Kickstarter: The History of Ocean Software

During that most awesome of times known as the eighties and nineties (AKA the ‘Before Bieber’ times), Ocean Software was a dominant force in development and publishing of, what seemed like at the time, an endless amount of titles spanning a wide variety of home computers and consoles. Mostly-faithful ports of arcade classics and prominent movie license tie-ins were the order of the day, and back then barely a month went by without an Ocean title or two hitting the shelves for fervent young gamers to spend their pocket money on.

With such an eclectic mix of titles across genres, gamers of a certain age can easily recount fond memories of Ocean’s output. Daley Thompson’s Decathalon, Head Over Heels, Operation Wolf, Rainbow Islands, Wizball etc. are enough to give older gamers that warm, fuzzy glow that Ready Brek used to offer, at least until the EU stepped in and criminalised it as a banned substance (probably). The History of Ocean Software book by Retro Fusion aims to tap into that collective nostalgia, with a tome that will chart the company’s history using never-before-seen assets direct from the original Ocean HQ. Support is bolstered by the involvement of key players from back in the day, including Roger Kean, Oliver Frey and Bob Wakelin. Check out the pitch:

A previous attempt to cater to the retro crowd via Kickstarter fared well enough, and at the time of writing, £7,250 of a fairly modest £12,000 goal has been reached. With 17 days to go, there’s every chance this one will also hit its target. As it has matured into the minds of the general gaming community at large, Kickstarter does seem to have become an exercise in Barnum showboating lately, where the bigger boys from the history of game development are drawing eyes away from the lesser known stalls being set out. That aside, this particular Kickstarter appears to be backed by a genuine desire to capture one of the most exciting periods in gaming history – and it’s one that I’m happy to put my pocket money towards.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!