Tom Cooper was one of the Acorn scene's best game coders. I say was because he has now left the Acorn stable to program PC games for Psygnosis. Whilst Tom was coding for the Acorn he produced the following titles:
Tom's commercial titles are now distributed by Argo Interactive, the company which owned Eclipse, the game publisher.
Acorn Arcade: The games you have writen vary from platformers to shoot 'em ups right through to first person walkabouts. What is your personal favourite style of game both from a programming and a playing point of view?
Tom Cooper: It would have to be MUDs, simply because they're full of people and not dumb computer controlled attempts at people. Whether coding MUDs (which I've not had the opportunity to do for some time) or playing them, the people make it a very unpredictable environment and therefore an interesting one.
Acorn Arcade: What is your favourite game (on any platform) at the moment?
Tom Cooper: Ultima Online, although after six months it is starting to wear a little thin and something better will no doubt be along shortly.
Acorn Arcade: Darkwood must have been one of the most popular games for the Acorn platform because there haven't been that many games of its style. Where did the inspiration for games such as Darkwood come from?
Tom Cooper: Some are planned properly and have their roots firmly in other products, some as Darkwood just develop from an idea which seems good at the time. In the case of Darkwood it evolved from a small demo allowed a character to roam a proper 3D landscape, I decided what to do with it a long way into its development.
Acorn Arcade: What was it that started your writing of games on the Acorn?
Tom Cooper: I started on the ZX Spectrum, simply because there weren't enough games you could buy. It was very early on and the only good source of games at the time were listings in magazines. Its only a small jump from that to coding them yourself. I don't think that would be a very common way into it these days however, as there is an abundance of good products without having to type in anything at all.
Acorn Arcade: Since you wrote your last Acorn game, Darkwood you have left the Acorn market, any hints as to what you're up to now?
Tom Cooper: I'm working at Psygnosis on PC titles, which I can't really talk about because I'm fairly sure that I would be shot for doing so.
Acorn Arcade: Is there any chance of you ever returning to the Acorn market if only to write PD/freeware games?
Tom Cooper: Currently none at all, I'm kept busy enough with the games I'm paid to be writing and unless Acorn produce a really commercial machine I can't see myself being asked to code for one. I think the PC and consoles will have the market sewn up for some time yet.
Acorn Arcade: In recent years many of the best Acorn games programmers/companies have left their native market and moved into the PC/console markets. Do you believe that the Acorn Games market has a bright future or will it continue as a 'training ground' for other, more commercially viable platforms?
Tom Cooper: I don't think the Acorn machines have ever been a major gaming platform, but with other brands of machine being squeezed out I don't think it is a good time for anything other than the PC manufacturers.
Acorn Arcade: Thankyou for completing this interview, you will be forever immortalised in the archives of Acorn Arcade!
Tom Cooper: Thanks.