By Fearless Reporter Rory Pacquiao
A 47-year old man in financial dire straits has spent the last two weeks desperately trying to find contact details for the company BryanscatSoft. who made the ZX Spectrum computer game Fruit Machine 3000 II: Special Nudge Edition back in 1983. Ralph Mayweather, who is currently living with his mum, believes he is owed several thousand pounds in winnings from the game. Unfortunately, his search so far has proved fruitless, pun intended. He’s made a few of the bookies and other, more unscrupulous lenders aware of the money he’s waiting for, but none of them believe him, or the blurry photos of the TV screen with the game information on. TDJJ spoke with Ralph in his mum’s kitchen while she was out doing bingo.
TTDJ: “So how far did you get into finding the contact details of this company?”
RM: “Well, I looked up the company name, and a few people on message boards told me that this game was the last one they made due to poor sales, and left the business. I’ve heard Bryan has a new cat. The rights to the game have apparently been through a fair few companies since, it’s a little sketchy.”
TDJJ: “A question that immediately sprung to my mind, and probably the one most people think when reading the story, is: This is a computer game. Surely you knew it was non-existent money that you were winning?”
RM: “Yeah I got that from several people. Thing is, I reckon the people who made the game were ahead of their time, it’s quite realistic with all hypnotic music. I don’t have the instructions any more, but maybe there’s a code or something in the game what you’d match up in the manual, which you’d then give to a bank, and they’d convert it into cash. Or maybe some kind of digital currency, like Bitocoin or whatever it’s called.
TDJJ: “But the game was made several decades ago, obviously way before such currency was invented.”
RM: “Like I mentioned, I believe they were thinking ahead, about how we would be spending cash in the future which is now. Look at The Terminator what came out the year after. They predicted robots that could follow a simple set of commands, following orders, things that we have nowadays. We’ll just have to see if they overthrow us in the future at some point. I can’t actually see a button on any of the game screens, but I bet it was Bryan’s intention to include one that said ‘Convert’ or something.”
TDJJ: “Has anyone that you’ve spoken to believed any of this?”
RM: “It’s difficult to say. I think they believe that I believe in it. That’s the main thing isn’t it, that people can just leave you to it and not involve themselves. The bookies and other people I owe are the more vocal ones. And physical.”
TDJJ: “Do you have a deadline with any of these people, and how long are you giving yourself to find the contact details?”
RM: “Some of them want their cash by this Saturday. That’s four days, and I’ve got nothing to sell any more. My mum doesn’t get paid till a week on Friday. I’ve put a few messages on gaming sites to help out. I’ve not heard anything yet, apart from some unwanted verbal abuse and threats. Actually, thinking about it, my photos could be considered as sort of IOUs. That’s as good as money. So if I don’t hear anything until Saturday, maybe they could just have them.”
TDJJ: “Not sure if bookies accept IOUs. And surely it’d be the same for any other lenders out there, especially violent ones.”
RM: “Shit, they are the violent ones.”
Mr. Mayweather suddenly becomes a lot more tense, his face turning white. I offer him one of the half-empty cans of lager on the table to settle his nerves. After a couple of minutes he looks at me as though inspiration has hit.
RM: “Can you drive me to Oxford?”
TDJJ: “No sorry, I failed my test years ago and never bothered to start lessons again.”
RM: “So, you can drive a bit. I think Bryan still lives in Oxford, we can go there, ask around. Also, I can start afresh, miles from troubles round here. Are you okay to wait ‘til my mum comes back? We’ll take her car.”
I thank him for his time and politely end the interview. I explain that schedules permit me from any unplanned trips to Oxford, which would take several hours, but wish him the best all the same. He asked if anyone who knew any details regarding the current legal status of the game, can they get in touch. Not sure how this would work as he hasn’t got a phone and doesn’t want to drag his mum into this.