Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

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Wiborg1978
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Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by Wiborg1978 »

Hi,

that anyone know what happened to the stuff of the BBC Micro User magazine/Database Publications Ltd after the end?
Has anyone the contact to Editor Mike Bibby?

Thank you

Dennis
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jms2
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by jms2 »

I'm not sure I understand the question. The Micro User became Acorn Computing and eventually merged with Acorn User. This went on to become Qercus (I think).
Kevin Edwards
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by Kevin Edwards »

Hi,

You can find more information about Database Publications / Europress here:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europress

I worked there for a couple of years in the mid-80s with Mike and Pete Bibby, but haven't a clue what they're up to now i'm afraid.

Derek Meakin, the founder of Database Publications, sadly passed away several years ago.

Cheers,
Kevin.
Wiborg1978
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by Wiborg1978 »

Kevin Edwards wrote:Hi,

You can find more information about Database Publications / Europress here:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europress

I worked there for a couple of years in the mid-80s with Mike and Pete Bibby, but haven't a clue what they're up to now i'm afraid.

Derek Meakin, the founder of Database Publications, sadly passed away several years ago.

Cheers,
Kevin.
Thank you (and all others) for your response. The reason for my question is that i´m looking for a game, called "Popeye" that was sold to the Database Publications in 1983 but got not released. It has certainly been stored somewhere in the company. Maybe it's still in Mike Bibby's possession in a box in the garage...
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Rich Talbot-Watkins
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins »

(I split off the discussions on Mini Office II and its protection system into this topic.)
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by fuzzel »

I'd love to know if the mailbags (letters, hints, maps etc) from the Mad Hatter and Alice adventuring columns have been archived somewhere.
I suspect though that they had a clearout at some point, especially when they moved offices.
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Rich Talbot-Watkins
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins »

While talking of the Micro User, does anyone know who the columnist Hac Man was? Was he a known name in the Acorn scene? Is he, in fact, on this forum?!
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by Kevin Edwards »

I do know who Hac Man is, but my memory is totally letting me down! I'll probably remember in a week or two!

The popular Bob and Trev stories were the work of Pete Bibby - Mike's twin brother and editor of The Electron User.
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Post by Kecske Bak »

Really foggy memory now - weren't there actually two different Hac Mans?
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by Kevin Edwards »

I wouldn't be surprised.

I thought one of them was Jon Revis, a prolific game reviewer at The Micro User who used many pseudo-nyms. In fact all the editorial staff had numerous names. One of mine was Edward Johns. Otherwise, some issue looked like they only had a handful of contributors.

Did you work for Database Publications / Software?
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Rich Talbot-Watkins
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Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins »

Google tells me that apparently there was a "Hac Man 2", who was Ricky Delarre (co-author of Karma on the Archimedes, who lost his life in an motorbike accident). I must've moved on by then though - once the magazines had pretty much dropped the Beeb content and were focused entirely on RISC OS.

I remember Jon Revis' name as a reviewer in The Micro User. I don't think there was ever any hint that he also wrote the Hac Man columns! All the computer magazines back then had few contributors and plenty of pseudonyms... they must all have been produced on a shoestring budget!
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by Kevin Edwards »

Absolutely, there were 4 or 5 editorial staff plus a handful of external writers but most of the content was produced in-house for several magazines.

I remember writing articles for The Micro User, Electron User, Atari User, and Computing with the Amstrad amongst others. It was a production line as each month we had to get all of the magazines off to the printers in time - always on a friday IIRC.

There was a lot of competition in those days, the newsagents had shelves full of different home computer related magazines. It was difficult to survive and many of the magazines folded within a year or two of appearing - especially in the late 80s / early 90s. Database Publications did very well during the early to late 80s, but then the whole home computer thing started to die.

Jon Revis was one of our regular reviewers - he did articles for The Micro User and Electron User. I remember that external writers were paid 'by the inch' and the length of the final copy was used to determine how much they received. Yes, it was measured using a ruler! Can't remember what the rate per inch was!

I remember printing out the 'type-in' listings for games / articles on our trusty Epson FX-80. These were then cut and pasted ( physically ) onto the final pages before being sent off to be printed. Each listing was done at a certain width and the type-setters had to cut and paste the long listings into several columns and across pages. I'm amazed that these actually worked as it was all too easy to lose or get some of the listing in the wrong place.

I left Database in 1986 to work on my own games / projects.

Still can't recall who the 1st Hac Man was!
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by crj »

Ah yes. I remember the days of manual paste-up!

But hey, paying by the column-inch is at least better than paying by the word. It doesn't discourage the use of long words.
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by AJW »

Kevin Edwards wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:09 am


Still can't recall who the 1st Hac Man was!
I finally discovered who he was a few months ago either on bbcmicro.co.uk or a similar site which revealed he had written several BBC Micro games. Unfortunately I've forgotten.
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by joachim »

bbcmicro.co.uk's page for Blagger contains the exegesis
This is the Play It Again Sam 12 re-release of the game, which has been improved by “Hac Man”.
which suggests to me not that Hac Man is Ross Goodley, but rather that Hac Man is getting a coauthor credit on Ross Goodley's game.
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Re: Legacy of the BBC Micro User magazine / Database Publications Ltd

Post by lurkio »

HacMan was Martin Reed of the Micro User and Electron User magazines. He contacted us in July last year via bbcmicro.co.uk:
Hello, this is Martin Reed, formerly HacMan of the Micro User and Electron User ... Superior Software and several other companies used to send me all of their software as soon as it was ready for release, so that I could get the review/dissection/hacks into publication at the same time that the game was released to the market ... Oh, and regular technical contributor to the Electron User Arcade Corner, David Donaldson, was me too ...

I basically did everything for both the HacMan column and the Electron User. Wrote the column, designed the originals of the game layout maps, which the Micro User graphic artists then embellished, devised the hacks, etc.

It basically was a one-man-show, but because I didn’t want it to appear as such, all of my friends and former schoolmates got a mention as contributors. I was 21 when I wrote the first HacMan column, 56 now. Also, when I got a letter from a kid giving a cheat for a game that obviously related to a hacked version of the game, I would package up an encrypted version of the hack for the original game (both tape and disc versions where appropriate) and still credit it to him.

And because I always made protected versions of the hacks, where you had to type in ten or so lines of ASCII, the software companies were happy, because I was promoting their games without making it obvious that I was bypassing their software protection in order to get the hack in. Basically, if anyone could decipher my loader, they could already have hacked the game anyway.

This also made me popular with the programmers themselves, who would tend to gravitate towards me, since I was the only technical writer of the three BBC magazines. Gary Partis, Peter Scott and Nick Pelling (“Orlando”) used to send me unfinished versions of their next masterpiece, which was really cool. I always used to say that I couldn’t use them for writing pokes until they reached final version, to guarantee that the pokes would work, but since I had several different models (a B, a Master 64 and a Master 128 of my own, plus a mate with a Model A), I was able to do some pretty comprehensive testing. And the games were fun to play. I think that I played Frak a lot more than I tested it! 😁
:idea:
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