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Ocean Software Manchester HQ Visit, 30 Years On

Last Updated on March 20, 2023

The basement and second floor of 6 Central Street, Manchester was the headquarters of Ocean Software, one of the most influential publishers of computer games in Europe during the 1980s.

Founded by David Ward and Jon Woods, Ocean Software released titles on pretty much every platform you could buy. In the accompanying video, former Ocean man Mark Jones (he worked on graphics for Spectrum titles) revisits the address, owned by Quakers.

Ocean Software rented the basement and the 2nd floor at The Friends’ Meeting House back in the 1980s. It’s where many of their most popular titles were written, including versions of Chase HQ, Robocop, Wizball, Renegade, Head Over Heels, Hypersports & Daley Thompson’s Decathlon. On 16 March 2023 we were kindly granted access to the building to see what it looks like now.

The home of a few original games and quite a lot of licensed movie and arcade tie-ins, the chances are that if you owned a computer or console in the 1980s and 1990s, you played an Ocean Software title. Think Robocop, Batman: The Movie, Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, The Addams Family, Arkanoid, Operation Wolf, Rainbow Islands, and you’ll see the famous “ocean” logo.

Ocean Software was crucial to the cultural fabric of video games in the 80s and 90s, and its legacy lives on. The video will reveal a very basic working environment, far detached from the focused workstations of developers years later.

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