As we set sail on the high seas of 2017, my mind has wandered back to the heady days of 2008 and the retrogaming calendar I created.
At the time, I was writing a book on classic videogames. It was taking a looooooooong time, and I had a stack of what I thought were brilliant spreads – with no way of getting them ‘out there’ in the foreseeable future.
So I decided to whack the best of them into a calendar. That way, I could cherry pick my twelve favourites and have it on the (virtual) shelves in no time.
I decided on 8-bit computer gaming as my theme, and set to work retooling my spreads for the calendar format.
I’m a massive fan of pixel art, so I used screenshots and in-game artwork to create the imagery.
I called it, rather snappily, ‘Twelve months in 8-bits’.
It was large format for maximum bang-for-buck and because, well, that’s what size my book spreads were.
I kept the print run to just 150 copies, party because I wanted them to become a limited edition would-be collectors item, and partly because it was coming up to Christmas and I was skint.
Each calendar was pretentiously signed and numbered like a posh piece of art. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking there.
To give them a bit more zing than the kind of templated rubbish you find in those awful pop-up shops, I spent what seemed like forever researching important and interesting dates from gaming history to add to the calendar.
Each month featured a game released at the same point in the 1980s, with a period review quote.
Again, my inner research nerd working (unpaid) overtime.
To sell the calendars, I built a microsite that looked like a ZX Spectrum game.
I spent a lot of time hawking the calendar around online forums. At times, this was pretty soul destroying.
So I took out an advert and got a feature in the gaming nerd bible, Retro Gamer.
Although they didn’t quite sell out, I got to know my local post office staff extremely well.
I was the weirdo with the bad back who came in three times a week with an old ladies’ trolley chock-a-block with massive padded envelopes.
Finally, if by some strange alignment of the cosmos, you bought a calendar and are reading this… thank you.
And a very happy new year to you all. I hope 2017 proves to be a dollyboster.