Way back when I was just a little boy, my first ever home computer was a Commodore VIC-20. I graduated to a Sinclair ZX Spectrum + a year or so later in about 1990. I can remember buying games on audio cassette in WH Smith, patiently typing in lines of BASIC from written instruction and my parents telling me that my £7.99 copy of Hero Quest was "too much for a game and we'll never spend that much on one game ever again". But those halcyon days of the games industry are long gone and in the heady days of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One's global success, the industry's UK roots are being forgotten. That's where From Bedrooms to Billions comes in.
It's a film that documents the astronomical rise of the games industry from the bedrooms of amateur coders--who realised they could make money from their hobby by copying tapes and selling them by mail order--through to the revolutionary shake-up of the industry when the 16-bit consoles emerged. Truth is, we never really had that infamous E.T./Atari slump in the UK, because we were perfectly happy playing with our Speccys and Commodore 64s. This film shows that side of story. Look, it's got Jeff Minter in it:
The film was made by Anthony and Nicola Caulfield and was crowd-funded through Indiegogo (and I'm pleased to say we ran a story urging people to support it, back in 2012). It's a long film at some 2.5 hours long and there is as much bonus footage again available if you want it. Why is it so long? It's full of interviews with industry luminaries, like Peter Molyneux, The Oliver Twins, Dave Perry, Mark Healey and loads more. And they've all got interesting things to say.
I've watched the digital version of the film and would recommend it to anyone who wonders what gaming used to be like 'in the olden days', or already knows and wants to get nostalgic. You can buy it from www.frombedroomstobillions.com for £9.95 upwards, depending on which edition you want and whether you want a download or a boxed Blu-Ray or DVD.
Do you have something really cool that you'd like to share with us? Let us know! Maybe we'll even post it. Can email us at suggestions@or find us on Twitter @GamesRadar.