We're working on a simple one simple one-page ‘infographic’. It's intended to provide an 'at a glance' summary of the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum's features: "One Device ... Two Functions". It has been prepared but needs some
further refinement before it can be shared. We now hope to do that tomorrow.
It, along with the full project update of the Kickstarter appeal (which
is also in the works) and the addition of a device specification to the http://BluetoothZXSpectrum.com site should,
we hope, provide improved clarity regarding the functionality of the Bluetooth
ZX Spectrum device.
We appreciate your patience with us whilst we prepare these documents.
We're planning to write a short feature each day this week.
Each feature will be about one of Elite's ZX Spectrum-games. Each will be
written from a contemporary perspective - and so may contradict previously
written reports about each game - and most will include some unseen
documentation relating to each game. Today’s short feature is about Elite®’s
very first game, a game called … Kokotoni Wilf.
Kokotoni Wilf was written by four then-teenagers, Andy
Williams, Neil A. Bate, Stephen Lockley, and Rory C. Green in the store room of
a tiny shop, called ‘Bowies’ in Bradford Street in Walsall (in the UK) in the
autumn of 1984. All four were novices and Kokotoni Wilf was (probably) their
first commercial game. It was inspired, as were many ‘platform’ games at that
time, by both the format and the commercial success of Matthew Smith’s Manic
Miner and more significantly Jet Set Willy. Andy wrote the ZX Spectrum version
of the game, Neil the Commodore 64 version and Rory produced the graphics for
both. The game was written on a Spectrum for a Spectrum and each line of code
and graphical asset, once created, was saved onto a cassette tape. Like the
game’s theme, this method of doing things now seems pre-historic. In an attempt
to differentiate the game from the dozens of others which were similarly trying
to emulate Matthew’s achievements, Wilf the game’s protagonist was given a
special power. He could fly by batting his wings. This required repeated /
rythmic pressing of a key on the ZX Spectrum’s keyboard. Wilf’s movement left
and right was also managed by keyboard control.
Despite being an ‘original’ and ‘unlicenced’ work (that is,
not a port of a game from another system and not being associated with any
third-party brand) Kokotoni Wilf achieved a degree commercial a critical success.
From memory, unit sales - on first release were in the low tens of thousands of
units - and despite our (now obviously) outrageous suggestion that it could /
would be a Jet Set Willy beater, it was treated relatively kindly by the media.
The gameplay, as was normal at the time was challenging (read tough) and the
art, as can be seen from the loading screen, was competent.
PS: the name Kokotoni Wilf was derived by contracting the name of a town (Mkokotoni) featured in a then a contemporary
work of fiction and matching it with another male forename, Willy became Wilf.
Kokotoni Wilf will be available to play in all of its
rubber-keyed glory with the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum.
In the spring of
2011, Matthew Smith - author of legendary ZX Spectrum games Manic Miner and Jet
Set Willy - created the first of two sets of limited-editions by signing 50,
individually numbered, digitally re-mastered collectors’ prints of Manic Miner;
along with 5 artists’ proofs. Print #50 of 50 is owned by Matthew Smith; prints
#2-49 of 50 had already been sold prior to the launch of this appeal, print #1
of 50 is now being offered as a reward.
limited-edition collectors' prints do not include any of the devices. We hope
to make the prints more accessible this way. Since this is our first appeal
we're not entirely sure of the mechanism of pledging for multiple rewards but -
according to this informed source http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dreamforge-games/something-wicked-this-way-comes-crusader-plastic-m/posts/290134"... to pledge for multiple rewards, simply add the totals together for
all rewards you would like to participate in (including shipping), then make /
amend your pledge to cover all rewards you wish to back. When the project ends,
you will be sent a survey, simply list the rewards you
example of how we think we can make this work in practice, (and in so doing,
avoid the need to add a whole host of new reward combinations or to create rewards
that include items that you may not want).
Say you want a print
and a device.
E.g. Jet Set
Willy, Limited-Edition Collectors’ Print (#42-49 of 50) at £60 and a Bluetooth
ZX Spectrum for iOS devices - Founders' Edition at £50, both to be shipped to
an address outside the UK. To pledge for this you would add the two rewards together (£60 and £50, plus £10 for the cost of shipping the device to
an address outside the UK; total £120) and pledge that total amount. IMORTANT:
be sure to select the Jet Set Willy, Limited-Edition Collectors’ Print as your
reward, because it is a limited reward with the smallest number available. Then send
us a message and let us know what exactly you are pledging for and we will take
care of the rest at our end. We will deal with such pledges on a first come,
first served basis. When the survey goes out you will be able to
"spend" your remaining £60 on the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum for iOS
devices - Founders' Edition.
