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Odin Computer Graphics Ltd

Odin Computer Graphics Ltd (OCG) were known as ‘Thor’ in the early 1980s. Based close to Liverpool’s Albert Dock, Thor’s early catalogue mainly consisted of Spectrum games written by freelance programmers.

Thor’s most successful game was Jack and the Beanstalk, but the majority of games they published were not held in such high regard.

Thor was reorganised and restructured as Odin in 1985 to give the company a fresh start. All games were to be developed in-house, giving them the chance to have more control over the quality of the titles they published. The first game to be released under the new company name was Nodes of Yesod, an arcade ‘platform’ game. It was an instant hit, and paved the way for a string of other successful titles including Arc of Yesod (a prequel published by the reincarnated ‘Thor’ label rather than by Odin), and Robin of the Wood (which featured excellent music and graphics).

Odin consisted of a number of programmers, graphic artists and musicians including Steve Wetherill, Stuart Fotheringham, Marc Dawson, Keith Robinson, Paul Salmon, Colin Grunes, Robbie Tinman, Keith Tinman, George Barnes, Tommy Laningan, and Derrick Rawson to name just a few. Neil Fitzmaurice looked after Odin’s warehouse, and he eventually went on to greater things, starring alongside comedian Peter Kay in ‘Phoenix Nights’ on UK television.



BT approached Odin in 1985 and negotiated a contract (paid in monthly instalments) to exclusively market Odin's games worldwide for twelve months. The contract specified that Odin would produce ten titles for BT across a number of different publishing platforms. It also included a clause that gave marketing rights to a game back to Odin if TelecomSoft failed to promote the title over a six month period. For a while, TelecomSoft also used part of Odin's warehouse space for storing unsold stock of Rainbird, Firebird and Beyond games.



Just after Odin signed the BT contract, a lucrative offer from Capcom to design a coin-op based upon Robin of the Wood had to be turned down due to Odin's new commitments to BT. The deal would have also given Odin the job of converting Capcom's 'Gunsmoke' for the home market. Odin had also begun experimenting with Laserdisc games, using a Sinclair Spectrum to control the disc player and the gameplay movements via an RS-232 interface. They bought a Space Ace arcade cabinet, a converter kit and the Laserdiscs for Dragon's Lair to help learn how it all worked. This developments was put on hold for the duration of the BT contract, and was ultimately abandoned. The Laserdisc player and the Dragons Lair discs were sold on to Software Projects to help them develop their official home computer versions of Dragon's Lair for the Commodore 64 and Sinclair Spectrum.



The Odin developed titles published under TelecomSoft ownership were:

  • I.C.U.P.S. (International Commission for Universal Problem Solving)
  • Mission A.D.
  • Heartland (working title was 'Kimera')
  • On the Tiles (working title was 'Black Cat Game')
  • The Plot (working title was 'The Gunpowder Plot')
  • U.F.O. (working title was 'Invaders '86')
  • Hypaball
  • Scary Monsters
  • Sidewize

Unfinished titles included:

  • P.L.O.D.
  • Tank Game (working title)
  • Lusitania (working title was 'Sunken Ship Game')
  • Spartacus (working title was 'Gladiator Fighting Game')

Unfortunately, the deal between BT and Odin did not go smoothly and the problems were not conducive to creativity. In hindsight, Odin's deal with TelecomSoft didn't produce their best work, and by the end of the contract the company had closed and the various management, coders, musicians and artists all went their separate ways. In hindsight, the company was full of very young and inexperienced programmers, artists and musicians who weren't managed as effectively as they needed to be and who lost their creative edge, direction and motivation as time marchedĀ on.

Bugs

Odin moved into refurbished offices at the Liverpool Docks that had previously been occupied by another games software developer and publisher, Bug Byte.

Thanks to Steve Wetherill and Paul McKenna for most of the above anecdotes.

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