To enrich our collection of eclectic characters today we remember Mark Cale, founder and mind behind the System 3 software house. In the picture he poses soberly dressed as Ninja along with Mev Dinc, Hugh Riley and John Twiddy.
Still active today in numerous fields (not all of which related to technology) in the 1980s he knew how to promote his video games. At the 1985 Personal Computer Show in London he bought a giant stand and put in three half-naked dancers who flirted with the (too much underage) visitors.
In 1987, instead, to publicize Bangkok Knights he went around the streets riding an elephant and punched with a real fighter. To hire Matt Gray, who would become a leading composer for System 3, he invited him and … his mother to an Italian restaurant for dinner, offering him a salary that nearly knocked out the poor woman.
Legend has it that the first headquarters of the System 3 in Watford was a common London home, but with the peculiarity of having a Commodore 64 and a monitor in every room, including the bathroom.
On the day of the release of Last Ninja II, while driving through the streets of London in Ferrari, he was chased by a pissed-off boy who complained that the game cost three pounds more than the others.
About Last Ninja II, Cale decided to give away a shuriken and a mask in every copy of the first boxed versions. Too bad the shuriken was in effect a weapon and it did not please parents’ associations and many distribution chains, who refused to expose the game. This is why the next edition included as a gadget a less deadly paper map.