|Headquarters||Canonbury, North London, Great Britain|
|Key People (choice)||Rob Hubbard, Stavros Fasoulas, Martin Walker|
|Sector||Video and computer games|
Thalamus was a known British games manufacturer, that developed games for 8 bit and 16 bit computers. The company was above all known for their sidescrollers and especially for the platformer Creatures.
Thalamus was founded as a game manufacturer by the publisher Newsfield Publications Ltd. in 1986. The aim was to use their position as popular publishing company of computer game magazines Crash and ZZAP!64 in Great Britain in the 80s cleverly to place some games on the market. The former Activision manager Andrew Wright was employed as head of the company and an editor from the magazine ZZAP!64 worked as technical adviser. The young company had to share the office with the editorial staff of a lifestyle magazine.
As the publishing company already possessed very good contacts in this sector, they managed to win over the Finnish programmer Stavros Fasoulas for Thalamus. With him the first three titles were created: Sanxion, Delta and Quedex. Sanxion was voted as a great game directly after the release by the ZZAP!64. The game actually deserved this voting as it looked very good for its time, had a high speed and was programmed at a technically high standard. They had managed to get Rob Hubbard for the soundtrack. However, this led to an accusation against ZZAP!64 to favour their own productions. "Thalamusic", the title music of Sanxion was soon so popular, that it was recorded with professional machines and published on one of the cover cassettes of the ZZAP!64.
The golden years
With the C64 version of the game Delta the Mix-E-Load loading system was introduced. It was a standard in the cassette versions and a bonus in the disk versions. You could remix the melody in real time while the game was loaded in the background. The Mix-E-Load loading system was developed by Gary Liddon in cooperation with Rob Hubbard. The actual idea, however, came from Nick Pelling, who had mainly programmed games on the BBC Micro.
During the development of Quedex Wright and Liddon left the company. As a substitute the former Electric Dreams employee Paul Cooper was appointed. As Fasoulas was called up to the Finnish national guard, he was replaced by Martin Walker, who had already developed some known titles. The puzzle / shooter game Hunter's Moon, which was developed by him, was well received by the critics, but sold worse than the preceding publishments.
In the second half of 1988, it got quiet around Thalamus. The Danish demo combo Boys without Brains made their commercial debut with Hawkeye. This title was the first by Thamalus, which was awarded with the gold medal in the homemade ZZAP!64 magazine. The next title was Armalyte, a space shooter in true R-Type-Style, which was developed as an independent game, but promoted as follower of Delta.
Towards the end of the 80s, Thalamus published a series of successful titles. Sanxion and Delta were also released for the Spectrum, but as this market was already shrunken drastically, they were the only publications on this system. Several already started projects for the Spectrum were withdrawn and stayed unfinished.
At the beginning of the 90s Thalamus could create a cult hit with Creatures. Also Creatures 2 was a big success. The game was especially praised by game magazines, because with Creatures the Rowlands Brothers had created a real graphical gem. Platformers as Summer Camp and Winter Camp were also rather successful. However, it was soon foreseeable, that the company was heading towards a series of problems. In 1991 Newsfield Publications Ltd. got into financial difficultes and was forced to cease the game magazines. Europress took over both magazines, but this was also destroyed by the heavily shrunken market.
Thalamus survived the collapse of Newsfield Publications Ltd., but the financial situation was difficult. As the 8-bit sector had dropped out, the production of new titles was increasingly expensive. In 1993 the last title was released: Nobby the Aardvark. As the game came actually much too late, almost all Amiga projects got out of budget and hardly any revenue was generated, Thalamus had to finally close its doors.