Some stuff about a bloke
Duncan MacDonald was not the only Spectrum-magazine-writer-who-wrote-a-game-once-and-promptly-got-it-featured-on-the-cover. Simon N Goodwin (must be something about the letter 'N'), Crash's Tech Tips bloke, also did this. (unfortunately the game was released commercially in a cut-down version, and not featured on the cover of the same magazine. It did appear twice though, first on Sinclair User - which he didn't write for - and, more recently, as an emulator snapshot on Amiga Format - which he does write for. Instant fame.) He wrote some game called "Gold Mine", way back almost before Channel 4 started. This involved mining a gold mine for (surprise) gold. And there were rock falls and stuff as well. It took him 10 days to write, almost entirely in BASIC (the exception was the copy protection routine - so good it even fooled the tape duplicators). The graphics were designed during a particulary dull "Complementary Studies" lecture.
It was so good it sold 3,000 copies in the first couple of weeks. Who said you need a few months, quite a lot of people and loads of bottles of coke to write a good game? (I think it might have been Design-Design, who later opted for writing crap games in a few weeks, becuase there was a higher probability of someone wanting at least one of them.)