"Hello, well firstly an apology for the mistake in the last newsletter, the A.G.M. is this month, not last month as stated. We hope to have a good attendance at this meeting and an indication of the support for the continuance of our group."
So begins the April 1986 edition of the Christchurch VZ Users' Group newsletter. It was about this time that many computer user groups started to struggle. The computers around which the groups were based were becoming old and their popularity waning. Attendance was falling. According to Bob Kitch in A History of VZ User Groups in Australia and New Zealand this newsletter was to survive another two years before ceasing. Never fear though - you can now check out the April 86 edition right here!
Bob Pape is probably best known for his ports of the arcade games Rampage and R-Type to the ZX Spectrum. Many have described Pape's ZX Spectrum version as the best home computer port of R-Type to any platform, and I'd tend to agree; the arcade game was notable for it's large and well drawn graphics and the Spectrum version lives up to the original despite the Spectrum's colour limitations.
In It's Behind You Pape writes about his experience and the events that surrounded the production of these two games. While I found many of the technical details interesting it is the politics and dodgy business practices that I found the most enthralling aspect of this book. This was an engaging and enlightening read that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the ZX Spectrum or the 80s video game industry.
The first stage of the move was putting some things I wouldn't need straight away (OK, I'll admit it's arguable I don't need any of it) into my storage unit. Sadly the final photo I took before leaving was too blurry to show, but here it is before I put a few more boxes and a Coin Cascade arcade cabinet in it.