Old Future Publishing

Amstrad Action
Where it all began. Nearly.

A long time ago, people used to write like this, for money, about video games for a large publisher. This was 1990 something or other, when Fewtch was trying to get online off the ground via DailyRadar, an email newsletter compiled using the kind of CMS that would make people nowadays say, “Gopher? Usenet? WTF”. It’s presented purely for the historical record. Not the historic. Look up the differences in meaning yourself.

//strap This week, GK gets involved with a voice from beyond the grave, a large amount of cash, and dirty dealings… the outcome is surprisingly jocular


Game Kid’s Aunty Mandy died and left him enough money never to need to work again – except the old bitch had ensured that he had to. So he was sitting, mulling over one of the many codicils that laced her PGP-encrypted emailed Will.

“If , five months after my demise Game Kid has not written a best-selling PC-based game, all the money will go to those nice boys at Future Gamer.”

Aunty Mandy had been a game-maker, responsible for such gems as, World Class Shakspearian Actor,Sega Muffin Eater,Ethan Hawke Rollerblading and Girlie Paddling Pool Diver Deluxe, all of which had died deaths everywhere but Finland. She’d made her real money from selling dodgy Amiga 500s.

The Kid didn’t care about the cash, most of which he’d salted away in Ostrich Farms and a useful marlin fishing franchise in Calabria. He did not, however, want to see “those nice boys at Future Gamer” get their hands on the residue of the spending spons.

“Old woman. Will. Death. After-death farging around. Ghosts. Evil. Money…”, write about what you know. Cheering himself up with a glass of Tanglefoot and a small exotic cheroot, he set to emailing all his very good friends in the games industry.

“Dear Best Mate”, he mailmerged in a genuinely personalised and caring manner, “do you have any games that you’ve shelved but that are largely about an evil old bat who, after death, comes back to haunt her well-meaning relatives? Cos I’ve got some cash and I’ll be well-pleased to pay for it to be published in Finland as long as my name goes on it? All the best and that, see you soon, hope {insert name of footy team function here} do well this season, Game Kid.” He pressed Send and headed off to celebrate his nous.

Days later following a Grade ‚ÄòB‚Äù binge, only a single response looked back at him from his in-box. But its subject line filled him with joy: Resident Aunty. Reading over the spec of the game, Kid’s smile widened to quarter-melonic proportions. It was perfect. He emailed back immediately, with four months and 30 days since Aunty Mandy had been laid to rest, he had to.

“There’s only one problem,” came the response, “the old bag who wrote it said that if anybody ever wanted to publish the game, they had to open this enclosed PGP-encrypted email. And we don’t have the key.”

“Oh, I think I do”, he sighed once again.

"Dear Game Kid, don't be such a smart bastard in future. You are not allowed to publish Resident Aunty under your own name. Knowing that you've left this so late, please give the lovely boys at Future Gamer my fondest regards. PS: there are no marlin in Calabria and ostrich farms make bad investments. Lots of love, Mandy Kid."

“Bugger” said Game Kid, “foiled again. The fu…” but it was too late for remorse or invective.

This week’s moral: Don’t try to cheat dead relatives out of getting her own way. And Finnish gamers have their own quirky sense of fun, but it doesn’t make them bad people.

Note: this wasn’t my copy. This was raw copy sent to me as a freelancer to proof. I did like it though.

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