It’s with great sadness to post that Phil Durbidge, half of Sheffield bedroom coding duo Dollarsoft has passed on Monday 22nd 2018 away aged just 49.
Back in 1984, Phil along with fellow Jordanthorpe friend Richard Stevenson were two of the city’s first bedroom coders, creating and selling Spectrum games such as The Black Tower and Bombscare from Richard’s parent’s modest house. Richard and Philip’s talent and passion for games brought them to the attention of big-name publishers such as Telecomsoft and Alligata, and they worked together for Gremlin Graphics and Artic on Amstrad conversions.
The “whizz-kids” first appeared together in Crash Magazine in October 1984, and I had the honour of being the first person since to interview them back in 2015 for A Gremlin in the Works.
Their love for each other was obvious. They took huge pride in their work and achievements, and how much they enjoyed their years spent coding together. Their enthusiasm for the “good old days” hunched around the Spectrum, swapping code and running around to each other’s houses with the latest programming technique or piece of digital artwork was infectious.
When Phil found out about his illness he spent some of his attempted convalescing getting back into Spectrum programming. He was looking forward to the Spectrum Next arriving and there was even talk of Dollarsoft reforming to create a new version of Bombscare.
Their work is remembered fondly, and there are many fans of Short’s Fuse and Super Sam out there in the retro community. Thanks to wonderful sites such as The World of Spectrum and The Gremlin Archive more will continue to enjoy their games and their Sheffield legacy will continue to be celebrated.