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Obituary: Zenobi Software founder and text adventure legend John Wilson

John Wilson, the founder of renowned text adventure game publisher Zenobi Software, has passed away.

John Wilson, the founder of renowned text adventure game publisher Zenobi Software, has passed away. A family member shared the news on social media, prompting an outpouring of tributes from those who knew Wilson. 

Also known as the 'Rochdale Balrog' because of his ties to the Greater Manchester town, Wilson turned Zenobi into a full-time venture in 1986 to help produce and publish adventure games for a range of systems including the ZX Spectrum and the Atari ST. 

In more recent years, Wilson kept the Zenobi brand alive by bringing its back-catalog forward in time using 'Spectrum emulation.' He also released a brand new adventure game for the ZX Spectrum called Ramsbottom Smith and The Quest For The Yellow Spheroid, paving the way for a string of new releases under the 'Pension Productions' banner.

Through Zenobi, Wilson helped birth over 200 titles across multiple decades including Caverns, The Secret of Little Hodcome, Bulbo and the Lizard King, Behind Closed Doors, Alien Research Center, The Balrog and the Cat and many, many more.

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