The father of home computer gaming died last week

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#1 Edited by wibby (369 posts) -

Mike Singleton (born 1951 liverpool UK)-(died October 10, 2012)

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He was also my first employer, I used to go straight from school to his company for his wisdom and generosity, He was an amazing boss, single father of two young boys but most importantly he was my friend.

The last 12 months where hard for him he was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw and had to have it removed but he always kept his spirits up, I even sat with him in our local pub for our first post-op beer! alas last week he died in Switzerland of natural causes

The guy was way ahead of his time, check his Wikipedia page for more on his personal life.

I just wanted for you guys to understand where most of the roots of the games you play today came from, so next time you pop in a disk, raise a glass and say "Cheers Singo!"

8-Bit Titles

Space AcePetSoft1981VIC-20
GamesPack1Sinclair Research Ltd1981ZX81
ShadowfaxPostern1982BBC, C64/VIC-20,Spectrum
SiegePostern1983C64/VIC-20, Spectrum
Snake PitPostern1983C64/Pet/VIC-20, Spectrum
3-Deep SpacePostern1983C64/VIC-20, Spectrum
Lords of MidnightBeyond Software1984Amstrad, C64, Spectrum
Doomdark's RevengeBeyond1985Amstrad, C64, Spectrum
Throne of FireMelbourne House1986Spectrum
Dark SceptreBeyond Software1986Spectrum
Carrier CommandRainbird Software1987Spectrum
War In Middle-earthMelbourne House1988Spectrum
Star Trek: The Rebel UniverseFirebird Software1988C64

16-Bit Titles

Star Trek: The Rebel UniverseSimon & Schuster Interactive1987Atari ST, PC
Whirligig/Space CutterMelbourne House1987Amiga
War In Middle-earthMelbourne House1988Atari ST, Amiga, PC
WhirligigFirebird Software1988Atari ST, Amiga
MidwinterRainbird Software1989Atari ST, Amiga, PC
Midwinter II: Flames of FreedomMicroprose1990Atari ST, Amiga, PC
Ashes of Empire/Fallen EmpireMirage1991Atari ST, Amiga, PC
StarlordMicroprose1993Atari ST, Amiga, PC
Lords of MidnightDomark1995PC
The Ring CyclePsygnosis1995PC

Console Titles

HSX: HyperSonic XtremeMidas Interactive Entertainment2002PlayStation
Indiana Jones and the Emperor's TombLucasarts2003Mac, PC, PS2, Xbox
Wrath UnleashedLucasarts2004PS2, Xbox
Gauntlet: Seven SorrowsMidway Home Entertainment2005PS2, Xbox
GRIDCodemasters2008PC, PS3, Xbox360

*edit* CC removed

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#2 Posted by Bribo (737 posts) -

Sad news indeed. Playing Lords of Midnight is one of my fondest video gaming memories.

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#3 Posted by csl316 (15037 posts) -

Sad times, r.i.p.

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#4 Posted by harinosho (750 posts) -

Fuck man. why do we only find out now.. Rest in Peace duder

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#5 Posted by BlackLagoon (2109 posts) -

A real shame. I remember seeing Midwinter on a friend's Amiga, that game was insane for its age - 3D open world first person RPG with some strategy elements to boot.

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#6 Posted by forkboy (1650 posts) -

War In Middle Earth is one of my earliest video game memories, playing it on my dads Spectrum. It was a bit overwhelming for a 5 year old who had never heard of Middle Earth, but it was in hindsight a fantastic achievement on a system like the Spectrum. Sad to hear about this.

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#7 Posted by wibby (369 posts) -

@Bribo: I am in tears..... I just looked in my gaming cupboard and I actually have Mike's own copy of Lords of Midnight sat there that he gave me, I opened it up and it has his Bachelor of Science degree in it from years ago when he was in university as a young adult.

I will be passing them back to his kids... also spoke to one of his sons tonight and we are taking his ashes to our local for a last pint....

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#8 Posted by empika (2 posts) -

Sad news :(

I remember getting Midwinter for christmas 1991(?), in a bargain box set with Falcon 3.0, Rick Dangerous 2 and TV sports football. All those others are irrelevant, it was Midwinter that blew my 9 year old mind!

Raising a glass to the man right now.

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#9 Posted by MattyFTM (14893 posts) -

That's sad. I can't say I was familiar with him, but I was certainly familiar with a few of his games and it definitely seems like he was influential in the industry.

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#10 Posted by Kropotkin (12 posts) -

Very sad news. I adored Lords of Midnight as a kid. So much so that I managed to speed-run the blasted thing. A terrible loss.

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#11 Posted by wibby (369 posts) -
No Caption Provided

Thank you Gary :)

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#12 Posted by coakroach (2498 posts) -

RIP :(

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#13 Posted by Laiv162560asse (488 posts) -

Interesting that he was active in the industry right up to more or less the present day, in the form of GRiD. That game oozed quality. Sad to hear. 

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#14 Posted by FLStyle (6722 posts) -

RIP, looks like he had a big role in gaming.

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#15 Posted by wibby (369 posts) -

@Laivasse: He was mathematical genius, as you can see studio's used to hire him to trouble shoot all manner of problems ....

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#16 Posted by jakob187 (22960 posts) -

I think it's a little odd but also timely that he did Carrier Command for the Amiga, and then the new Carrier Command hits.

Always sucks to lose a legend in the industry. Might need to fire up a copy of Lords of Midnight when I get home.

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#17 Posted by Dagbiker (7057 posts) -

Never played any of those games, but defiantly heard of them. The only console I owned of those was a Xbox 360, and I was never one for racing games.


