That Was The Year That Was: 2009

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #70

My goodness me, that really was a blinder of a year for the BBC and Electron! We saw change on the Acorn Electron World web site on an unprecedented scale and it's no exaggeration to say that something unexpected came along practically every month.

The big things first, and to the launch of both the Acorn User and Micro User DVD collections. The result of months sitting scanning and furiously typing, 2009 saw complete libraries of every last page of these publications available for the first time, along with every last companion disc - combining the two, over 215 issues of fun (and history!) for less than the cost of a single PS2 game each.

And the archiving did not stop there - several new collections of games from rival magazine publishers of the 80s were also given a new lease of life via BeebEm/ElectrEm. The archives of C&VG games, Computer Gamer and Home Computing Weekly were all changed from 'Incomplete' to 'Complete'.

CHUCKIE EGG 2009 We had a new game of sorts in the guise of Chuckie Egg 2009, released at the Acorn World show of the same year, at which Dave M organised the most loyal of the machine's supporters into a hokey-cokey and provided two days of nostalgia and beer. We had a wealth of hitherto long lost games re-appearing; amongst them but by no means all of them: Beebplot, Das Schloss, Eiffel Tower, Exmon, GB Explorer, Machine Code For Beginners, Test Match, Traditional Games and Typeasy. In all and including the reams of Acorn User and The Micro User companion discs, a staggering... Wait for it... 320 new discs were added to the TRAINIAC archives in 2009. We were even reunited with the type-in Trainiac, which Dave E had been searching high and low for for almost two decades - it turned out to have come from a publication we only heard of very recently - Personal Computer News. Now there's even a DVD of many of its issues now available.

Oh, and do you remember the days when we didn't have instructions available for some of the programs that we featured on this site? Well, those days are gone - not only do we now have every single program completed with its instructions in html format, we even have html versions of every Electron User program, complete with screenshots. The first issue of Elbug has also been turned into an EUG-style 'on line' magazine.

GETTING MORE FROM YOUR BBC AND ELECTRON COMPUTERS We picked up some priceless Acorn Electron antiquities including an original Acorn Electron demonstration cartridge (used at the early exhibitions promoting the new dream machine of the day), some more of Slogger's early ROMs written by Phil Williams (Starword and Starstore 2) and even some rare books (e.g. Getting More From Your BBC & Electron Computers).

RETRIBUTION X The BBC Micro was not forgotten either - quite apart from all of the Acorn User and Micro User discoveries of which BBC users are the real beneficiaries, The Yorkshire Boys' seminal RETRIBUTION X was re-discovered to strike awe into the hearts and souls of whomsoever may come into contact with it.

Behind the scenes of our revamped web pages which now boast hundreds more original cover-art-style loading screens than at this time last year, many, many other projects have also begun and will hopefully see the light of day in 2010. A 'Search by Screenshot' feature has appeared already, but will be expanded very soon to cover every single game ever released for the BBC or Electron (including type-ins!). Eagle-eyed readers may have also noticed that the home page now features a dedication to the man who first introduced me to the Acorn Electron; no doubt the man himself would be overawed by what he indirectly created!

We also have more projects under construction including rescuing the last of the missing companion discs - you can see what's still missing if you visit this section of the site and have a browse around. The First Book Of Listings (from BBC Publications) and the Input programs disc near completion as we type this. In fact, short of scanning every book from our book archive section, there may shortly be very little more that we can do.

Raise your glasses to a great year and here's to 2010!