Britsoft – An Oral History: Book Review.

Reading gaming related books as become a bit of a hobby over the past year or so with so many books being created with a core subject close to my heart, Retro Gaming. Britsoft: An Oral History is Read Only Memories latest book, designed as a companion book to go with the 2014 documentary, From Bedrooms to Billions. The book delivers some amazing untold stories all crafted together from the aforementioned documentaries video footage.

Before going any further though I want to cover the look and feel of the book, firstly your notice the colour scheme, a purple and green set of images with a computer theme have been created for the cover which is hardback, the colour may not be to everyone’s liking but I fits the books overall design perfectly for me at least, measuring 160 x 230mm and packed with 420 pages.

Inside the book is just story after story about the wonderful world most of us wanted to be apart of when we was growing up, there are stories covering piracy and how that affected the industry, stories about the iconic Kick Off; and the birth of magazines like Zzap!64. Interviewees are a plenty with most now household names such as Peter Molyneux, David Braben, Archer Maclean, David Darling and Jeff Minter, in total thirty-five programmers, musicians, journalists and business people all tell their stories about their games they created for our beloved Spectrums, C64s, Amiga’s and Atari ST’s. One thing is for sure, you’ll be glued to this book from start to finish.

Here is a quote from Rob Cousens.

Tomorrow’s World did a programme on us as the fastest growing company in the UK in 1982 or ’83. It was fronted by Peter McCann, and filmed in a NatWest bank’s vault, and he held the cassette up and he said, ‘This is worth more than …’ and the camera panned around the vault, ‘… all this.’ The bank manager allowed us to do that because we were absolutely flying.

The whole book is filled with snippets like that, each and every one made me smile, think wow, and ultimately drove me further into the book wanting to read more and more, in fact this is the fastest I have read a book in a long time and that’s down to the amazing amount of content within.

Finally at £30 this is not a cheap book but it’s worth every penny, what I will add is this book is not one for people who like to see lots of colourful screenshots, it’s all about the stories, simple as that. Britsoft: An Oral History is for all avid fans of the gaming industry, for those who grew up when the gaming scene exploded and those just wanting to know a little bit more about how the British gaming industry was so influential. Read Only Memory have created some amazing books, including the fantastic Sensible Software.

Retro head and key holder of RVG.


Retro head and key holder of RVG.

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