Please do not attempt to pledge for two or more print rewards, whether the same
or different. Both are limited rewards and are likely to sell out. In this
eventuality, we will supply only the reward for which you’ve pledged.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please do not attempt to pledge for two or
more device rewards, unless they are different. Kickstarter’s rules for
hardware projects forbid this. In this eventuality, we will supply only the
reward for which you’ve pledged.
The last few of individually
numbered, digitally re-mastered collectors’ prints of Jet Set Willy - signed by
Matthew Smith - are also being offered as rewards.
some unseen smartphone camera video of Matthew signing the individually numbered, digitally re-mastered collectors’
prints of Manic Miner. If you have an interest and some creative ideas about
how we could make this available as a reward, and so support this appeal, then
please share them with us all.
Elite Systems Ltd,
Elite® has been an eminent publisher of ZX Spectrum games since 1984.
photographs, taken earlier today, are of some of the original awards won by
Elite® in the 1980s - along with some of the ZX Spectrum games for which the
awards were won. It’s thought that no photographs of these awards - which have
been boxed and kept in storage for many years - have previously been published
(but if you have evidence to the contrary we’d love to see it.)
Many of the ZX Spectrum games, for which Elite® won the
awards, along with many other ZX Spectrum (and other) games and more will be
published as part of the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum range of apps. Each will be
playable on the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum in all of their rubber-keyed glory.
The 14 year-old girl (our daughter) who took these photographs enquired, "Who's Frank Bruno" ... aggghhh!
Note: Encore was
an imprint / label used by Elite® in the 1980s to re-issue its and others’ games
at a lower price, once the market for the games at their original price had
Just as soon as everyone’s back at their desk we’ll publish
a project update discussing in some more detail the differences between the Bluetooth
ZX Spectrum’s ‘Game Layer’ and its ‘QWERTY Layer’. This should assure those with a keen interest, that the device's performance as a Bluetooth keyboard is a key consideration in its design.
In the interim, whilst we’re still in the midst of ‘silly
season’, we thought we’d share a little information about the progress of our
Kickstarter appeal for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum, its prospects and the importance of promoting its existence to the widest possible audience. Remember, “A successful
Kickstarter appeal is an essential pre-condition of Elite’s plans for the
delivery of the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum.”
Here’s a mock-up of one of several ‘banners’ currently being
prepared for use of part of a holiday season Twitter campaign. We’ll be
encouraging you to share these banners to help us promote our appeal. (If you
have ideas for how to promote our Kickstarter appeal for the Bluetooth ZX
Spectrum, then please don’t hesitate to share them with us by contacting us
here, at http://BluetoothZXSpectrum.com or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
By 6pm GMT today (that’s 6pm UK time) almost 10% of the
duration of our Kickstarter appeal will have elapsed. At the time of writing (9:24am
GMT), we’ve achieved some 17% of our appeal’s £60,000 funding goal. This is
encouraging. Nonetheless, we know we've set ourselves a VERY demanding goal -
fewer than 1%* of successful Kickstarter appeals achieve such an elevated goal.
We'll be working hard, alongside our backers and supporters, throughout the
holidays and beyond to ensure that we build on this positive start and realise
our objective ... recreating the ZX Spectrum.
Here’s one of the things that Kicktraq is currently saying
about our Kickstarter appeal for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum. (We should all take
this with a pinch of salt as its forecast changes every few hours and is
currently based on relatively little data. Nonetheless, we are monitoring it.)
Yesterday was a “quiet day” for pledges and - as you can see
by looking at Kicktraq’s records of last year’s (much larger) Kickstarter appeal for Frontier’s Elite Dangerous - is typical for Christmas Day.
We can clearly see a close correlation between media
coverage of our Kickstarter appeal for the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum and your
pledges and we now appreciate, more than we did even a few days ago, that media
coverage of our Kickstarter appeal is as important as is our explanation of the
technical features and specs of the device.