David Johnson-Davies

David Johnson-Davies

David Johnson-Davies was the founder and Managing Director of Acornsoft. This was the software arm of Acorn Computers Ltd, and a major publisher of software for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron. As well as games, they also produced a large number of educational titles, extra computer languages and business and utility packages - these included ROM-based word processor VIEW and the spreadsheet ViewSheet which Acorn supplied on ROM chips/cartridges for the BBC Micro/Acorn Electron and included as standard in the BBC Master and Acorn Business Computer.

While many of their games were clones or remakes of popular arcade games (e.g. Hopper is a clone of Sega's Frogger, Snapper is Namco's Pac-Man, Arcadians is Namco's Galaxian), they also published a number of original, innovative titles (such as Revs and Elite) that went on to spawn entire genres that live on to this day.

Acornsoft also published a number of text adventure games by authors such as Peter Killworth, including Philosopher's Quest and Countdown to Doom, that remain highly regarded within the interactive fiction community.

Although Acorn continued releasing office software in the VIEW family under the Acornsoft name for the BBC Master series, they sold the Acornsoft games brand and back catalogue to Superior Software in 1986. Many games were re-released by them, often as part of compilations such as the Play It Again Sam and Acornsoft Hits series. The Acornsoft brand was also used on the packaging of all subsequent Superior games. Superior chose not to take on Acornsoft's text adventure games, most of which were released in updated versions by Topologika along with some sequels from the same authors.

The software game Elite is a seminal space trading computer game, originally published by Acornsoft in 1984 for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers. The game's title derives from one of the player's goals of raising their combat rating to the exalted heights of "Elite." It was written and developed by David Braben and Ian Bell, who had met while they were both undergraduates at Jesus College, Cambridge. Non-Acorn versions of the game were published by Firebird, Imagineer and Hybrid Technology.

Elite was one of the first home computer games to use wireframe 3D graphics with hidden line removal. Another novelty was the inclusion of The Dark Wheel, a novella by Robert Holdstock which influenced new players with insight into the moral and legal codes which they might aspire to.

Elite's open ended game model, advanced game engine and revolutionary 3D graphics ensured that it was ported to virtually every contemporary home computer system, and earned it a place as a classic and a genre maker in gaming history. Elite was a hugely influential game, serving as a model for more recent games such as Eve Online, Freelancer, Jumpgate, Infinity: The Quest for Earth, Wing Commander: Privateer, the Escape Velocity series and the X series of space trading games.

In the 2009 BBC production "Micro Men" the Curator of the Centre of Computing History - Jason Fitzpatrick played David Johnson-Davies (wrongly credited as David Johnson-David in the IMDB summary of the film.

The Centre for Computing History was also Technical Advisor for the film.

The Micro Men was an Affectionate comic drama about the British home computer boom of the early 1980s.
Legendary inventor Clive Sinclair battles it out with ex-employee Chris Curry, founder of Acorn Computers, for dominance in the fledgling market.
The rivalry comes to a head when the BBC announce their Computer Literacy Project, with the stated aim of putting a micro in every school in Britain. When Acorn wins the contract, Sinclair is furious, and determines to outsell the BBC Micro with his ZX Spectrum computer.

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David Johnson-Davies

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Acornsoft Elite - Promotional Video 1984
Acornsoft Elite - Promotional Video 1984


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