In the story, Matthew Smith is an unexpectedly successful computer game programmer from Surbiton.
By a curious coincidence, in the early 1980s version of real life, there was also a game programmer by the name of Matthew Smith, who also wrote a somewhat successful game based in a large and unruly mansion.
Any resemblance the fictional Matthew bears to his namesake other than name and occupation is purely coincidental; the house… not so much.
Bootlesquith Manor is a deliberate homage to a game that defined a certain time of my life, and I’m sure to many of my contemporaries. I hope I’ve managed to convey the same mix of pseudo-Pythonesque humour, obscure references and just plain absurdness that made Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy the must-have games of their time, games that are still talked about in hushed tones among 40-somethings who resent ever having had to grow up.
Naturally, I would love to say that this is 100% official and has the backing of Matthew himself; unfortunately I have in on good authority that he isn’t terribly good at replying to emails and such. I have, however, done as much as possible to bring the project to his attention, and invited him to give whatever input he deems necessary (up to and including telling me not to put the thing out).
To date he has not commented on the idea or the (very rough, and probably now cut!) early sample that I sent him. My invitation still stands, and unless I hear otherwise I will merely hope that the real Matthew Smith will take this in the way it is intended.
The Ballad of Matthew Smith is, after all, just my heartfelt (if rather longer than necessary) way of saying thank you for all those misspent hours.