|Founder||Mike Meek, Andrew Lawrie|
|Fate||Acquired by Creative Sparks Distribution|
Mikro-Gen was a UK software company based in Bracknell, Berkshire that produced games for home computers in the early to mid-1980s.
The company was formed by Mike Meek and Andrew Laurie in 1981, in order to capitalise on the growing boom of microcomputers in the home.The company had a solid reputation but became more prominent with its series of games featuring Wally Week and his family, all of which got excellent reviews in the highly respected computer magazine Crash. Later, the company produced the Mikro-Plus add-on for the ZX Spectrum.
The company was bought out by Creative Sparks Distribution in 1987, which subsequently went into receivership six months later.
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The Mikro-Plus was an add-on for the ZX Spectrum computer. While this computer was limited to 48KB of usable RAM, the Mikro-Plus let it load 64KB programs by storing 16KB as a shadow ROM in the add-on itself, and loading the remaining 48KB from cassette tape as usual. Mikro-Gen invested £130,000 in producing it.Bundled with the game Shadow of the Unicorn, it reached no. 5 in the ZX Spectrum charts and no.9 in the All Formats charts in October 1985. It sold 11,000 copies, almost 30,000 short of the number needed to break even and no further Mikro-Plus games were produced.
The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer that was developed by Sinclair Research. It was released in the United Kingdom on 23 April 1982, and became Britain's best-selling microcomputer.
The ZX81 is a home computer that was produced by Sinclair Research and manufactured in Dundee, Scotland, by Timex Corporation. It was launched in the United Kingdom in March 1981 as the successor to Sinclair's ZX80 and designed to be a low-cost introduction to home computing for the general public. It was hugely successful; more than 1.5 million units were sold. In the United States it was initially sold as the ZX-81 under licence by Timex. Timex later produced its own versions of the ZX81: the Timex Sinclair 1000 and Timex Sinclair 1500. Unauthorized ZX81 clones were produced in several countries.
The Quill is a program to write home computer adventure games. Written by Graeme Yeandle, it was published on the ZX Spectrum by Gilsoft in December 1983. Although available to the general public, it was used by several games companies to create best-selling titles; over 450 commercially published titles for the ZX Spectrum were written using The Quill.
Sabre Wulf is an action-adventure game released by British video game developer Ultimate Play the Game for the ZX Spectrum home computer in 1984. The player navigates the pith-helmeted Sabreman through a 2D jungle maze while collecting amulet pieces to bypass the guardian at its exit. The player does not receive explicit guidance on how to play and is left to decipher the game's objectives through trial and error. Sabreman moves between the maze's 256 connected screens by touching the border where one screen ends and another begins. Each screen is filled with colourful flora, enemies that spawn at random, and occasional collectibles.
Sinclair Research Ltd is a British consumer electronics company founded by Clive Sinclair in Cambridge. It was originally incorporated in 1973 as Westminster Mail Order Ltd, renamed Sinclair Instrument Ltd, then Science of Cambridge Ltd, then Sinclair Computers Ltd, and finally Sinclair Research Ltd. It remained dormant until 1976, when it was activated with the intention of continuing Sinclair's commercial work from his earlier company Sinclair Radionics, and adopted the name Sinclair Research in 1981.
Pyjamarama is a video game for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and the Commodore 64. It features Wally Week as the central character and is the second of a series of games featuring Wally and/or members of his family. It was published by Mikro-Gen. Starting in July 1986, Your Sinclair magazine published a monthly comic strip based on the character.
Tornado Low Level is a multidirectional flight game developed by Costa Panayi and published in 1984 by the company he co-founded, Vortex Software. The game was released for the ZX Spectrum in 1984, with ports for the Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 in 1985.
Cauldron is a shoot 'em up platform game developed and published by British developer Palace Software. The game was released in 1985 for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC home computers. Players control a witch, who aims to become the "Witch Queen" by defeating an enemy called the "Pumpking".
Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back is a computer game developed and published by British developer Palace Software (Palace) as a sequel to their 1985 title Cauldron. The two-dimensional (2D) platform game was released in 1986 for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC home computers. Players control a bouncing pumpkin that is on a quest of vengeance against the "Witch Queen". The roles of the two were reversed from the first game, in which the witch defeated a monstrous pumpkin.
Match Day is a football computer game, published by Ocean Software in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum. It is the first game in the Match Day series, and was the creation of programmer Jon Ritman and Chris Clarke. Versions were later released for the Amstrad CPC and PCW, BBC Micro, Commodore 64 and MSX systems.
Cyclone is a multidirectional helicopter game for the ZX Spectrum released by Vortex Software in 1985. It was written by Vortex co-founder Costa Panayi who also coded the similarly styled Tornado Low Level.
Crystal Computing, later renamed Design Design, was a British video game developer founded in 1982 by Chris Clarke and Ian Stamp while students at the University of Manchester. Graham Stafford, Neil Mottershead, Simon Brattel and Martin Horsley, joined the company as it expanded. The company's first software release was a compilation of games for the Sinclair ZX81, though it was with the ZX Spectrum that Crystal found its greatest success. A deal with the machine's manufacturer Sinclair to distribute Crystal's Zeus Assembler gave the company sufficient funds for a major marketing campaign for their next product, Halls of the Things, an arcade adventure game that became their most successful title.
Everyone's a Wally is a British video game released in 1985 by Mikro-Gen for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, and Commodore 64. The sequel to Pyjamarama, it features the same hero character, Wally Week, and uses an upgraded version of the same game engine.
Fantasy Software, which started out as Quest Microsoftware, was one of the smaller software companies which produced games for home computers, mainly the ZX Spectrum during the early 1980s. The company was founded in early 1983 by Bob Hamilton and Paul Dyer. It had a number of reasonable successes in the early days of the computer boom but never became one of the major software production houses. Most of its releases were written by Bob Hamilton.
Thorn EMI Computer Software was a British video games software house set up in the early 1980s as part of the now-defunct British conglomerate Thorn EMI. They released a number of games in the early 1980s, initially for the Atari 8-bit family, and later for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Commodore VIC-20 computers. In 1984, the Thorn EMI name was dropped in favour of Creative Sparks as the company were reportedly unhappy with their image in the video games market. A budget label, Sparklers, was created in early 1985 to publish titles at £2.50. Later in 1985, Creative Sparks, Sparklers and the distribution company, Creative Sparks Distribution (CSD) gained independence from Thorn EMI after a management buyout.
Ah Diddums is a computer game released by Imagine Software for the ZX Spectrum in 1983 and can be run on the 16KB/48KB versions of the machine and the Commodore 64 in 1984.
DK'Tronics Ltd was a British software and hardware company active during the 1980s. It primarily made peripherals for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC but also released video games for the ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, BBC Micro, Memotech MTX, MSX and Amstrad platforms.
Scooby-Doo is a video game based on the television character of the same name. The game was developed in 1986 by Gargoyle Games for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and Commodore Plus/4.
Three Weeks in Paradise is a computer game released in 1986 by Mikro-Gen for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC platforms. It is the last action-adventure platform game from the Wally Week series.