"When you smoke, all the world's an ashtray."
AN INTERVIEW WITH TIM "MANIKIN" MOSS
by Richard Karsmakers
The name of Tim Moss (Manikin of The Lost Boys) is often
mentioned in the same breath as Niclas Thisell (Nic of The
CareBears), and it is not difficult to imagine why. Both coders
have left an everlasting impression on the world of Atari demo
coding, and I for one hold that Tim was the one to come closest
ever to Nic. At the helm of the, well, near-legendary Lost Boys
of London he was responsible for the amazing debut demo, "DEF
Demo", after which the name changed simply to The Lost Boys,
various members came and went (among which Stefan "Digital
Insanity" Posthuma!) and The Lost Boys released notable demos
such as "Ooh Crikey Wot a Scorcher", "Mindbomb" and "Life's a
To increase the computer relevancy, and to make this one final
interesting issue of ST NEWS, I got into contact with Tim again
for the first time in years. I'd seen him last at a party when he
was still living in the Netherlands and working for SPC (the
company where Stefan also worked before he went off to Canada).
He has in the mean time procured a job at the near-legendary
British games company Argonaut software, although he'll be
leaving there around the middle of August to go and explore what
will no doubt be even more exciting vistas.
So what has happened in the years after Tim's brief working
stint at Thalion, where he coded the platform game "A
Tim: I nearly wrote a game for the Bitmap Brothers called
Killing Spree. It was based on the demo selector from "Ooh
Crikey", if anyone remembers that far back. I have also written
two games for CD-I, "Alien Gate" and "The Apprentice".
How and when did you and your brother Dave join Argonaut?
Tim: I e-mailed the company after seeing an advert in the back
of "Edge" Magazine. I sent them a copy of my CV and a demo of
some stuff I had been doing on CD-I. They said that basically I
could have a job. When I next went back to England I popped in
and had an interview and a formal offer was made. At the same
time while talking to them they said they were in need of
artists. I said that my brother was an artist and that he was
finishing his Art course in a couple of months. They said that I
should get him to send in his CV. So they ended up hiring both of
us. Dave joined in July 1994. Left in February 1996, rejoined in
June 1996. I joined in November 1996, and I am just about still
What machines are you working on?
Tim: On the PC, mainly, although I'm senior coder here so I get
to play with all of them.
What projects have you done and what are you working on now?
Tim: "Alien Odyssey" for Philips. A two year game that was
completed in 9 months. They then preceded to wonder why it wasn't
much good. I am currently working on a 3D platform game engine.
It has been very succesful so far and it is now being used on 3
What's Jez San, director of Argonaut, like?
Tim: He's a nice guy but a little over-obssesed with technology.
What will the future bring for you, do you think?
Tim: Well I'm going to leave Argonaut soon and pursue a slightly
different career in the same industry. I'm afraid I cannot be
more specific at this time.
Where do you live now? What do the surroundings look like? Is
the nightlife any good?
Tim: Stanmore, Green, No. Hmm...that's actually a little unfair.
I'm only a tube ride away from central London and it's actually
very nice around here.
Do you have any pets and, if so, what kind? What are their
Tim: No I don't but I regulary get to watch field mice cavorting
in my back garden.
If I were to visit you, where would you take me for a night out?
Tim: Belgano Central in Covent Garden so that you could advise
me on which Belgian beers to try.
Have you ever seen an Atari in the last couple of years? Is
there an Atari scene somewhere around where you live?
Tim: Yes, Dave still uses an Atari for Music stuff. We did
actually dig out some demos and have a look at them, oh how he
cringed with embarrasment.
How's life been treating you girl-wise?
Tim: Very well. I have been living with one of Argonaut game
designers for the last 18 months. I finally get to mix business
and pleasure. What's more I am often the one who complains that
she spends too much time playing games.
Which book have you read recently that made most of an
impression on you?
Tim: "The Illuminatus Trilogy". It is the book that the KLF got
a lot of their stuff from, e.g. the "Justified Ancients of Mu".
It made an impression on me because it was utter shit.
What is the computer game you play most at the moment?
What's your all-time fave game?
Tim: "Mario 64" on the Ultra 64. I just finished it. It is an
absolutely fantastic game. It goes straight in alongside my
favourite ever games. Other classics are "UFO: Enemy Unknown",
"Duke Nuke'em" and nostalgia value for "Doom".
What is the film you've been to recently that made most of an
impression on you?
Tim: "Twelve Monkeys". Excellent movie. A film that made me
believe that Bruce Willis can act.
You are connected to the Internet. What would you advise other
Internet users to check out without further ado?
Tim: I find it kind of boring. The only thing that I really
could not live without is E-Mail.
When, in many years, you'll eventually die, which song would you
like to be played at your funeral service?
Tim: I intend to live forever. Providing the Cigarettes, alcohol
and drugs don't get me (what about LIFE, eh? ED.).
What is to you the music release of 1996 so far?
Tim: I couldn't pick between Underworld - "Second Toughest in
the Infants" and Orbital - "In Sides".
Do you still like the Stone Roses? (Don't tell me you're into
Oasis now... :-) )
Tim: No I don't like them at all anymore. I do actually own the
last Oasis album but I haven't played it in months.
Is there something you see everybody likes but that you loathe
Children under the age of 18.
Suppose you could be Aladdin for a while. Which three wishes
would you make?
Tim: Work Peace. An end to starvation. The ability to write bug
Is there a person you haven't met yet which you'd dearly love to
Tim: No, I am quite happy with the ones I know already.
If you were confined to a desert island and you could only take
with you one book, five CDs and one luxury item, which would they
Tim: "War and Peace" because I never read it and its the answer
everyone gives to this question. The CDs would be Nine Inch Nails
- "The Downward Spiral"; "Trans Europe Express 3"; Leftfield -
"Leftism"; Biosphere - "Patashnik" and Radiohead - "The Bends".
And the luxury item would be a Laptop with a solar power supply.
What invention do you hope mankind will come up with soon?
Tim: Diet drinks that taste nice. And Diet Icecream, Diet sweets,
Which famous person would you like to have at a party?
Tim: I don't know, but I have two criteria: They must be rich
If you were ever to have the opportunity to have your own
perfume cosmetics line, what would you call it?
Tim: C Eau Der.
OK, Tim, now for the infamous (well, OK, not that infamous,
really) "words to react to" section.
The ozone layer.
Tim: An example of just how badly you can fuck it up if you
really don't try.
Tim: It comes in many flavours, some I like a lot and some just
make me want to scream.
Tim: I hate music censorship
Tim: I miss assembler but this is a good laugh.
Tim: Children under the age of 18. Uphill gardeners.
Tim: Life the universe and everything. Have you noticed that
Mulder from the "X-Files" lives at number 42. Spooky.
Tim: The coder who wrote the Atari ST version still works here.
He's not proud. Having said that we also have the coder who wrote
"Hunchback" for the Spectrum working here, he also wrote "Super
Sprint" for the Atari ST.
Tim: A Waste of time.
The Lost Boys.
Tim: A lot of fun in my Youth.
Tim: As above.
Tim: A difficult way to make money.
Tim: A nice chap. He once bought a round for 20 people in the
pub after we went to see him record a TV Show. That is the way to
make yourself popular with anybody.
Tim: As above.
Tim: If only all the games we made here lived up to that first
Tim: You have done a great job over the years. Hope the rest of
your writing life is as productive as the last 10 or so years.
Thanks for your time, Tim. And all the best in the future,
wherever its unknown path may lead you.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.