The Garret Tree
Saturday, February 23, 2008
  My microcareer in videogames
When you've got a book coming out you Google yourself a little more frequently just to see what's happening out there.

That's how I found out today that my very brief career in videogames actually resulted in a game called Maabus. Somehow the reference showed up in the second page of my Google search.

Back in the winter of 1993, I was freelancing, mainly as an underpaid casual writer at CTV News and so I was always on the lookout for other work. And that's how I came to be working for a CD duplicating company in Toronto called MicroForum that wanted to move from manufacturing into actual production.

I was hired to write a scenario for a game, where earth was threatened some mysterious force.

Here is the blurb and it is pretty close (as far as I remember) to what I wrote:

The year is 1999.
A mysterious new form of radiation is threatening life as we know it on Earth.

... On a small tropical island, 1500 miles southwest of Hawaii in the Pacific, something sinister is going on...

Rumors abound: monstrous mutants, alien fiends, and inexplicable phenomena. Is this the malicious plot of a hostile country? Or does the threat originate from some extra-terrestrial power?

Many research teams have gone in... not a living soul has ever come out!

Now as the last hope, the military has turned to you to crack the mystery and save the world from impending devastation. Your mission is to explore the island with the aid of a highly advanced computerized robot and an arsenal of state-of-the-art weapons. You must investigate uncharted tropical terrain, examine and analyze clues to seek out and destroy the source of this Evil. It will take all of your courage, skills and wits. And remember...


So I handed in the scenario, got paid and that was the last I heard about it, until today,more than 15 years later.

Now, thanks to Google, I find myself on a game review site called Moby Games, as a game developer!
(There's nothing there right, but I certainly intend to update it)

I never even got a copy of the game. (So I just bought a used copy on EBay.)

When PC Gamer reviewed the final product, it said:" On the box Maabus comes in, Microforum calls it both "the ultimate videogame" and "the ultimate adventure" - and that's a good clue to what's wrong with it. Maabus tries to be two things at once, and it succeeds at neither." The sort of thing you'd expect for a first effort (for both me and the company)

But it appears that the music is quite catchy and that's why the "Maabus Trailer" been posted on YouTube.

From the comments it appears that the song is much more popular than the game itself!

The credits say the music for the game was created by Maurizio Guarini and Steve Convery, but the trailer, according to the YouTube the credit for theTrailer for "Maabus" by Monolith Productions, taken from Softkey's "Game Empire" disc.
(It appears that it was an early effort by the Monolith Productions, now part of the Warner empire.)
So it's unclear where the song came from. I'll update when I get the CDs!

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I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

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Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

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