So, what’s new?
Well, this is a significant update. The site has changed its appearance a few times since it first appeared in May 2002, but this is the biggest yet because the Bird Sanctuary has been transformed from a hand-coded web site into a proper, robust and sophisticated blog. The process to find a replacement environment began a staggering four years ago, but it’s really only been in the last eighteen months or so that the real, hard work has gone into manually migrating the site content over and improving everything.
Using a blog gives the site a ton of extra functionality. For example, you can now leave comments directly onto the relevant page(s) rather than signing a Guestbook. You can also search titles by platform (e.g. Commodore 64) if you want to, by using the right-menu option.
Most Rainbird titles now have tribute pages, although some titles still need ‘Memories’ from the developers or other people involved to complete the tributes. Time – as always – will tell if I’m able to get back in touch with them and if they’re willing and able to recall events from so long ago! There are lots of changes to content all over the site, tweaks here and there, new images, information and so on.
Two brand new entries in this update including:
Elite Dangerous has been available for quite some time and is simply amazing. I hesitate to call it a ‘game’ because I think that does it a massive injustice. It is – of course – the latest in a line of games that stretch all the way back to the original Acornsoft Elite and then the Firebird conversions that followed.
Having bought a Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS joystick specifically to play ED, I’m now getting used to the new Elite and the new control method at the same time, and if I’m being totally honest I’m finding combat hard to get to grips with. My reactions and thinking times have clearly slowed down in the intervening years! However, I’m making progress and am aspiring to be a Trader and (hopefully in the future) a decent Explorer.
The game is already transforming, thanks to a number of recent additions including ‘Wings’, ‘Powerplay’ and ‘Close Quarters Combat’ and the recent reveal about ‘Horizons’. Of course, it’s also now appeared for the Apple Mac and on Microsoft’s Xbox One console. Exciting times!
Bedrooms to Billions
Talking of Kickstarter campaigns, another very relevant KS came to fruition at the end of 2014. The wonderful From Bedrooms to Billions documentary has been a long time coming, but has delivered in spades! Immerse yourself in a few hours of massive nostalgia and meet the developers and the people who helped shape the UK computer games industry. You’ll get to hear from ex-TelecomSoft alumni like Shahid Ahmad, Pete and Mike Austin of Level 9 Computing, Peter Molyneux, Nick Pelling, Jez San, Jon Hare and David Braben to name just a few! A follow-up documentary is also on its way, called ‘The Amiga Years’.