In 1980, Alfred Milgrom and Naomi Besen began publishing books for home computers under the Melbourne House label before making the move to games development. From very humble beginnings of having their work office based in their living rooms, and hiring students from the University of Melbourne, Melbourne House / Beam grew to become one of the most well known and respected game developers and publishers in the 80's with huge hits like the text adventure game, The Hobbit, and The Way of the Exploding Fist.
This year, Australia's most iconic games development studio, the catalyst and pioneers of the Australia games industry, are fast approaching their 30th anniversary, and to celebrate this momentous occasion, Kevin "Zaph" Burfitt is organising a get-together for old Melbourne House / Beam staff members to catch up for some celebratory drinks on the 2nd of September (Thursday). If you're interested in coming along, please contact Zaph at:
zaph at torps dot com
Zaph has informed me that they're up to 45-50 people coming along so far, so it looks like it'll be an extraordinary occasion. They're very much eager to get in contact with any old-timer Melbourne House / Beam staff members, so if you know of any that would be interested in coming along, please do forward Zaph's contact details to them right away!
For more details on the history of Melbourne House / Beam, check out our wiki page at the link at the end of this news item!
In February 1980, a homesick Alfred Milgrom picked up a copy of The Australian Financial Review and read an article about the growth of computer game publishing in the US. He had been running a London book company named Melbourne House, and the only video game he'd ever really seen was chess on the Apple II...
Inspired, Milgrom returned to Australia in 1980 and co-founded Beam Software with Naomi Besen, Australia's first electronic game company. They had one employee and produced machine language games for the ZX80, followed by the ZX81, Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore 16, Commodore 64, Dragon 32, Oric, and other legendary doorstops.