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#18 Posted by wibby (369 posts) -

I have the last game he ever wrote.... He sent it to me to test after 3 hours learning the Unity game engine. It was one of his first ever games... You might have found it on your Nokia. phones

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#19 Posted by wibby (369 posts) -

Take this as a gift from Singo

Thank you Singo ;)

3 hours in Unity , recreated his game from the 80's, enjoy! say thanks to Singo!

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#20 Posted by Levius (1358 posts) -

Man that's really sad news, I know my parents loved Lords of Midnight and it seemed like it was a really cool game when I played it a bit.

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#21 Edited by Gazunta (36 posts) -

Gutted to hear this. Midwinter was a tremendous influence on me as a games designer. Every one of my games had a Midwinter-style (I guess a Lords Of Midnight-style too, but I never played them much) metagame that were usually the first thing that would get cut. The concept of being just one part of a giant world that carried on with or without your involvement was a huge deal. I always had a lot of respect for his games and talent. R.I.P.

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#22 Posted by ProfessorEss (7961 posts) -

RIP Mike :(

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#23 Posted by Russcat (163 posts) -


We were just talking about him at work, reminiscing about Lords of Midnight. RIP.

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#24 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1292 posts) -

Fuck cancer.

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#25 Posted by crusader8463 (14804 posts) -

Never played any of his games, but I'm sorry to hear you lost a friend.

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#26 Posted by Turtlebird95 (3618 posts) -

Can't say I've ever heard of him or played any of those titles, but he sounds like a great guy. RIP

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#27 Posted by WMWA (1223 posts) -

His legacy lives on. RIP

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#28 Posted by Roger778 (960 posts) -

That's sad news, indeed. R.I.P. Mike Singleton.

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#29 Posted by DeliciousBees (48 posts) -

Midwinter 2 is in my top 5 games of all time. Growing up, I loved seeing how all the systems interacted, how the metagame worked - it basically kicked my brain off into wanting to learn how game design works and how to make games. My first terrible game attempts were basically trying to make more advanced versions of Midwinter 2 on newer hardware. They were terrible failures that never worked, but they were enough to lead me down the path to professional game development.

Mike's passing is a huge loss for our industry, but he leaves behind him a legacy that inspired a huge chunk of the game design and programming talent making games today. My thoughts are with his family.

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#30 Posted by Drazat (176 posts) -

R.I.P I spent many a happy hour as a child playing the midwinter games.

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#31 Edited by Branthog (5777 posts) -

The Vic-20 was the first computer my hands ever touched, in about 1984, at the age of six or seven. And Siege was probably the first game I ever put my hands on.

One of the worst things about getting older is losing all of the people you grew up admiring, respecting, following, or otherwise caring about. And even if you didn't directly know or care about them, they often impacted your world or your profession. We're finally getting to a time when the passing of great gaming and tech guys is becoming a regular event. Russell Kirsch (essentially the father of modern computing) is in this 80s. Woz is in his 60s. Jobs was in his 50s. Bushnell is about to turn 70. Dennis Ritchie (C language) is gone. Countless others in the past few years. Too many to list, here.

The eventuality of watching them all pass is a realization that hit me when I was barely much past drinking age, in 1999. I was reading comp.protocols.tcp-ip, when a message stated that Richard Stevens had died. Much of my early career owed its foundation to his great involved and heralded tomes -- all three volumes -- on UNIX network programming.

Guys like these -- and guys like Singleton -- are the giants whose shoulders we stand on in our fields today. And we often aspire to be giants of our own that others can stand on, by the time we pass. Only seldom do we accomplish that, as they have. And, unfortunately, seldom do those outside of the industries even know of their passing or the impact they had.

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#32 Posted by Akeldama (4368 posts) -

Shame he went out on GRID.

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#33 Posted by gadgetmind (2 posts) -

Mike worked on some great games, but Carrier Command wasn't one of them.

It was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure that myself, Graeme Baird, and Andy Onions did that one.

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#34 Posted by Levius (1358 posts) -

Hey this thread has been quoted in a Eurogamer article here.

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#35 Edited by wibby (369 posts) -
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#36 Edited by fattony12000 (8538 posts) -

You'll live on forever in your games, Mike.

Rest in peace.

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#37 Posted by destruktive (1116 posts) -

Sad news indeed. R.I.P

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#38 Posted by falling_fast (2905 posts) -

I feel bad for never having heard of him... too young.

regardless, I can recognize that without this man, the games I played in my childhood would probably never have been made.


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#39 Posted by Jagged85 (218 posts) -

Rest in peace, mate. Your contributions to home computer gaming will not be forgotten.

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#40 Edited by Amducious (424 posts) -

A really nice tribute thread Wibby and thanks for sharing your memories with us.

Mike Singleton RIP. A father and pioneer to the computer and video game era.

Edit - Your tribute has appeared in a C&VG article too.

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#41 Posted by nintendoeats (6222 posts) -

Shiiiiiiiit. I was running part of a cancer charity event this weekend and I had a copy of Space Ace on the floor. If I had known I would have mentioned it somewhere.

RIP as they say.

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#42 Posted by wibby (369 posts) -

I'm a bit sad that we have nearly 4000 views and links from all over the gaming and news outlets re-pointing back here quoting this thread and still no story on giant bomb it's self :(

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#43 Edited by Little_Socrates (5844 posts) -

@gadgetmind said:

Mike worked on some great games, but Carrier Command wasn't one of them.

It was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure that myself, Graeme Baird, and Andy Onions did that one.

Doing my own quick research, and you three guys definitely developed Carrier Command over at Realtime Games, Ian. Sadly, your company after Realtime Games, Cross Products, has been lost to the internet.

Sad to lose another leader of the industry.

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#44 Posted by voltan (124 posts) -

When I heard the name Singleton I instantly thought about the worst game I've ever played, Lords of Midnight. And I'm talking about that 1995 PC game. What an unplayable mess that was.