Originally coded by John F. Cain, Booty for the 48k Spectrum, Booty was also converted to the Commodore 64 and the Commodore C16/+4 by Kevin Moughton and to the Amstrad CPC by Paul Johnson.
The game was allegedly originally written for Rabbit Software and was going to be called Jolly Roger before the publisher went bust. The game was then submitted to Telecomsoft in response to the original Firefly advert.
Some versions differed from others. For example, the C64 version used colour-coded keys to doors rather than numbered keys, and it also laid claim to 180 rooms on the ship, whilst the Spectrum original only mentioned 20 decks in total.
Booty reached phenominal sales, totalling well over 100,000 copies! To mark the occasion, Home Computer Weekly’s editor Dave Carlos presented Firebird’s James Scoular and the programmers (Kevin A. Moughtin and John F. Cain) with a gold tape award. James’ Gold Tape was adorned with pictures of himself taken from a recent Crash Magazine article. A few years later, Booty was included in a Sinclair Research brochure promoting the new Spectrum +128k machine. The copy in the brochure claimed that Booty had sold over 150,000 copies.
As for the hidden swimming level on the Spectrum, it was originally in the game but Jon Cain was apparently asked to remove it. Instead of exorcising the code, he simply removed the ability to gain access to the level but it was left intact and could be triggered by pokes or by attaching a Currah Microspeech device. Other people have claimed access in-game, but so far no evidence has been produced to support this.
Booty was also planned to be converted to the Sinclair QL. Priced at £9.99, it was also going to include a second free game on the microdrive catridge called Grin Wars. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that the QL conversion was ever written, let alone released.