l | l l i i
r FEATURE VIDEO GAMES
Sega and Nintendo may be a boon to kids looking for easy entertainment. 9 y _ but some see their market domination as a blind alley. Philip Parr spoke to _ _ ~‘ ~ two former games designers who are distinctly disenchanted with current
andy White and Ricardo I’inta are computer games designers. More to the point. they were designers in the early to mid Slls when plenty of adolescent. acne-scarred upstart programmers bought their first car (a Porsche) in order to drive down to Heathrow before leaving fora life of tax exile: total working life. approximately six months. So what are Sandy (author of a fiendish game called Ant Attack in the Sinclair Spectrum’s golden age) and Ricardo (programmer ofone of the best selling computer games of all time. Iilite ) doing living in lidinburgh'.’
‘We were ripped off basically.‘ says White. ‘When we started in 83. it was very exciting. ‘l'he whole business was run by cx-hippies and there was plenty of money floating about. But very quickly it became more and tnore like an ordinary business. people with suits started appearing. the programmers started working in offices and all the hippies disappeared. It became a nine-to-five job.‘
And. explains l’inta. the men in suits exloited all of the talented young programmers who. in the early days. had ruled the market. "l‘his is the sad thing: you had this moment. this golden age. when a few people were making these ridiculous amounts of money. very quickly. And thereafter it is that golden age which everybody refers to and thinks is just around the corner.
Everybody ’s kept in because they have memories. as I did. of being that close to making a fortune. I‘ve been very. very close several times. but I never did; it‘s like a disease. But me and Sandy could get out.‘ he continues ‘because we had plausible
8 lhe list 13— Zn March 19‘):
state of the industry.
alternatives. Most ofour contemporaries are very jaded but cannot imagine what else they could do.‘
The two ex-designers look on in dismay as the Nintendo and Sega invasions continue apace. In their day. the spotty designers may have
been envied by their schoolmates for
their obscene wealth but there was no denying that the computer games market provided a fertile ground for vivid imaginations: the more
‘You’re going to have a whole society of couch potatoes. Why bother having sex with the wife
when you can have sex with a
beautiful bimbo who you can
switch off afterwards? It’s frightening.’
outlandish and original the idea. the tnore successful the game. In 1992. the situation is markedly different.
"l‘hesc consoles are very bad news.’ says I’inta. ‘Sega and Nintendo are tying up the technology so it‘s impossible for an independent designer to write a game without permission and. of course. no one ever gets permission. So Nintendo can charge whatever it wants. no matter how boring the game. And the games are getting very boring. Every'thing’s written in-house. there's no mavericks anymore.
‘( 'ompuler games are dying of l because they 're being kicked in the head by the consoles.' he continues. ‘With Nintendo. there’s no technology barrier: there's one box. you shove in a cartridge. plug it into your telly and that‘s it. 'l'here’s no
. bleepingbox. Ironically. Ricardo
SEGA MEGADHIVE 1. WinterChallenge ts 2. Robocod Game designers Ricarda Pinta and Sandy White 3. John Madden Foam" '92 4. Hard Drivin' 5. Streets Of Rage 3 6. California Games 7. Golden Axe II 8. Alien Storm ; 9. Immortal 10. Ouackshot : ,:s 8 i "‘ .. ‘1’: ! . 1N5 +\‘ ~ ' Ms 3 A ~ ' is??? i ‘ .Ki ._ i , .g? as? -. I: one telling you you‘ve got toeducate ’ 3' “ ’ “" A "’ your children with it. That was a NINTENDO marketing strategy that backfired 1. WWF Wrestling with the computers: parents don't 2. StarWars want responsibility. they want to 3. Super Mario Ill shut their kids in a room and forget 4. Kick 0" about them.‘ 5. Super Mario II When computers first appeared. 6. Chip N Dale the gloom merchants foretold the 7. Duck Tales death of literature and the 8. The Simpsons
development of an entire society with no interest outside the TV screen and its accompanying
9. Dragon’s Lair 10. Gremlins ll
Charts compiled by Virgin Megastore. Thanks to Virgin Megastore fortheir help in researching this article.
l’inta. a stalwart of the computer industry for a decade. has just written his first book. and feels creatively satiated for the first time. ‘lt was very. very satisyfying to create something that you knew was worth the money. that you knew would last.‘ he says. ‘I always felt that l was having to con kids to buy computergames.’
()f the future. White and l’inta are. perhaps surprisingly. guardedly optimistic. Somethings going to come out of it.‘ says l’inta. "l'he time to get back in is when virtual reality is fully developed. I‘ve still no doubt that computer-generated entertainment will do for the 31st century what film did for the 20th century. But this initial phase is rotting. it‘s dead. just a few bones poking out of purulent flesh.
"l‘he only problem with virtual reality is that you‘ll get junkies. Mr Smith. tedious little accountant. comes borne and becomes Super ('onan the Barbarian. raping women and kicking sand in other people's faces. You‘re going to have a whole
No sooner has Glaswegian comic Bruce Morton sat down to write some new material than the lure of the joystick calls, and he‘s back on his Amiga 500. Bruce gave us his top five games, and is extremely keen to set up a West of Scotland League for Speedball. If you‘re interested, contact us and we‘ll pass your name on to Bruce.
Morton‘s musts (all Amiga 500 format)
society ofcouch potatoes. Why 1- Speedba” " . ' bother having sex with the wife when 2' F19 Stealth ﬁghter
3. Panzer Kick Boxing 4. Formula I Grand Prix 5. Lotus Turbo Esprit ll
you can have sex with a beautiful bimbo who you cart switch off afterwards‘.’ It‘s frightening.’