The Story of RPGs LARPS, Board and Computer Games in Bifford's Time on This Plane of Existence.
Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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I just stumbled upon Stelio's geeklist detailing his LARP/RPG history, and from there to the Geeklist listing other Geeklists of a similar nature! And so decided to detail my own history too.

I will publish it, but it won't be on the front page as who but me gives a damn? LOL


So a brief chronology of Sam Byford's life (a.k.a Bifford the Youngest) :

1979 - Born in Benfleet, Essex.
1997-2000 - University in Farnham, Hampshire.
2000 - Bought a flat in East Tilbury, Essex.
2008? - Met my future wife.
2009? - Moved to Colchester.
2010? - Moved to Harwich for 6 months.
2010 - Married in Devizes, Wiltshire. Moved to Semington, Wiltshire.
2011 - Became a Daddy to Poppy.
2013 - Bought a house in Melksham, Wiltshire.

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1. RPG Item: Operation Britain [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
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Growing up I had no clue what a Roleplaying Game was. I never heard such a term until I was in my teens, and then it provided nothing but negative impacts (more on that in post two!)

Operation Britain came out in 1987. I've no idea what age I got this but as I was born in 1979 I had to have been at least 8, 9 or 10.

I loved it. Here was a book which is basically a "Choose your own adventure" story but with added extras including an Asterix and an Obelix card figure, potions to use in the game (these slotted into a slot in the two character cards), a coin bag (Card thing with a square hole and a rotating wheel of numbers inside to show how much money you had through the window) and a map!!

I had many hours of fun with this book!

Why I never investigated further to find out if there were other games like this I will never know, and it wasn't until recently while looking at the book again that I even realised "This was my first ever RPG! WOW!"
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2. RPG Item: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:30]
Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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During my Infant school years (1984-89) I would go round to a friend of my mother's after school a few days a week for an hour or so until mum got back from work.

Her son (then in his teens) would let me play on his Nintendo games consoles. On a couple of occasions though he had friends over and they were playing a weird game which involved a ton of miniature plastic figures and lots of banter.

I was never introduced to it, nothing was ever explained, and because of both those things I was left with a very negative impression of the game, thinking it was stupid and totally uninteresting.


I now think back to that and wonder "...just how different would my RPG history have been if only he had invited me in, explained the basics and let me sit in on a few games?"

(I can only guess that it was D&D 2nd they were playing based on chronology. It may have been AD&D2nd or something else. They definitely used miniatures though!!)
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3. Platform: Amstrad CPC
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My dad bought us kids (my brother, sister and I) an Amstrad CPC 464, a tape-driven 8 bit computer. With a Green-Screen Monitor! I came to use it the most however, with my brother and sister only really using it when I wanted a multi-player game of something.

We had the converter that meant I could plug it into the television for colour but that could only be used when the rest of the family wasn't using the TV and was a bit of a faff to rig up so I didn't often bother.

I loved my 464, learning the basics of coding in BASIC and the many games I bought or got free from the magazines I subscribed to.

I won't give all of the games I played as that would be a long list, but below are a few of my all-time favourties.

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4. Video Game Hardware: CPC464
Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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Here is the machine in question.

I shall pick mine up from my parents when I am there next and take some photographs to upload!
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5. Video Game: Elite [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:373]
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Elite was the first ever "sandbox" space flight sim.

With a five minute load time (one and a half sides of the tape!!) it was a massive game, even though it fits into the tiny memory capabilities of the CPC 464. It was also "wireframe" in its graphics.

I created my own printed database of trading locations and prices for the core system.

This was by far my biggest jumping point into RPGs - that sandbox mentality of "go anywhere, do anything, be who you want to be" stayed with me all through my growing up years.

I would go on to play Frontier: Elite II on the Amiga.
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6. Video Game: Spellbound Dizzy [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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I had most of the Dizzy adventures, but this was by far the biggest and the best with over 100 locations (screens) to visit.

Who knew it would be so much fun to play as an Egg!?
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7. Platform: Amiga
Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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As I grew so too did my needs with regards computers. The Amstrad CPC 464 was brilliant, but it had a bigger brother - the CPC 6128 - with twice as much memory (a whopping 128k) and a floppy disc (3") drive. I really wanted one so asked my dad to get it for me as a Christmas present.

He failed to get me the 6128 (I think they were hard to find) but he did get me an Amiga 500. And once I'd gotten over my initial disappointment I came to love my Amiga and it started the ball rolling with a multi-decade hobby enthusiast that shot me into the prime-time as an Amiga User.
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8. Video Game Hardware: Amiga 500
Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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My starting point into the Amiga world.

I owned an Amiga 500 for about a year before I began to want to expand up into the better hardware.

I often went into a computer shop in Southend-on-Sea that had lots of second hand equipment. That's where I found and bought (to go alongside my 500) an Amiga 600.

The Amiga 600 is for some reason not in the Geek database (I shall rectify that asap!).

I bought the A600 and within a week I hated it. The shape was all wrong (too tilted from front to back, too small left to right) and I **hated** not having a numeric keypad to use for the numbers, and the now squashed arrow keys placement was horrible to use.

I soon solved this problem however....
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9. Video Game Hardware: Amiga 1200
Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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While I liked the A500 my dislike for the A600 over-rode that, so I traded both of these in (with a bit of cash) for an Amiga 1200.

I knew that this little beauty could be expanded and upgraded with a number of improvements but over the years that followed this little machine got a MAJOR boost! Eventually, by the time I came to sell my A1200 it looked like this (Images to follow) and had the following:

A1200 motherboard;
Power Tower case;
040 Accelerator card with 8Mb RAM;
Mediator PCI Expansion card;
PCI Ethernet card;
PCI Voodoo 3000 GFX card;
PCI Spider USB card;
PCI Soundblaster card;
DVD-rw;
USB Printer;
IDE Fix (Allow normal IDE hardware);
Scandoubler (flickerfixer and VGA output);


I need to add the Amiga 4000 to the database before I can write about that behemoth beast (which I still have)!!
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