - must be 'cos I can't design properly! The only way to get results is to program myself.

  • So, what are you working on at the moment?

No comment. (There's that grin again!) Well, I am working on a project. It's not state of the art... fast loader... interactive... it's a mental challenge controlled by the computer and... pheweee... Everything but the game's called Limbo - in fact, everything's in Limbo. And when you stop playing you go into Limbo too! It's also an expandable game so don't think you'll get away with just buying the one tape. And it'll take advantage of different Spectrum memory sizes. It'll work on a normal Spectrum but it'll use the extra memory of a 128K if you've got one.

  • Have you got one?

Yeah... er, no! Sorry Sinclair! I saw one on my holidays in Italy... er, Spain.

  • What's your favourite new game?

The only decent game recently is Fairlight.

  • Do you mind people taking the mickey out of JSW?

No, I take the piss myself. That's what he's there for - he's a bit like Charlie Chaplin.

  • Isn't JSW a bit like a waking nightmare?

A woken-up too early nightmare! Most of the game was planned under the influence of alcohol and written under the influence of other noxious substances.

  • D'you think there's anything deeply psychologically disturbing about your games. All those Willies and toilets?

No. But you'd better ask my analyst. I s'pose there's not much sex in JSW. Maria's a bit on the stocky side and as for Esmerelda, she just zaps you when you go to touch her. Originally you were going to have to take her to bed - and then she'd kill you. But I dropped that for deep psychological reasons. Hmmm.

  • D'you still live at home? (An eavesdropper: I thought everyone lived at home.)

Wherever I lay my hat that's my home!

  • Have you got any fluff in your navel?

No... oh, hang on, yes there is some.

  • What colour is it?


  • How old are you now?


  • No longer the boy wonder eh?

Not over the hill yet though!

  • Are you a trainspotter?

Not since I lost my paintbrush.