I was very sad to read the following Tweet from a childhood hero this morning…
To be honest I'm fucking tired of doing some of my best work and getting back next to bugger all.It's crushed the spirit out of me.— Jeff Minter (@llamasoft_ox) January 9, 2013
Jeff Minter was one of the first people that really exposed me to the magic of game development. As a fan since I was 10 or 11 years old, it wasn't until I met him at a computer show in London (I don't remember which, the big one in the mid-80s) and subscribed to his newsletter that I realized just how much heart and soul went into creating games. Jeff used to periodically send out his newsletter to fans, and each edition illustrated the roller coaster of emotions behind each creative process. Each issue was beautifully (for the time) printed on an Apple laser printer, and produced using very, very early desktop publishing software. Minter was on the cutting edge with all of his technological tastes, and he juxtaposed this with his love of Pink Floyd, animals, and wit. He was an auteur, and whether you bought into his vision or not, a visionary.
To see him so dejected at this point is sad to see. His creations are an acquired taste to be sure, but its unfortunate that his insistence on remaining so fiercely independent, despite dalliances with VM Labs, Atari, and Microsoft over the years, have ultimately distanced him from a potential audience. There are many of us older gamers that remember his old work fondly, and some of his recent creations have been genuinely interesting, but it seems his particular brand of psychedelic retro craziness is not as fashionable as other flavors of "classic" style game on new mobile platforms.
For what it's worth, I hope the Yak gets his mojo back. In the meantime, check out this look at his more recent work from my brother over at Games are Evil.