Matthew Smith (games programmer)
Matthew Smith, at the Screenplay festival in Nottingham, UK (2005)
1 January 1966 |
He wrote Manic Miner in six weeks. It was the first ZX Spectrum title with in-game music. The sequel, Jet Set Willy, took considerably longer to write. Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy were both commercial successes. Smith has stated that Manic Miner was the most enjoyable game to make for him whereas Jet Set Willy was 'seven shades of hell'.
After the creation of Jet Set Willy he started work on The Mega Tree for publication by his company Software Projects. Unlike his previous two hits The Mega Tree was not developed for the ZX Spectrum but the Commodore 64. The project failed to gain traction and was abandoned three months into development.
In 1987 adverts began appearing in games magazines for a new game Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens From Mars said to have been programmed by Smith, and due for release by Software Projects. It is reported that Smith was unhappy with the finished product and it was never released.
Smith closed Software Projects in 1988 without completing any more programs. He lived in a Dutch commune from around 1995 but was deported from the Netherlands in October 1997 and returned to Britain. He said that he had failed to keep his residency papers in order.  In the late 1990s, he said he was "surprised and flattered" at the amount of attention and speculation he had attracted on the Internet.
Return to gaming industry
In 1999 Smith returned to the UK video game industry by taking a job at Dewsbury-based computer game developer Runecraft. The company went into receivership and only one new game (Scrabble for the Game Boy Color) appeared.
In 2000, he appeared on a British television documentary programme called Thumb Candy about the history of video games in which, in a brief interview, he discussed Manic Miner and his 1980s career. He has also attended and given talks at retrogaming conventions during this decade.
- Smith, Matthew (19 July 2009). "Videogame Nation". Urbis (Interview). Manchester. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Matthew "Manic Miner" Smith: complete transcript of 2005 interview". 10 August 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Attack of the Mutant Zombie Flesh Eating Chickens From Mars". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Matthew Smith, interview by Pete Mella". Archived from the original on 27 April 2006.
- Matthew Smith and Elite join forces for new game, 29 March 2013, retrieved 15 April 2016
- Matthew Smith is Here!
- Where is Matthew Smith?
- The Matthew Smith Mystery (Interview from 1984)
- Matthew Smith at DMOZ
- Matthew Smith article and first online interview since returning from The Netherlands
- Matthew Smith's profile at MobyGames
- Matthew Smith 2009 interview after Videogame Nation exhibition at Manchester Urbis on 19 July
- Short Matthew Smith interview August 1999