Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Early Game Review: 'Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story'

The quirky British gaming visionary who inspired legions of developers and placed his unique spin on loads of influential titles, Jeff Minter is an icon who is well deserving of a tribute anthology. He gets his just treatment in "Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story," which not only collects his often obscure games into a singular package, but chronicles is impact and accolades in interactive timelines.

Minter's successes include the likes of "Abductor," "Gridrunner," "Centipede," "Tempest" and "Mutant Camels" games. His work spanned genres, created their own subsets and managed to squeeze untold hours of intriguing gameplay with often limited resources.

Much of Minter's work came on such ancient platforms as the Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX81. He was also a major player during the Atari heyday, sticking with the publisher all the way through its bungled Janguar release.

Each of Minter's titles is remastered and granted quality-of-life improvements, such as screen sizing and rewind. While not all of his exploits hold up, the throughline of his creativity, humor and daring shine throughout. To sink yourself into the collection is to relive gaming history, and discover gems that may have eluded you. I pride myself in my deep knowledge of gaming's origins, and some of the titles here managed to catch me by surprise because I'd never heard of them. 

A joyous, encyclopedic treasure trove, "Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story" is an essential pickup for gamers who take pride in the art form's origins. 

Publisher provided review code.

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