Graftgold were contracted to write four original 8-bit titles for TelecomSoft after Morpheus. Steve Turner had just finished converting Ranarama (published by Hewson) to the Amstrad CPC, and was ready to start on a new game. He was fond of the KLP2 character he created for Quazatron (again, published by Hewson) and was keen to use him again for Magnetron.
Steve had never been 100% happy with the scrolling technique he used in Quazatron. Whilst the C64 had hardware scrolling, the Sinclair Spectrum didn’t. Scrolling on the Spectrum was therefore quite jerky in comparison. He had seen a number of Spectrum titles succeed with the ‘flick’ screen approach, so Steve set out to implement a super fast screen flick in the sequel.
Although Steve considered Magnetron to be better than it’s predecessor, sales of 8-bit games in general were on the decline as the 16-bit machines (Atari ST and Commodore Amiga) were gaining in popularity.
Magnetron was published in early 1988 after the infamous courtcase between TelecomSoft and Hewson was settled out of court. The game was available for the Sinclair Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and the Commodore 64.
Many thanks (once again) to Steve Turner for his recollections!
Magnetron was converted to run on the C64 and the Amstrad CPC, but sales figures were disappointingly low, and Graftgold realised that it was time to concentrate on the new 16-bit machines. However, they were still contracted to write two more 8-bit games for TelecomSoft, namely Intensity and Bushido.