Caskmaster It’s taken me years to realise the first videogame I ever played was a rip-off; a lacklustre, store-brand facsimile of someone else’s idea. The game was called Barrels, and it was a janky clone of 1981’s Donkey Kong, made by a company called Spa (apocryphally Software Production Associates) for the RM Nimbus. The Nimbus was the digital workhorse for UK schools in the late 80s, and my mum worked at a school with three of the buggers. When I was ill or she was in work early, I’d get to hang out in her classroom, and I would immediately log on to the Nimbus to smash out a game of Barrels. I’d never heard of Donkey Kong. And I thought Spa was the same as food retailer SPAR, which just happened to make games as well as ham. In fact, I’d never played an electronic game of any sort before (except for perhaps one of those LCD things where you moved cars between three lanes to avoid obstacles), and so Barrels was completely novel to me. Searching my memory (and that’s all I have, since there seems to be next to no evidence of Barrels across the whole modern… Read full this story
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