A British programmer/developer who made a name for himself with his very first game, Pud Pud, which was published by Ocean Software for the ZX Spectrum in 1984. Smith was just 17 at the time Pud Pud was released, but was fortuitous in that his pitch to Ocean, and them signing him up as ‘talent’, was all filmed and later broadcast on television in an episode of BBC TV’s Commercial Breaks, which gave him an instant profile to an appreciative audience. Bob Wakelin‘s ace cover art also did Smith‘s early games a lot of good.
Unfortunately Jonathan Smith isn’t with us any longer; he sadly passed away in 2010, but I do know – from having read a few interviews with Smith – that he was very embarrassed about his appearance on Commercial Breaks. Which is a pity because he was great in it. And he really put himself on the map by agreeing to do it. Smith liked to work hard and “keep out of the limelight” as much as possible, and seemed to be a humble man. His work on a series of classic ZX Spectrum games will never be forgotten.
Between 1984 and 1988 Smith programmed 13 games for the Spectrum. At least five of which could be considered ‘all-time classics’.
LISTS: as created by The King of Grabs, in chronological order:
First released in 1988, Ocean Software‘s Batman: The Caped Crusader is not to be confused with Ocean‘s other Batman game, programmed by Jon Ritman. No, this one is the 2D, comic panel animated adventure programmed by Jonathan Smith.
Published by Software Projects in 1987, Hysteria – at first glance – seems to owe quite a bit to Cobra, the infamous scrolling shooter from Ocean. At least graphically (the main character is a spitting image of the sprite in that game).
We may never know the full version of events surrounding this notorious Ocean Software game, but legendary Spectrum programmer Jonathan Smith was almost certainly involved. It does bear a few of his hallmarks, but is a ridiculously simple and quite boring shoot ’em up.