If you went to Primary School in Scotland between 2004-2010, then this post is for you.
Primary school was a blur for most people, but one some of the software used on the PC’s stuck with me over time. One being situated in the aptly named folder “Creating & Presenting”. Colour Magic. The name sounds as fantastic as it is. You could paint full on dicks using a rainbow brush tool. It included a stamp feature as well to try and tie into various other subjects and to keep kids entertained.
Now think of this. You have a child (scary I know) and they bring you this piece of “COOL ARTWORK” from their ICT class. How did you make this? You ask. Colour Magic!
So off you go, onto Google to find a download link to keep your child’s creative mind flowing. Yet it seems they want to hide this application more than ever.
You head to “freedownloadmanager.org” – the first link that shows up (shudder, I can feel your antivirus screaming), yet its download button just takes you to the RM homepage.
Strange, maybe the next result? Onto “software.informer” you surf but to be met with the same thing. A “download now” button that doesn’t do its job and kicks you out to the RM homepage yet again.
This will be the same for ALL download links shown on Google, Bing and even duckduckgo. So what now? Well, this was the fun part (hint, not)
2018 – Honestly I was just bored, I was on Twitter and I came across a tweet from my old primary school. In the photo, the kids had been creating amazing masterpieces using RM Colour Magic. Flashback moment to ICT in the same room 10+ years previous. I searched high and low for the software but I didn’t really think anything of it at the time.
2019 – A reddit user had posted in r/nostalgia/ about RM Colour Magic and their failed attempts at also finding a source for it
2020 – An almost identical post in the same subreddit.
2021 – Same thing happened as 2018. This time, for some god unknown reason, I was determined. I came across the two previous reddit posts and realized I wasn’t alone.
Where did I begin? Wayback Machine of course. After some tedious searching through the old RM website, I finally found the Colour Magic product page. Marked at a whopping £46.55 for a single user license in 2008! Sadly the “tryb4ubuy” link had long since expired and took me to a dead page.
Where next? Searching Google got me as far as the helpless parent fiasco above and even torrent websites were starting to look at me a bit funny for typing the same thing in over and over again hoping for new results.
I had an idea. What do you do when you want to pressure a company into doing something? Publicly annoy them where everyone can see. I gave Falkirk Council a mention and started the ball rolling, they also suggested tagging the school. I did this too and for good measure also cc’d in RM Education.
All went silent. Falkirk council said they would forward it to their IT team but watching paint dry is faster than them getting something done, nevermind something as obscure as this.
The dreaded page 2 on Google gave me a clue. A PDF file outlining the desktop software plan for students at Aberdeen University mentioned “RM Colour Magic” but for some reason listed it in the Music folder. It was either a fluke, or something for a flute with the same name. I gave Aberdeen University an email, citing my intentions to archive this abandonware to archive.org.
Office staff telling me they’d forward it to IT for me
IT asking me for my username and University ID number. This is where I thought it would be a dead end. I responded that I do not have such credentials and reiterated my reason for emailing
Then things went quiet again…I was starting to loose hope.
A nice man called Ian messages me from the IT department. When I say I almost shit myself, I’m not joking, Andrex please sponsor me. He said that he had an archived copy backed up and that it was approximately 40MB in size. Not only that, but he was willing to extract it and send it to me!
I replied, and waited. Another hour past and he sends me a link to an internal system where he’s uploaded it.
I noticed whilst browsing the old version of the RM Education website that RM Colour Magic apparently doesn’t support Vista or above. Well, thankfully they were wrong.
The journey has ended here. I drew my dicks, fucked around with some stamps and played around with the cool rainbow things. The file is now available here for download.
I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I did. Which wasn’t a lot, so fuck off really.