Waiter, There's a Brit in My Motherboard

Chris Roberts, Marten Davies, and Origin's second-in-command Neil Young are all renowned talents within the industry, but they've got more in common than just that: They're also British, a phenomenon that seems to have spread throughout the computer gaming industry on a national and, one assumes, global level.

Why so many expatriate Brits creating video mayhem stateside? Who better to ask than Davies, who seems nonplussed at the suggestion the second British Invasion is already upon us.

"My brother calls us the management slaves of the world. I don't know if he's right or wrong, but I think it's because about the time Atomic Sinclair arrived in Britain back in `83 - that was that kind of 8K machine that everybody could afford - everybody over there got involved in that and because they got involved in it, they were slightly ahead of the curve of the American market.

"One thing you'll find that the European market tends to do is that it will push the envelope on very inexpensive product, whereas the American market will say, `This particular piece of hardware is unsatisfactory. We need to build a better piece of hardware.' It's all down to disposable income, basically. When you're in a low-disposable income area, like Britain, you tend to push the envelope a little harder. I think that's the reason a lot of us are over here. We thought we could bring some of the expertise over but we kind of enjoyed the fact that the hardware was that much bigger and better."

Okay, but that doesn't explain why so many of the Queen's former subjects are hanging out at Lake Travis during the summer months. Is it just Austin, or is this much larger than the River City?

"I think it's the same all over America, but there tends to be more in Austin, I think, because Austin has now burgeoned into a great multimedia experience. I mean, if you're going to go anywhere in the country, in my view Austin is the place to come. It has all the facilities in terms of a social atmosphere and so on. The great thing about Austin is that it has this great community of artists, and computer games are about art and about presentation and music. And it's inexpensive. I think it's a revitalization and this particular business - the software industry - has consolidated here and is using all the facilities of this captive market of artists and musicians and the like, on top of which you've got IBM, Motorola, Dell... there's a good solid base.

"But in terms of Brits? Mad dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sun. It's 110 degrees here in the summer and I'm out there. It's a good spot to be." - M.S.

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