The definitive biography of Sensible Software, one of the world's most groundbreaking video game companies.
Our Kickstarter campaign has now come to a close. We are hugely grateful to all of our backers for making Read-Only Memory a reality. To order a copy of Sensible Software 1986–1999 or find out more about forthcoming products please visit www.readonlymemory.vg
The definitive biography of Sensible Software, one of the world's most pioneering and best-loved games companies, and the flagship title for Read-Only Memory, a new publishing company specialising in high-quality video game products.
Sensible Software 1986–1999 will tell the story of Sensible through interviews and anecdotes from those who were there – including Jon Hare and the Sensible team – and a feast of visuals celebrating the company's idiosyncratic, groundbreaking style.
With your support, we want to publish the ultimate retrospective; immaculately designed and brilliantly written.
Sensible Software was founded in 1986 by childhood friends Jon Hare and Chris Yates. Throughout its lifespan, the company released some of the greatest and most fondly-remembered video games ever produced. Titles such as Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder, Mega lo Mania and Wizball were defining landmarks of the 16-bit era and embodied both the team's meticulous focus on gameplay and its distinctive and uniquely British sense of humour. With its independent, often irreverent ethos, Sensible is for many gamers the ultimate independent software house.
The book aims to combine art book production values with the very best in games journalism. The written portion will chronicle the rise of Sensible – from its C64 beginnings making games such as Parallax, Microprose Soccer and Wizball, to its million-copy-selling Amiga heyday in the early '90s.The narrative – guided by games industry luminary Gary Penn – will weave together anecdotes and interviews from the Sensible team, legendary developers, industry bods and our pick of the games journalists who saw Sensible rise to world stardom, first hand. Our confirmed interviewees include:
- Jon Hare (Co-founder)
- Chris Chapman (Sensible team member)
- Stoo Cambridge (Sensible team member)
- Dave Korn (Sensible team member)
- Martin Galway (Legendary games composer and Sensible soundman)
- Mike Montgomery (Co-founder of The Bitmap Brothers)
- Archer MacLean (Creator of IK+ and Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker)
- Gary Bracey (Ex-Ocean employee)
- Peter Molyneux (Creator of Fable, Syndicate, Theme Park)
- David Darling (Co-founder of Codemasters)
- Stuart Campbell (Sensible team member, Ex-writer for Amiga Power and unstoppable force of nature)
- Dominik Diamond (Ex-presenter of Gamesmaster and embittered Sensible Soccer player)
- Gary Whitta (Ex-writer for ACE)
- Alex Joseph (Nephew of the late Richard Joseph, co-composer of "Goalscoringsuperstarhero" and "War")
What follows is an exhaustive visual tour of all things Sensible: title screens, sprites, game maps, typefaces and box art, all beautifully reproduced. We're also excited to announce that we'll be digging into the Sensible vaults to uncover a bounty of never-before-seen archival material including hand-drawn maps, characters and menus that show the first inklings of Sensible's most famous games.
165 x 230mm • Softcover • Fold-out poster/jacket • Multiple paper stocks • Page extent 300pp (tbc)
The visuals shown here are proposals. As we work on the book over the coming months and the content really starts coming together, it's likely that the design will evolve. We'll keep you updated on how its shaping up as we progress.
Exclusive Reward Tiers
In addition to our main product, we have some tasty Sensible treats for fans donating more.
The Personalised Edition grants you Benefactor status in the book itself, which will be signed and dedicated to you by Jon Hare. It also comes in an individually-printed wrapper with your name integrated into the design.
For the Vinyl EP Edition we are producing a numbered, heavyweight 12” record including the songs "Goalscoringsuperstarhero" from Sensible Soccer and "War" and "Narcissus (The Hill Theme)" from Cannon Fodder. These are the original, studio-quality recordings, before the songs were crunched to fit onto the Amiga. The record will be expertly manufactured by The Vinyl Factory in London, and will not be reissued in the future.
The Poster Edition will include an A1 giclée print, specially designed by ROM for each individual buyer. We'd like to work with you over email, phone or Skype to develop the visuals for your perfect Sensible poster utilising artwork from a selection of the biggest games – whether that's a sumptuous graphic timeline of the Sensible games, or an ode to your all-time favourite. Printed to order on fine art matte paper, this one-off poster will also carry your name.
All backers will also get two audio tracks – Jon Hare and Richard Joseph's ‘D’ya wanna Play Golf’ from Sensible Golf and our very own ROM theme, composed by Andy Lemon.
This will be ROM's first product, and we're committed to making it the book we've always wanted to read ourselves.
We know our goal is ambitious, and it all goes towards making the book feel as special as it possibly can. We want the games to look even better than you remember them, and first-class print, multiple paper stocks and special inks will all contribute to this. And we want your feedback to make this the fans' dream Sensible book – so please include your suggestions and ideas when you back us.
If amazing things happen and we exceed our goal, we'll be speaking to backers directly to see how you'd like the project to evolve, whether that's extra content, more contributors, or an even higher spec. We'll also be seeking your input on ROM's future endeavours. With your help we can make this the first of many products that document great moments in gaming history.
Darren Wall & Read-Only Memory
I have 9 years experience as a graphic designer and run a one-man studio in London called Wallzo. I'm best known for my record covers for the band Hot Chip, as well as work in the fields of publishing, illustration, identity and typography.
Read-Only Memory is an attempt to bring together two things I'm enormously passionate about. Games have been a defining influence on my work as a designer, particularly the 16-bit era, when I first started playing video games.
As the first product from ROM, Sensible Software 1986–1999 will embody its mission: to make books that are exhaustively researched, elegantly – but not pretentiously – designed and written with a passion and wit reminiscent of the great game magazines of the '80s and '90s.
Follow project updates on Twitter @romalerts
Simply pledge the relevant amount for the number of books you require (plus postage) and we'll be in touch to confirm your order and note down the delivery address for each copy. So for instance if you live in Europe and want two copies, just pledge $84.00.
Yes! We'll send out digital versions of each song along to every backer of THE VINYL EP EDITION so you need never even tarnish that beautiful slab o' wax.