News And The Internet

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #50

Bradforth v Emulation [2000]

On 1st February this year, David Bradforth, proprietor of the berated ProAction (See EUG #48) sent the following letter to the Retro BBC site (, which contained downloadable BBC games, playable with an emulator on a PC:

"With regret I must inform you that the inclusion of the BBC/Electron titles from Superior/Acornsoft on your web site cannot continue. The inclusion of these titles is not beneficial to the gaming market [This is a rebuttal of the Mission Statement on the site - Ed]; far from it - there are plans afoot to resurrect all of the titles in a suitable format for emulation users.

"We're quite happy to supply versions of these games suitable for emulation but cannot allow them to be freely available on the internet; that is infringing the copyright of Superior Software/Superior Microcomputing.

"I would therefore emplore you to please remove the titles. I have passed your details to the Managing Director of Superior Software: he may contact you separately shortly."

Richard Judd, or Detrovix as he calls himself, complied with the request posting the letter, and a message that the site would now probably disappear, at once. But he contended eloquenly that ProAction could 'kiss ass' if they thought games such as Mutant Spiders and Elite needed to be withdrawn. Both have their own web sites, run by their original authors, where they can be downloaded.

Just a few days later, The Stairway To Hell web site, run by Dave M at, responded to the howls of protest from emulation fans by providing all of the removed titles on its own web page.

These events have opened up a complicated debate on whether the copyrights on all of Superior's titles are enforceable, what in fact the relationship is between ProAction and Superior and what David Bradforth, who doesn't rate highly in 8 bit-related circles, achieves by forcing the withdrawal of such antiquated games.

EUG is monitoring the situation and we hope to present Superior's response to these issues in EUG #51. In the meantime, note that Retro BBC has reverted to including the emulated games again. Let's see if, to ProAction, "This means war!"

Adventuring Over And Over Again

What do the following have in common? Acheton, Avon, Countdown To Doom, Hezarin, Kingdom Of Hamil, Last Days of Doom, Murdac, Philosopher's Quest, Return To Doom and, um, Spy Snatcher. Well, first, they're ten adventures that only run on a BBC, or Electron with an Advanced Plus 4, giving you some idea as to their quality and second, they're all disks from Topologika Software which, almost incredibly, still supplies them.

As reported in this column before, Peter Killworth, the author of the Doom trilogy and Philosopher's Quest, has placed these four disks in the Public Domain. The others, written by master coders such as Dr. Jonathan Partington and Jon Thackray, remain copyright but all are available in new plastic wallets with original inlays and packaging.

Remember the hesitation before the last title? Well, Spy Snatcher is a game that, although completed, was released so late into the BBC and Electron's life (1993) that it could possibly be the last professional adventure ever released. So rare is this title that the only admitted owner is our editor!

(Note that Topologika no longer have the facilities for duplicating Electron disks. You can purchase the packaging and right to ownership from Topologika but will need to write to EUG for the disk itself!)

One Up, One Down

Martyn Sherwood, the editor behind 6502z80 Magazine of which issue #0 was reviewed in EUG #45, has recently announced that there will be no further issues due to a lack of interest.

Unrelated to this, a new web site has sprang up in cyberspace named 'Only The Best BBC Games'. It contains a few nice screenshots and scanned software covers not seen elsewhere and can be visited at

Stop Press - Printer Supplier Details

Searching for office supplies for your old 8 bit computers? For example, new printer ribbons? Try Viking Direct at or write to Viking Direct, Bursom Industrial Park, Tollwell Road, Leicester LE4 1BR.