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42 games from legendary British indie Jeff Minter's psychedelic back catalogue are now bundled with an 'interactive documentary' on Steam

 Artwork of Jeff Minter from Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story interactive documentary.
Artwork of Jeff Minter from Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story interactive documentary.

Jeff Minter is a legendary developer who's been doing his own thing since the early 1980s on platforms like the Sinclair ZX81, Commodore VIC-20, and C64. His best-known work is probably Tempest 2000 for the Atari Jaguar, although saying so will likely spark heated debates in some corners of the internet—some will no doubt argue that 2007's Space Giraffe or the 2016 psychedelic shooter Polybius is a better call.

In any event, the man has been prolific, but most of his creations were lost to time and older formats. However now you can play a whopping 42 of his old-time classics on modern PCs by way of Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story, a new "interactive documentary" from Digital Eclipse that's now available on Steam.

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The Jeff Minter Story goes back to the start, "an era in which a kid with a Commodore VIC-20 and dreams of radioactive sheep could become one of Britain's best-known game makers." Which is interesting in its own right: Minter has been fiercely independent throughout his long career, the kind of guy who does what he wants with little regard to whether anyone else will like it.

He's been very successful at it, but it's a polarizing approach: The 2007 shooter Space Giraffe, for instance, earned a 2/10 review score from OXM, and a 92/100 from PC Gamer. Minter himself described the game as "like Marmite. You won't know unless you try."

The collection of games included with the documentary unfortunately doesn't include Space Giraffe, nor other more recent releases like Polybius or Akka Arrh, presumably because they're available for purchase separately on Steam. But it's quite the beefy blast from the past, including not just a pile of games but also a pair of his early "light synthesizers," updated with new options and support for controllers, and a remastered version of Minter's "signature shooter masterpiece" Gridrunner, which promises "thrilling modern graphics and sound–while still running the core of the Commodore 64 version for 100% gameplay accuracy." (And yes, the original C64 version of Gridrunner is in there too.)

The new game collection and documentary on Steam isn't the only bit of Jeff Minter news to drop today. Songbird Productions also announced that it's partnering with Atari to bring back Tempest 3000, a Minter game released in 2000 for the long-defunct Nuon set-top box. Essentially an update of Minter's Tempest 2000, it's never been released for other platforms.

And, unfortunately, it still hasn't. The prospect of Tempest 3000 on modern systems was briefly exciting, but Songbird confirmed in a follow-up tweet that this is not a port but an "actual Nuon release," so you'll need actual Nuon hardware to play it. Bit of an odd choice, if you ask me.

Oh well, back to the matter at hand: Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story is available now on Steam for $30/£25/€29. Here's the full rundown of all the games included in the package:

Sinclair ZX81

  • 3D3D

  • Centipede

Commodore VIC-20

  • Abductor

  • Andes Attack

  • Deflex V

  • Gridrunner

  • Hellgate

  • Laser Zone

  • Matrix: Gridrunner 2

  • Metagalactic Llamas Battle at the Edge of Time

  • Ratman

Commodore 64

  • Ancipital

  • Attack of the Mutant Camels

  • Batalyx

  • Gridrunner

  • Hellgate

  • Hover Bovver

  • Iridis Alpha

  • Laser Zone

  • Mama Llama

  • Matrix: Gridrunner 2

  • Metagalactic Llamas Battle at the Edge of Time

  • Psychedelia

  • Revenge of the Mutant Camels

  • Revenge of the Mutant Camels II

  • Rox 64

  • Sheep In Space

  • Voidrunner

Sinclair Spectrum

  • City Bomb

  • Headbangers Heaven

  • Rox III

  • Superdeflex

Atari 8-bit

  • Attack of the Mutant Camels

  • Colourspace

  • Gridrunner

  • Hover Bovver

  • Turboflex

Konix Multi-System

  • Attack of the Mutant Camels '89

Atari ST

  • Llamatron: 2112

  • Revenge of the Mutant Camels

  • Super Gridrunner

Atari Jaguar

  • Tempest 2000

Reimagined

  • Gridrunner Remastered