The BBC Micro was the first computer I got to use way back in the ’80s, back then these computers were rolled out to schools around the UK as educational tools, but a few of us cheeky lot would often play games on them. Acorn – A World in Pixels celebrates everything about this wonderful machine. The Acorn name may not be familiar to everyone, often it’s a computer that many people overlook. Acorn Computers Ltd was based in Cambridge here in the UK, where they built the BBC Micro / Acorn Electron computer range.
This book came out of nowhere, I consider myself well informed in the world of retro gaming books but this one certainly surprised me once I heard the news of it. One thing that strikes you instantly is the cover, the artwork by Ste Pickford is just fabulous. The book comes supplied in a stunning cardboard slipcase that replicates the cover on the book.
There are 470 pages packed with content, you start off with the customary table of contents and a foreword by Richard Hanson (Managing Director) Superior Software. Then there is some history about Acorn itself and a lovely article about the life of a gamer by Iain Lee, certainly sent my mind back to those good old days reading this. The next section covers the publishers, this has to be one of the most informative parts of any book I have ever read (gaming related) brief overviews of publishers like Audiogenic Software, Ultimate Play the Game, Acorn Soft, and many more. The next section covers the games and let’s be honest it’s the section most people will be interested in.
Over 150 games are covered in the book, games like, The Way Of The Exploding Fist, Arkanoid, and Aviator as well as games that never saw the light of day are all covered in this amazing book. Each game has a full-page screenshot showing off the pixels of the game, there is also a small write up covering some info on the game and an area dedicated to the game details, such as the release date, developer, publisher, and genre.
Finally, the book has some exclusive interviews with key figures in the industry at the time – from the likes of David Braben and Ian Bell (Elite); Geoff Crammond (Revs/Aviator); Peter Irvin (Exile); Tim Tyler (Repton); Nick Pelling (Frak!); Peter Scott (Sim City/The Last Ninja) and many, many more. If that’s not enough, there are some articles covering the magazines around at the time too, all very informative stuff and unusual in a visual book of this kind.
The author of this book has clearly put in a lot of effort into creating this book, one I applaud. Overall this is a must-own book, yes it’s £30, but it’s worth every penny, the quality of the book, the binding, the paper, and the print quality alone make it worth that price. Adding the amazing content on top makes it a must-own book. If you like me have fond memories of the Beeb computers, the Acorn – a world of pixels book is for you, if you want to learn more about what this family of computers did, then look no further.
A fabulous book, one you would not regret owning.
A book that easily matches some of the bigger retro book publishers out there, need I say more?
Retro head and key holder of RVG.