Vaughan Clarkson started writing games when he was a schoolboy. His first computer was an Exidy Sorceror, but friendship networks exposed him to a range of different Z80 computers, and these were a source of interest to him. He started writing a game in assembly language when he was in Grade 5 but found that it was beyond him at that stage. Instead he modified a number of games from the Apple computer, reverse engineering the game mechanics and asking himself how he could “take that thing that runs on the 6502-based Apple and make that run on the Z80-based Exidy Sorcerer?”
Later Clarkson got a Microbee, which is the system he wrote “Gridfire” and “Hoards of the Deep Realm” for. “Gridfire” sold somewhere in the vicinity of 1,700 copies. On the basis of this success, Clarkson decided to write another game. He recalls it took him “probably a year and a half or two years of most nights and good parts of weekends cutting code and making it work. And you know I was really pleased with the result, I thought I’d employed quite a few tricks that I hadn’t seen other people using to make a reasonably smooth animation. It really sort of, I felt pushed the capabilities of the Microbree to its limit to make this thing work. But it had taken me too long to get there.” “Hoards of the Deep Realm” seemed to sell quite well, but it was published late in the Microbee era, by which stage the company was on the brink of collapse. The royalty cheque Clarkson received for the title bounced.
Other games developed: