Foreword (By Michael St. Aubyn)
Imogen started life as a piece of self-indulgent whimsy about 17 years ago. That was back in 1986, during the home computer boom, when it was still possible for an enthusiast to put together a computer game in a back bedroom and have it published, distributed and reviewed as a professional piece of software.
I'd already had two BBC Micro games published under those circumstances: Acornsoft Volcano and Pantry Antics for BBC Enterprises. But as neither of those had attracted (or deserved) much attention, I did not begin Imogen with any particular expectations. I wrote it as the kind of game I wanted to play myself, a graphical adventure in which lightning reflexes didn't count quite so much as daft, cartoony humour and lateral thinking. (Roadrunner and Edward de Bono were influences on the puzzles in Imogen in roughly equal proportions.)
It was written at a leisurely pace, taking somewhere between nine months and a year. I'd like to say that was due to perfectionism, but I think that laziness may also have been a factor. It was a game I kept dropping and then coming back to when a new idea popped up. I dare say I'd have spent even longer on it, but there was another important consideration: the BBC Micro, like the Spectrum and the Commodore 64, was starting to show distinct signs of obsolescence. By the time Imogen appeared on the shelves, the Atari, the Amiga and the IBM PC were about to become the big new games machines.
I find it surprising, therefore, that people do still remember the game. Some of these have encountered it perhaps through the Electron conversion; others through BBC Micro emulators. Still more, I hope, will discover and enjoy the game through Ovine's lovingly crafted update. If you have ever played Imogen before, I know you will not be disappointed by this "redux" edition. Every detail of the BBC game is there (in colour!) with lots of delightful new touches, all thoroughly in keeping with the spirit of the original. I don't think I have ever seen a BBC game treated to such a meticulous makeover.
For myself, playing this conversion has been a "friends reunited" moment. The last time I ran Imogen was about 15 years ago when I wrote the Electron version. I'd even forgotten how to solve some of the puzzles: the gnu section had me stumped for a while! So I have a personal reason to thank Stu and Andy for their hard work on this project, in addition to my gratitude to them for bringing this whiskery old game to a new audience.
Michael St Aubyn, December 2003