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A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far away (or so it seems), there were two guys enthralled by Scott Adams' adventure programs written for the Atari 800 and Apple computers.

This was the beginning for them. These games gave them so much joy, they just had to have a go at doing it themselves.

Pete Sleeman was already fairly successful with sketches and comedy writing for various radio programs, and Steve Calkin was bitten by the programming bug. Surely with Pete's ideas and Steve's programming skills they could turn out their very own adventures. And so Bignose was born.

The idea was to write adventure programs that made the player think, and logically solve problems, in order to proceed and complete the adventure.

The first game was originally called "The Heist" and was based loosely on a film of the same name. Without giving too much away, if you watch the film you get the answer to one of the harder puzzles. Unfortunately "The Heist" was already taken and so they had to come up with a new name. This was a classic example of two heads being better than one. In a telephone conversation, with Steve prompting Pete for another meaning for the essence of the game, the name The Pay-Off was born.

This game was famous in its own way as it became the very first disk based game to be accepted and produced by Atari. At the time the game was written, Atari only produced cassette games and could see no market for disk games. The Pay-Off changed their minds.

Now comes a sad bit.

Not long after accepting the Pay-Off, Atari managed to screw things up so badly that they went bust and dropped out of the games market.

This was not to be the end of Bignose. The copyright was taken back by Bignose who then went on to write versions for the Commodore 64, Amstrad, BBC and Spectrum computers. In addition, the follow up "Opera House" was written and also a third adventure called "QA".All of these adventures had versions available for all of the previously mentioned 8 bit computers.

The main supporter of The Pay-Off from Atari Corporation had formed his own company, called SECS and bought up the license for all of the Bignose products. By this time Bignose had adopted an arcade game called "Sprong" written by Paul Lay, and a quiz game based on the Family Fortunes TV show called "The Family Game" written by Derek Smith. All of these products were launched as the mainstay for the SECS company.

Now we get to another sad bit.

SECS managed to drift away into oblivion without managing to sell any stock. Bad marketing, bad management, or just bad luck. Who knows. It was pretty devastating for the Bignose guys as once again they saw their dreams shattered. It was then left to Steve and Pete to attempt what everyone else had failed and actually stay in business, and sell products. This they achieved in a minor way before finally giving up themselves. Disillusioned and downhearted, but mostly disappointed, Bignose faded away.