A Century of Megagames
"I’m not entirely sure what ever happened to that fresh-faced keen young 32 year old megagamer. But in the intervening 31 years he seems to have run 100 of his own megagames..."
Jim Wallman muses over having reached the 100 milestone running megagames in his blog No Game Survives
It was 1987 and the UK was going through seismic changes. Thatcher was in power and unreasonably popular (50% approval rating), golliwogs had been banned from Enid Blyton books, my neighbour Cynthia Payne had been acquitted of running a brothel, British Rail (yes, we had our own railway back then) abolished Second Class and replaced it with Standard Class and the Channel Tunnel plan was given a green light.
It is true that the past is another country.
It was into that maestrom of change and upheaval that a 32 year old civil servant joined the ranks of a mysterious cult known as ‘megagame designers’. He was not the first, of course – he had been recruited and encouraged by the founder of recreational megagames, Paddy Griffith (who had run the first megagame of that ilk in 1983 named, with chracterisic iconoclasm ‘Memphis Manger IV’ ) and inspired by games by Andy Grainger (who wrote the very successful megagames Kirovograd and Clouds In the West in the mid-1980s). This young enthusiast’s first attempt at a megagame was ‘Blood & Thunder’ involving a load of plastic sailing ships and toy soldiers, cardboard houses , rum, a pig roast and 126 participants. Briefings produced lovingly using 9-pin dot matrix printer and a ‘powerful’ PCW8256 word processor.