GamingBook Review : A Gremlin in the Works

Book Review : A Gremlin in the Works


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We take a look at A Gremlin in the Works and take a trip down memory lane to reminisce about Gremlin Graphics and the games I used to play as a child.

With the British computer game scene about to explode, a small shop appeared on Sheffield’s Carver Street called Just Micro. It was founded by the partnership of Ian Stewart and Kevin Norburn, both with retail backgrounds but a desire to get into the business of games publishing. Fortunately the shop attracted local talent such as Pete Harrap, Shaun Hollingworth and Tony Crowther, and so, in 1984, Gremlin Graphics was formed.

This lavish 572 page book plots the course of the company, from initial successes with Monty Mole, Jack The Nipper and Thing On A Spring, to its ground-breaking Lotus-branded racing games, and eventual purchase by Infogrames in 1999.

Officially endorsed by founder Ian Stewart, A Gremlin In The Works by Mark Hardisty features interviews and anecdotes from all of its key members, including Chris Kerry, Ben Daglish and Greg Holmes, along with stalwarts of the UK gaming scene: Rod Cousens, Tim Chaney, Jeremy Heath-Smith, Geoff Brown and Infogrames founder Bruno Bonnell among many others.

Filled with game imagery, memorabilia and archive material such as old letters, business cards, staff photos and game design documents, this is an exhaustive and comprehensive chronicle of one of Britain’s best-loved developers, and a fascinating exploration of the meteoric rise of the gaming scene in the ’80s and ’90s.

The finished book is 572 pages long which is spilt into two volumes. Both volumes are housed within a heavy board full-colour slipcase. Each volume will  lovingly printed to the highest standards using CMYK and Pantone inks.

As someone who grew up with a ZX Spectrum in the 80’s playing all the Gremlin Graphics games, this two volume set really was a trip down memory lane.

The first volume covers 1983-1989, from the very beginnings of Just Micro, through Wanted: Monty Mole and more. There are interviews, artwork, screenshots, drawings, everything a fan wants and more! I was 11 years old when Wanted: Monty Mole was released and I loved it!

The second volume covers 1990 through to 2015. One of the really interesting chapters in volume 2 deals with some of Gremlin Graphics cancelled games. It’s really interesting to get an insight into what was planned and what happened.

The books themselves are very high quality and are a must for anyone who used to play Gremlins Graphics games or for anyone who just wants a really great set of retro gaming books for their collection.

Mark Hardisty has done a fantastic job pulling this collection together, and I will be reading it all again!

A Gremlin in the Works is available now priced £29.99, although Bitmap Books have it on  special offer for £23.99.

You can learn more and order A Gremlin in the Works from Bitmap Books website.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.


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