It all started 20 years ago. The year is 1996. Macarena is playing on the radio. The movie Independence Day has just been released on cinemas. But Arnfinn Matre is not listening to the radio or watching movies. Instead he is sitting in front of his IBM 486 computer in a dark basement at Bømlo, a small island on the Norwegian coast, and programming a game called UFO Hunter in QBasic for MS-DOS. Little does he know what impact the game will have on the future.
In 1998 when Arnfinn started at the University, he installed the game on some of the computers at the computer lab. The game quickly became popular at the university and many students spent more time on UFO Hunter than on their studies. The game was so addictive that some students even had to take an extra year at the university in order to complete their degree after playing too much UFO Hunter. Arnfinn received threats from many of the students blaming UFO Hunter for screwing up their lives and making them fail their studies. There was also rumours that the university management wanted to ban the game from campus because of the poor exam results.
In 2002 Microsoft introduces Windows XP, which no longer supported MS-DOS and QBasic. UFO Hunter could no longer run on modern computers and the game was forgotten and lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for the next thirteen years, the game passed out of all knowledge.
But then, one fateful day in the late fall of 2015, cold rain is pouring from the sky, wind is blowing the last few dead leaves from the trees, thunder could be heard in the distance and dark clouds are covering the pale moon. Suddenly, when no one expects it, an old dusty floppy disk was found in a dark basement on the island of Bømlo. The label on the floppy disk was barely readable, but with a sharp eye, one could see the words “UFO Hunter” with dot-matrix printed letters. It was a defining moment in history. The floppy disk was slowly picked up and carefully inserted into a computer. And with the help of DOSBox virtual software the game was able to run. The UFO Hunter logo filled the screen just as a big lightning stroke hit the ground outside the basement window. Arnfinn immediately knew it was a sign. The game had to be re-launched for modern computers and handheld devices so that the people of the world once again could enjoy this mythical game.
Arnfinn searched far and wide for the best programmer in the world. After months of desperate search, he finally encountered John Mæland, an uber-nerd that has dedicated his life to game development. John immediately understood the importance of the task and went straight to his computer and started coding. After months of coding, litres of coffee and kilos of snus, he managed to make the game available on all devices. So soon the day will come for the game to release and once again rule the world as it did back in the 90s.
To be continued…